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San Marino/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

In December, 2014, the Republic of San Marino had a total of 40 726 citizens, out of whom 27 772 reside on the territory and 12 954 reside abroad, scattered all over the world and divided up in the following way: 7 788 in Europe, 4 911 in the Americas, 12 in Africa, 18 in Oceania, 4 in Asia and 223 not specified. The countries hosting the highest number of San Marino citizens are: Europe: Italy (5 607), France (1 985) and Belgium (72); the rest of the world: United States of America (3 196) and Argentina (1 654). In the other countries, there are only small groups of San Marino citizens, the transfer of whom is however significant for a small State like San Marino. Particularly interesting is the case of Brazil, where there is an association of 500 descendants of San Marino citizens who emigrated at the end of the 19th century. The 25 communities, which are legally autonomous since 1979, are located in Italy, France, Belgium, United States and Argentina; indeed, with Laws 77-79/1979, the associations of San Marino citizens residing abroad are legally recognised and protected. The Law provides for precise criteria for the establishment of an association. The minimum number of San Marino registered citizens to establish an association is 30; these citizens must be at least 18 and reside abroad. There are also de facto communities, which are not recognised, such as the communities of Pesaro, Switzerland and Bourgogne.

A Law also established the Consulta (Council) of San Marino citizens abroad: this is a sort of general assembly gathering the representatives of San Marino communities abroad. In compliance with the internal regulation, this body was established in order to: facilitate closer relations between San Marino citizens residing abroad and the motherland; directly inform the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the problems concerning San Marino emigrants in the world; promote examination, within the competent bodies, of the most important themes concerning the community; express the opinion of San Marino citizens abroad on the country's general policy; and protect the interests and rights of San Marino citizens abroad, on an equal footing with residing citizens. The Consulta meets every year in plenary session in San Marino during the first days of October and is preceded by a pre-Consulta, held every year in April, in which only the Presidents of the communities participate, while one representative for each 100 members of the community of reference may participate in the plenary session. Also, San Marino government representatives may participate in the annual assembly; on this occasion, the representatives of the communities draft a final document, which must be approved by acclamation. With Law n. 98/1997 reforming the Consulta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs no longer presides over the Consulta; indeed, the President is directly elected within the assembly, as it happens for the Office of the Presidents, composed of 5 members, including the President, who represent the four geographical areas of emigration (North America, South America, Italy and French-language area). The works of the Consulta are public and all citizens and interested persons (for example, on account of grants, degree theses, etc.) may intervene.

Among the initiatives directed to San Marino citizens residing abroad are the so-called cultural stays - that is summer stays of 3 weeks financed by the State and aimed at San Marino young people between 18 and 28. These young people, who are allowed to participate only in two non-consecutive editions, are chosen by the single associations. These courses represent an important instrument to favour the knowledge and in-depth study of the language, traditions, history and institutions of the Republic, in order to make participants more aware of their status as San Marino citizens. Since 1980, more than 900 young people residing abroad have participated in this culturally enriching initiative, about which they have always been enthusiastic to the point that some of them have decided to move to San Marino, while others have become active members of San Marino associations abroad or have been assigned important consular or diplomatic positions in their place of residence on behalf of San Marino.

Every year, through a Government Decision, the contributions established by Law are allocated among the various communities, according to the number of effective members. These contributions are supplemented by the solidarity fund (4% of each contribution allocated by the State in favour of communities) destined to San Marino citizens abroad who find themselves in difficulty. These cases are presented and examined on the occasion of the pre-Consulta. The above-mentioned Decision also allocates annual grants to the communities, which are used by the respective associations on the basis of internal needs, by adopting the merit and need criteria. The number of grants assigned varies from one to three according to the quantity of members.

Foreign policy is a priority for San Marino and its aim is to reinforce the statehood of the Republic including its sovereignty and identity.

San Marino's active cooperation with Italy is based on geographic interdependency and on common cultural and democratic traditions. Under the first 1862 agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and the State of San Marino, Italy committed itself to guaranteeing and protecting the freedom of San Marino as a friendly nation. Even though bilateral acts were established between two sovereign States, based on legal equality, sovereignty and independence of the parties, the characteristics of nearby Italy have often been taken into account in the decisions made by San Marino which, in some cases, have reflected the cooperation needs between the two States.

Italy and San Marino have signed several bilateral agreements relevant to culture such as: Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications (1983) and an Agreement on Cultural and Scientific Collaboration (2002) covering culture, arts, protection, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, archives, museums, libraries, university education and inter-university cooperation, school and professional education, and tourism. The "First Executive Programme of Cultural and Scientific Cooperation between San Marino and Italy" was signed in 2011. The relevant Agreement was signed in 2002 (for further information, see chapter 3.4.1). The "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 always in 2011 and it updates the bilateral Agreement signed in 1983 (for further details see chapter 3.4.1).

France is another State with which San Marino actively cooperates. The 1985 cultural agreement with France further strengthened this relationship. Other similar agreements have been concluded with Romania (1975 and updated in 2003), with the former USSR (1979 and in 2002 proposed to the Government of the Russian Federation) and with the People's Republic of China (1980). In 1986, San Marino ratified the European Cultural Convention, thus contributing to the protection and development of a common European cultural heritage and to the promotion of the study of the language, history, culture of the member States, as well as to the circulation and exchange of people and goods of cultural value. Cultural agreements between San Marino Castles European and non-European cities have also been concluded to foster new commercial and cultural relations.

The Republic is also active on the multilateral level and has participated in UNESCO activities since 1974. In 1991, it ratified the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. In the framework of the Council of Europe, in 2011 San Marino signed and ratified the Lisbon Convention relative to higher education in the European region, which guarantees the recognition of San Marino qualifications in all countries party to the Convention (for further information on this Convention see chapter 3.4.3).

San Marino has implemented the principles and policies included in the European Commission White Paper on Youth, through the Social Centres located throughout the territory. A clear example is the Youth Card which, until a few years ago, was offered by the Social Centre in Serravalle with the State's economic support and was designed to increase youth mobility in Europe.

In August 2008, the First San Marino International Arts Festival (SMIAF) - Festival of Youth Knowledge took place: it was a project for the cultural, artistic, tourist and social promotion of San Marino and its young talented people, developed through art, cultural events, shows, music and meetings. The project - which has now become a permanent fixture of the San Marino Summer programme of tourist and social events - is promoted and organised by San Marino Cultural Associations, young people and artists, in cooperation with the Ministries of Youth Policies, of Tourism, of Education, Culture and University and of Equal Opportunities, together with the contribution of the San Marino Foundation - Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino - SUMS. The initiative is aimed at providing a general picture of San Marino young people, enhancing their involvement and participation by favouring a dialogue among them and developing a youth culture. The Festival represents an innovative event among San Marino cultural activities and projects; it encompasses a tourist, social and cultural dimension, since it is aimed at the building of generations open to innovation, dialogue and sustainable actions for the economic and social development of San Marino (for further information on the Festival, see also chapter 3.4.4 and chapter 7.3).

In 2009, the government launched a new initiative entitled "L'Alba sul Monte" (Sunrise on Mount Titano), to be included in the annual programme of events. The objective of this initiative is to present local communities in terms of positive cultural liveliness. It is a completely Sammarinese event involving all the Castles of the Republic, the Township Councils (see chapter 3.2 for details on these local bodies) and cultural expressions and associations in San Marino, while identifying their most interesting and typical aspects in order to propose ad hoc initiatives. Music, wine and food, artistic and cinema events are organised in every Castle. All aspects of San Marino culture are covered: performing arts, painting, ceramics, photography, music, cinema, crafts and other products.

The first "San Marino Film Festival" was organised in 2012 with success, and was defined by the experts as "an occasion for the "shy" San Marino cinema industry to exchange views and emerge also on the territory" (for further information on this initiative see chapter 1 and chapter 6.3).

With regard to issues concerning ethics and human rights in transnational cultural cooperation, San Marino always replies to calls and invitations by international organisations relating to the defence of fundamental human rights, including through the promotion of cultural initiatives. An important contribution is offered by San Marino through its participation in the various Committees mainly promoted by the Council of Europe in the field of culture and education of citizens. This participation enables San Marino to continuously exchange views and experiences. In particular, international cooperation is being promoted and developed through the establishment of relations with countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area. On the contrary, bilateral cooperation in the cultural field is not well developed, except for the priority relations with Italy.

Chapter published: 07-10-2015

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