EUNIC General Assembly votes for new Associate Member
On 8 and 9 December, EUNIC held its General Assembly, welcoming EUNIC members to Brussels. The network unanimously voted the Ukrainian Institute in as Associate Member, elected Carmen Noguero Galilea of the Instituto Cervantes to the Board of Directors and approved a new EUNIC Cluster in Kuwait. Joined by several key external partners to EUNIC including the European Institutions and NGO partners, members discussed role and evolution of the cultural relations approach in light of shifting geopolitics and explored the outcomes of the the latest phase of European Spaces of Culture.
Ukrainian Instiute joins EUNIC as Associate Member
Just before the General Assembly, on 7 December the Ukrainian Institute brought their Cultural Diplomacy Forum to Brussels for the first time. Bridging this event with the EUNIC General Just before the General Assembly, on 7 December the Ukrainian Institute brought their Cultural Diplomacy Forum to Brussels for the first time. Bridging this event with the EUNIC General Assembly, Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukrainian Institute joined the opening panel on 8 December, together with EUNIC members and EU partners from the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission's Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) exploring the short, medium and longer terms needs of Ukrainian cultural actors and wider EU-Ukraine cultural cooperation and policy development. Video messages reflecting on developments within the House of Europe programme in Ukraine and the results of the Culture of Solidarity – EUNIC Ukraine Fund 2022 in partnership with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), added updates on EUNIC’s collective support and solidarity to Ukraine.
Following the panel, Volodymyr Sheiko presented the Ukrainian Institute's application for associate membership to the network and reiterated the need for the Ukrainian Institute to become a point of contact and moderation, to streamline and coordinate European-Ukrainian cultural relations. Since 2018, the Ukrainian Institute has been in close cooperation with many EUNIC members and wishes to continue and strengthen these connections in the future. After a rigourous, open and comprehensive discussion between existing members and the Ukrainian institute, the Ukrainian Institute was voted in as a new EUNIC Associate Member, by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly
We must act as a global focal point to actually communicate the needs of the Ukrainian cultural scene. This is the time to do it.Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukrainian Institute
New EUNIC cluster in Kuwait
During the General Assembly EUNIC reflected on the recent EUNIC regional cluster seminar for clusters in Latin America and the Caribbean which took place in Buenos Aires, hosted by the local Spanish Cultural Centre. Additionally, EUNIC presented the results of the 2022 Cluster Fund jury meeting that took place in November, which selected 18 new projects to be funded and implemented in 2023. The General Assembly also approved the application of a new cluster in Kuwait, bringing up the network of clusters to a total of 137.
EUNIC Board of Directors update
The General Assembly elected Carmen Noguero Galilea, Secretary General of Instituto Cervantes as new member of the Board. The General Assembly also thanked outgoing board member Guzmán Palacios Fernández for his work.
Celebrating European Spaces of Culture Phase 2
As the second phase of the Preparatory Action European Spaces of Culture came to an end this October, the General Assembly also provided an opportunity to present the achievements and explore learning the implementation of 11 pilot projects in 2022. Local partners and EUNIC colleagues from China, India, and Tanzania joined in a hybrid panel to reflect on their experiences on the ground.
All three projects’ testimonies reflected one of the core objectives of European Spaces of Culture, which is to address pressing global issues through creativity and collaboration, such as sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility, and a strong and resilient cultural infrastructure. The projects reported a complementarity of the different partners involved (local partners, EUNIC members and EU Delegations) and that they were able to expand and deep strategically their networks with both European and local civil society partners over the course of the projects.
As the European Spaces of Culture pilot projects should lay a sustainable foundation for future activities and projects, and go beyond one-off activities, the three projects outlined future outlooks and plans for continuation of the projects, taking on board learnings of this year. The panel with the project partners was complemented by interventions from the EU Ambassadors in Tanzania and Brazil. Both ambassadors reflected on how the European Spaces of Culture projects in their host countries offered innovative ways to put crucial topics on the agenda and that the collaborative model of European Spaces of Culture has been the basis of their Team Europe approach when working together with local partners.
This is the first inclusive festival of this scale in China. This time was about raising awareness for artwork created by people with disabilities and the audience confirmed that this was very meaningful. Therefore it is important that we get to continue this festival.Ling Mao, Head of programming for Theatre Young Shanghai
After a conversation with colleagues from the European External Action Service (both Headquarters and two EU Ambassadors in Brazil and Tanzania) and the European Commission (DG EAC) on EUNIC-EU cooperation through European Spaces of Culture, the General Assembly was joined by three of the six independent expert members from the European Spaces of Culture jury. Sparked by their reflections and advice on the evolvement of cultural relations through the Preparatory Action, EUNIC members discussed new possibilities for deepening collaboration with each other within European Spaces of Culture and EUNIC’s wider programme offer.
I really love this shift for Europe from ‘Do as we do’ to ‘What can we do together’.Yemisi Mokuolu, CEO of Hatch Africa and jury member of European Spaces of Culture