Today, Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, and Paavo Nõgene, Secretary-General of the Estonian Ministry of Culture, signed the cooperation programme of the Estonian and Chinese cultural ministries for 2018 to 2022. The existence of a valid agreement creates the preconditions for continued cultural cooperation. Minister Shugang has accepted the invitation to visit Saaremaa Opera Days festival in 2018 to attend the performances of Shanghai Opera.
The agreement for cultural, educational and scientific cooperation between Estonia and China has been in force since 1993. The cooperation agreement updated by the ministries will be signed at the Third China-CEEC Cultural Forum in Hangzhou, which is being attended at the invitation of Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. A meeting will also take place between the cultural ministers China and the CEEC (16+1) cooperation format.
Paavo Nõgene, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture said that updating the cooperation programme will introduce something new to the substantive cooperation between the countries. “For example, an article was added that deals with the participation of experts from various fields in study trips in China, as well as participation in art and dance camps and forums. This has been China’s wish, whereas China is willing to finance this to a great extent. And Estonia is understandably interested in such opportunities,” said Nõgene.
The existing cultural cooperation between Estonia and China has been intensifying in recent years. Minister of Culture Indrek Saar met his Chinese colleague in April of 2016 and at that time, they spoke about the opportunities for cooperation related to the creative economy, heritage culture and youth exchanges.
Secretary-General Nõgene added that China’s interest in cooperation with Estonia is natural, because rapidly developing China is very interested in Europeanism. “Estonia has the capability to introduce top-quality cultural groups to the Chinese public. For example, thanks to this agreement, Eesti Kontsert’s three-year cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Arts Festival, one of the most important arts festivals in Asia, will become a reality in October. And opposite is also true, the participation of the Shanghai Opera House at the Opera Days in Saaremaa would be questionable, if this official cooperation agreement did not exist. China and the entire Asian region is large and attractive, and the whole world wishes to cooperate with this region,” Nõgene emphasised.
Estonia participates in a total of 50 cultural cooperation agreements and joint programmes with countries around the world. In addition, Estonia participates in more than 15 international organisations, forums and cooperation programmes.