Open Doors event at the Italian Embassy kicked off with a discussion about the possible ways in which the young in Serbia could contribute to Serbia’s faster EU accession. At the invitation of Ambassador Giuseppe Manzi, these questions were answered by Serbian Minister of Youth and Sports Vanja Udovicic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Information Sasa Mirkovic, Mikser haus Director Ivan Lalic and Director of art festival 9 and an artist Viktor Kis.

“Serbia is firmly committed to Europe and may set an example for others to follow,” said Udovicic addressing the young visitors of the Embassy. He said “young people are Serbia’s biggest partner and supporter in the process of EU accession. They are the ones who will chose not only their own path, but the path of the entire country as well.”

He said young people should not be left to wait for somebody else to help them  but be encouraged and given information to so they could do something for themselves.

“I have decided to come back to Serbia, even though I was offered to stay abroad. I wanted to come back here and change something, start a new life after my sports career had ended,” Udovicic said.

He also talked about entrepreneurship and noted that Serbian Government declared 2016 as the year of entrepreneurship and paid particular attention to providing support to emerging businesspeople.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Information Sasa Mirkovic said culture might be the best indicator of Serbia being a part of Europe and the EU and as an example cited participation of three young Serbian artists in Venice Architecture Bienniale.

italija-1They presented Serbia with a project titled “Heroik: Free shipping” an installation done by three young artists from Belgrade. I was happy with the way the audience reacted and I believe these artists were our best representatives so far. The project showed that the Government and Ministry welcomed the idea of young artists representing Serbian culture in Europe, said Mirkovic.

He added that the project was the most expensive thus far and that Minister Ivan Tasovac pushed for “such trend to continue.”

Mirkovic also said that following the adoption of media laws two years ago, Serbia was eligible to participate in Creative Europe Programme, worth nearly EUR700 million.

Experience gained through Creative Europe Programme was rather positive and we hope future media projects within the Programme would be as successful, Mirkovic said.

Asked to comment on Serbia’s approach to culture in the context of EU seeking to put culture in the heart of its foreign policy, Mirkovic said numerous cultural issues would be addressed within chapter 26, dealing with culture and education, and that EU experience and good practice would be transferred to Serbia.

Ana Sulkic, one of the three authors of the project presenting Serbia at the Venice Biennale, said she had an opportunity to work with EU colleagues and noted that on multiple occasions young people from Serbia proved to be better than their EU peers. She also pointed out her readiness to engage in helping Serbia on its EU path, but added she did not know how.

Ivan Lalic and Viktor Kis talked about their experience in working with young people in the area of culture, saying that the young all around the world were connected to each other through creativity, especially in the era of the Internet. Kis said it was important to bring ordinary people closer to culture in their everyday lives, whereas Lalic said he himself had realised the importance of entrepreneurship adding that “one cannot wait for Government to handle everything – individual effort is needed as well.”

italija-vespeVisitors of the Embassy and panellists continued their discussion in the Embassy’s garden where several Vespa scooters were on display to mark 70th anniversary of famous Italian company Piaggo. Also, they had a chance to try some of the finest Italian products, including the original Neapolitan pizza.

Italian Embassy Open Doors Day continues at the Italian Institute of Culture where an ancient Roman chariot is on display, unearthed during the construction of Corridor X near Pirot.