September 29, 2022

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ProEtnica 2022 Intercultural Festival balance sheet – News from Mures, Targu mures News

The ProEtnica Intercultural Festival, the most important event of its kind in Romania, interrupted for two years by the health restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, returned to the cultural space, in Sighişoara Citadel, and thus a step was taken towards normality, he declared for Agerpres the director of the festival, Volker Reiter.
The event, which took place for four days in the medieval Citadel of Sighisoara, had as its general theme “minorities in crisis situations”, a context in which the organizers appreciate that they have passed a test of challenges and taken a step towards normality. Almost 700 members of the 20 historical ethnic minorities in Romania participated.

“From an organizational point of view, I think it was one of the most disciplined editions, so we respected the program in a way that never happened before, thanks to the volunteers from the Lipovi Russians who communicated with all the communities, with all the ensembles and made very, very good job. What pleased me a lot was the involvement of the media partners, financiers, co-organizers and I think that this will be the ‘recipe’ for the future of the festival, this involvement – let’s make the media partners co-organizers (…) and I think so we can ensure an even better future for the festival. The theme was very important to me – ‘national minorities in times of crisis’ – and we are faced with several crises. There is once the pandemic, which still persists, we have the war in Ukraine, which is very close, we have problems on the energy market, and many people are afraid of the future. And, considering that I overcame all those problems, and still did the festival, I say it’s a step towards normalcy. And we have demonstrated that we want normality and it is possible. So I resisted, in both senses of the word. So once we stayed and, on the other hand, we overcame the challenges created by the circumstances and stayed in positions and strong”, stated Volker Reiter, president of the Association Interethnic Educational Center for Youth (IBZ).
According to him, the message of the festival was felt, which is the promotion and consolidation of peace in society.

“Simply culture somehow defeated the war in souls and that is very important! The message of the festival was felt, which is the promotion and consolidation of peace in society. It was a test and it was somehow possible because the minorities are also supported by the Romanian state. What is to be written in the Framework Convention for the Protection of Minorities has now been implemented in an exemplary way, with this project, and it is working. (…) Our young volunteers have done an excellent job, they are enthusiastic and willing”, emphasized Volker Reiter.
For the future, the director of ProEtnica wants normality.

“I want normality. Culture is an integral part of society. So this festival was a step towards normality”, added Volker Reiter.
Also in Sighişoara, the 4th edition of the “ProEtnica” Intercultural Summer Academy took place, between August 23 and 28, organized by the Divers Association, in partnership with the Inter-Ethnic Educational Center for Youth (ibz) and FUEN – Union Federations of European Nationalities. With the theme “National minorities in crisis situations”, the event was the preamble of the Sighişoara “ProEtnica” Intercultural Festival, now in its 18th edition.

“This edition of the Intercultural Festival comes now after two years of the pandemic, although last year a small part of the festival took place – that of the Intercultural Agora and the ProEtnica Intercultural Academy. This year is the one in which we all met again and somehow came out brave and victorious from this whole period, because many things don’t happen anymore after the pandemic, some events that were consecrated have not yet recovered. And here it was as if nothing had happened, the artists performed exactly as before, the atmosphere was sometimes hotter and livelier than two years ago, for example, as if everyone was waiting for ProEtnica to happen”, said the president of the Association Miscellaneous, Maria Korek.
She mentioned that that part of the intercultural dialogue managed to adapt to the new challenges.

“It seems that every year we have another challenge, (…) so we don’t have time to process what is happening in the world around us and with us, but we have to address new issues, because they come upon us. This topic of conflicts, how they impact national minorities was approached calmly and expertly by the guests who (…) brought us close to case studies, why it actually happens in Ukraine and how it impacts national minorities there, but also all societies in Europe. So the problem does not remain isolated in Ukraine, unfortunately. Always the conclusion is that when you discuss on the basis of some arguments, then you can clarify things and this is the way of discussion and when something needs to be clarified and when we really want to know something, in order to know how to react or act. The young people were very diverse this year, even more than before. I think it is very important for young people to be prepared for all the challenges that may come to them, and this is one of them – how to achieve a peaceful, long-lasting coexistence in our country, in Europe and in the whole world”, Maria Korek pointed out. .
Returning to the festival after the pandemic period, Meto Novak, adviser to the State Representative for the Sorbians, Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the Land of Brandenburg, says that almost nothing has changed, on the contrary, and he did not feel that people would be affected.

“The continuation of the ProEtnica Festival was an extraordinary thing for everyone, the participants of the event having the opportunity to be together, to socialize, to dance, to enjoy life. It is a normal thing, in pandemic conditions. The world must return to normality and this festival was a good opportunity to return to a normal life, to see each other again, to be with the public. Unfortunately, the pandemic ‘killed’ other events, which have been repeated so far. I am happy that ProEtnica resisted, ‘it is still alive’, it was a good motivation for us to be here again. From my point of view, this year’s message was the same as the other editions – to celebrate diversity and to be together”, said Meto Novak, who held courses at the Summer Intercultural Academy.

The four days of the ProEtnica Intercultural Festival, which ends on August 28, included artistic developments on the stage in the Citadel Square, but also a series of indoor activities (conferences, book launches), which gathered a large audience from the country and from abroad.
Demonstrations of traditional dances of each minority took place, including Turks, Tatars, Greeks, Italians, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Albanians, Germans, Jews, Croats, Serbs, Armenians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, who thus gave color to the Sighisoara Fortress through the ports and traditional customs.

“When museums speak, guns should be silent” – was the motto of this edition, which, like the previous ones, campaigned for good understanding, harmony, collaboration and inter-ethnic peace”.
The official opening took place on Thursday afternoon, with the participation of central and local officials.
The 18th edition commemorated two founding personalities of ProEtnica, passed to the eternal ones in 2021. During a ceremony in memoriam, held after the official opening, univ. conf. Dr. Carmen Croitoru spoke about the “luck of having met Carol Konig”, affirming that as director of the Directorate for Minorities in the Government, as in other positions in the field of culture, he remained an example for the following generations. The personality of Aurel Vainer was evoked by Silviu Vexler, deputy, who succeeded him as president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. He stated that during the entire period that Aurel Vainer was a deputy of the Jewish community or president of the FCER, he served the interests of Romania and the ethnic group of which he was a part in an exemplary manner.

The ProEtnica Intercultural Festival was organized by the Interethnic Educational Center for Youth Association (IBZ), in partnership with the Department for Interethnic Relations of the Government and the Mureş County Council. The financier of the event was the Ministry of Culture, and the municipality of Sighişoara supported the event from a logistical point of view and made the public domain available.

The artistic program included 60 traditional dance and music performances supported by ensembles of national minorities, which performed on stage in Citadel Square. At the same time, in the “Literary Salon”, four writers from national minorities presented their creations.

The “Agora of intercultural dialogue” included 9 lectures, round tables or symposia, and in the workshop section the public was invited to actively participate in three workshops.

The program also brought together four art and photography exhibitions with four presentation stands of national minorities and other ethno-cultural organizations.

Meto Nowak, representative of the State Representative for Sorbians from the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of Brandenburg, Germany, participates in the debate ‘Borders and violence as a challenge for multi-ethnic societies’, held within the 18th edition of the festival “ProEtnica – Sighisoara Intercultural Festival”.

The event enjoyed the presence of the Sorbian national minority from Germany, which develops the international side of the festival. Moreover, ProEtnica is part of the events dedicated to the anniversary of 30 years of Romanian-German friendship and partnership. On April 21, 1992, Romania and Germany signed, in Bucharest, the “Treaty between Romania and the Federal Republic of Germany regarding friendly cooperation and partnership in Europe”, which laid the foundations for the development of bilateral relations after the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany.
The National Press Agency Agerpres was the media partner at this event.


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