Launch of EUNIC - The European Union National Institutes of Culture (09/02/2011)

Opening Address by H.E. Ambassador Tim Clarke
Head of the Delegation of the European Union

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all today, on behalf of the Alliance Française, the British Council and the Goethe Institute, to the launch of the European Union National Institutes of Culture, Tanzania Group (EUNIC).

It is my personal belief that culture is at the very heart of our cooperation and partnership with Tanzania. Without a true and deep mutual understanding of who we are, and what values we aspire to, together, our partnership will always be an impoverished one. Through the work of these institutes we can try to foster a better understanding of each other. Through better understanding, comes true friendship, and a true and deep partnership.

This is a very important event, symbolically and politically. Even though these three European cultural institutes have been working together for many years, sharing knowledge and experiences, the organisation they will launch today, EUNIC, will institutionalise these links within a broader European framework.

Let me briefly say a few words about EUNIC. EUNIC is a network of European cultural institutes from the EU member states working actively in EU partner countries all over the world. EUNIC's members work in over 150 countries with over 2,000 branches. They work in every cultural field you can imagine: the arts, languages, youth, education, science, intercultural dialogue and development.

In Tanzania, there are three individual European Institutes of Culture, established at different times: the Alliance Française, dating back to 1961, the British Council dating back to 1947 and Goethe Institute dating back to 1962 (with a 10 years interruption period).

These three cultural institutes have done remarkable work here in Tanzania, in terms of promoting and creating a greater understanding and awareness of their individual national cultures through language courses in French, English and German and through the use of their resources centres. Through the services they have provided, they have opened the door to European culture to a ever-widening Tanzanian audience.

They have succeeded in building true partnerships and cultural exchanges with Tanzanian cultural stakeholders. This includes both established and well known artists, but also up-and-coming ones too.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank publicly all three institutes for their great support to my own office, as partners organising key cultural events on our behalf: such as the European Film Festival; the recent exhibition to celebrate the creativity of disabled people; the showing of films on albinos; the organising of painting workshops with disadvantaged children, to name but a few.

One of the Institutes, the Alliance francaise has actually hosted the Europe info point within its library.

I am also glad to mention today that we are getting closer to approving a major programme of support to Tanzanian institutions promoting culture. This will be divided into two parts - one supporting Tanzanian entrepreneurs in the fields of art, music, dance, fashion, and literature, and the other supporting the conservation and preservation of Tanzanian cultural heritage. A formal financial decision is not expected for several months, but we can already launch the process go ahead with identifying possible beneficiaries.

EUNIC will be instrumental in promoting stronger cultural partnership between Europe and Tanzania, and between Tanzania and the rest of the world.

I wish this initiative every success. EUNIC can count on my personal support in making it become a reality.

After this launch today there will be an open Day, where you can get a taste of what the three Institutes of Culture have to offer.

Karibuni nyote.