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Lithuania/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

Lithuania's international cultural policy isoriented towards the implementation of bi-lateral or departmental cultural agreements and action plans. The main actors in the cultural foreign policy are the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embassies and culture attachés. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of course, plays the first role in diplomacy's policy, and the Ministry of Culture shares with it the responsibility for cultural agreements and bilateral treaties. The Ministry of Culture has cooperation agreements with all the neighbouring countries. Since 1991 the government signed more than 40 cultural co-operation agreements with foreign countries. The main Lithuanian culture institutions, centres, artists' associations, higher art schools, and local self-governments as well have their own cultural co-operation relations / agreements and are the members of respective European or international culture and art networks (ICOM, ICOMOS, European Council of Arts, European Theatre Union, IFACCA, etc). The city of Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture in 2011.

International cultural cooperation projects are financed by the Lithuanian Culture Council and among the main areas and trends are dissemination of Lithuanian culture abroad; export of Lithuanian culture and creative industries, promoting artists' residencies, support for projects and participation in EU programmes, etc.

Focus has been placed on Lithuania's participation in the Council of Europe, the EU, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, UNESCO cultural programmes, and major European cultural events (Frankfurt and Göteborg book fairs, Venice Biennale, Berlin Film Festival etc.). In the second half of 2013, Lithuania assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time. A special cultural programme was drafted for this period and a number of impressive Lithuanian culture and art events were organised in Brussels, Gent, France, UK, Poland. Among the important culture issues considered within the Presidency were to reach a general approach in the Council regarding the recast of the Directive on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State; the development of Europeana, the public European digital library; the dissemination of digitised cultural heritage online; the transformation of the audio-visual media landscape affected by the latest technological developments, etc

Lithuania and the neighbouring Baltic States are linked by close relations, which are summarised in a constantly updated trilateral programme for cooperation in the field of culture. The field of international cultural co-operation became abundant with network opportunities and is established on various levels between Lithuanian and foreign authorities (ministries, departments), culture and arts institutions, artists' organisations, non-governmental organisations, foundations and private cultural bodies. Cooperation is also supported on the basis of agreements between ministries of culture and specific cooperation programmes in the field of culture. Currently, interdepartmental cooperation programmes have been signed with China (2012-2016), Israel (2012-2014), Russia (2012-2014), and Ukraine (2012-2015).

In 2001, the government passed the Resolution on the Establishment of the Position of Culture Attachés of the Republic of Lithuania, and has posted cultural attachés at Permanent Representation of the Republic of Lithuania to the EU in Brussels and in the Lithuanian embassies in the UK, Italy, Poland, the Russian Federation, France, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Israel, the USA, and Germany. Cultural attachés ensure promotion of Lithuania's culture and arts abroad, and promote cultural exchanges between the countries. (see more:

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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