During her official visit to Montenegro, the Director-General participated in the activities held within “The Rijeka Crnojevića Bridge Speaks” regional encounter that took place on 18-19 July 2014 in Cetinje. Mr Aleksandar Bogdanovich, Mayor of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, Mr Branislav Micunovic, Chairperson of the Montenegrin National Commission for UNESCO, Ambassador Irena Radovic, Permanent Delegate of Montenegro to UNESCO, mayors of several partner cities in South-East Europe as well as Mr Nikolay Stoyanov, President of the Balkanika Foundation, were also present at these events.
This regional meeting brought together artists, national and local authorities, cultural professionals, private partners and universities of the sub-region to exchange experiences on cultural policies, strategies and practices that foster intercultural dialogue. It was organized by the Balkanika Foundation, in cooperation with the Municipality of Cetinje and other partners from the region, and supported by the UNESCO Office in Venice.
Speaking at the Balkan Bridges Speak concert in Rijeka Crnojevića, the Director-General underlined that the key message of this regional event was that all cultures are different but difference does not divide. “Every culture is unique but each is woven into the universal history of humanity that cultural diversity is a strength to be nurtured for creativity, for reconciliation and dialogue”, said Ms Bokova.
She called for strengthening the forces that bring different partners together around shared values, as part of a single family, with a common destiny. “Culture is the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it”, said the Director-General.
Ms Bokova said that “cultural heritage and diversity is a source of belonging, a wellspring for creativity, a platform to reach out to others”. She thanked for the organizers, partners and participants of the event for their commitment to the “goal of building new bridges to a more peaceful, more just and more sustainable future for all”.
While in Centinje, the Director-General has also visited “What the Water Whispers” photo exhibition that was organized as part of the “Rijeka Crnojevića Bridge Speaks” meeting and addressed the participants, encouraging them to promote the new narrative of cooperation in South-East Europe and beyond based on common values and history.
The “Rijeka Crnojevića Bridge Speaks” encounter was held within the framework of UNESCO’s global initiative “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, which aims to build on the power of culture as a force for co-operation and innovation for inclusive economic development, social cohesion, and peace.
It was the fourth edition of the “Balkan Bridges Speak” project, hosted across South-East Europe to promote bridges as powerful symbols of unity and mutual understanding. It followed the ones organized in Berat, Albania on 29 and 30 March 2014, in Lovech, Bulgaria, on 10 and 11 May 2013 and in Edirne, Turkey, on 24 and 25 November 2012.