First European meeting on ‘Private Foundations & Heritage’ held in Lisbon

Europa Nostra and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation held the first meeting of Private Foundations supporting Cultural Heritage in Europe on 24 June 2016 at the Gulbenkian Foundation’s headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal. The main aims of this initiative were to discuss the best ways to enhance cooperation between private foundations active in the field of heritage in Europe and beyond, and reflect upon possible joint actions which could contribute to the proposed European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. Organised in the framework of Europa Nostra’s network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’, which is supported by the EU’s Creative Europe programme, the meeting was attended by representatives from private foundations from various parts of Europe, some of which are already member organisations of Europa Nostra.

European meeting on ‘Private Foundations & Heritage’

The full-day meeting, which was hosted and chaired by Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, Administrator of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, gathered 7 foundations represented by 13 participants from 8 European countries: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Portugal; Foundation Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva (FRESS), Portugal; The Oriente Foundation, Portugal; Pro Patrimonio Foundation, Romania; Michelangelo Foundation, Switzerland; Fondazione Franco Cologni, Italy; North of England Civic Trust and The Headley Trust, United Kingdom. A high-level delegation from Europa Nostra contributed to these fruitful debates: Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General, Piet Jaspaert, Vice-President, Irina Subotic, Vice-President, and José-María Ballester, Council Member who is also actively involved in the work of the Botin Foundation. Europa Nostra’s new Council member, Emilio Rui Vilar, who during his mandate as President of the Gulbenkian Foundation, was also President of the European Foundation Centre, made a key contribution to the discussions in Lisbon. During a ‘tour de table’, each participating foundation had the opportunity to present their mission and activities.

The meeting in Lisbon provided a platform for initial exchanges of views on the desired launch of an informal European network of private foundations supporting heritage, on the latest European policy developments concerning cultural heritage, with a special focus on the proposed European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 and on possible joint projects which could be developed as a contribution to the Year. A particular emphasis was put on the exchange of best practices which could be developed by private foundations to support cultural heritage in Europe, on the basis of the presentation of foundations whose work has been recognised by an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards between 2002-2016.

As a result of these fruitful discussions, a document with some proposals for the future will be prepared and a follow-up meeting with a larger number of participating foundations is planned to take place on 11 October 2016 in Lisbon.

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