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Visit of a delegation of the Citizens Movement “DIAZOMA” in Brussels

A delegation of Citizens’ Movement “DIAZOMA” visited Brussels from Tuesday, November 7 until Thursday, November 9, 2017, in order to present and promote the work of the Association, as well as to propose the declaration of 2018 as a Year of European Cultural Heritage, marked by an international conference for Integrated Territorial Investment on Culture, which would take place at the emblematic space of Delphi, Greece.

Global dialogue within economic, political and academic circles requires a holistic approach to managing the cultural and environmental reserve. As reflected in the philosophy of the new NSRF programs (2014-2020), linking of monuments with real infrastructure, local society, sustainability and sustainable development is now a key strategic goal. The three new tools that best serve the aforementioned objective are: a. Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) concerning initiatives at the level of Regional Administration (read here about ITI), b. Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) for big municipalities and c) Community-led Local Development” (CLLD) for smaller communities.

In this context, “DIAZOMA”, having as its main objective to place “Monuments at the Center of Daily Life,” designs holistic Programs of Cultural and Environmental Routes, which are gradually expanding in almost all of the country’s Regions. The programs of Routes and Parks are proposed by the European Union and funded through channels of the NSRF 2014-2020 for “Integrated Territorial Investment” (ITI) for culture. “ITIs” signal a moment for Europe’s spiritual revival.

With all that in mind, the Association feels the need to highlight its holistic proposal in cultural management and create a platform of views exchange on this field at an institutional level. In order to promote this objective, the Association had a series of successful meetings in Brussels with the institutions of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Directorate General for Education and Culture and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. It also held a very special event to present the work of the Association to the members of the Hellenic Circle-Cultural Association and ARGO, the Hellenic Network in Brussels.

The delegation of the DIAZOMA Association consisted of Stavros Benos, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Evdokimos Fregoglou, 3D Generalist and Head of Multimedia Applications, Maria Kourasani, archaeologist and responsible for international relations and Thodoris Benos, founding member and volunteer, expert in the agri-food sector. Manos Kastrinakis and Ioanna Tachmintzi, regular members of the Association, also contributed to the visit’s success, making use of their contacts and experiences.

On Tuesday, November 7, a meeting was held with the European Commission’s spokesman, Mr. Margaritis Schinas. The President of the Association presented DIAZOMA’s innovative work, which acts as “an absolute catalyst and communicant of Europe and the new NSRF.” Mr. Schinas congratulated the president on the work of the Association and said that “Brussels can act as DIAZOMA’s echo channel.”

On Wednesday, November 8, a meeting was held with Mr. Jimmy Jamar, Head of the European Commission Representation Office in Belgium. Mr. Jamar, who was aware of DIAZOMA’s work, said: “This is a unique opportunity to make contacts, and this is the year when DIAZOMA should become internationally known.”

At noon on the same day, a special meeting took place with Greek MEPs at the premises of the European Parliament. Present were Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis and MEPs Miltiadis Kyrkos, Giorgos Kyrtsos, Sofia Sakorapha, Manolis Kefalogiannis, with their associates. When the presentation of the Association’s work was completed, Dimitris Papadimoulis said that all present MEPs agreed to support DIAZOMA’s work and even suggested that an EP conference be held in 2018 in Brussels in order to promote DIAZOMA as an example of good practice.
Thursday, November 9, was also productive. A meeting was held in the morning at the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio) with Mr. Panagiotis Pantazatos, Deputy of the Greece-Cyprus Unit and his associates. Myrto Zorbala and Dimitra Kanellopoulou. The briefing focused on the core of the program and the philosophy of Integrated Territorial Investments. Both sides agreed that their cooperation will be active and lasting.

Followingly, a very enlightening meeting took place with Emilia Appiou and Chariklia Babalouka, members of the special structure of EU’s Directorate-General of Education and Culture (DG EAC) for European initiatives supporting cultural heritage, such as the “2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage” program, “European Heritage Days” (“Creative Europe” Program), as well as “European Union for Cultural Heritage – Europa Nostra” (“Creative Europe” program). Appiou and Babalouka, briefed the Association about the procedures of the “2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage” program and both parties exchanged ideas and proposals for the inclusion of specific actions in the program that would highlight the developmental, cultural and intellectual background of “ITI for Culture.”

In the evening of the same day, an event was organized at the initiative of the Hellenic Circle-Cultural Association, which promotes Greek issues in Brussels for the past 40 years, and the Brussels-based Hellenic Network ARGO. Following the event all parties attended dinner.

This long meeting with Greeks residing in Brussels made it possible for them to be effectively informed about the progress of the Association. Circle and Argo members expressed their interest in contributing to the work of the Association and their will to determine their model of cooperation with DIAZOMA. The president of the Association invited the Circle and Argo members to become “spiritual arms” for “DIAZOMA” and proposed them to “adopt the Cultural Route of Epirus.” As the first step in this process, it was proposed to organize a workshop on the Cultural Route of Epirus in the summer of 2018.

The journey was successful, as the central idea of Diazoma’s core of action (monuments at the center of daily life, sustainability and sustainable development) was welcomed with very positive comments. Diazoma’s proposal to develop an all-European dialogue within an institutional framework, through the organization of the Congress in Delphi had an equally positive impact.

Diazoma wishes to warmly thank the institutions, the presidents of the unions and their members for their response and assure them that we are working for the success of our joint mission.