Speakers shared their vision for preserving their heritage and popularizing it in Europe
On October 16 through 18, AGBU Europe co-organized a seminar entitled “Diasporas’ Heritage and Remembrance” that brought together 33 Armenian, Jewish and Roma academics and activists from AGBU Europe, the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and Phiren Amenca. The seminar was the second in a series of events under the umbrella of the “A Europe of Diasporas” project, launched last June in Paris.
A public conference, titled “Looking Back or Looking Forward?” provided an opportunity to draw a wider public into the conversation on Europe’s diasporas. The conference was hosted by the Roma Access program of the Central European University during which speakers from the Armenian, Jewish and Roma communities shared their vision for preserving their heritage and popularizing it in Europe.
“Heritage is wealth and is transferred to you if you accept to receive it. That heritage is a ring in a chain. If it breaks, then the rest may disappear. I think every generation is a part of that ring that needs to maintain and transfer that wealth,” said Yervant Zorian, AGBU Central Board member and the founder of Armenian Virtual College.
“You should share who you are, you should share your heritage, even if you have questions, even if you have doubts and insecurities as an Armenian, Jew or Roma. The doubts are also a part of the journey of who we are,” said Zsuzsa Fritz, the director of Balint Jewish Community House.
A second conference, “Diasporas’ Heritage and Remembrance,” also created an opportunity to compare the challenges which the diasporas face in Europe. The issue of dispersion was recognized as a common concern for all diasporas that challenges them to be organized and collaborate within the communities. Dispersion can result in a lack of recognition, misrepresentation and prejudices.
A number of initiatives were identified to help promote the heritage of diasporas in Europe. The project plans to organise a cross-cultural exhibition to showcase their footprint across Europe. They also identified a need for education about diasporas in schools and intend to work on an educational package.
As a contribution to the discussion several speakers were invited to speak about existing outstanding European projects. The European Jewish Heritage Route project creates Jewish itineraries in European countries to introduce the cultural and physical inheritance of Jewish communities such as synagogues, houses, community centers and industries. AGBU Armenian Virtual College, the European Roma Institute and the Armenian pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale were other projects presented at the gathering.
The seminar participants agreed to closely cooperate on remembrance issues and in organizing commemoration events. Roma Pride, which was held in Budapest on October 17, also provided an opportunity for members of each diaspora to express their solidarity with the Roma community.
The next seminar, to be held in Sofia in January 2016, will bring together the participants in the “Europe of Diasporas” project on the subject of education and empowerment to discuss further steps and finalize the projects’ proposals to be presented at a European Conference in April 2016 in Brussels.
For more information on AGBU Europe, please visit www.agbueurope.org.
To view the press release in Armenian, click here.
Հաճեցէք այստեղ սեղմել արեւմտահայերէն թարգմանութեան համար։