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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article21 May 2021

EU Foreign Policy in action: celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development

Banner of Cultural Cooperation in the western Balkans

Today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development. ‘United in Diversity’ is the EU’s motto that stands for promoting cultural dialogue and diversity, fostering understanding and cooperation between people within and outside the EU. The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments supports cultural relations projects around the world, which help building bridges between cultures and foster peace, stability and sustainable development.

Fostering cultural relations at global level

The Cultural Relations Platform aims to strengthening the European Union’s ability to engage meaningfully with different audiences and stakeholders in third countries by engaging in cultural relations activities. The platform is funded through the EU’s Partnership Instrument and, since its launch last year, is already delivering results.

13 new EU-funded cultural projects were launched across Europe, as part of the EU’s Creative Europe programme, designed to increase cultural cooperation within the Western Balkans and with EU Member States, and strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative industries in the Western Balkans. The projects selected are interdisciplinary, covering sectors as diverse as photography, literature, music, dance, visual arts and cultural heritage. They aim to build sustainable networks across the region and beyond.

Also, the platform facilitated a series of virtual exchanges and workshops between cultural representatives and stakeholders from different countries, helping to build networks and foster mutual understanding.

  • The Global Cultural Leadership Programme (GCLP) alumni network took part in a virtual debate, which allowed them to reconnect and discuss about the issues faced by global cultural operators in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • In India, the platform facilitated the participation of four European Prize for Literature laureates during the Jaipur Literature Festival, engaging with local audiences and sharing from their European experience. Equally, as part of the EU Film Festival in India, the platform coorganised the event “From the Book to the Screen”, an online conference featuring recognised authors and film directors.
  • In Ukraine, a series of workshops for cultural and civic society professionals from the country and the EU are being organised, exploring new approaches to intercultural relations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the cultural sector has been widely affected by the current health crisis, the Cultural Relations Platform launched a study to analyse and assess the impact of the global pandemic on the cultural and creative sectors in partner countries and provide relevant recommendations. The geographical scope of the study includes the Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries (MENA and Eastern Europe), the Western Balkans, as well as Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United States of America. Its conclusions are available on the CRP website..

Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Intercommunity Dialogue and Social Cohesion in Kosovo

While the conflict in Kosovo ended twenty years ago, ethnically diverse communities and political actors are still dealing with its legacy. Efforts for reconciliation and peacebuilding are ongoing and fostering cultural exchanges plays an important part in this.

Cultural heritage has proved a successful entry point on re-building trust and improving inter-community acceptance as it addresses the need for respect of cultural identity and heritage of all. An EU-funded project through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace helped employing cultural heritage as an entry point into an inclusive process to bring together communities, in particular women and youth, to engage in a dialogue to deepen their awareness, knowledge, promotion and protection of cultural heritage in Kosovo.

Based on these initial results, the EU continues to support an UNDP-implemented action for the next four years, which will contribute to improved inter-community trust through cultural heritage protection, ultimately leading to social cohesion. To this end, the project will help:

  • Rehabilitate selected cultural and religious sites through a participatory and consultative process with local communities, municipalities, and religious institutions;
  • Promote intangible cultural heritage as a source of economic empowerment and inter-ethnic dialogue with a focus on women and young people;
  • Increase institutional capacities for cultural heritage protection and build trust towards communities.

More information:

EU’s Partnership Instrument

The Cultural Relations Platform

Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace

Partnership Instrument Map


Publication date
21 May 2021