In co-operation with the UNESCO Sarajevo Office, the UNESCO Division of Cultural Policies is carrying out a project for intercultural mediation in the Balkans.
This extra budgetary project, financed by Italy, aspires to create the conditions needed for a better acknowledgment of the plurality of cultural traditions and for a more peaceful cohabitation amongst communities in a zone that has suffered from interethnic conflicts.
The project aims to contribute to the establishment of a framework that is favourable to the peaceful resolution of conflicts through formal and informal education. It seeks to facilitate encounters between local actors, particularly young people, thus giving them the opportunity to become better acquainted with one another and encouraging cooperation in the artistic and educational fields. The final objective is to foster the emergence of a cultural identity which will integrate the variety of cultural traditions present in this region, an identity open to otherness and difference.
Different dimensions of the project are currently under way:
i) the distribution of literary works contributing to intercultural awareness,
ii) using the media to promote pluralism,
iii) the development of a UNESCO chair for intercultural and inter-ethnic studies in the Balkans,
iv) intercultural mediation training, the implementation of notices in symbolic or historic urban sites,
v) explaining and emphasizing the contribution of all communities to national culture and history.
Running parallel to this initiative, another project entitled "Assistance to the ARS AEVI in the Development of the Museum of Contemporary Art" (Sarajevo) has been developed. Through contemporary art, it aims at uniting different communities by taking a step forwards towards the construction of a common future. Sarajevo thus has an important role as a cultural crossroad.