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Intercultural Dialogue Europe


Major ChallengesRelatively young sovereign state with numerous national minorities; post-war tensions and distrust still virulent between the former adversary groups; certain difficulties with minority groups (such as Roma, Serbs, the latter concerning education issues); sporadic incidents of violence ocurring at sports events. Having been a country of emigration for a long time, future immigration influx is expected, which already leads to several incidents of xenophobia. Striving to fulfill all requirements for European integration and membership of NATO. 
Main InterpretationsICD policy remains largely focussed on integration and creating equal opportunities for the minorities living in Croatia. Connected are also efforts of improving relations with neighbouring countries.

1. General authority

 No general authority, but responsibility for and coordination of strategies and policy measures lies with the

National Government

POLICIES: ICD has not yet been a specific priority as such, but there are many initiatives that fall within the definition of the promotion of ICD. Political issues with relevance for ICD - such as human rights, minority rights, education policies - are part of the agenda for the EU-accession talks. Basic documents:

  • Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities (2002);
  • National Programme for the Roma (2003)
  • The 2005-2015 Action Plan for Decade of Roma Inclusion

ATTENTION: The Council of Europe Opatija Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention was signed in 2003, and the Government is making efforts to establish the conditions for full adoption, with its policies already being consistent with the Declaration's aims and conceptual framework. However, the Government has not formulated any specific concept of cultural diversity and ICD, considering that it is more appropriate to adopt formulations and meanings of those terms accepted in international documents (i.e. UNESCO's Convention on Cultural Diversity). 

Parallel to the EYID, the government is considering appointing a coordinating body for ICD. In the meantime, the coordination body for the EU ICD programmes is:  Cultural Contact Point set up within the Ministry of Culture (http://www.min-kulture.hr/ccp)

2. Culture

Ministry of Culture

Cultural and educational activities are usually organised both by the Ministry and the specialized agencies as well as in partnership with NGOs or as part of international projects / initiatives. On the basis of public calls for proposals, numerous NGO projects and programmes promoting cultural diversity, ICD and social cohesion have been supported by the relevant ministries and government offices.

Some examples:

  • Support to projects such as the annual Jewish cultural festival ‘BEJAHAD - Together' promoting intercultural and inter-religious dialogue; in 2006 and 2007 focussing on the promotion of dialogue between the Jewish and Muslim communities.
  • Programme Multikultura, since 1998: showing cultural diversity through multidimensional presentations of the culture of different nations and ethnic groups, through lectures, platforms, exhibitions, concerts and publications. Financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and the City of Zagreb.
  • The programmes of the (10) central libraries of national minorities are part of the Ministry's domain. The libraries' objectives are to preserve the cultural heritage of national communities, the cultivation of language and literacy of national communities throughout Croatia, thus serving the overall goal to develop an intercultural and interethnic society.
CIVIL SOCIETY (EX):Literary seminar ‘The Days of Vladan Desnica' named after a famous Croatian writer of Serbian nationality. The seminar promotes ICD through debates about literature and broader topics.

INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE:Government (EX): Aimed at conflict resolution and reconciliation within the multi-religious society; priority is given to the reconstruction of religious buildings and sites (damaged during the war).

Civil Society (EX): An international conference ‘Dialogue in today's world' took place in Zagreb in March 2006, organised by the Catholic Church and University, together with the Cultural Centre of the Iranian Embassy and the Muslim community, involving various religious communities focussing on inter-religious dialogues in Europe today.

3. Education

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports

Intercultural education is a central element of school curricula in areas that were occupied during the war (awareness of the need to build an inclusive educational system, also with regard to the minority languages).

EX: The Ministry is actually financially supporting eight research cooperation projects with an ICD component, e.g.: Intercultural approach to ethnic diversity and identity; Multiculturalism - politics and new social movements; Cultural diversity, intercultural communication and digital culture

POLICIES: National Human Rights Education Programme

4. Youth

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports

5. Sports 

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Concerning the participation of national minorities, there is a close cooperation of both The Office for National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the The Council for National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, e.g. by organising seminars for the 322 committees and 69 representatives who take part in public life and governing of local activities in the units of self-government.

The Human Rights Centre (set up in 2005) National Foundation for Civil Society Development (established by the government in 2004) (http://zaklada.civilnodrustvo.hr/index.php?p=eng_vijesti_i_priopcenja&s=6)

Public foundation with the basic purpose of promoting and developing the civil society in the Republic of Croatia with a focus on supporting grass-roots initiatives and programmes that do not necessarily fall within the specific competence of any particular ministry. Among the basic principles and goals figure the respect of human rights, cooperation and dialogue between all participants in community development.

Policies :National Strategy for the Creation of an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development (2006)

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Culture (see above) / Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Promotion of cultural exchange programmes with special focus on neighbouring countries and countries of the region.