The “European Union National Institutes of Culture” (EUNIC) opening ceremony took place in Armenia at Byurakan Art Academy on October 2, 2018. The event held under the slogan of establishing trust and mutual understanding through culture between Europe and different nationalities, brought together Ambassadors of European Union Member States, representatives from local and European cultural and educational institutions, who undertook their best efforts to coordinate the dialogue between European and Armenian cultures.
The launching event was opened by H.E. Piotr Antoni Świtalski, Ambassador Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, who noted that the establishment of the EUNIC Cluster in Armenian coincides with the European Year of Cultural Heritage which is another symbolic coincidence.
"The initiative of establishing EUNIC Armenia Cluster is significant; it will be targeted at uniting our efforts. I mean not only familiarizing the European culture and European identity in Armenia but also by using the cultural relations expand partnership framework and opportunities between our counties", the EU Ambassador said.
During the event, the official EUNIC Charter was signed by the founding members of EUNIC Armenia Cluster: British Council, Goethe Institute, Yerevan Committee of "Dante Alighieri" Associations, the Embassies of France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, and Bulgaria in Armenia.
In 2018-2019 Presidency of EUNIC Armenia will be fulfilled by British Council confirmed by the signature of Memorandum of Understanding between EUNIC Armenia and the EU Delegation in Armenia.
EUNIC Armenia President, Director of British Council Armenia Arevik Saribekyan, mentioned that the Cluster has quite a challenging agenda and will try to target three main directions for the upcoming period. "The first direction is that we introduce the EU best experience, practice and experiment to support the Government’s cultural sector officials and institutions. Our second priority is to promote cultural diversity. The third priority is to strengthen the creative sphere by encouraging and supporting the fulfilment of creative initiatives", said Arevik Saribekyan.
In his briefing, H.E. Mr. Jonathan Lacote, Ambassador of France in Armenia noted the importance of developing EU-Armenia relations within the cultural frameworks. "Armenia is a part of European large family and Armenian nation has deep respect towards European cultural expressions", the Ambassador added.
Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Armenia H.E. Ms Maria Pavlova Tsosorkova-Kaymaktchieva noted the numerous commonalities between Bulgarians and Armenians: "Foundation of EUNIC Cluster in Armenia provides great opportunities for cooperation in the cultural sphere as there are bases for favorable and productive work in Armenia", said the Ambassador.
“Culture is who we are: it measures our being and identity”, added Ambassador of Italy to Armenia H.E. Mr. Vincenzo Del Monaco, noting the importance of his Country’s participation to this initiative.
Ambassador of Germany to Armenia H.E. Mr. Matthias Kiesler noted the importance of addressing the message to the public about the concept of European culture and that the European culture is diverse. "I think the European Union's magnetism is that there are separate member states that are independent, but all together are under the auspice of the European Union," said the Ambassador, referring to the upcoming events, including the European Film Festival. "We have quite an active partnership, especially under the auspice of European Union, given the fact that soon we are going to have the European Film Festival. This year is noteworthy in the context of European Cultural Heritage Days in Armenia”, mentioned the Ambassador.
"The signing ceremony once again confirms that the EU Member States are becoming more active in the field of culture and we collaborate not only in bilateral format also in unity", said the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Armenia Petr Mikyska.
EUNIC is a global network of European Union National Cultural Institutes, which unites 36 cultural Institutes from 28 member states. It was established in 2006 and it is aimed at combining efforts to present the best European practices in the field of culture, promote the ideas of diversity and mutual understanding among cultures.