The city of Novi Sad hosted the 25th European Festival of Serbian Diaspora Folklore, which gathered over 2,000 participants from the Serbian diaspora and the region. This largest and most significant cultural event of the Serbian diaspora gathers the youth living outside their homeland. This year, 37 ensembles from seven European countries performed in the competition part and six in the revue part (five companies from the vicinity of Novi Sad and one from Germany). The organizer was the Association of Serbian Diaspora Folklore, and the host was the Alliance of Serbian Clubs and Associations of Germany.

The Viennese Stevan Mokranjac cultural and artistic society is the winner of this year’s festival, and this is its eighth victory in the history of holding of the European Festival of Serbian Diaspora Folklore.

The opening of the folklore festival was attended by Bishop Damaskin, envoys of the President of the Republic and the Minister of Culture, representatives of the Diaspora Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the city of Novi Sad.

The minister without portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Đorđe Milićević, in charge of coordinating activities and measures in the area of relations with the diaspora, opened the event. ‘I stand proudly here before you, surrounded by talented young people, who are the guardians of our rich heritage and tradition. It is very important that we are all here together, regardless of where we live, because it is unity that is the key to preserving our national identity and strengthening the ties between the motherland and the diaspora.’

The guests were greeted also by the Director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, Arnaud Gouillon. ‘Since I became the director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, many have asked me how I deal with our discord, especially in the diaspora, because we Serbs are known for always being at odds. However, I believe and have been convinced repeatedly that Serbs are no less united than the French, Italians or other nations, and that our diaspora knows how to be united when needed. In Novi Sad, 45 associations from our diaspora gathered. They worked hard for months together, overcoming all disagreements and misunderstandings, so that, with the support of our institutions, we could all be together today. This gathering is a true example of harmony and unity, and that is what our Serbia and our diaspora need. Thank you for showing through your actions that it is possible and showing all of us the direction we should take’, said director Arnaud Gouillon. He added that ‘folklore is a dance with a soul that nurtures tradition and preserves Serbian identity. Wherever we are, the first sounds and beats of the music will bring smiles to the faces of our people who will immediately want to dance a Serbian kolo. With this meeting of our youth from the region and the diaspora, through a conversation in their native language, with song and dance, we will once again show that origin and tradition will always resist the passage of time and be the mark of each of us’, Gouillon said.

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