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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
12-05-2005 4:30 pm The presidents of Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey1 will take part in a regional summit entitled “Cultural Corridors in South-East Europe: Common Past and Shared Heritage - a Key to a Future Partnership” which will be held in Varna2, Bulgaria, on May 20-21. The forum is being organized by the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Purvanov, UNESCO Director-General Koďchiro Matsuura, and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis.
Cultural heritage has often been the source of conflict and the target of attacks in South-East Europe. Those taking part in the forum will debate ways of using heritage to strengthen ties between the different groups in the region. How can heritage contribute to economic and social development? How should it be promoted in the region and beyond? What cultural projects can the countries concerned launch in common? These are the main themes that will occupy, aside from the heads of state, around 100 experts and representatives of European and international organizations such as the European Commission and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The Forum should lead to the adoption of a declaration that will set down guidelines for the preservation and promotion of the region’s common heritage and for the development of future cultural exchanges.

It is the third time that the heads of state of South-East Europe gather under the aegis of UNESCO3 since 2003, thereby demonstrating their shared desire to view their region not as a divided, conflict-ridden area, but as a venue for meetings, exchanges and new forms of solidarity, as embodied in the idea of “Cultural Corridors”.

A multimedia exhibition on the tangible and intangible heritage of South-East Europe will open at the forum on May 21, to coincide with World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

1. Alfred Moisiu (Albania), Borislav Paravac (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Georgi Purvanov (Bulgaria), Stjepan Mesic (Croatia), Branko Crvenkovski (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Karolos Papoulias (Greece), Svetozar Marovic (Serbia et Montenegro) and Ahmet Necdet Sezer (Turkey).
2. Hotel Imperial.
3. Regional forum on “Dialogue among Civilizations” in Ohrid (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), August 2003, Summit on “The Development of Inter-religious and Inter-ethnic Dialogue” in Tirana, Albania, December 2004. Inauguration ceremony for the Mostar Bridge (Bosnia-Herzegovina), July 2004.

Journalists should contact the Press Service of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria for accreditation: Petar Grudov, tel. : +359 2 9239 136; p_grudov@president.bg; Boriana Kolarova, tel.: +359 2 9239 743; boriana@president.bg

Source Media Advisory N°2005-32


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