European Union National Institutes for Culture
The network of European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) was formed in 2006 and officially established in 2007 by 19 members. Austria is one of the network’s founding fathers and under its second President, the Austrian Emil Brix, membership of EUNIC increased quickly. EUNIC implements joint projects in the field of inter-cultural dialogue, multilingualism, arts and civil society.
For strategic reasons, EUNIC, which used to be a rather loose network, became a non-profit association in 2011 that is based in Brussels, has a charter and articles of association that provide for biennial general meetings involving all 28 current members, a secretariat and a board of directors, featuring a rotational mechanism, chaired until June 2013 by its serving President, the head of the Department for Cultural Policy of the French Ministry of foreign affairs, Delphine Borione.
The objectives pursued by EUNIC include:
- Establishing effective networks to increase the visibility of cultural diversity in the EU
- Strengthening dialogue and cultural cooperation with non-EU Member States
- Promoting the EU’s cohesion within Europe and sharing the Union’s values with third countries through cultural activities
- Implementing cultural projects in partnership with the European Commission
- Advocating the value of culture in international relations
- Deepening understanding and respect between people from different /with different cultural backgrounds
Currently 28 cultural institutions from 24 EU Member States are members of EUNIC. The network has more than 80 “clusters” around the globe, the majority located outside the EU. Clusters are generally set up in cities and are formed by at least three local EUNIC members. EUNIC clusters have been established in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. The activities launched by such clusters depend on the relevant local needs as well as the current situation and requirements in their host countries and may therefore vary from country to country.
Between 2010 and 2011, EUNIC organised more that 300 projects. In order to foster cooperation across the respective host country’s borders, regular strategic meetings are organised that bring together the clusters based in a certain geographic region. Since its inception EUNIC has developed into a key element of member countries’ cultural cooperation with the EU, the European Commission and particularly with the local EU delegations in third countries.
In terms of content, a specific focus of EUNIC’s current activities is the intercultural dialogue with China and cultural relations with the Arab countries following the developments triggered by the “Arab Spring”.