2008 European Year of Multicultural Dialogue
Europe has become the space with a growingly diverse culture. The expansion of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the “EU”), the deregulation of employment and free movement of labour, as well as globalization has transformed the character of many European states –countries with one nation, the same history and a unified culture, habits and traditions become multicultural states that are characterized by several languages, religions and ethnic and national groups. All of this results in the fact that more diverse cultural communities can be found on the old continent that at any time in its history.
The aim of the European Year of Multicultural Dialogue (EYMD) which ran from January to December 2008, was to show that huge diversity can be an advantage if we can manage it on a highly civilized level. Activities which inspired Europeans to the joint use of cultural heritage and to learn and draw from various cultural traditions were implemented throughout the year. The aim of these activities as well as the activities of the EYMD partners was to mobilize EU citizens. The involvement of the civil society in their implementation was the basis of the activities.
The Ministry was the responsible coordinator of activities; it ensured the promotion and propagation of activities in the form of conferences and many accompanying events – proceedings, information fliers, concerts, websites, etc. The Ministry contributed approximately 3,230 € for the financing of the international conference in Bratislava entitled “Rozmanitosť spája – medzikultúrny dialog”/Diversity Unites – Intercultural Dialogue.
The challenge is to achieve the long-term sustainability of activities and their permanent effect on improving relations among nations, ethnic groups and religions and other cultural communities within the EU.
The effect and success of the EYMD were achieved not only at pan-European events, but also thanks to activities that were held at the national level in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, institutions and self-governments. More information regarding this activities can be found at the website http://www.medzikulturnydialog.gov.sk/index.
In the words of Ján Figeľ, the Slovak Euro Commissioner at that time, responsible for education, vocational training, culture and youth, the building of a multicultural society is the European challenge of the 21st century: “We want a society in which people of various cultures will simply live next to each other. We must give an impulse for the transformation of our societies to ensure the creation of a multicultural Europe which will enrich us and respect the human dignity of each individual.”