Regional Partnerships for intercultural exchange

What kind of project is this?

Let’s explain this project step by step by its name:

Regional: The project is regional, because it is functioning in collaboration of three towns, located in three countries, but in the same region. The projects locations are: Serbia, Autonomous Province Vojvodina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, cities of Subotica, Mostar and Osijek, the LDAs of Mostar and Osijek and its municipalities functioning as the main partners within the project.

Partnership: The project functions as a partnership between the LDA offices of the towns of Subotica, Mostar and Osijek and the municipalities of Subotica, Mostar and Osijek. Furthter ALDA, the Association of LDAs and the Lighthouse Media Centre of Wolverhampton in UK are supporting the project as partners with their experience and facilities. The five projects partners will stay in a close co-operation during the whole project.

Intercultural: The aim of the project is to support a diversity management in multiethnic communities such as are Mostar, Osijek and Subotica and to improve the participation and inclusion of ethnic minorities, as well as raise awareness for the richness of ethnical traditions and cultural events in the participating towns and regions.

Exchange: The project is designed as a regional co-operation between NGOS and towns in order to allow the partners to share experiences and best practices about diversity management. The aim is that the partners increase their skills and knowledge on this topic by regular exchange.

Which are the projects aims and objectives?

To consolidate a partnership between civil society organizations and public authorities for raising minority rights in the region of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Regional Partnership for intercultural exchange wishes to promote and raise awareness on the impact of respective local policies, the importance of diversity-related policies, as well as the mechanisms and institutions of co-operation with other local actors involved, above all the local civil society organizations and minority communities’ organizations or councils.

The projects objectives are closely related with the efforts to strengthen the local self-government in two important areas relevant for further EU integration of Serbia and the countries involved in the action:

  • effective implementation of minority rights and
  • citizen participation in public life at local level.

Who is the projects’ target group?

The main target group of the project are local authorities, community based organizations and young people in a second step ethnic minorities, children, young people, women, disabled, basically the whole population of the partner towns will benefit of the projects results.

Who applied for this project and who approved it, and when?

The municipality of Subotica applied for this project in collaboration with the LDA Subotica. This project,was officially approved by the European Commission in May 2009.

How long will this project last?

The projects activities officially started in May 2009 and will last for two years, until May 2011.

What are the activities foreseen by the project?

Project activities are designed to support the diversity management in multiethnic local communities in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, with the aim to activate the role of the civil society for improved participation and inclusion of minorities in decision making at local level. Recently established municipal bodies such as a Municipal Council for interethnic relations and Local Ombudsperson in Serbia or issues relevant for the functioning of local self-government in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as the policymaking activity and encouraging the effective participation of diverse communities in decision making processes, are in the scope of the activities.

Concretely the activities consist of three components:

Component 1 are promotion/visibility actions, including an interactive webpage, publication of a regular newsletter in several languages, publication of short documentary films on traditional event in the participating towns/regions.

Component 2 is designed as the capacity building programme consisting of three thematic Schools of Local Democracy 1: in Subotica – Training seminar on Intercultural governance, for local government officials and civil society organisations, 2. In Osijek – Youth Training seminar on intercultural understanding and tolerance; and the 3. In Mostar – International conference on good local practice on participation of minorities.

Component 3 is designed as Intercultural Exchange with the approach of the BE-ME Perspective, consisting of three day study visits in each of the Partner cities, including one day of thematic round tables. This study visits will take place during the traditional, annual ethnic cultural events of Osijek, Mostar and Subotica respectively.