Vasil Hudak, Vice President EastWest Institute

Vasil HudakVice PresidentEastWest Institute
Stories Exchange Project 2000: Workshop IEastWest InstitutePrague6 December 1999
As the EastWest Institute in Prague focuses on both international and local projects in the Central European region, interplay between international and local dimensions will be important in the Stories Exchange Project expansion.
Representatives of three Czech cities have come together to expand the Stories Exchange Project: this addresses the local aspect. And as you know, the World Bank is providing financial support for the Project. This is an international aspect, and demonstrates that problems of the Romani minority can best be solved within the framework of the whole society, by creating partnerships among people living in different multi-ethnic communities. These relations must be productive, open, and future-oriented.
The Stories Exchange Project expansion involves both diverse international institutions including the World Bank, the Fund for New Performance/Video and the EastWest Institute and the participation of local people who have to solve concrete, everyday problems.
The EastWest Institute has another project which addresses questions about the Romani minority. The Carpathian Euroregion project has been assisted by the Mott Foundation and its director in Prague, John Blyth. This project takes place in border regions of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine. Approximately ten million people live in this region, and more than twenty per cent are Roma. Of course they live in local communities and regions, but at the same time they form a supranational entity. This cross-border community has its own culture, history,and language, and its problems can only be effectively addressed by a cross-border approach.
In the Stories Exchange Project expansion the EastWest Institute will be connecting its international experience with the experience gained and questions raised by the first phase of the Project organized by the Fund for New Performance/Video. And we approach this collaboration in the context of our work in Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Western Europe.
I am glad to be beginning this collaboration. I hope that the Stories Exchange Project will produce practicalalternatives to walls like the one that went up in Usti nad Labem.