Bilateral Cooperation with Kosovo
While the Austrian Embassy’s culture, education and media initiatives in Kosovo are in a construction phase, the Embassy still leads various cultural projects such as lectures, calls for applications and poetry festivals. For example, the Embassy took part during the 2015 Dokufest film festival in Prizren to make possible the screening of over 35 Austrian films.
For now, the Embassy has its eyes set on collaborative projects with Kosovar organizations and cultural players and the country has already set up the “International Cultural Policy Concept 2015 – 2018” for culture to overcome borders.
The Czech Republic in Kosovo comprises the encouragement of cooperation in the field of culture and education as one of its principal objectives. In order to do that and celebrate both cultures, the Embassy organizes various cultural initiatives. For example, on February 29th the Symphony Orchestra of Kosovo performed a concert in the Red Hall in Pristina in which the musicians performed a piece composed by the Czech composer Jirí Pauer.
Every year the French Embassy in Pristina organizes an important amount of culture-related activities to support both the Kosovar and French cultures such as the Week of French Films or the June21 Music Festival which, during its last edition, brought together the Embassy of France, the Municipally of Pristina and the French Alliance of Pristina to invite an Albanian singer to give an outdoor concert in Kosovo. The Embassy also supports the French Alliance of Pristina for the promotion of French and Francophone cultures and language and the defense of cultural diversity.
Culture and education are one of the three pillars of Germany’s foreign policy. For them, culture reaches people directly and is a perfect broad-based way for stable international relations. The Embassy believes in cultural diversity and works towards the representation of its country in Kosovo and internationally.
On September 12th 2012 both Republics signed an international relations agreement. The treaty permitted collaborations between the German Embassy, Kosovar ministers responsible of the cultural sector and local partners and resulted in the organization of several activities like language exchanges, cultural programs, intercultural dialogues, etc.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation supports Kosovo’s and the 5 other non-EU countries of the Western Balkans cultural development by participating with the Balkans Arts and Cultural Fund (BAC), set up by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) in 2013 after a relocation. This initiative works towards the promotion of the development of the cultural scene and its growth in a shared European landscape. Switzerland contributes through collaboration, strategic and production projects.
Other European countries (Norway, UK, etc.) develop cultural initiatives in Kosovo, from festivals to exhibitions. However, these countries do not have an established programme for cultural development in Kosovo.
Austria, Germany, France, Italy and the 6 non-EU countries from the Western Balkans area: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo with strong support by Croatia and Slovenia are part of the Western Balkans Summit, a five-year project designed to underline the commitment to EU-enlargement towards the Western Balkans region. The Summit involves annual meetings to discuss -between all the associated countries- regional cooperation, economy and rules of law and support progress on these fields. Although this initiative does not focus entirely on cultural initiatives, cooperation initiatives for the cultural and creative industries sector are part of the annual meetings’ agenda.
Read more on the Western Balkans Summit
Kosovo has also taken part on other initiatives between more than two countries. Some of these are the International Amateur Radio Union for the development of radio and journalistic skills which Kosovo joined late in 2015 or the Autumn Salon, which features an international art exhibition, the last one on December 2015 in the city of Gjilane. Also, the European Summer Music Academy; on its last edition gathered students who followed master classes of classical music led by outstanding professors from the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Kosovo and was sponsored by the Embassies of Luxembourg, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, the European Union Office in Kosovo and Culture for All itself. As well, Kosovo hosts the “Day of German Language”, an initiative lead by Austria, Germany and Switzerland to celebrate the German language.