3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends
From a strictly political and cultural point of view, the past 5 years have been marked by some important events, mainly concerning San Marino history and institutions and having a resonance far beyond the country's borders. These events have mostly concerned the political system, with regard to its field of competence, through ad hoc budget allocations by means of Congress of State (government) Decisions and the establishment of special inter-ministerial committees, which have also relied on the assistance of experts in this field. Cultural bodies have collaborated with each other domestically and, in some cases, they have been assisted by external bodies for better implementation of large-scale projects.
In 2001, on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the Republic's Foundation, a documentary dedicated to San Marino's history and traditions was presented: this documentary was a scientific and historical in-depth study on the events that have marked the cultural, juridical and economic evolution of the Republic throughout the centuries. The 1700th anniversary was celebrated during an extraordinary sitting of the Great and General Council (Parliament), in which also some delegations of students took part. Finally, the event was celebrated also by means of a special coin, a philatelic series and some pre-paid telephone cards.
2006 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Arengo, which represents the most important democratic expression of San Marino State and its institutional and political development, as well as the beginning of a welfare based on equity and solidarity among citizens. To commemorate this Anniversary, some important initiatives have been organised, including the minting of a silver coin, the unveiling of a memorial plaque on the façade of the Government Building and the summoning of an extraordinary meeting of the Great and General Council. Moreover, the Arengo was recalled through a public conference, an exhibition of street artists and two works: a work of art – majolica permanently on display in the heart of the city of San Marino – and a publication with the historical and juridical description of San Marino Public Law.
With regard to international cultural relations, the instruments used by the State of San Marino are mainly cooperation treaties or collaboration agreements, the texts of which are generally developed jointly by the Ministries of Culture and of Foreign Affairs. The latter is responsible for approving and finalising the agreement.
Among the most recent bilateral agreements are: the February 2002 proposal by San Marino of an "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of San Marino and the Government of Slovenia on Co-operation in the fields of culture and education"; the "Protocol between the Government of the Republic of San Marino and the Government of Japan on Cooperation in the fields of culture, education, tourism, economic and commercial activities and research", proposed by Japan in 2004; the "Memorandum on consultation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of San Marino and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus", signed in November 2005; the "Protocol between the Government of the Republic of San Marino and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on Cooperation in the fields of culture, education, sport, tourism and economic and commercial activities", proposed by San Marino in November 2005; the "Memorandum on Cooperation and Consultation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of San Marino and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg", proposed in May 2006; in 2006, Ukraine submitted a proposal and in 2007 San Marino agreed on a "Cultural Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of San Marino and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine". These are all agreement proposals, the texts of which have been exchanged between the competent Authorities of both countries; up to now, however, they have not agreed on a shared document and therefore on the consequent signature of a final agreement.
With regard to cultural collaboration with Italy, in April 2011 the "First Executive Programme of Cultural and Scientific Cooperation between San Marino and Italy" was signed. The relevant Agreement was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2004. The Protocol, which is valid for the three-year period 2011/2013, establishes bilateral cooperation programmes in the fields of culture, research, art, cinema, television, university, archives and publishing. In August 2011, an "Agreement on the mutual recognition of university qualifications issued in the Republic of San Marino and in the Italian Republic with a view to carrying on the studies" was signed. This Agreement follows that signed between the two countries in 1983 on the mutual recognition of educational qualifications. The latter bilateral agreement was updated in the light of the numerous changes and reforms introduced over the years. The 2011 Agreement, already in force, provides San Marino University with increased autonomy and independence and offers new possibilities of developing cultural relations between the two countries, as well as exchange of experience and knowledge in the scientific and university fields, which are fundamental to the development of the young San Marino University. For further information on this issue, see chapter 3.4.6.
San Marino's six-month rotating Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (November 2006 - May 2007) - for the second time since the Republic's adhesion to this European Organisation in 1988 - has underlined the principle of equality among all member States, to which San Marino Chairmanship attaches fundamental importance, as it is at the basis of the existence and activity of the Council of Europe. This is symbolically and vitally signified by the transfer of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from the largest European country to a very small State. Membership of this Organisation increases awareness of the common identity, a sine qua non condition to work together and to eradicate, through debate and collaboration within the Council of Europe, the threats of indifference and lack of democratic participation.