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Cultural projects as part of the WW1 commemorations are being organised over a 5 year period to 2019.

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Serbia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

One of the most important tasks identified by the government, from 2001 – 2003, was to re-establish the broken links with all international institutions and organisations. Specific cultural priorities had not been defined, but European integration is considered as an ultimate government task. The principal document relevant for this issue is the National Strategy of the Republic of Serbia SCG`s Accession. Serbia joined the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe on the 1 March 2009.

The Ministry for Culture in Serbia considers that cities and municipalities, as well as public cultural institutions, are very active internationally: working with the majority of relevant cultural institutions and individuals in formal and informal co-operation, linked with projects and initiatives of the international community from the private (NGO) and public sectors, including inter-governmental bodies such as the Council of Europe and UNESCO. However, the analysis of the scope of cooperation is not satisfactory, as it does not have a policy and priorities, and mostly is re-active to foreign demands.

One of the crucial developments in the last year has been that Serbia has joined the culture and media-related programmes of the EU. After six years of participating in the CULTURE programme 2007-2013 (Serbia joined the programme in 2008), Serbia joined the Creative Europe programme in 2014. The Ministry has offered, again on the basis of competition, financial support for cultural actors whose projects were selected by the European Commission (this support is given for other international programmes as well – e.g. UNESCO, IPA…).

The Ministry has been active in other international cooperation projects. From 2002 – 2005, eight bilateral cooperation agreements were concluded (Croatia, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Turkey, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Egypt, Bulgaria and Algeria). A specific co-operation agreement has been concluded with Hungary regarding the protection of national minorities (Hungarians in Serbia, and Serbs in Hungary). After 2005, new bilateral cooperation agreements were concluded with Ukraine, Macedonia, China, India and Israel. Most recently, agreements have been signed with Bosnia and Romania, so the only neighbouring country that no agreement has been signed with so far is Montenegro. The last signed documents are the long term programme cooperation agreements including Poland, Egypt, Armenia and Azerbaijan (2011).

Serbian cultural institutions have been represented at several international shows. Appearance at the Venice Biennale is coordinated by the Ministry of Culture as well as the Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2014. For the upcoming Venice Biennale there was an open call and the selected project by an independent jury was "United Dead Nations" by Ivan Grubanov and Lidija Merenik.

Serbia has participated actively since 2004 in the European film fund Eurimages (Council of Europe). Films by Serbian authors have been supported often (i.e. Dragojević, Parada; Lungulov Monument for Michael Jackson etc.). In 2015 Serbia will preside over the OECD and thus several cultural activities are foreseen as well. Serbia is on the board of ECOSOC for the period 2014-2016 and among many of the globally important questions concerning economic growth in the world and sustainability raised by different countries, culture as a cross-cutting sector and interconnecting with others, seems to acquire a more and more important role in many observations.

The Ministry of Culture and Information established a Task Force for creating a programme for the Centenary of WW1. The Task force is appointed for a period of 5 years, until December 2019, in order to follow all of the activities related to the marking of the Centenary. The Task Force, formed with representatives of the central institutions of Serbia (Archive of Serbia, Yugoslav Film Archive, National Library, National Museum together with Radio-television Serbia, and representatives of other respective ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and Ministry of Defence) proposed different projects. The projects involve different actors in the field of culture, identified as representative, to be adopted as a coherent programme by the government and financed from the budget. Over 200 projects have been realised during 2014 in all parts of Serbia and as well as abroad. 

In 2009 the Ministry of Culture launched the pilot project "Cultural route – Fortresses on the Danube", dedicated to the improvement of the capacities of local communities in Serbia. The project encompassed seven cities and the most visible result was an exhibition that was promoted by the Ministry in many foreign countries and cities along the Danube and in crucial international organisations (Germany - Ulm, Ingolstadt; Romania – Turnu Severin, France – Unesco, Paris; Belgium – EC, Brussels, and there are some more plans).

Nowadays, the project is enlarged and in 2012 and 2013 will include 12 cities in Serbia along the Danube that will collaborate with international partners on specific issues. The local teams from 12 cities on the Danube in Serbia will be from Apatin, Bač, Novi Sad, Pančevo, Beograd, Požarevac, Smederevo, Veliko Gradište, Golubac, Kladovo, Negotin, Zaječar.The Project (2012-2013) includes cities with cultural resources that need to be creatively used in order to recover the local spirit and tourism.

Training, education and transfer of good practice will help in researching processes in order to define the mutual cooperation and the most symbolic items connected to the Danube River that will be followed by the creation of a local collection of the most significant artefacts on the Danube (in situ). The same idea is transferred to all countries along the Danube. Thus, the initial idea is strongly connecting to the re-use of the traditional sites / heritage and archaeological sites which can be differently assumed, positioned, restored, rehabilitated and used for different artistic and cultural purposes, where foreign partners will give a significant contribution.

So far, several large-scale projects have benefited from international funds, especially in the field of conservation (Golubac Fortress, Silver Lake, Bač, Viminacium, Felix Romuliana, etc.)

In 2011, the BELGRADE DECLARATION, the seventh joint declaration of the Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe on the promotion of cultural heritage for dialogue, was signed, focusing on contemporary art production – as a heritage for the future. Two paragraphs are specifically important, as underlining future priorities of regional cooperation:

"We underline the need to strengthen, through joint resources and fund mobilisation, the role of the Regional Centres of excellence and expertise established with the support of UNESCO as platforms for capacity building, education and policy advice in the field of cultural heritage, as well as for the dissemination of good practice and know-how;

We support the development, in particular, of actions aiming to rehabilitate and promote cultural heritage sites in post conflicts areas, as a means to raise the awareness on the cultural diversity of the region, build confidence in reconciliation processes and support the development of local education, knowledge and skills;"

In October 2011, in Belgrade, an Experts meeting on "Intercultural Dialogue and Film" involved film professionals from CEI country members. The conclusion of the two-day meeting was the proposal to establish a common web portal where it would be possible to download 3-5 per year of the translated most representative film productions per country.

The Regional Programme for Cultural and Natural Heritage of South East Europe, carried out by a joint effort of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, particularly through the so called Ljubljana Process, has provided positive impacts and has contributed to sustainable development of the region. The Ministry of Culture actively works on preparing documentation and promotion of the projects in Serbia.

The first regional project for heritage protection had been launched within UNESCO relates to the listing of "Stećci" on the UNESCO heritage list.

The most important event in the domain of European integration was the signing of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Commission of the European Communities and the Ministry of Culture of Serbia (6 February 2008 in Brussels). In October 2007, the Cultural Contact Point for Serbia was officially created outside of the Ministry, as a result of the process to support European partnerships. But, there is no special mobility fund or funding available to pay network fees or to make financial contributions as partners in international projects. However, organisations that succeed in applying to the Programme Culture 2007-2013 were assured that they will receive the adequate financial contribution from the Ministry. The official inclusion in the Programme Culture 2007-2013 for Serbia is an extremely important moment and it opens many possibilities for cultural development. In 2009, there were 9 international projects in which organisations from Serbia were partners and received a grant from the European Commission), but it was difficult to secure their financial contribution to projects, in spite of funds agreed.

Still, one of the major actions in this domain concerns a programme: Serbia in the world, which is organised through Weeks of Serbian culture abroad (France, Egypt, etc.)

In the year of Books and Literature (March 2010-March 2011), the programme The Ambassador's Choice was established to promote Serbian writers in different countries through the embassies and professional partner organisations abroad, as well as Slavic chairs (Humbolt, Sorbonne, etc.) The Serbian Edition house "Geopoetica" was supported to publish the chosen ten Serbian contemporary authors in English.

In March 2011, Serbia was a Country in Focus at Leipzig Book Fair, which presented around 50 contemporary authors.

From 9 October 2011 until 9 October 2012,the Ministry of Culture, Information and Information Society, in collaboration with Belgrade City Museum and Memorial Museum of I. Andric, as well as with Serbian MFA, are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1961) of the Serbian author Ivo Andrić (1892-1975), one of the most eminent writers of the Balkan region. There is a following documentary exhibition "Writer and / or Diplomat, Ivo Andrić" that will visit European cities – Leipzig (Book Fair), Berlin, Stuttgart, Rome, Geneva, Brussels, Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Madrid, Bucharest, Stockholm and other cities  – mostly the places were the author spent time as a writer and / or diplomat. 

Although June 2010 was proclaimed the anniversary of 100 years of Serbian film, there were not so many activities dedicated to this event. There were some plans on the international level to promote Serbian film in 2012 – in Germany, France and Belgium, but Ministry gave up idea of the Year of a Film.

Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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