3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation
There are no exact strict government programmes to support trans-national intercultural dialogue, but certain programmes are channelled via the Ministry of Culture or intergovernmental organisations. The Ministry of Culture supports specific trans-national activities for young people or youth groups, through funds available for travel grants, language or cross-cultural training courses. In 2005 the Ministry of Culture supported 14 projects focussed on developing and understanding cultural pluralism, intercultural and interethnic dialogue etc.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the Macedonian Cultural Centres in New York and Sofia play a role in cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation with ICD objectives. Their role is to promote not only the high artistic and cultural values but also the multicultural and multiethnic aspects of Macedonian culture.
An example of lack of cross-border dialogue and co-operation was the 2012 refusal of Bulgaria and Serbia to give copies of several archaeological artefacts that were found on Macedonian territory at the beginning of the last century. Namely, the Cultural Heritage Protection Office has asked the Serbian and Bulgaria museums for replicas of golden masks, an ancient vase and a helmet (all from a tomb near village of Trebenishte) for the newly established Archaeological Museum in Skopje. The Belgrade museum replied that the artefacts were too sensitive, and the Sofia museum asked for an unreasonable price.
However, as the current Chair-in-Office of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), in cooperation with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the RCC Task Force on Culture and Society, in November 2012 the Ministry of Culture organised a ministerial conference to enhance cross-border cooperation between the national museums in South-East Europe. The conference gathered ministers of culture from South East Europe, directors of national museums, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the RCC Task Force on Culture and Society, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and International Council of Museums (ICOM). With a joint ministerial statement a Museum Network in the South-East Europe was established, in order to foster cooperation among national museums in the region and to develop projects at regional and international levels.
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.