In cooperation with the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), EUNIC is developing an expertise in the field of conflict and culture.
On the 7 December 2011, 80 experts from the field of conflict transformation, cultural affairs, civil society and EU foreign, and security affairs met in Brussels for the roundtable discussion ‘Conflict resolution through cultural and civil society initiatives?’.
The discussion was focusing on the role of cultural institutes in promoting peace in conflict and post-conflict regions, in establishing cultural dialogues and in working to rebuild civil infrastructure through creative and educational programmes. Overall, the conference examined the long-term impact of cultural and civil society initiatives and the effectiveness of cultural and educational tools for conflict resolution.
The variety of experiences presented by speakers from different fields – theatre, literature, the visual arts, arts education, cultural heritage, radio, soap opera production – demonstrated that culture can in fact play a vital role in overcoming stereotypes, establishing dialogues, helping to heal trauma, and developing new perspectives. The question is, therefore, how to better combine the efforts of all actors in the field in order to establish cultural activities as an integral part of foreign policy’s peace building efforts. A number of proposals were made at the roundtable, such as establishing a think tank, setting up a European Peace Institute, developing training curricula for foreign policy experts and an annual conference.
In order to better coordinate different ideas and approaches discussed during the roundtable, a EUNIC working group on culture and conflict has been established as part of the ifa-funded programme Civil Conflict Resolution (zivik). The working group aims to develop a policy paper for EUNIC in order to communicate effectively to political decision makers on European and national level. The group has the objective to deepen the understanding of work in and on conflict through cultural projects. The group is open to interested people regardless of institutional background.
For more information please contact Peter Mares, head of zivik.