4.2.4 Cultural diversity and inclusion policies
Government supported culture in Sweden should, according to the national cultural policy objectives, promote "international and intercultural exchange and cooperation." It is the established norm to recognise Sweden as a multicultural society. Much debate thus concern to what extent this is the case, and what the results have been so far. There are also funding schemes dealing with specific ethnic groups, mainly providing grants for projects in the fields of language and literature, and periodicals with cultural content.
In January 2000, the government decided that Sweden should ratify the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The officially recognised national minorities are the indigenous Sami people, the Swedish Finns, the Tornedalers, the Roma and the Jews. All of the national minorities have government funded cultural institutions, except for the Roma. Examples are the Sami Theatre, the Sami Museum Ajtte, the Tornedalen Theatre and the Jewish Museum. The lack of a Roma institution identified as a problem by the Cultural Policy Commission in 2009 (SOU 2009:16).
The indigenous Sami people is a national minority population with approximately 20 000 members in Sweden. There are also populations of Sami in Finland, Norway and northwestern Russia. The Swedish Sami Parliament (Sametinget) has been allocated an earmarked government budget for cultural activities, research and social development projects. Nordic cooperation exists both between the Sami parliaments and between the respective nation-state governments on Sami related issues.
Aside from these legally recognised minorities, Sweden has a number of other cultural and linguistic communities resulting from immigration in the last sixty years. 13% of the population is born in another country and 17% of the population have at least one foreign born parent. Many of these are Nordic and the largest group are those born in Finland. Other major groups are people with a background in the former Yugoslavia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Chile and Somalia. An estimated number of 120 000 Assyrians live in Sweden, making it one of the largest cultural communities in the country. Many immigrant groups are organised in associations that receive government grants. In 2008, the Muslim Study Association Ibn Rushd gained the status of a study association recognised by the government, giving it access to funding for adult education and cultural activities. Few measures in cultural policy specifically intended to strengthen these cultures. Intercultural dialogue is, on the other hand, stated as an objective for national cultural policy. According to a review by the Swedish Arts Council in 2005, public cultural institutions aim to increase cultural diversity in order to attract new audiences (see also chapter 4.2.3 and chapter 4.2.4). Lately the effectiveness of supporting cultural associations as a measure for integration of immigrants has been questioned. However, no major policy changes have been enacted.