Representatives of the EU-LAC Foundation travelled to Brussels to participate in the inauguration of “EULAT4Culture”, an initiative to strengthen cultural cooperation between Europe and Latin America, organised by the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) with the support of the European External Action Service and SEGIB’s Ibero-American Cultural Network (RIDCULT). Additionally, the EU-LAC Foundation held meetings with key stakeholders to coordinate the next steps related to institutional processes such as the Headquarters Agreement, the upcoming Board of Governors Meetings, and the planning of activities in the second semester of 2022 and 2023, including an eventual EU-CELAC Summit.
During this official mission to Brussels from May 31 to June 1, 2022, the Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr Adrián Bonilla, and the Senior Programme Manager for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Culture, Dr Anna Barrera Vivero, successfully raised the visibility of the EU-LAC Foundation and the bi-regional strategic partnership among cultural stakeholders in both regions. In his intervention during the inauguration of “EULAT4Culture”, Dr Bonilla stressed that both geopolitical and cultural relations were underlying constant changes. Departing from an understanding of “identity” as a process of social constructions, he sketched aspects of the idea of shared “European” and “Latin American and Caribbean” regional identities. As Dr Bonilla explained, such ideas formed the basis for shared values and goals in the cooperation between both regions. Currently, the EU and LAC regions share the interest to strengthen cooperation in the realm of sustainable development, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and conceive multilateralism as an appropriate approach to global governance. Therefore, Dr Bonilla highlighted the potential of cooperation between both regions to drive the development of a new, rule-based international order. On the margins of this event, Dr Bonilla and Dr Barrera furthered these ideas during a meeting with the Director of EUNIC, Andrew Manning.
The visit also served to establish a positive, friendly relationship with the new Cuban Ambassador to the EU, Yaira Jiménez Raig. Cuba, as a member of the International Organisation, has closely accompanied the work of the Foundation. In turn, the conversations held with the Ambassador of Argentina and representative of the CELAC, Pablo Grinspun, and representatives from the European External Action Service (EEAS) were helpful to advance the coordination of vital institutional processes and to discuss the possibilities of an EU-CELAC Ministerial Meeting in 2022 and a Heads of State and Government Summit in 2023. The dialogue with the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean and International Cooperation and Development at the Directorate-General for International Partnerships of the European Commission, Jolita Butkeviciene and her team, proved to be essential to obtaining input from their side on the activities of the Foundation to be implemented in 2023.