What was it?

The designation of 2012 as the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue was one of the outcomes of the EU-China Joint Declaration of 22/10/2007, which called for reinforced cooperation in the field of culture.

It was the second EU-China thematic year after the EU-China Year of Youth in 2011, and coincided with the launch of the EU-China High Level People to People Dialogue (HPPD).

What did it aim to achieve?

The initiative was designed to foster long-term cultural cooperation between the EU and China through the achievement of three main objectives:

  • promoting and strengthening intercultural dialogue,
  • establishing and developing structured and sustainable cooperation,
  • establishing sustainable policy dialogue on issues of common interest.

The initiative was designed not only to cover culture, but also related fields contributing to mutual understanding and exchanges between civil society, notably in the fields of education, research, multilingualism, and youth.

What were the outcomes?

The EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue was the first substantional contribution of culture to the EU-China HPPD. To highlight synergies with projects that could contribute to the dialogue between EU and Chinese civil societies, a total of 194 activities were labelled by the Year, including:

Beyond the opening and closing celebrations, the Year was the opportunity to highlight the role of culture and mutual understanding in EU-China relations, to get an overview of EU Member States' cultural cooperation with China, and to give an EU dimension to a number of activities. It also helped to build trust with relevant Chinese authorities, and allowed for a step change in the level and quality of EU-China cultural cooperation.

The Year also led to the adoption of a new Joint Declaration on EU-China cultural cooperation by Commissioner Vassiliou and Minister Cai Wu on the occassion of the Closing Ceremony on 30/11/2012 in Beijing.

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