This project proposal is an appeal to a broad range of constituencies: non governmental organizations seeking to initiate or expand their own missions, donor organizations active in economic, social and cultural development; policy makers charged with considering the role of culture in public diplomacy initiatives; academic institutions seeking to enrich international studies programs; advocacy groups, scholars, and journalists; and entrepreneurial individuals with a passion to make a difference in the Black Sea, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Organizing for sharing of cultures through the arts, thus strengthening inter-national links among Black Sea and Caucasus peoples is the focus of this project and is conceived as an effort to stimulate new thinking and identify extant resources that can enhance connectivity between the countries of the region and between the multi-ethnic communities. It is an area rife with age-old disputes, conflicts and contentious relations as well as a great accumulation of shared values and history.
The idea is to start a new music, dance and arts festival in the Black Sea Region. In the coming years the scope of the festival will strive to feature the cultures of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Moldova, Hungary, and Turkey as well as all the neighboring regions of the Black Sea. If successful, in later years Northern Caucasian parts of Russia could also be included.
The project draws attention to a growing number of recent initiatives that make a strong case for the role of arts and culture in expanding links between many nations in the region, that is, in any of the myriad ways in which Black Sea cultural consciousness may be expressed in the recent history.
Seeding and cultivating connectivity among communities those are diverse in their habitat, social life, level of education, and degree of access to communication technology calls for mechanisms that register and respond to the nuances of cultural difference. The project aims creating a confluence of focused dialogues among and between diverse affinity groups, social networks, and professional associations. Such an approach offers both a more manageable scale and more realistic point for thinking about concrete strategies and tactics for enabling cultural connectivity. Stimulating collaboration among local cultural stakeholders in the inter-national cultural exchange and cultural development projects will develop understanding and appreciation of each other. Such stakeholders include civil society organizations, and local and regional governmental agencies, both within the Black Sea Region and internationally.
The first year of the festival will feature mostly but not exclusively women artists from all of the participating countries and cultures. Supporting regional cultural rejuvenation will be a focus area especially encompassing festivals current year activities relating to the women artists and arts. With the necessary support, the first festival could take place in Istanbul, Turkey on October 12-14, 2012. I have good contacts with artists and a few NGO and cultural organizations and cultural stewards within the Black Sea Region.