Olomouc, 20 June 2008
A two-day meeting of the V4 culture ministers, already the eighteenth of its kind, ended today in the Moravian town of Olomouc. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Václav Jehlička, as the host, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Hungary, Ferenc Csák, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, Piotr Żuchowski, and the State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, Augustín Jozef Lang.
One of the main items on the agenda was the information on progress achieved on approved and running projects in the field of culture, especially the project of the Visegrad Literary Anthology, initiated by the Hungarian party. The literary anthology, published in September 2007 in the four national languages of the Visegrad countries and in English, presents the work of 13 authors from four countries. The anthology was subsequently presented at international bookfairs in Bratislava, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest in 2007 and 2008.
The heads of the delegations expressed their support for an extension of the Visegrad Library project that had been initiated by the Slovak party and had continued during the Czech presidency of the Visegrad Group. The aim of the original project was to choose four works each year that would be published in the four languages of the Visegrad group and also in English, German and French to be used for joint promotion activities of the V4 at international bookfairs. The purpose of the extended project is to give readers in various countries as comprehensive as possible a picture of the literary development over the last fifteen years in the form of a special library series prepared within the framework of selected publishing houses.
The meeting of the representatives of the V4 culture ministeries also supported the proposal for regular biennial colloquia of library workers from the Visegrad countries. The first colloqium took place in 2006 in the Slovak city of Banská Bystrica and the second is to be held on 6th–8th July 2008. The meeting will be hosted by the Moravian Province Library in Brno, which will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its foundation this year. The meeting will focus on digitisation of library collections as a means of protecting them and making them accessible to the public.
The participants also supported regular meetings of the working group that analyzes the impact of economic and social changes on the cultural heritage of the Visegrad countries. The first meeting, held in 2007 in Cracow, was dedicated to the protection of urban zones included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The second meeting took place on 25th May 2008, in the Moravian Gallery in Brno, its topic being "Culture and Transformation: the Experience of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Poland".
On the proposal of the Czech party, the participants of the meeting discussed co-operation in the V4+ and MERCOSUR format. This project should result in a Spanish version of the Visegrad Literary Anthology with a CD Extra using the audiobook system.
The participants also considered the idea of founding a Visegrad-MERCOSUR Youth Orchestra, a project suggested by the Republic of Argentina.
The Slovak party submitted a proposal for the publication of an Anglo-Arabian version of the Visegrad Literary Anthology.
The Polish party proposed several meetings dedicated to heritage care and library experts.
The participants listened to a report on the activities of the International Visegrad Fund, which supports projects submitted by individual Visegrad countries to cement ties between them.
The Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Václav Jehlička, awarded the international Visegrad Prize to the Divadlo /Theatre/ International Festival in Pilsen, which had been nominated for the prize at the 17th meeting of V4 culture ministers in Bratislava in October 2007. The prize was awarded for systematic presentation of theatre plays by Visegrad authors, which is characteristic of the festival.
At the close of the 18th session of the V4 culture ministers all heads of delegations attended the ceremonial inception of the Olomouc Central European Forum and signed its founding document. The foundation of the forum has been initiated by the Arts Museum in Olomouc.
The next, 19th meeting of the V4 Culture Ministers will be held in Wrocław, Poland, in April 2009.