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11th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum: 400 stakeholders, 100 speakers from across Europe met in Chania, Greece on 5-7 October

Chania, Crete, Greece

The 11th Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe took place in Chania (Crete), Greece on 5-7 October, organised by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) and the European Institute of Cultural Routes, in cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Hellenic Ministry of Tourism, the Greek National Tourism Organisation, the Region of Crete, the Municipality of Chania, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chania, the “Historic Cafés Route”. The Forum was held under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina SAKELLAROPOULOU.

Mr. Bjørn BERGE, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, took part in the Official Opening Ceremony, along with Ms. Lina MENDONI, Hellenic Minister of Culture and Sports, Ms. Olympia ANASTASOPOULOU, Secretary General of the Hellenic Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Dora BAKOYANNIS, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Ambassador Patrick ENGLEBERG, Chair of the EPA Statutory Committee.

Mr. Panagiotis SIMANDIRAKIS, Mayor of the Municipality of Chania, Mr. Stavros ARNAOUTAKIS, Governor of the Region of Crete, Mr. Nikos KALOGERIS, Vice- Governor of the Region of Crete, and Mr. Antonis ROKAKIS, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chania welcomed the over 400 Forum Participants.

The Forum was attended by the representatives of the 37 member States of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and representatives of the 48 certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, as well as representatives of international organizations, Observers to the EPA such as the European Union, UNESCO, OEI and BSEC, academics from the Cultural Routes University Networks and tourism professionals.

This year’s Advisory Forum celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe programme, was devoted to “Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: Safeguarding European Values, Heritage, and Dialogue”. Through a rich programme of panels, interventions and meetings, the event provided a platform for bringing together the programme’s main stakeholders: A high-level dialog segment, three general sessions and three special thematic sessions addressed topics such as the safeguard of European values and heritage, intercultural dialogue, cultural diplomacy and sustainable cultural tourism. 100 Forum programme speakers from Europe and beyond took the floor during the 3-day event.

The Opening Ceremony featured a special video message from Mr. Oleksandr TKACHENKO, Minister of Culture of Ukraine, and was an occasion to welcome the three new member States that joined the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in 2022: Albania, Lebanon and North Macedonia. Moreover, 3 new Cultural Routes were awarded the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe certification: “European Fairy Tale Route“, (Mrs. Marina DAMATO, President), “Women Writers Route” (Mrs. Andrea RITHER, President), and “Historic Cafés Route” (Mr. Vassilis STATHAKIS, President).

The remarkable success of the Chania Forum was reflected in the presence of Ministers and high-level representatives of the Council of Europe, the host country, member States and International Organisations in Chania, including: Mr. Vassilis KIKILIAS, Minister of Tourism of Greece (video message); Ms. Bisera KOSTADINOVSKA-STOJCHEVSK, Minister of Culture, North Macedonia; Ms. Meri KUMBE, Deputy Minister of Culture of Albania; Prof. Mariela MODEVA, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria; Mr. Walid NASSAR, Minister of Tourism of Lebanon, represented by Special Advisory Dr. Rachid Chamoun; Ms. Angela GEREKOU, President of the Greek National Tourism Organization (NGTO); Mr. George DIDASKALOU, Secretary General of Culture of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports; Dr. Eleni DOUNDOULAKI, Secretary General of Contemporary Culture of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Mr. Dimitris FRAGKAKIS, Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization; Ambassador Lazar COMANESCU, Secretary General of BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization), Ambassador Jean Claude KUGENER, President of the European Institute of Cultural Routes, Ambassador Fakhraddin ISMAYILOV, Chair of the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan and Mr. Bruno ROSSIGNOL, European Investment Bank Institute.

A Closing Ceremony on 7 October held at the Mikis Theodorakis Theatre in the city centre of Chania featured the “Cultural Routes Best Practices Award 2022” ceremony that rewarded best practices implemented by the certified Cultural Routes and a recognition to the 12 certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe that saw their certification renewed in 2022. On this occasion, a video projection and photo exhibition of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe crossing Greece were displayed at the Theatre, curated by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The complete text of the Declaration of the 11th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum, the complete programme, online resources, photo gallery and videos of the 11th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum 2022 are available here: 11th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum (coe.int)

Source: Council of Europe

Photo descriptions from left to right, top to bottom:

Photo 1: Ms. Lina MENDONI, Minister of Culture and Sports, Greece, Mr. Bjørn BERGE, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe, Ms. Olympia ANASTASOPOULOU, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development, Ministry of Tourism, Greece, Ms. Dora BAKOYANNIS, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ambassador Patrick ENGELBERG, Chair of the Statutory Committee, EPA Cultural Routes, Council of Europe

Photo 2: Ms. Lina MENDONI, Minister of Culture and Sports, Greece and Mr. Bjørn BERGE, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe

Photo 3: Mr. Stefano DOMINIONI, Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes, Mr. Bjørn BERGE, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe, Ms. Marina D’AMATO, President, European Fairy Tale Route, Mr. Vasilis STATHAKIS, President, Historic Cafés Route, Ms. Andreja RIHTER, President, Women Writers Route, Mr. Julien VUILLEUMIER , Chair, Governing Board of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

Photo 4: (First row from left to right) Ms. Dora BAKOYANNIS, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ms. Lina MENDONI, Minister of Culture and Sports, Greece, Mr. Bjørn BERGE, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe, Ms. Hanne Berge, Ms. Olympia ANASTASOPOULOU, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development, Mr. Stavros ARNAOUTAKIS, Governor, Region of Crete, Mr. Nikos Kalogeris, Vice- Governor, Region of Crete, Mr. Panagiotis SIMANDIRAKIS, Mayor, Municipality of Chania, Mr. Antonis ROKAKIS, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chania, Ambassador Jean Claude KUGENER, President, European Institute of Cultural Routes, Luxembourg, Mr. George DIDASKALOU, Secretary General of Culture, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greece

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