The project „United in Diversity” aims of contributing to the social cohesion between ethnic groups in Bulgaria on the basis of inter-ethnic cultural cohesion.
The project proposal emphasizes the cultural heritage of the Roma ethnic minority, interweaving the participation of two other minority groups – Jews and Armenians, with the aim of showing the “coexistence” of minority cultures alongside with the majority – Bulgarian culture.
The general goal of the project is to contribute to deepening the knowledge of the culture of ethnic and cultural minorities in Bulgaria, by engaging the majority and minority groups in activities to popularize their culture, including communities in small settlements, and using culture as a means of developing skills, accumulation of knowledge and provide education for adolescents.
In a year and a half, the project foresees a series of events and initiatives at the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” (NLCM), namely:
Ethno – Cafe
Showcases on how cultural and ethnic minorities contribute to the cultural diversity of the country will take place in eight two-hour Ethno-Cafe events, one every two months. The Ethno-Cafe will meet the audience with a creator/author – a representative of one of the three minorities. These events will provide a unique forum for creators and authors of research on topics related to the origin, history, traditions, customs, holidays and prominent personalities of the Roma, Jewish and Armenian ethnic minorities.
The time of the class
A total of nine two-hour lessons will be held at the NLKM with the aim of forming in children from minority ethnic groups additional knowledge about the culture of their minority, to tell them about other minorities whose culture coexists with theirs as well as that of the Bulgarians and, last but not least, to introduce them to the National Library and its role as a unifier of cultures. Within these hours, children will be able to express their individuality and their understanding of the “united in diversity” of cultures through drawings, some of which will be included in a traveling exhibition with the same name.
Exhibition of children’s drawings
The exhibition will be launched at the National Library, where it will remain for several weeks, followed by display in other places: in the schools of the children – authors of the drawings, in the People’s Community Center “Sluntse-1879” in the city of Ihtiman (project partner) as well as in places visited by representatives of the respective ethnicities – the Central Sofia Synagogue, the Jewish Cultural House, the Armenian Cultural House, 106 Elementary School “Grigoriy Tsamblak” with a significant number of students of Roma origin, etc. At the end of the project, the exhibition will return to the NLKM and will be the focus of the project’s closing event.
Several thematic works will be published:
- History of Roma Literature
- Thematic bibliographic index of publications, books and articles from the NLCM fund related to the Roma, Jewish and Armenian ethnic groups
- Directory “Who’s who in the Armenian community in Bulgaria – figures of culture, art and science”
Two initiatives outside of the capital will be organised:
- Roden krai (Homeland) Club in the “Slantse-1879” National Community Center, Ihtiman
- Festival “Roma Culture Day” by the “New Opportunities” Association in the village of Aprilovo.
The project budget is BGN 145,671.93, financed with funds from the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2014 – 2021 under Programme PA14 “Cultural entrepreneurship, heritage and cooperation” Result 3 “Improved awareness of arts and culture of ethnic and cultural minorities (focus on Roma).