EU organizes ‘Unity Diversity’ festival to showcase European culture and heritage

ISLAMABAD-The European Union and its member states organized a ‘Unity Diversity’ festival on Saturday for residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to experience European culture and heritage, music and food.

A large number of people, especially families, flocked to the Pakistan National Arts Council (PNCA) EuroVillage to enjoy the festival, according to a press release.

Through games and quizzes, interactive information screens and various activities, visitors learned what the EU motto “Unity in Diversity” means in practice and how it also applies to Pakistan.

The EuroVillage, which had already attracted more than 8,000 visitors in previous editions, took place for the first time after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

The European Union Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr. Riina Kionka, in her welcome address, said: “We cherish the diverse cultures, languages, religions, histories and identities that coexist in Europe. They are part of our wealth, they shape our common values, connect us and give us a common goal. It is this common understanding of shared values ​​and diversity that is at the heart of our relationship with the world, including with Pakistan.

She added: “This edition of EuroVillage is special because this year the European Union and Pakistan are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. This partnership in development, trade and political engagement shows that we are stronger together. Our partnership has evolved over the decades, as has Pakistan, the European Union and the world.

Symbol of this partnership, an EU-Pakistan friendship truck was presented for the first time during the event. The truck will travel across the country to reach Pakistani youth at various universities across the country and provide a window into the strong bond between the EU and Pakistan.

EuroVillage was organized by the diplomatic missions of the European Union and Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden. It included information and activity booths for adults and children with interactive games, selfie corners, food and an opportunity to meet the diplomatic team and learn about areas of partnership. The event also featured live performances from European artists and Pakistani artists, including Asim Azhar and Shae Gill.

The EU and Pakistan are linked by a common history. The partnership has progressed since 1962 in parallel with the process of European integration. In 2019, the EU and Pakistan adopted a Strategic Engagement Plan with the common goal of building a strong partnership for peace and development based on shared values, principles and commitments. This plan facilitates cooperation on a wide range of issues, including dialogues on counter-terrorism, education, democracy and human rights, migration, climate change, energy, trade and economy, and culture.

Pakistan is a major EU development partner, with one of the largest EU programs in Asia.

The EU is also a major provider of development cooperation assistance to Pakistan, focusing on inclusive green growth, human capital and governance, including rule of law and human rights. The EU provides Pakistan about Rs. 20.2 billion a year in grants. This includes efforts to achieve green and inclusive growth, increase education and employment skills, promote good governance, human rights, rule of law and ensure sustainable resource management. natural.

The single European market, with over 400 million potential customers, continues to be the main export destination for Pakistani products thanks to trade preferences granted through the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). Trade between the EU and Pakistan is therefore essential for the economic development of Pakistan.

Helen D. Jessen