Paris Peace Forum

Emina Višnić, Director of RIJEKA 2020, travelled to Paris, where she was invited by the European Commission to present the ways the citizens of Rijeka were involved in the European Capital of Culture project, thus contributing to the creation of the city’s new cultural legacy.

The 2nd Paris Peace Forum is being held in the capital of France on 12 and 13 November, with a list of over 6,000 attendees, including heads of states and governments, leaders of international institutions and nonprofit organisations as well as representatives of multinational companies, development agencies, universities, religious groups, philanthropic organisations and “think tank” members.

Emina Višnić, Director of Rijeka 2020, will participate in today’s panel discussion “Culture for the Future: Cohesion in Urban Environments”, which is organised by the European Commission. The discussion is moderated by Khalid Tamer, Director of the African Capitals of Culture Organising Committee, with Koen Doens, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission (DEVCO), Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, Pierluigi Sacco, special adviser to the European Commission for culture and education, and Patricia Rodriguez Aloma, director of urban planning and management in Havana, Cuba also joining Višnić.

The European Commission invited Rijeka to participate because the city recognised as early as in the preparatory stage of the ECoC programme the positive and tangible results of involving citizens in the project, creating an urban cultural legacy and contributing to social cohesion through educational and volunteer activities undertaken as part of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project.

The paramount role of culture in creating and strengthening social cohesion and the extent the appearance of the city can be altered by having the population of the city and region actively participate in cultural and social activities is emphasised in the numerous ECoC flagships and these topics will be addressed by Emina Višnić at today’s panel discussion in Paris.

For example, the 27 Neighbourhoods flagship brings together neighbourhoods in Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and connects them with an individual European neighbourhood in order to create new possibilities for cultural cooperation as well as new informal networks of cultural activities that will continue to exist even after the European Capital of Culture project is over. This turns the cultures of the smaller local communities into capital for future cooperation and strengthens the activities of their actors. Rijeka is experiencing urban regeneration through the activities of citizens involved in the Green Wave project. The landscaping of the plateau in Gornja Vežica, the formation of green islands in concrete courtyards or the renovation of dilapidated surfaces in the city centre, with the aim of creating areas where local residents can meet and socialise, are just a few examples of modifying the physical appearance of the city on the initiative of its citizens. The Sweet & Salt flagship deals with, among other things, programmes created in cooperation with the community for the purpose of shaping urban space and thus creating a new urban cultural legacy. The wider zone of Školjić will be revitalised in this way. In cooperation and interaction with the residents of the area, a new microcultural centre is being developed as a venue for a number of programmes (lectures, guided walking tours, movie screenings and discussions). However, this neighbourhood will also receive a makeover with the renovation and painting of the surfaces and interesting spatial and artistic interventions.

The Paris Peace Forum was initiated in 2018 by the President of France Emmanuel Macron with the aim of bringing together relevant actors, representatives from various areas of civil society, who would enhance cooperation at a global level and jointly tackle worldwide challenges, such as terrorism, climate change, migration etc. via an extensive programme of lectures, expert workshops, examples of good practice and panel discussions. Other notable attendees include Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD.