International conference – Protect Your Diversity
Representatives of the City of Bijeljina participated in the International conference – Protect Your Diversity in Škofja Loka (Slovenia) from 26th to 29th May.
Guests from six countries discussed the role of local communities in the process of development of multilingualism, development of European minority perspective, about language based prejudices and discrimination, and achieving language equality, development of intercultural dialogue and protection of minority cultural heritage.
Croatian cultural-artistic association Komušina, in cooperation with the Municipality of Škofja Loka and partners from five countries implemented the project Protect Your Diversity, co-funded by the European Commission within the programme Europe for Citizens.
The goal of the project is promotion of language and cultural diversity in the EU, and fighting language based discrimination of the ethnic minorities. The project deals with language prejudices related to ethnic background; it researches the richness of language diversity in the EU and promotes languages of ethnic minorities, as a part of common European cultural heritage.
Conference participants discussed how to develop different programmes adapted to the needs and wishes of the minorities and the ways to preserve and develop minority culture. Protection of multilingual abilities is especially important for minorities which strive to protect their identity, often in conditions of marginalisation, exclusion and discrimination.
The conference involved exchange of experiences and practice related to integration of minorities into the social, cultural and political life in the European countries. Workshops participants discussed different methodologies and approaches in formal and informal education, with a goal of achieving better social inclusion and equality.
Over 200 participants took part with the support of organisations from Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia. Representatives of the local government, non-government organisations, migrant communities, different professionals and representatives of local and state authorities participated in the conference and discussed minority problems in partner countries, and at the EU level.
Through active involvement of different minority groups and professionals, materials for promotional video were collected. The video will be used to inform the interested public about the importance of protecting the minority cultural heritage.
Promotion of the project results will be directed to local, national and European decision makers and influence them to fight the language discrimination, especially in the media and social networks. Protection of minority languages in local communities and promotion of multilingual abilities of the minorities is the key element in achieving their greater equality and integration.