As ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the Republic of Belarus, it is my belief that actively promoting cultural relations between our countries is an essential part of my work. It is also something very close to my heart, taking into consideration that in the beginning of 2016 the Austrian embassy was opened in Minsk and 2016 has also been declared a year of culture in Belarus. Nothing could better fit into this gratifying context as the organizing of a large-scale festival, the Austrian Cultural Season in Belarus, which goes far beyond the content and breadth of any previous joint cultural initiatives and sets new standards.
Having shared history in our common Central-Eastern European region, our two countries have been linked for centuries not just politically but, above all, as mutually interested cultural partners inspiring each other. It is right to say that at no other time in history have there been comparable opportunities and conditions for a cultural exchange at the highest level.
With people now able to travel far more easily and the world a far smaller place thanks to technological developments, the opportunities we have for gaining first-hand experience of another country’s cultural output have never been as good. Many Austrian cultural institutions and artists already have a long experience with Belarus. For others, Belarusian culture is completely unexplored territory, and that is precisely the point at which I would like this season of culture to take hold, in order to deepen existing contacts and inject new momentum for cooperation.
For a whole year, the Austrian Cultural Season 2016-17 will bring an entire series of individual Austrian artists from different artistic branches to Belarus in a concentrated way. For the embassy and the Austrian Cultural Forum, it is important to offer a platform not just to established Austrian artists but also to the generation of up-and-coming artists.
As Austria’s ambassador to the Republic of Belarus, together with the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum, I am delighted to have the opportunity to present this project of the Austrian Cultural Season 2016-17.
I would like to thank all the sponsors, who have embraced our initiative for this project and contributed to its realization, as well as our Belarusian partners, who have gladly supported this project. Above all, I wish the organizers and the general public a multitude of artistic impressions and impulses for further joint projects.
Mag. Alexander Bayerl M.A.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Austria to the Republic of Belarus
Throughout history, culture has possessed the unique ability to bring people closer together, prompting them to share with one another and helping them to utilize a surprisingly rich palette of feelings expressed through words, sounds, motions, images and sculptures.
In this respect, Austria is in possession of a unique historical experience and rich cultural tradition as one of the most musical countries in Europe, the capital of classical music and theatrical art.
The Austrian Cultural Season’s program in Belarus is extremely full and diverse. It includes classical music concerts, theatrical productions, contemporary art exhibitions, an Austrian film festival, and publications of modern Austrian poets and writers translated into the Belarusian language for the country’s leading literary magazines.
Such a large-scale cultural project will undoubtedly contribute to the spiritual unity of our peoples, as well as building trust and understanding between our countries. I am certain the Austrian art festival will be a spectacular sight, providing participants and viewers alike the utmost of positive, unforgettable impressions.
We are grateful to Austria’s embassies in Belarus and Russia for organizing such a large-scale event, and we hope that the Austrian Cultural Season in Belarus will become a powerful impetus for future cooperation, as well as forming a foundation for realizing new ideas and joint projects.
I wish you success, bright holidays and unforgettable memories from socializing with these renowned masters of art.
Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus
Priorbank has always supported projects within the sphere of culture and the arts, including international events. This sphere is a fertile ground that provides good political, economic and social dividends.
If Belarusians and Austrians knew more about one another’s rich cultural traditions, it would be easier for them to develop relations in other spheres. We can better understand and trust one another, as well as have more in common. This often turns out to be more productive in relations between countries than multimillion-dollar business contracts.
As part of the Austrian banking group Raiffeisen International since 2003, Priorbank has tried to promote cultural ties between our two countries. Thus, over the past several years, the bank has financed several international student exchanges between the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and Austria’s University of Arts and Industrial Design. In addition to this, thanks to the bank’s support, Belarusians have been able to enjoy performances by the well-known Austrian artists Timna Brauer and Elisabeth Leonskaja. Priorbank has been involved in organizing visits to Belarus for representatives of the Austrian-Belarusian Society, which led a series of seminars about Austria for Belarusian students. The bank assisted representatives of charitable organizations in their journey to Belarus from Austria’s Mattsee. Holding celebrations on Austria’s National Day has become a good tradition, and a good reason for lively discussion between representatives of political and business circles within our countries.
I am certain that the Austrian Cultural Season in the Republic of Belarus will open yet another page in the cultural collaboration between our two countries.
Chairman of Priorbank
As a company with Austrian roots, Kronospan is happy to support the Austrian Cultural Forum’s initiative for a large-scale joint project in Belarus. The Austrian Cultural Season in Belarus provides us an opportunity to share our cultures and thoughts, and come closer to one another. Kronospan has been operating in Belarus since 2011, during which time our company has invested more than 650 million euros in the development of the woodworking industry in Belarus. Our activity shows that we have established efficient business cooperation between Belarus and Austria. Our Austrian experience together with Belarusian people working for Kronospan have created a perfect match and stable basis for future success. We believe that this project of the Austrian Cultural Forum will become an important step towards wider cooperation between Belarus and Austria, not only in the commercial sector but in the cultural sphere as well, and therefore lead to a deeper understanding of one another.
Head of Global Public Affairs