Polish NGOs are the main institutions that devote attention to the issue of intercultural dialogue. Moreover, in some cases, they are more committed to the process of establishing partnerships with foreign institutions than with local governmental bodies. The project Metropolises of Europe confirms the role of NGOs in introducing and implementing modern research in the broad field of culture, including the theme of multiculturalism which seemed to be neglected in Polish cultural policy. The resulting publication entitled “Metropolises of Europe. Diversity in Urban Cultural Life” is a good example of the involvement of a Polish NGO in the subject of intercultural dialogue.
The Foundation Pogranicze (Borderland), situated in Sejny, provides various programmes (together with the Centre Borderland of Arts, Cultures and Nations) for students, artists, cultural activists etc. Sejny is a small town near the Lithuanian border where the atmosphere of multiculturalism is still vibrant. (In the past it was a village inhabited by Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, Russians and Germans – a perfect example of the cultural blend that was characteristic of Poland before World War II). The Foundation is very interested in extending its projects that result in co-operation with European and world organisations involved in intercultural and trans-national issues. Sejny-based institutions are very active and give support to many initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence of many ethnic and national groups.
Since Polish accession to the EU, direct professional cooperation has been fostered. The various NGOs still play a key role, yet the participation of other entities (e.g. schools, private companies) in international cultural projects is more active. There is a visible trend in recent years regarding cooperation with Eastern European countries (eg. Members of the Eastern Partnership Programme) and also Middle- and Far-East countries. The Euro 2012 was an important incentive for the development of cultural cooperation with Ukraine. This concerns both official programmes realised within the Culture Stadium project and private initiatives. Cultural cooperation with non-EU European countries is supported via Swiss Grants and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which are an important source of co-financing of activities based on bilateral cooperation with Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
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