President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović received the representatives of the city of Rijeka and RIJEKA 2020 this Tuesday.
Rijeka’s representatives presented the ECOC programme to the President’s office for diplomatic mission representatives and international organizations accredited in the Republic of Croatia, and introduced diplomats to the preparations and plans for the implementation of the project, in order to allow them become actively involved, with their suggestions and ideas, in an intense exchange and cooperation in cultural diplomacy.
President Grabar-Kitarović noted in her statement that the selection of her home city for ECOC is a great acknowledgement but also an obligation, considering it’s the first time a Croatian city was chosen for such an important project.
She reminded everyone that Croatia will preside over EU in the first half of 2020 and will thus be a center of political and wider social events in Europe.
“I’m certain Rijeka will provide a quality programme which will present Croatian culture, heritage and contemporary artistic achievements to Europe, for which it has my strong support but what is most important is that it enjoys the support of the local community, and the Ministry of culture’s financial support,” she added.
Director of RIJEKA 2020, Emina Višnić explained the ECOC’s slogan – Port of Diversity – by pointing out that Rijeka is an industrial city with a turbulent past which, in the last 100 years, was part of six different states, and is also the biggest Croatian port and a city with 23 national minorities.
The head of Rijeka’s Department of culture, Ivan Šarar, stated that the project will use existing spaces connected with the city’s industrial heritage, with a focus on Benčić industrial complex which will be rennovated and repurposed for the use of City library, Children’s House, and Rijeka City museum, i.e. Museum of modern and contemporary art which has already moved into the so called Object H of the Benčić complex.
Project’s artistic director Slaven Tolj explained that the project consists of seven interdependent programmes focused on three themes – work, water, and migrations.
Director of development and strategic partnerships for RIJEKA 2020, Irena Kregar Šegota, presented the ways in which the city will involve its citizens with the ECOC project because it cannot be exclusively an artistic project. “Budimo na Mi”, said Kregar Šegota while concluding her part of the presentation, inviting the foreign diplomats to visit Rijeka.