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Issue 61 - October 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009 by Ina Doublekova

A beginning of a dialogue on a Euro-Med cultural agenda?

Renata Papsh of ALF and Emina Visnic of Clubture in Croatia reporting on the results of the Networks working group

The Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) is a central actor in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and a promoter of dialogue between cultures and respect for diversity across the Euro-Med region. ALF was also the main organizer of the forum “Creativity, Mobility and Dialogue” that took place in Rhodes on 1-4 Oct this year gathering around 60 representatives of the civil society and academia.

The Rhodes meeting was meant to be a first step towards a participatory consultation process with the civil society on a new cultural agenda for the Euro-Med space. We learnеd about a new cultural strategy for the region currently under preparation by the EC DG External Relations with the help of two experts (whose names remain so far unknown). We also learned about the forthcoming Barcelona Forum in 2010 that is meant to discuss cultural issues in the framework of the Union of the Mediterranean and the “Euro-Med project”.

The Rhodes meeting had five working groups on: Arts & Education, Media, Mobility, Networks and Translation. Understandably, Yana Genova of Next Page took part in the one on translations in the Mediterranean. All groups drafted recommendations to the ALF and proposals for topics and framework questions for the Barcelona Forum. The organizers made a commitment to make these recommendations public so – follow their website for news at

New publications

(JPG) Nikolaj Bessonov, Anna Orlovskaja: Nomadic Romani Girl (memoirs with ethnographic comments), Romani/Russian,(Moscow 2008), supported by the Grants Program of VORBA project

This text is based on stories about the young years of Anna Orlovskaja, a nomadic Romani girl living and travelling with her family in Belarus in the mid 20th century. The old Orlovskaja, with whom Nikolaj Bessonov met in 2004, appeared to be a refine storyteller, who remembers details that have not been recorded by now. In her memoirs there are stories about the relations of Roma with the police and state administration, children’s games in a nomadic camps, forced settling of the nomadic groups in former USSR. A whole chapter is devoted to the Nazi genocide in Belarus during the World War II.

Bessonov interprets and comments on the memoirs of Anna Orlovskaja, adding stories by other old Roma and giving insight into the life of all Roma groups in former USSR. Thus, the memoirs of Anna Orlovskaja are put in a wider historical and cultural context. Publications on the life and culture of nomadic Roma are exceptions in the field of Romani Studies so the book is an event to note.