Between September 12th and 15th, Ljubljana and Izola hosted a high-level international conference called “The Unlocked Future”.
Discussions focused on the impact of the cultural and creative sectors on green transition, social innovation and economic growth, highlighting the role of culture in strengthening foreign policy activities, fostering understanding and awareness of current social and environmental issues.
Slovenians have long lived at the meeting point of the four main European cultures and languages, with their identity developing in constant dialogue with their neighbors, thus promoting their cultural expression and respect for other cultures. “That is why we have put culture and creativity on the European agenda, also during our Presidency of the Council,” said Secretary of State Gašper Dovžan in his opening remarks at the high-level panel on the cultural and creative sectors as promoters of peace and stability. Through a video call, participants were also addressed by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean and Stefano Sannino, Secretary General of the European External Action Service.
Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, gave the opening speech at the panel on the cultural and creative sectors as generators of economic growth, and participants were also addressed via video by European Commissioner Thierry Breton and MEP Christian Ehler. By initiating the conference, Slovenia contributes to marking the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development and promotes the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Part of the conference was a meeting of high-level representatives of the EU Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, where the EUNIC study on how cultural programs can promote world peace and stability was presented for the first time. Slovenia has traditionally defended the prominent role of culture in international relations and continues to implement the activities launched during its 2008 Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The conference brought together representatives from over 30 countries, European institutions and international organizations. Participants were also able to view the Future of Living exhibition showcasing contemporary Slovenian design achievements, with which Slovenia wants to further expand the debate on the future of Europe.