Cultural diplomacy is one of the key areas that the European Union (EU) focuses on to achieve better understanding and appreciation of the cultures among EU member-countries and the Philippines.
One way to achieve this is via “Viva Europa” a series of events that showcases the best Europe has to offer in dance, film, literature, music, sports and the visual arts. Set from April to June, Viva Europa urges Filipinos to discover Europe’s cultural heritage, and reinforce the sense of shared history and culture.
“We want to strengthen people-to-people links because we believe that Europe, with its unique cultural diversity, should stay in the hearts and souls of Filipinos,” said Ambasssador Franz Jessen, head of the EU delegation to the Philippines at the recent media conference.
“Viva Europa” will coincide with the celebration of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, an outcome of a fruitful cooperation among the EU member-states, EU cultural institutes, European Union National Institute for Cultures (EUNIC), partners from media, academe and universities and the embassies of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
“Viva Europa is also an occasion to showcase shared cultural values with the Filipinos. It signifies the historic ties of the Philippines with the EU and to highlight the importance of the Philippines as a cultural partner of the European Union,” added Jessen.
On April 28 to 30, ambassadors from Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Romania, and Jessen will go on a bike tour from El NIdo through Tagaytay, Roxas and Puerto Princesa City.
Dubbed “Sikad Palawan”, it is aimed to promote not only environmental protection but also biking as a healthy and climate-friendly lifestyle. Alongside, the diplomats will meet with the local communities and representatives of the business sector in Palawan.
On May 24, children will take the spotlight with “Lakbayin Natin ang EU Children’s Festival” a children’s rights summit by children for children. In line with this, a workshop on European popular pastimes, literature and the art will also be conducted at the Museo Pambata along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
“We have done this in the past 10 years. We believe that as children are educated they are better equipped to become tomorrow’s leaders. We are grateful to even play a small part,” said Jessen.
“Lakbayin Natin ang EU” will also launch an on-the-spot drawing contest for children aged 9 to 12 enrolled in public or private schools in Metro Manila. Contest theme is ‘Europa, Kaibigan Ko Ito” (Europe, my friend and partner).
Promoting European musical heritage, the 10th year of FEUropa, a nationwide choir competition organized by the Far Eastern University with the support of the EU delegation and the Embassy of Spain, will take place on May 26 to 27. Meanwhile, musicians from Austria, the Philippines, Spain and Sweden will take the stage at the Euro-Pinoy concert on May 30.