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 differences exist in harmonious unity. Such cultural heritage was presented at the manifestation „Day of national minorities” organised by the City of Tuzla, with the support of the European Union and the Council of Europe, on Thursday, 7 February 2019, at the National theatre.
Mr Zijad Lugavić, assistant mayor for economic development and social services, expressed gratitude, on behalf of Mayor Jasmin Imamović, towards the European Union and the Council of Europe for recognising Tuzla as a city where diversity and each individual and citizen are respected. Mr Lugavić 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 multiculture 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. The final activity is planned towards the end of March when we will present the rich gastronomic national minority cuisine as well as the movie and the publication”, said Mr Lugavić.
Mr Nedžad Jusić, counsellor representing national minorities in the City Council, noted in a very emotional address that this day almost meant a dream coming true. “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 equal but all same”, said Mr Jusić.
Mr Želimir Lalić, head of the Department for protection of rights and co-operation with national and other minorities, religious communities and NGO, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the audience and stated that the Council of Europe and the European Union, upon the request from the Ministry, approved the project with the aim to support the national minority rights.
“The aim of the project is to strengthen the national minority rights in order to make them feel equal in all segments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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. I am very glad that the City of Tuzla organised such a manifestation for the first time, I see the turnout is very encouraging and I wholeheartedly congratulate you”, sad Mr Lalić.
A very diverse and rich cultural programme ensued after the introductory addresses. 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 in 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. Not only did the manifestation reflect the heritage of cultural differences in Tuzla but also the audience, made up mostly of members of national minority associations in Tuzla, represented the multi-ethnic identity of Tuzla.
“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 “Strenghtening the protection of national minorities in BiH” within the programme “Horizontal Facility” for Western Balkans and Turkey.