EU Funding: Celebrating diversity with the Ambassadors of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Arts, culture and diversity will be celebrated at the European Festival of Intercultural Dialogue organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the Flagey Arts Centre in Brussels on the 12-13 September 2008.

Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Culture and Youth, will welcome Ambassadors of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and the general public to a two-day chain of concerts, workshops, film screenings and debates. Among others, film and TV director Agnieszka Holland; conductor Jack Martin Händler; film director Radu Mihăileanu; journalist, author, historian and political activist Adam Michnik; viola da gamba musician and conductor Jordi Savall; pianist Fazil Say and pop singer Marija Šerifović will participate in the event.

The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 is an opportunity to explore the ‘Other’ in all its forms, to move towards mutual understanding, to build better ways of living together and to actively participate in the development of a European society open to the world. At the request of the European Commission, well-known personalities from the world of the arts and the media have agreed to act as Ambassadors for the year, promoting its messages throughout Europe and beyond, thus also contributing to reflections upon its future. Converging to Flagey on the 12th and 13th of September, the Ambassadors will play leading roles in a unique event which will illustrate the dialogue between artists through creative performances in the fields of music, cinema, art and literature.

The festivities will begin on Friday 12th September with a tribute from Jack Martin Händler to the conductor Bruno Walter with a concert by the Bruno Walter Symphony Orchestra accompanied by the world-class Turkish pianist Fazil Say (20:15, Studio 4).

Saturday 13th September will be placed under the heading of ‘dialogue’, with workshops, round tables, debates and activities for children (from 10:00 a.m. onwards). The highlight of this event-packed day will be the Orient-Occident concert, which promises to be a memorable experience, bringing together musicians from across the entire world – among them the eminent master of the viola da gamba Jordi Savall and the percussionist Pedro Estevan (20:15, Studio 4). This extraordinary journey through the worlds of eastern and western music will be followed by an open air concert by the Parno Graszt ensemble, playing joyous gipsy folk music (at around 22:30).

Last but not least, film buffs will appreciate the film selection on offer in Studio 5 by the Belgian Royal Film Archive with introductions by the Ambassadors of this exceptional Year. On the programme are films relating to intercultural dialogue such as Copying Beethoven which will be shown in the presence of the director Agnieszka Holland (Friday 12/09, 18:00, Studio 5), Tous les matins du monde by Alain Corneau will be shown in the presence of Jordi Savall (Friday 12/09, 20:00, Studio 5) as well as Va, vis et deviens (Live and Become) shown in the presence of its director Radu Mihăileanu (Saturday 13/09, 20:00, Studio 5).

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