Since 14 years, at the end of every summer, the city of Sighisoara organizes a special event, which highlights the cultural wealth of the ethnic communities in Romania: the “Pro Etnica Festival”. Through this initiative, the city wants to create an opportunity to discover the vast multicultural heritage in a dialogue with the different ethnic minorities across the territory – a dialogue that seems to be growing stronger with every edition.
Today “Pro Etnica” is the biggest celebration of multicultural dialogue in Romania, with four days of interaction with the social, cultural and ethnic communities in Romania. The festival features music performances, poetry and theater, contemporary art exhibitions, book presentations, film screenings, ethnic folk dances, handicraft, culinary exhibitions, debates and roundtables, actively involving the participants in many of the activities.
This year saw a new section of the program with three months of debates and meetings with young Rom from four villages around Sighisoara. Each workshop discussed the following four themes: human trafficking, racism, violence against women and sexual harassment. Given the precarious situation of the Rom these debates aimed at inter-ethnic peace by addressing some social problems in the context of an intercultural dialogue.
European and national policy excursus
The “Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities” is an agreement signed by the Member States of the Council of Europe, which was ratified by Romania in 1995 and entered into force in 1998. In this convention we read: “… A pluralist and genuinely democratic should not only respect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of each person belonging to a national minority, but also create appropriate conditions enabling them to express, preserve and develop this identity. “and” … the creation of a climate of tolerance and dialogue is necessary to enable cultural diversity to be a source and a factor, not of division, but of enrichment for each society.”
The city of Sighisoara with its “Agora Pro Ethnic Festival” in the context of this Framework convention aims at the preservation and promotion of ethnic identities and contributes to build a climate of tolerance and dialogue, where the ethnic and cultural diversity are not a threat but an enrichment of the Romanian society.
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