Supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development in the EU Neighborhood South
The first event of the CReW Project took place in Rabat on February 21-22, 2018. Participants dealt with the first work stream of the joint communication “Towards a EU strategy for international cultural relations” (JOIN (2016) 29 final), supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development, and its implementation in the EU Neighborhood South.
During the first part of the event, Riccardo Trobbiani (EL-CSID) offered an articulate analysis of EU Cultural Diplomacy in the MENA region through a qualitative mapping of initiatives that promoted regional cooperation. This was followed by a detailed discussion by Hicham Khalidi (Art Curator) and Dirk de Wit (Head of International Relations - Flanders Arts Institute) on the role of practitioners and artists in EU-MENA cultural relations,
After that, a select number of cultural practitioners and diplomats offered an in-depth analysis of their experiences and the impact of their projects/programmes in promoting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development. The case studies addressed were: the Tfanen – Tunisie Créative” Programme in Tunisia (Matteo Malvani – Tfanen programme manager, British Council Tunisia) ; the “Med-Culture” Programme in the South of the Mediterranean (Fanny Bouquerel – Capacity Development Expert); The Young Mediterranean Voices – Anna Lindh Foundation (Regina Salanova - Head of Communications - Anna Lindh Foundation); the “Cultures pour vivre ensemble” Programme in Morocco (Javier Galvan - Director Instituto Cervantes, Rabat). Speakers went through their cases and focused on three main issues: how the project/programme promotes culture as an engine to social and economic development in EU Neighborhood South; what the programme/project did to promote culture and how its impact was measured; and the lessons learned working on the theme and in the region. Each segment was followed by an extensive debate. The event was closed by a brainstorming workshop.
Participants agreed that we are witnessing a change in the EU’s approach to the role of culture in external relations – from unilateral (public diplomacy) to bilateral and multilateral cultural cooperation (cultural relations). Undeniably, there is a visible momentum for culture to play a stronger role in EU-MENA relations. While this is a sector that is still new in the region, the context changes quickly due to the pressure from civil society. We need to seize this opportunity and bring together all stakeholders – local and non-local academics, practitioners and cultural operators – and work together. Therefore, figuring out how to engage civil society and local cultural actors and institutions becomes crucial. Keeping in mind that they are stakeholders, not mere beneficiaries, we need to understand how to move from a top-down approach to a bottom-up one where all partners are engaged from the beginning.
Besides these general considerations, the Rabat event produced a number of detailed recommendations to strengthen the framework for cultural cooperation in the EU Neighborhood South and implement a EU regional strategy for culture.
Instituto Cervantes, Rabat - Morocco
February 21, 2018
Cultural Relations at Work: Objectives and Rationale
10.00AM – 11.00:AM
The role of practitioners and artists in EU-MENA cultural relations
12:30PM -13:00PM Discussion
Afternoon Workshops Session
WS4: The “Cultures pour vivre ensemble” Programme in Morocco
Closing and Reflections in Plenary
February 22, 2018
The role of local stakeholders in supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development: Questions and Reflections
Culture in International Development Cooperation – a case study from EU Delegation in Morocco