First European Heritage Forum on "Heritage and Dialogue"
The first European Heritage Forum, organised within the context of the European Heritage Days – a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, took place in
Brussels, on 23-24 October 2008, on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the European Heritage Days in Belgium and as a contribution to 2008 – European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The Forum was organised in partnership with the Belgian regions and the
King Baudouin Foundation which all contributed most generously to the success of this new annual event in the context of the European Heritage Days.
The format of the first day of the Forum was consistent with its main theme and consisted of interactive dialogue between the participants on the theory and practice of heritage. All the participants had the opportunity to participate in the discussions which were led by professional animators. During the opening session, there was a panel discussion on
"The contribution of heritage to promoting dialogue" with contributions from specialists working in this area. The panel was followed by Round Table Discussions on “WHY does heritage contribute to dialogue ?",
"How can heritage contribute to better dialogue and understanding?", and
"How can WE use heritage for promoting dialogue?".
On the second day, the results of the Forum were presented together with
"20 years of the European Heritage Days in Belgium: achievements and challenges". The Forum ended with an inspirational keynote presentation by Dame Liz Forgan, Former President, Heritage Lottery Fund, United Kingdom. A series of visits to heritage sites in Belgium were organised.
The participants in the Forum the national coordinators of the European Heritage Days, members of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape, representatives of international institutions and organisations and non-governmental organisations, civil society and students as well as participants from Belgium involved in heritage questions. Members Sub-Committee on cultural heritage of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also took part in the Forum.
The Forum was opened on 23 October by the representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Commission.