Speech and message Siniša Šešum

Distinguished Ms. Biljana Camur Veselinovic, Assistant Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Distinguished Mr. Trivic, Deputy Mayor,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Dear friends of culture and art,

Dear Ibro,

It gives me a great pleasure and honour to address you today on behalf of UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Audrey Azoley, and to praise all participants of the XXXIV International Festival “Sarajevo Winter”. For the twenty-third consecutive year, UNESCO gave patronage to this prestigious international cultural festival, which is again a great pleasure.

In her letter confirming the patronage of XXXIV Festival Sarajevo Winter, Ms. Azoley said that this year’s Sarajevo Winter is fully in line with UNESCO’s efforts to promote cultural diversity through art. She also expressed her belief that this year’s Sarajevo Winter will help raise awareness about the importance of diversity in cultural heritage and creativity.

The motto of this year’s Sarajevo Winter “The Other Face of the World”, at the moment when in many parts of our dear planet people are divided by colour, ethnic or religious affiliation, is relevant as never before, because the divisions have to stop and we must finally begin to enjoy the richness world cultural diversity.

During the next few weeks in Sarajevo, Mr. Ibrahim Spahic will present us ” The Other Face of the World”, the face that connects and does not separate, the face that deeply respects and does not ignore diversity, a deferent face that enables us to get to know each other better and respect each other more. The diversity that

enriches us even further more and spiritualizes us, the diversity as the exceptional value of every society, and not its anomaly.

Having in mind all this, we can freely and without hesitation say that the Festival “Sarajevo Winter” is an annual celebration of culture and dialogue, because participants through art and creativity explore, exchange and express the unique values of freedom, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and express our gratitude to the International Peace Center in Sarajevo, together with its director Mr. Ibrahim Spahic, for organization of this 34th edition of the festival. Ibro has yet not let us down as once again, he helps us to expand our cultural aspects and with artists from partner countries of this year’s festival reminds us of the immense value of cultural diversity and the fundamental need for its preservation.

Finally, we express our gratitude to the honorary guest of this year’s festival the Republic of Bulgaria, who as a great friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina and now as the President of the Council of the European Union, once again confirms its commitment to promoting culture and cultural diversity as a connecting factor in the region and beyond. We also thank special guests and participants of the festival from China, Japan and South Korea.

I wish you a very successful Festival.