Collaboration with European and international agencies, programmes and initiatives have recently become more intensive. Armenia actively participates, or at least is represented, in many pan-European initiatives and programmes, meetings and congresses, exhibitions and competitions. Provision of active representation of Armenian culture, cultural achievements or agents of cultural spheres is becoming a necessary part of Armenian cultural policy trends.
EU cooperation is conducted on the basis of partnership and cooperation agreements between the EU and the Republic of Armenia that were signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999. Since June 2004, Armenia, along with Azerbaijan and Georgia, has been participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy, which is an important step for the region towards European integration. Cultural cooperation and promotion of the Armenian cultural heritage are priorities of the cultural policy in the EU-Armenia joint actions programme. Armenia is involved in the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme (since 2010) and aims to strengthen regional cultural links and dialogue between the EU and Eastern countries. Since 2013, Armenia is participating in the European Commission’s “Twinning Instrument” programme, which operates in the countries of European Neighbourhood Policy, giving opportunities to develop administrative skills and to ensure the efficiency of state management.
Armenia continues to participate in different pan-European jointly funded programmes such as Days of European Heritage, Museum Night, Music festivals, Francophonie programmes, etc). Special attention is paid to the individual professional development of actors (Artist in Residence programme). Since 2021, Armenia is part of EU4Culture project, which is currently the biggest regional cultural project (2021-2024). The project aims at promoting culture as an engine for growth and social development across the region, by assisting in implementing Cultural Development Strategies of non-capital cities and towns, providing grants and capacity-building support for complementing those strategies, and organising mobility schemes for artists and culture professionals. Another project (since 2018) is the “European Union National Institutes of Culture” (EUNIC), a global network of EU Cultural Institutes, which unites 36 cultural Institutes from 27 Member States. EUNIC members work in the area of the arts, languages, youth, education, science, society, and development. At a local level, EUNIC members join together in over 100 clusters – in cities and countries – to collaborate on common projects and programmes and to promote the role of culture in the EU’s internal and external relations.
Creative Europe Desk Armenia (founded in 2018) operates with the support of the European Commission and Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia. The goal of the Desk is to promote the European Union’s programme of cultural grants in Armenia and contribute to the development of the capacity of cultural operators, as well as to disseminate information about the upcoming calls for funding and hosting info days, training and consultations.
One of the trends of Armenia and UNESCO cooperation is having the most important Armenian cultural values and achievements integrated into the world cultural heritage. The Ministry of Education and Culture regularly submits nominations for inclusion in the UNECSO calendar of prominent people and historical events. The list of World material cultural heritage currently includes three Armenian monuments of material (tangible) heritage such as: 1) Temple complexes of Haghpat and Sanahin (as one monument); 2) Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, the churches Hripsimeh, Gayane, Shoghakat and the ruins of the temple of Zvartnots; 3) Gegard Monastery and the Upper Valley of Azat River. Since 2005, pieces of intangible heritage started to be also included in the UNESCO list. The Armenian duduk, traditional bread “lavash”, the Armenian epos “The Daredevils of Sasoun”, and the Khachkar (“cross-stone”, the medieval religious and cultural monument) were incorporated into the list of World Cultural Heritage. The cooperation with UNESCO in the cultural heritage sphere is also focused on improvements in preservation and management processes through training of specialists. Thus, in 2009, training of museum specialists was organised and conducted.
Council of Europe
Cultural cooperation with the Council of Europe is one of the main directions of Armenian cultural relations. Since 2015, Armenia is part of the Cultural Routes programme launched by the Council of Europe in 1987 with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela. “The Cultural Routes programme” is an invitation to travel and to discover the rich and diverse heritage of Europe by bringing people and places together in networks of shared history and heritage. They put into practice the values of the Council of Europe: human rights, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual exchanges across borders. On 13-15 October, the Black Sea Universities Network Congress of 2021 (BSUN Congress) was held with the theme of ‘The Role of Universities in Solving Complex Challenges’. The conference took place in Yerevan, Armenia, and was directed by Professor Vahram Ter Matevosyan of the American University of Armenia.
The Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) has just joined the University Network for Cultural Routes Studies. The ANAU offers a number of courses aimed at the development of agrotourism and wine tourism, including Bachelor and Master degree educational programmes in Fermentation Technology, Winemaking, wine marketing, wine tourism, and a special “Enology and Wine Business Programme”, the first of its kind in Armenia.
Armenia is also taking part in the programmes of cultural development and cooperation of the INCP (International Network of Cultural Policy), BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation), CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), and the British Council. It is also part of the Open Society Institute network, which is supporting different cultural programmes such as the organization of cultural events, festivals, performances, panel discussions, lectures, discussions and other such cultural activities that will involve the wider society. In particular, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia received various grants from OSI for a number of cultural events such as the «Golden Apricot» International Film Festival, the «Nazar» International Theatre Festival, the «Tumanyan Fairy Tale Day» International Theatre Festival, the International Youth Film Festival, and the International Festival «Woman», etc.
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