Lebanese civil society and cultural actors take part in the EUNIC Euro-Mediterranean Forum in Jordan

Lebanese civil society and cultural actors will participate, between the 13 and 15 of May 2012, in the Euro-Mediterranean Forum on Creative Industries and Society, organised at the Dead Sea, in Jordan, by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC). The event is the launch pad of a long-term EUNIC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Project which will address Democratic Empowerment, Cultural Policy and Creative Economy. The aim is to support the creative sector in the MENA region to redefine cultural policies that respond to the changing socio-political context in the region, to demonstrate the potential of the creative industries, to increase and reshape the scope of cultural exchanges and to strengthen of competitiveness of the sector.

One of the main objectives of the Forum is offering the actors of cultural and civil societies in the region a possibility to meet in order to create a cross-border network. The Forum also aims at gathering the expectations of cultural and civil society partners in order to conceptualise the structure of the long-term EUNIC MENA Project. The Forum is organised, logistically, by EUNIC in collaboration with Al-Rai Center for Studies. The EU Delegation to Jordan is financially supporting the project while the EU Delegation to Lebanon supports some of the representatives of the Lebanese NGOs, additional funds are provided by EUNIC Members.

The event will be attended for the first time by more than 250 representatives of the Creative Industries – cultural operators, artists, NGOs, cultural organisations and institutions, public authorities, EU institutions as well as EUNIC members from the MENA region (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia) and the EU. The participants’ fields of expertise include the whole creative sector: Advertising; Architecture; Crafts; Cultural Heritage; Design; Educational and Leisure Software; Fashion; Film, Video and Audiovisual Production; Literature, Libraries and Publishing; Music; Performing Arts and Entertainment; Television, Radio and Internet Broadcasting; Visual Arts. Creative industries not only contribute significantly to the GDP but also they are growing faster than most sectors of the economy and also generating new jobs twice as fast. The forum aims to help policymakers and creative practitioners understand the creative industries better, to identify the needs and suggest ways in which they might be addressed. It should also encourage politicians in the Arab World to take the sector seriously and to develop policies to push the creative industries agenda forward.

The Lebanese delegation, which is led by the President of EUNIC in Lebanon Dr. Dan Stoenescu, First Secretary of the Romanian Embassy and Representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute, will include delegates of the British Council and of the Institut Français du Liban, as well as representatives of civil society and cultural actors such as Maqamat Dance Theatre, Dar Onboz Publishing House, The Visual and Performing Arts Association (VAPA), Youth & Culture Center (YCC) Zouk Mikaël, Safadi Cultural Centre/German Dialogpunkt in Tripoli, Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, Lebanon Development Union (LDU), Agenda Culturel magazine and Metropolis. The participation of Lebanese NGOs in this event will offer them the opportunity to network and share their know-how and cultural expertise to the emerging civil societies in the region, especially following the "Arab Spring".

EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, aims at establishing partnerships and networks amongst the European cultural institutes in any one country. In Lebanon, the formation of such a network seeks to better coordinate the activities between the European Cultural centres, organise joint initiatives, and respond collectively to European open calls for proposals in order to benefit from additional cultural funding. The members of the Lebanese cluster of EUNIC are - The British Council, the Goethe Institut, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, Instituto Cervantes, the Danish Cultural Institute and the Institut Français du Liban.