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ProEtnica, Romania's largest inter-ethnic festival, starts in Sighisoara

Twenty national minorities from Romania met on Thursday in Sighisoara for the 19th edition of the ProEtnica Intercultural Festival 2023 - the largest interethnic festival in Romania.

Most of the events will take place on the stages of the Medieval Citadel Square of Sighisoara and will include music and dance performances by amateur and professional artists from ethnic minority organisations.

There will also be lectures, conferences, debates on ethnic groups and intercultural coexistence (under the "Agora of intercultural dialogue"), round tables conferences on the literature and culture of ethnic groups (as part of a "Literary Salon"), exhibitions, and book stands.

Sighisoara, first recorded in 1280, part of the UNESCO World Heritage, becomes for four days the meeting ground of Romania's coexistingethnic groups, equal in rights and free to express their specific culture and values. The citadel, built for defence and historically reserved for a single ethnic group, opens up generously to the ethnic minorities under the sign of inter-ethnic dialogue and peace.

The impact of demographic changes on the national minorities of Romania and interethnic relations is the central theme of the "ProEtnica" Intercultural Summer Academy, now in its 6th edition, part of the ProEtnica Intercultural Festival.

The ProEtnica Intercultural Academy is organised by the Divers Association, August 21-27, in Targu Mures and Sighisoara, in partnership with the Inter-Ethnic Educational Centre for Youth (IbZ), with financial support from the Mures County Council. This edition is attended by over 20 young people from the member states of the European Union.

The director of the Festival, Volker Reiter, the president of IbZ Sighisoara, said that Sighisoara has become the capital of intercultural dialogue of tolerance and ethnic pluralism. He thanked the Ministry of Culture, the Department for Romanians Everywhere and the Embassy of Germany, who financed this action, and the Mures County Council, who made this edition a proof of solidarity and respect for the national treasury of values.

Irina Cajal, senior official for national minorities with the Ministry of Culture, read out a message from Culture Minister Raluca Turcan thanking the organisers for creating this event - a dialogue bridge that follows the development of culture, language and cultural heritage in Romania promoting cultural, linguistic and religious identity.

The senior official mentioned the contribution to ProEtnica by the late chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, Aurel Vainer, who was with the organisers of the event since the first edition, and in his memory, she addressed the participants with the greeting "Shalom".

Dincer Geafer, senior official with the Department for Interethnic Relations, said that Sighisoara has been the European capital of interethnic dialogue and cultural and interethnic multiculturalism for 20 years. "We are an example for other public administrations," he said.

Orgasining the event is the Interethnic Educational Centre for Youth Sighisoara jointly with the Mures County Council.

ProEtnica 2023 is funded by the Romanian Ministry of Culture, the Department for Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Romanian Government and the Embassy of Germany, with support from the National Agency for Roma and the National Centre for Romany Culture, Romano Kher.

Partners of the 2023 edition of ProEtnica are SEFAR, Monosuisse and Hochland and media partners - the Romanian Television, Radio Romania Actualitati, Radio Romania Antena Satelor, Radio Romania Targu Mures, Radio Romania International, AGERPRES, Radio Son, Punctul, Zi de Zi, Deutsche Zeitung, Hermannstadtler Zeitung, Jewish Reality, and Quadran.