Conference of the European Ministers of Culture - 20 - 22 October 2003 - Opatija, Croatie

Council of Europe ministerial conference debates culture as a path to peace

Council of Europe Culture Ministers are meeting in Opatija (Croatia) from 20 to 22 October, to examine how societies can move away from conflict towards co-operation, by means of constructive dialogue based on culture. The ministers will discuss how to foster good relations between different communities – independent of colour, religion, gender or tradition – whilst celebrating the rich diversity of cultures throughout Europe. A political declaration will be adopted at the end of the conference. (more ...)

List of participants



Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention project

Cultural Policy and Action

Photo gallery

Culture ministers' new role and responsibilities as agents of change

This conference seeks to contribute to post-conflict reconciliation through intercultural dialogue, the Council of Europe's Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio told on 20 October. The adoption of the draft Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Prevention of Conflicts, she continued, was of the greatest importance. It represented the first concrete attempt to offer a common political response to the challenges posed by cultural, ethnic and religious divides, which were a constant threat to peace and development.


Culture Ministers stress the role of diversity and dialogue for conflict prevention

At the closing of their meeting in Opatija, Croatia, the European Culture Ministers have pledged to safeguard and celebrate the many different cultures and traditions of the European continent as an essential tool for tolerance and mutual understanding. They commited themselves to supporting projects that allowed communities from different cultures to flourish and reach out to others and condemned attempts to assimilate minority cultures into the mainstream. (more ...)


Opatija Declaration encourages “discovery of the Other”

Apart from its content, the “Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict-prevention”, unanimously adopted at the end of the Opatija Conference, reflects the determination of all the Culture Ministers to discharge their new responsibilities in this area fully. Governments everywhere must become aware of the important part which cultural policy can play in preventing conflicts. This was the point made by the Ministers, who see the Council of Europe as the ideal forum for that purpose. They emphasise that the Council is the only international structure with the capacity to co-ordinate these efforts today, and hope that it will develop its partnership with all those active in culture even further. (more…)


Antun Vujic, Minister of Culture of Croatia

Jean-Pierre Blais, Deputy Minister for Canadian Heritage

Estelle Morris MP, Minister of the Arts of United Kingdom

Gunter Mulack, Ambassador responsible for “Dialogue with the Muslim world” in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aleksandra Jovicevic, Serbian Deputy Minister of Culture


Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Antun Vujic, Minister of Culture of Croatia

Catherine Roth, Director of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Council of Europe

Jean-Pierre Blais, Assistant Deputy Minister, International and Intergovernmeal Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada.

Joseph Licari, Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe

Mongi Bousnina, Director General of the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) (French version)

Safet Halilović, Minister of Civil Affairs, Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mamdouh Mosly, Directeur du Département Culturel, Ligue des Etats Arabes (French version)

Paul Van Grembergen, Flemish Minister for Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and the Civil Service

Blagoj Stefanovski, Minister of Culture of “ the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

Ingūna Rībena, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia

Estelle Morris MP, Minister for the Arts of the United Kingdom

Branislav Lečić, Minister of Culture and Media of Serbia

Marie-Frédérique Bergeaud, Deputy Head of Department of International Affairs Ministry of Culture and Communication of France (French version)

Andreja Rihter, Minister of Culture of Slovenia

Hervé Hasquin, Minister-President of the French speaking Community of Belgium (French version)

Arta Dade, Minister of Culture of Albania

Xavier Montané Atéro, Minister of Culture of Andora (French version)

Bojidar Abrashev, Minister of Culture of Bulgaria

Johannes C. Landmann, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the Council of Europe

Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Minister of Culture, Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg

Jean-Pierre Blais, Assistant Deputy Minister for International and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

Jean Petaux, Chargé de la communication et des relations extérieures

Institut d'études politiques - Université de Bordeaux (French version)

Lajos Vass, Parliamentary State Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Hungary

Timofii Kokhan, Deputy Minister of Culture and Art Ministry of Culture and Art

Bexhxhet Brajoshori, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Kosovo

Mons. Francesco Javier Lozano, Nonce apostolique en Croatie (French version)

Background information

Ministerial colloquy - «The new role and new responsibilities of Ministers of Culture in initiating intercultural dialogue, with due regard for cultural diversity» - Strasbourg, 17- 18 February 2003

Expert Colloquy - Dialogue serving intercultural and inter-religious communication - Strasbourg, 7 to 9 October 2002