A thousand-strong cultural lobby attended Moldova’s parliament on December 12th 2009 for the country’s first-ever cultural congress. At the congress, President Mihai Gimpu spoke out in favour of cultural reform. ECF’s capacity development project in Moldova, co-organised by the Soros Foundation and supported by Matra, is spearheading that reform. Our training participants are a prominent part of the cultural reform lobby. They were jointly responsible for this historic congress taking place, and spoke convincingly at it.
With such high-level support and grassroots mobilisation, the future of cultural reform in Moldova (including our long-term goal of a cultural fund) is looking much brighter than anyone could have dared hope in recent times. As recently as spring 2009, peaceful demonstrations met with a violent response by the authorities. A more hopeful mood was ushered in with the victory of the democratic parties in the summer election.
Our project participants are involved or working closely with the reform-platform, the National Association of Creation Unions (ANUC). At a news conference prior to the congress, ANUC member Constantin Cheianu reminded politicians that culture ‘can also help achieve European values’ and that ‘culture has the same rights as all the other spheres’. ANUC has called for the sector to have a decisive say in how funding for culture is spent. Moldova’s Minister for Culture, Boris Focsa, has echoed the President’s support for a new cultural fund outside the ministry’s direct control. Again, the idea of such a fund was put forward initially within our capacity development project.
ECF Programme Manager Philipp Dietachmair has remarked: ‘In general I consider this congress and the entire movement a very impressive success indeed – we never had comparable support from such high level politicians and such a large number of professionals, media, artists in any other country we worked in and in such a short time.’