Dan Evrope u Subotici

25 May 9th May 2011: Day of Europe in Subotica

May 2011

In co-operation with the City of Subotica, Local democracy Agency in Subotica, organized a series of public events in the main city square to mark Europe Day with the information campaign for citizens. Main activities were held on the 9th of May and the programme included outdoor exhibition of promotion publications and materials, information campaign organized by the youth volunteers.

Local CSO-s involved in the project implementation, including the Roma Education Centre, , Hungarian youth club VIFO, Youth in Action contact point from Novi Sad, European movement in Subotica, AARHUS centar, Terras and Youth volunteers gathered by LDA’s Youth Info point contributed with the promotion stands and publications being disseminated to the citizens. This was also the occasion to mark the Day of Europe and present the co-operation and local partnerships established within this specific project and also to promote the achievements within cross-border co-operation programmes.

Mr. Sasha Vucinic, Mayor of Subotica, Mr. Slavko Parac, Spokesman of the city assembly, Mr Janos Babic, Consul of the Republic of Hungary in Subotica and Ms Vesna Peckalj Njikos, Consul of the Republic of Croatia in Subotica opened the public event and addressed the citizens and the local media promoting Subotica as a heart of EU.

In the evening, the three documentaries – A tale of three cities – produced within the project by the partner organization Light House Media Centre, Wolverhampton, UK were for the first time shown to the public in the Art Cinema in Subotica. After viewing of the films, the debate was held about the consequences of the recent conflict in the region, its direct and indirect impact on the present situation and inter-ethnic relations/ dialogue in respective local communities – Mostar, Subotica and Osijek. Each of the cities had gone through difficult times and had seen severe armed conflicts, ethnic cleansing or mass migration and changes in ethnic composure of the local population. More than fifteen years after the war conflicts, the consequences are still evident while the documentaries were able to show some of the major challenges facing the local governments as regards the reconciliation, participation of minorities, inter-ethnic understanding and dialogue.

The guest speakers were Mr. Slobodan Camprag, city councilor responsible for education and Ms. Erika Kudlik, city councilor for international/regional co-operation.

Participants in the debate, mostly young people, secondary school and university students, noted that the documentaries to a large extent reflect the local reality and that particularly the young people’s statements show how huge the inter-ethnic distance can be in our societies, even in present times. Combination and sequence of personal testimonies, statements of the local government functionaries, images of the urban areas contribute much to a better comprehension of the local situation and its broader understanding by the viewers from outside the region. However, different recent history of each of the city could be elaborated by the specific narrative background in order to make the documentaries contextualized as the part of a broader picture of the present Western Balkan reality.

During the debate, specific attention was given to attitudes of the young people shown in the documentaries and the relevance of education in multicultural and multi-confessional local communities, while the examples from Subotica were mentioned, where the practice of learning the language of social  environment and the efforts of the local government to introduce measures that would encourage more social interaction inside the educational facilities between pupils of different ethnic background are evident. Despite the fact that much has to be done in this regard, the examples presented in the documentary about Subotica may serve as the grounds for transferring the experience and future regional co-operation programmes.

The documentaries will continue to be shown locally, while the copies have been already disseminated to organizations and institutions dealing with democratic citizenship and intercultural education, including the minority self-government Szeged, Hungary and European Wergeland Centre, Oslo. The project partners have also organized the screening of the documentaries in Osijek and in Mostar.

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