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AGSM Online Seminar 2020

The 23rd Seminar of the Slavic Minorities in Europe was supposed to take place in September of this year in the south-eastern Italian region of Molise, where the Molise Croatians live, but like so many other events, the new coronavirus thwarted these plans. The Slavic minorities from all over Europe agreed, however, that they should meet in spite of everything, even if this is unfortunately only possible virtually at the moment.

So on Thursday 19.11.2020 more than 25 representatives of Slavic minorities, experts and FUEN employees met for the first AGSM Online Seminar. AGSM speaker Angelika Mlinar opened the meeting and presented the agenda. Summing up the year 2020, one could see that a very active year lies behind the AGSM. With the new brochure, which describes all Slavic members of the FUEN, the AGSM has done a very important public relations work. The brochure, which was also printed this year, should be translated into other Slavic languages in the future. An important step towards more public presence has also been the new AGSM web portal.

Éva A. Pénzes, Secretary General of the FUEN, summarised once again the successful FUEN year 2020, be it the hearing of the MSPI in the European Parliament or the numerous other projects and activities of the FUEN, which mainly had to take place online. We all hope very much that we will soon be able to connect and network the minorities again through face-to-face events, she said.

AGSM members could report that they want to fight the times of the pandemic with much commitment, motivation and creativity. Thus, some ideas were shared which show that the minority members still want to remain active, despite the many restrictions. Some of them do this with online meetings, book exchanges, radio concerts, online theatre plays etc. At the meeting it was also unanimously decided that the 2021 seminar should be held again as a face-to-face event in Molise, as far as possible.

At the meeting, Craig Willis, Junior Researcher at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) also gave a keynote speech on "The Minority SafePack Initiative and an EU-wide basic income: a combination to solve minority problems?” In his presentation he refers to his academic article, where he explores an introduction of the EU-wide basic income and the impact on the MinoritySafePack Initiative initiated by FUEN. According to his thesis, the introduction of a basic income could also have a positive impact on minority groups (especially in rural areas).

The virtual platform Voiceboxer offered an excellent opportunity to hold a multilingual seminar and thus made it possible to hold the seminar in 4 languages (English, German, Russian and Croatian) with simultaneous interpreters.

The AGSM would like to thank everyone for their participation!