Cross-culture boost

Collaboration from cultures and countries across the globe has found its way to Thailand.

From left: Portugese Ambassador Dr Jorge Torres-Pereira, British Ambassador Mark Kent, Yann Pradeau, the Charge d’affaires of the French Embassy, German Ambassador Rolf Schulze, Italian Ambassador Michelangelo Pipan and EU Ambassador David Lipman.

The European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC) brought together the Alliance Francaise, the British Council, the French Embassy, the Goethe Institute of Germany, the Instituto Camoes of Portugal, the Italian Embassy and the Spanish Embassy to launch EUNIC Thailand.

EUNIC is an active network encouraging members to implement shared projects at many levels and provide partners and advocacy for building cultural relationships between people all over the word. EUNIC Thailand is joining over 2,000 branches in 130 countries to promote diversity through unity.

"A lot of European countries have the same diplomacy and the same habits of talking to other cultures abroad so it was obvious that we should put our resources together," said Yann Pradeau, charge d'affaires of the French Embassy.

EUNIC Thailand was set up to use shared resources from all of the members to showcase the variety of European cultures and to further the intercultural dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Thailand. Each of the members will continue working on their own projects but will look for opportunities to pool resources and ideas to promote European culture through concerts, festivals, or events. The first step for EUNIC Thailand will be a European Languages Cafe at "Too Fast to Sleep" coffee shop in Bangkok. It will allow Thai and European language speakers to practice other languages and share their traditions over a cup of coffee. They have also planned a street art festival combining Thai and European artists and events for the Bangkok World Book Capital fair scheduled next year.

"It will help Thai people understand Europe a bit better. They know about France, they know about Germany, they know about the UK but they might not know exactly how Europe is today and how we live in it ourselves," Pradeau said. There is also a smart phone application in development. The members are combining their separate knowledge and research to create a programme that will trace European influence throughout Bangkok.

"You can have non-European people, even if they aren't Thai and just live in Bangkok who can use and benefit from it. It is a sort of operation that I would expect EUNIC to develop," Pradeau said.

EUNIC Thailand is still in their preliminary phase but over time the members expect to have about 10 new projects a year.

_ Kelly Malone