The First South-East Europe World Heritage Youth Forum is currently underway with the theme 'World Heritage education: Networking for a Better Common Future'.
It was opened on Sunday 22 May in Porec, Croatia by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with the Croatian Minister of Culture, Jasen Mesić and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, Stojan Pelko.
Ms Bokova said, "I am convinced that youth heritage education is THE way to prepare for the future. It is the best way to safeguard and to promote cultural diversity on the basis of respect and dialogue. It is one of the strongest ways to ensure that heritage unites and that cultures do not become exclusive." She ended by stressing the vital role of educators: "You are helping to transmit values and to translate these into practice."
Eleven countries from south-east Europe are represented at the Forum: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia, and observers from Spain, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.
On Sunday the participants visited the World Heritage site Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč and held workshops at the site. On Tuesday the participants visited the Škocjan Caves World Heritage site in Slovenia. The Forum will continue in Lipica, Slovenia until Thursday 26 May.
The Forum was organized by the UNESCO National Commissions of Slovenia and Croatia and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC), in close collaboration with UNESCO's Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) and the UNESCO Venice Office.