Slovenia's bilateral cooperation in the cultural and scientific fields overlaps with the activities of multilateral organisations and initiatives such as the Council of Europe, the European Union, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Central European Initiative (CEI), Platform Culture – Central Europe, and the cultural activities of the Regional Partnership, the Stability Pact for SEE, the Adriatic Ionian Initiative (AII), Quadrilaterale, and the Višegrad Group. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also in charge of activities involving Slovenia in the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation (ALF) and the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF).
The Ministry participates in formulating the European Agenda for Culture. During the Slovene presidency of EU in 2008, the former Department for International Cultural Relations organised the international conference "New Paradigms, New Models – Culture in the EU External Relations" (conceived in cooperation with the European Commission, the European Cultural Foundation, and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Austria and the Netherlands). The conference created a solid ground for incorporating the cultural dimension into the EU's external relations and for strengthening the EU's external relations policy with cultural components.
The Ministry engages also in the restitution of cultural property, works of art, archives and cadastral and land registers from Italy to Slovenia.
Prior to 2004 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not have budgetary funds for foreign cultural policy, however modifications were made to the state budget proposal for the fiscal years 2004 and 2005 and the independent budgetary item "foreign cultural policy" was accepted. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an agreement with the Ministry of Culture on cooperation in international cultural policy for 2003 to 2007 to enhance their working partnership in the field.
During 2009 and 2010 the department supported individual international projects with a focus on the West Balkans. Together with the Department for International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance it launched a common funding programme to support the regional bottom-up initiatives.
In 2011 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture launched a new financial mechanism: a special cultural fund to support cultural projects or events co-organised by Slovene embassies and consulates round the world.
In September 2006 the LJU Cosinus BRX Gallery, Brussels was established on the premises of the European Commission on the initiative of the former Division for International Cultural Relations, which presented works of art based on topical issues in science and technology. The European Commissioner for Enviroment, Dr Janez Potočnik, supported the initiative during his mandate, up to 2009.
The department has supported several cultural and artistic initiatives, for example, the project "Sarajevo Notebooks". Up to 2007, 14 notebooks with texts by 300 authors of the Balkans region were published by a Sarajevo publisher, and the new edition in October 2011 (the Best of Sarajevo Notebooks II, which presents the contemporary short story in ex-Yugoslavia, is available online, in English). The "Lost Highway Project" was done in cooperation with Škuc Gallery.
Projects and Initiatives