The Association Movement for European Action and Initiative launches the project ¨The New Minorities of Bucharest Municipality¨, whose purpose is to support the intercultural dialogue between the citizens of Bucharest and the minority groups formed in Bucharest within the last two decades. The project takes place in between April 2015-April 2016, in partnership with Telemark Research Institute Norway.
The cultural diversity of the capital of Romania changes continuously, as more and more foreigners choose Bucharest as their home. The project ¨The New Minorities from Bucharest Municipality¨ aims to give a voice and a face to these people. The members of the new minorities enrich the cultural landscape and contribute to the development of the metropolis, whether they come from the European Union or from third countries, whether they are part of isolated communities or they are independent.
The project opened with an anthropologic research of eight groups of migrants who came to Bucharest for many other reasons than the cultivated cultural stereotypes emphasized by the mass-media. At the end of the research, we will find out what the social and professional routes of the new minorities are and how the cultures of Bucharest cross.
“Since Romanian people got used with the emigration, they did not even realize that our country started to become an immigration territory as well. In their turn, the majority of the citizens of Bucharest forgot that their city used to be culturally rich and did not get used to the new multi-ethnicity as a result of immigration yet. A new diversity came into being, but one of a different kind, different reasons and different conditions. A diversity that requires to be recognized and understood as much as possible and as soon as possible in order to pave the way for a future coexistence”, states the anthropologist Vintilă Mihăilescu, the coordinator of the research of the new minorities.
A documentary about the new minorities of Bucharest will be produced, in order to present the challenges faced by the members of these communities in their everyday life.
With this project, the Association MEAI also provides a platform of intercultural dialogue for both the citizens of Bucharest and the new minorities. The website newminorities.com puts at the users’ disposal a resource centre about the minorities of Bucharest, but also a place for debate on topics of common interest. At the same time, the website is the perfect opportunity to come in contact with the new citizens of Bucharest via the stories they share with us.
The educational characteristic of the project consists of a series of creative workshops for high school students. The students will work in multicultural teams and will end by developing multicultural products – theatre plays, short films, photos – with and about their community. At the same time, the forum of the project will bring together the governmental and nongovernmental organizations, the members of the new migrant communities, specialists and other representatives of the civil society.
“Within the past two decades, over 30.000 foreigners settled in Bucharest. This number is a fact, but our attention is not directed towards numbers, but towards the socio-cultural impact of the new citizens of Bucharest within the community. Their history reveals the attitude of the Romanian `emigrant` towards the immigrants, as well as the motivation of the foreigners to come to Bucharest. This organic and spontaneous model of integration can lie at the basis of the approach of the future challenges related to the multicultural development of an European capital”, stated Bianca-Maria Bălsan, the president of MAIE, the coordinator of the project “The New Minorities of Bucharest Municipality”.
“I believe that this project is important because we need to picture the existence of the minorities. We talk about different people who share the same territory in which there is the risk for tensions to arise. The purpose of studying the minorities is to understand how they interact, what are their hobbies, their beliefs, etc, and the understanding of these differences is the first step for avoiding conflicts”, states, in his turn, Christian Sørhaug, anthropologist and representative of Telemark Research Institute Norway.
The project “The New Minorities of Bucharest Municipality” is funded through a Grant offered by Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the Romanian Government, within the programme PA17/RO13 Promoting the Diversity in Arts and Culture from the European Patrimony.