City of Tuzla as an example of unity of cultural diversities

When an Italian and Albanian song, Macedonian poetry, Roma theatre and Slovenian choir performance are gathered at a single manifestation in one city, that city then represents Europe in its essence as an environment where cultural diversities exist in harmonious unity“, it was concluded at the event „Day of national minorities” on Thursday, 7 February 2019, at the National theatre. The event was organised by the City of Tuzla, within the project funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe to strengthen and promote the rights of national minorities in BiH.

Zijad Lugavić, Assistant Mayor for economic development and social services, noted that Tuzla is widely recognised as a multi-ethnic and multicultural environment which is reflected in the fact that one seat at the City Council is reserved for national minority representative. „This manifestation has, so far, been implemented through activities of presenting national minorities in five elementary schools, where national minority teachers presented the abundance of multi-culture through tradition, culture, customs, languages and history. Students’ feedback response was extraordinary. Besides today’s manifestation, we plan to finalise the publication on national minorities in the City of Tuzla and a documentary movie. This project will leave a positive trace when it comes to understanding the history of our city,” said Lugavić.

Nedžad Jusić, Councillor representing national minorities in the City Council, noted. “This is a historical event, where we have national minority representatives in Tuzla gathering for the first time to create joint activities. Today’s event is a crown of our commitment to send a message that we are all different, yet we are all the same,” said Jusić.

Želimir Lalić, Head of Department for protection of rights and cooperation with national and other minorities, religious communities and NGOs, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, stated that the aim of the project is to strengthen the national minority rights in order to make them feel equal in all segments in BiH. “This firstly means respect of human, cultural and educational rights but also recognition of minority languages, cultures and tradition so that they are not assimilated with the general population,” said Lalić.

A diverse cultural programme reflected the heritage of cultural differences in Tuzla and gathered diverse national minorities who represented the multi-ethnic identity of Tuzla. Zana Sokoli and Naser Bajrami presented the Albanian minority through recitation and song performance. Mirjana Čaušević presented the Italian tradition through solo singing while Jelena Obradović, with the recitation on Macedonian language, presented the Macedonian minority. Admira Berberović and Forum “Teatar mladih Roma” presented Roma minority through play “Ruža” and Marija Souček and the choir “Slovenčice” presented Slovenian tradition.

“Day of national minorities” is realised within the project “Promotion of national minorities in the City of Tuzla” with the aim of affirming the national minority culture and tradition. This project is implemented with the support of the European Union and the Council of Europe through the project “Strengthening the protection of national minorities in BiH” within the programme “Horizontal Facility” for Western Balkans and Turkey. The budget of the project is 418 000 Euros.