The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Ukraine's cultural resilience: Nurturing heritage, defying aggression

Owen Bonnici Friday, 8 December 2023, 18:45 Last update: about 4 months ago

In the wake of Russia's aggression, my recent visit to Kyiv as the Minister for Culture of Malta took significance, particularly with the beautiful cultural event that unfolded-an extraordinary concert at the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves.

Led by the acclaimed Mro Nancy Milesis Romano and attended by the Acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev and various other Ukranian Government officials and distinguished guests, a group of exceptionally talented Ukrainian musicians presented a program that included the works of Maltese composer Girolamo Abos. This musical exchange, paralleled by a similar event at St John's Co-Cathedral in Malta a few weeks earlier, highlighted the transformative power of culture and emphasized the urgent need to support Ukraine's Ministry of Culture in the face of cultural devastation.

Cultural Heritage: A Shared Responsibility

The concert at the Lavra of Kyiv not only showcased the resilience of Ukraine's artistic community but also drew attention to the pressing need for collective action to preserve the nation's cultural heritage. Over 1,702 cultural infrastructure objects, including libraries, museums, and galleries, have been damaged as a result of the war, necessitating a robust response to conserve and restore these invaluable treasures. The Ministry of Culture in Ukraine is at the forefront of these efforts, and as Europeans, we must do more to support their endeavors.

Digitalization for Resilience

The concert underscored Ukraine's commitment to digitalize its cultural heritage-an initiative crucial for preserving and disseminating the nation's rich cultural tapestry.  We as Europeans must do more to recognize the importance of assisting in these digital transformation efforts. This includes the creation of the National Registry of Heritage and the computerization of cultural establishments, both of which play a pivotal role in ensuring the resilience and accessibility of Ukraine's cultural legacy in our increasingly digital world.

Ukrainian culture constitutes a vital element of the European cultural fabric, underscoring the necessity for increased efforts in its preservation and safeguarding.

Supporting Ukraine's Artistic Community

The musical exchange between Ukraine and Malta in the middle of a war highlighted not only the resilience of Ukraine's artistic community but also the need for international support. Organizations such as the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the Ukrainian Book Institute are instrumental in sustaining artistic endeavors, and we, together, must keep advocating for international assistance in capacity building, training, and establishing cooperation networks within the cultural sphere. The reciprocal nature of cultural support creates a dynamic and enriching environment for both nations and beyond.

Cultural Exchange and Collaboration

The reciprocal concerts in Kyiv and Malta exemplify the power of cultural exchange initiatives in fostering global connections. Joint art projects with international partners, the promotion of Ukrainian art abroad, and concert tours are essential components of rebuilding cultural bridges. We must keep supporting and promoting such exchanges, recognizing their role in strengthening cultural ties between nations. The collaborations extend beyond the musical realm, facilitating a deeper understanding of each other's heritage, fostering cultural diplomacy, and contributing to a shared global cultural narrative.

Media Cooperation Against Disinformation

Media plays a crucial role in amplifying the impact of cooperation and collaboration. Ukraine's call for strengthened cooperation, including the promotion of the FREEDOM foreign broadcasting channel and support for media, aligns seamlessly with Malta's commitment to media freedom. The importance of facilitating international efforts to counter Russian disinformation through information exchange and sanctions against propagators cannot be underestimated. Media collaboration becomes a powerful tool in not only amplifying the cultural exchange but also in countering narratives that seek to undermine the cultural resilience of Ukraine.

Transformative power of culture

The musical exchange between Ukraine and Malta stands as a testament to the transformative power of culture in times of adversity. The reciprocal concerts have not only showcased the cultural richness of both nations but have also underscored the urgency of supporting Ukraine's Ministry of Culture in its endeavors to preserve, restore, and promote its cultural heritage. I am dedicated to advocating for international assistance, recognizing that through collaborative efforts, we can contribute to Ukraine's cultural recovery, fostering resilience, and reinforcing the fundamental role of culture in building bridges between nations. The reciprocal cultural support becomes a beacon of hope, demonstrating the indomitable spirit of nations bound together by the universal language of music and art.

The subsequent phase involves the formalization of a Memorandum of Understanding, solidifying our commitment to the Ukrainian people through tangible actions within the cultural realm.

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The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia underscores the importance of supporting Ukraine's European aspirations for reasons that extend beyond a simple win or loss. At its core, the struggle revolves around Ukraine's fundamental right to determine its own future and sovereignty, aligning with its aspirations to integrate with Europe. The international community has consistently endorsed Ukraine's journey toward European integration, recognizing it as a beacon for democratic values and self-determination.

From a humanitarian perspective, Ukraine's victory is synonymous with safeguarding the principles of democracy and the right to choose one's political path. Embracing Ukraine's European aspirations signifies a commitment to fostering a more inclusive and cooperative global community. It reinforces the notion that nations, regardless of their size, have the right to pursue Euro-Atlantic integration and align themselves with democratic values.

A successful outcome for Ukraine would not only uphold the principles of territorial integrity but also serve as a pivotal moment in the broader geopolitical landscape. It would send a resounding message that nations aspiring to European integration can withstand external pressures and assert their right to democratic governance. This victory holds significance beyond regional dynamics, emphasizing the importance of fostering peaceful coexistence and diplomatic resolutions to conflicts.

Ukraine's success becomes a symbol of resilience, determination, and the unwavering pursuit of European ideals. It inspires other nations facing similar challenges, demonstrating that the European path is attainable even in the face of external aggression. The triumph of Ukraine in realizing its European aspirations encourages nations to resist coercion and stand firm in their commitment to democratic values and human rights.

Furthermore, a Ukraine that prevails in its European aspirations can contribute significantly to the stability of the broader region. It becomes an active participant in fostering European values, rule of law, and economic cooperation. This success story bolsters the credibility of the European project, reinforcing the idea that the pursuit of European integration is not only desirable but also attainable, even in regions facing geopolitical complexities.

Supporting Ukraine's European aspirations goes beyond geopolitical considerations; it encompasses the opportunity to rebuild a nation that has faced significant human and economic losses. A victorious Ukraine, aligned with European values, can leverage support for reconstruction, economic revitalization, and addressing the social and humanitarian consequences of the conflict. This reconstruction contributes not only to Ukraine's prosperity but also to the stability and development of the broader European neighborhood.

In conclusion, backing Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression aligns with the principles of democracy, self-determination, and global stability, with a particular emphasis on its European aspirations. The success of Ukraine is intertwined with the triumph of democratic values and serves as a catalyst for fostering a more cooperative and united world order. Supporting Ukraine on its European journey is not just an endorsement of a national aspiration but a collective affirmation of the shared values that bind the international community.

Slava Ukraini!

 

 


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