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Serbia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Until 2008, there were no government programmes to support trans-national intercultural dialogue, nor any specific government support for the trans-national activities of young people. From 2008 on, there were some small steps by the Ministry of Culture towards the goal of implementation of intercultural dialogue.

The White Paper on Intercultural dialogue of the Council of Europe has been translated and published into the Serbian language. Regarding implementation of the White Paper on Intercultural dialogue, the Ministry worked together with the Working Group for Promoting Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue made up of well-known artists and experts in the field of intercultural dialogue. Through a public call, leading institutions, organisations and individuals were invited to take part in mapping and affirmation of projects and processes of intercultural dialogue in Serbia. The chosen programmes (10 were selected) affirmed the priorities of European cultural policies in the current Serbian cultural and artistic productions and activities. The programme continues through the permanent activity of the Cultural Centre Rex in Belgrade (

This highly successful programme, a basically arm's-length model, was an important sign that decentralisation of decision-making is possible. Despite that, the following year's programme was discontinued and long-term plans were cancelled.

A small number of programmes promote talented young people to travel abroad, such as: travel grants for young musicians organised by the Ministry of Culture in 2007 (approx. 6 250 EUR) and a similar Music Talent Fund of the City of Belgrade (40 000 EUR per year), or specific Austrian Embassy mobility grants, awarded to 200 of the best students, to travel within the EU (summer 2006), but there is no policy on promoting language or cross-cultural training.

NGOs are the most active in this field, such as the European Movement and European House, students unions and associations (AEGEE, AISEC…), and activist NGOs such as Stalkers (sociology students) and later Youth Initiative for Human Rights, which organised public dialogue between youth from Prishtina and Belgrade at the Belgrade Cultural Centre "Grad" on 27 October 27 2010. It was broadcasted on B92 Info Channel, and is now accessible on Internet (see:

The University of Arts in Belgrade has regular summer schools and conferences, where partners from neighbouring countries participate in debates and dialogues. The Centre for Cultural De-contamination has organised many open debates and major programmes linked to rediscovering the truth about the latest wars, war crimes etc. Transitional Justice was one of the latest programmes in this respect, involving academics and students of media and journalism from Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia.

A Seminar on Intercultural dialogue and Cinema was organised within the framework of the Serbian Presidency at the Central European Initiative in Belgrade held from 3-4 October 2011.

The two-day meeting was attended by experts from 14 Member States of the CEI. The overall aim of the meeting was to bring together film experts from the region as well as outside experts in cinematographic policy and experience to share good practices. Furthermore it would chart the perspectives and development of intercultural dialogue on various levels - from co-production, regional associations and their work to theoretical and academic debates, including the national and regional developmental strategy and cultural policy. Two panels discussed the topic of intercultural mapping in this region, as well as premises for further development of film art, especially in light of intensifying cooperation and intercultural dialogue.

The conclusion from both panels is that a common CEI film platform should be established. The general idea is to make a common web portal where all CEI countries will participate annually with five films (approximately), translated into several European languages that can be downloaded for free (via streaming) / similar to what already exists in the case of music content.

Important impetus for intercultural projects, especially inter-ethnic and cross-border cooperation, were IPA CBC programmes that Serbia signed with five bordering nation states (Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania). Through the people to people component, many organisations, particularly in smaller towns and municipalities, got the chance to produce large projects (festivals, summer camps, concerts, workshops…), to collaborate internationally and to raise their capacities.

The ultimate aim of the CEI film platform would be to serve as an instrument for further promotion of diversity, better mutual communication and better understanding in the region.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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