Historic and geographical links put the Balkans in the centre of this topic while cross-boarder co-operation in general could be understood as an approach to the realisation of the Common Slovene Cultural Area where collaboration with Slovenes in neighbouring countries represents the main vehicle in building cross-border cooperation.
Very intensive collaboration is significant for the cross border programmes in the field of cultural heritage:
- CULTH:EX: A long-lasting objective of a SLO – AUT project is development of sustainable strategies for improvement of attitudes of owners of cultural heritage towards their own heritage and property and enhancement of possibilities for their maintenance and sustainable development.
- Revitalisation of the Histrian Countryside and Tourism (REVITAS) is a project SLO – HR, with the objectives of forming a model of revitalisation, restoration of cultural heritage and development and promotion of integrated tourist products.
- Archaeological parks of the Northern Adriatic (PArSJAd) Arheološki parki Severnega Jadrana (PArSJAd) is a project of a SLO – ITA programme, with the objective to regulate the chosen locations, to form a model of archaeological didactics, and promotion and popularisation of archaeological heritage.
- Shared culture is a project of SLO – ITA that concerns valorisation and promotion of common cultural heritage of the Slovenian-Italian borderland territory je projekt SLO – ITA.
- Pearls of our cultural landscape: the main objective of a SLO – AUT project, finished in 2011, was documentation and treatment of common cultural heritage in borderland of Slovenia and Austria by consideration of the common cultural heritage and regional differences.
- InterArch Steiremark: a SLO – AUT project processes and digitalises archives of archaeological collections from Slovenian and Austrian Styria which are located in the Universal Museum Joanneum, in the geographical information system (GIS). It also creates a bilingual digital tool for exhibiting archaeological sites on both sides of the border project.
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
Slovenia adopted a special policy on this issue due to European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008. This doesn’t mean that a process of encouraging an open and complex cultural environment for creativity hasn’t been already an integral part of Slovene orientations in various fields, such as culture, upbringing and education, foreign and internal policies. This aspect is included in various laws and regulations, and similarly various campaigns on the level of ministry policies and on the level of implementation of national and EU legislation, in both its binding and non-binding aspects. But these policies got the label of intercultural dialogue only when the National Strategy for Implementing the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue was adopted. Its main objectives were:
- “establishing civil-social dialogue on as many levels of social life as possible, in cooperation with non-governmental organisations and the media from all fields that involve intercultural dialogue;
- including intercultural dialogue as one of the leading principles of Slovene foreign policy;
- enabling mobility within and outside the EU, especially in the fields of art, science and education, particularly in such a way as to support the flow of ideas and individuals;
- coordinated migration policies within and outside the EU;
- encouraging intergenerational dialogue;
- treating state borders and EU borders as points of co-existence;
- stressing the importance of multi-linguality;
- vertical communication and continuity in the education system, from primary to higher education, which respects the principle of intercultural dialogue; and
- stressing intercultural dialogue in informal forms of upbringing and education.”
Once the flagship project was over this rhetoric lost its relevance but the activities continued within the policy for minorities and promotion of human rights.
There are two fields of cultural activities, in particular, where intercultural dialogue comes to the fore:
- literature (seminars, workshops, literature competitions, publishing); and
- ethnic programmes (seminars, workshops, meetings) featuring music and dance of all cultural / ethnic minorities in Slovenia.
There are two main public actors responsible for implementing the programmes to promote intercultural dialogue: the Ministry of Culture, which provides most of the financial support and the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities, which organises cultural events and educational activities for minorities on the national, regional and local level (see also chapter 2.6). The Public Fund is also a cultural network which enables multidirectional interactions between cultural societies of majority and minority cultural groups or societies and local communities, through its 59 local offices. In this way, the Public Fund is also the link between governmental administration, local communities and cultural societies or institutions from various ethnic groups as the main players in intercultural dialogue.
On the “civil” side, there are approximately 55 active societies and associations of “new minority” groups and about 60 from “constitutional minorities”. With the support of local governments or the office of the Public Fund, these associations have two major priorities:
- they are a meeting point for members of various minorities, they enhance social life and they enable the sharing of information from the “old country” or daily life in their new environment;
- they are maintaining the traditions of their ethnic group and passing the cultural values to younger generations; and
- they are mediators between different cultures and providers of cultural events and goods for broader audiences.
Beside these activities, there are also some civil society organisations, such as the Peace Institute, which organise round tables, seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and which supports scientific research in this field.
Since 2000 active citizenship education and civic culture have been included in primary education.
The topic of intercultural dialogue is included in different subjects such as Slovenian language, social sciences, geography, history, and foreign languages. On the level of optional subjects the topics that deal with interculturality and tolerance are included in the syllabi of the subjects such as Philosophy for children, Religion and ethics and Civic education.
The Elementary School Act (1996) provides the legal basis for:
- education on mutual tolerance, respect for differences and ability to live in a democratic society. The instruction of native languages and cultures of children who are foreign citizens or without citizenship and living in the Republic of Slovenia shall be offered in compliance with international agreements. (…); and
- the teaching of the Slovenian language may be offered to immigrant children. A Strategy of inclusion of migrant children, pupils and students in the education system of the Republic of Slovenia was prepared in January 2007. It is based on interculturalism, openness of the curriculum and cooperation with parents and it provides for :
- defining the scope, forms and methods of adjustment of carrying out the curriculum to achieve faster and better inclusion in the process of education;
- successful inclusion of migrant children in the preschool, school, social and, later, in professional environments;
- developing the capability of presentation of one’s own culture, perception, understanding and accepting difference, with a view to overcoming prejudice against other cultures, comparing different cultures, fostering tolerance, maintaining and upgrading one’s own identity and culture;
- quality education and training of teachers and other professionals;
- quality teaching of the languages of migrants; and
- adoption of Slovenian as the second language for inclusion in the educational system.
National action plans are provided for the implementation of this strategic document.
The Office for Youth, a body within the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, monitors the situation of young people and implements measures in the field of non-formal education, leisure time and participation of young people in society. There is a space for intercultural dialogue in its programme to promote social integration, personal growth and autonomy by establishing a network of information centres throughout Slovenia. Through co-financing and numerous organisations that work with the young or deal with youth questions, the office can bring more attention to intercultural dialogue issues.
Government’s overall approach to intercultural dialogue