On 30 September 2018, Alexander III Chambers of Gatchina Palace hosted a joyful and colorful children’s Festival “Cross-Border Cooperation – Meeting Point of Cultures”. It was jointly organised by Latvia-Russia, South-East Finland – Russia and Estonia-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programmes 2014-2020 supported by Committee for External Relations of Leningrad Region and Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg. The event has become a part of the European Cooperation Day 2018 celebrations.
The opening ceremony included warm welcome words from our special guests –
Consul General of the Republic of Latvia in St Petersburg, Mr. Kristapts Brusbardis, Consul General of the Republic of Estonia in St Petersburg, Mr. Carl Eric Laantee Reintamm, First deputy head of Committee for External Relations of Leningrad Region, Ms. Inna Bigotskaya, Head of Unit for Regional Foreign Affairs, Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, Ms. Olga Androsova, Head of the Managing Authority of Estonia-Russia CBC Programme, Cross-Border Co-operation Programmes Management Unit, Grants Development Department, State Shared Service Centre, Ms. Ege Ello, Head of the Latvia-Russia CBC Programme Division, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, Ms Agnese Marnauza, and Project expert, Branch office in St. Petersburg, South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020 Programme, Ms. Valentina Chaplinskaya.
The CBC Programmes representatives shared with children their experience on how cross- and trans-border cooperation unites people on both sides of the border to overcome essential challenges and contribute to wellbeing of the regions.
Children from Gatchina District and St. Petersburg were the focal point of the Festival. Youngsters and their parents took part in the quiz about similarities and differences of the four countries – Russia, Latvia, Finland and Estonia. The teachers from the Children’s Art School of Gatchinа facilitated several exciting arts master classes, which helped children reflect on good neighborhood and get a glimpse to the future. The ECDay’s 2018 slogan – “Painting Our Future Together” – was brought into life by young children, who visualized common culture and history of the counties, friendship and good neighborhood in a large collage of handcrafted items.
In parallel with master classes, young artists created the “Bridges of Friendship” plein-air sketches in the Gatchina Park, thus having provided their personal outlook on good cooperation to unite people and counties.
Environment protection is traditionally among the most topical issues both regions and CBC Programmes. This is why the Festival hosted an action by NGO “Biologists for nature protection”, which together with volunteers housed the man-made nests for the owls in the Gatchina Park. We can now be sure that rare and beautiful birds, common for our countries, would spend the winter in comfort and safety.
The Festival followed with award ceremony, souvenirs and gratitude letters to all of the active participants. The “guided” culinary journey to Russia, Latvia, Finland and Estonia with national cuisine testing has become a bright finale of the event.
Both guests and hosts were equally of the opinion that the Festival “Cross-Border Cooperation – Meeting Point of Cultures” proved to be a real success! Following the official part of event, special guess held an informal dialogue on perspectives of the cross-border cooperation and the topical issues for the future programming period.