Viva Europa 2019 highlights EU’s focus on cultural diplomacy

European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen at the media launch of Viva Europa 2019.

By Caesar Vallejos
OPEN FOR BUSINESS, Eagle News Service

The cultural season is on and highlighting the annual celebration is the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines’ “Viva Europa 2019” conducted in partnership with the EU member states’ embassies and European cultural institutes.

“Viva Europa is part of our cultural diplomacy which aims at reinforcing mutual understanding and strengthening people-to-people links”,  said European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen.

In his welcome remarks to members of the media at the Alba Restaurant last April 8, 2018, Jessen said that the EU is veering away from its usual focus on current and global issues to linger on to what is “closer to the hearts of the people in Manila and in the Philippines.”

“And we do that by bringing in where Europe is strongest at and that is of course, European culture,” he explained.

“We promote European national culture in each country and we encourage all of you from the Philippines to participate as actively as you can during the year, the EU Ambassador said.

During the launch, Thelma Gecolea, Public Affairs Officer of the EU Delegation of the the Philippines called on the representatives of the embassies and other partners to present the various activities of Viva Europa 2019.

Viva Europa activities

The activities include a stargazing activity and a session on stars and constellations for  interested youths and other sectors on the third week of May.

The EU Delegation and Museo Pambata together with the Embassies of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, and the Philippine-Italian Association will give disadvantaged children the opportunity to hear European stories and to participate in games and other fun cultural activities.

European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Franz Jessen and representatives of EU Member States’ Embassies and European cultural institutes, along with some members of the media.

The EU will hold a bike tour in Bohol from 6 to 7 May to stress the need to help protect the environment and to promote sustainable lifestyle. Coincidentally, the European Commission will launch on 1 to 31 May VeloMai, the EU Institutions’ bike-to-work challenge.

The Schuman Cup will be held on 4 May in Ayala Alabang to help educate Filipino children from disadvantaged communities about football and how this is played in Europe. The Schuman Cup is a one-day football festival that aims to foster stronger ties between the European Union and the Philippines through sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Signature events such as the “Euro-Pinoy Concert” on 7 May in The Ruins in Poblacion, Makati  and “Musica FEUropa”, the yearly nationwide choir competition from 25 to 26 May at the Far Eastern University will also take place.

For the Euro-Pinoy Concert, performers will come from the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and the Philippines.  These include Lukáš Sommer, one of the leading personalities in the current generation of young Czech composers; Spanish Alex Alcaraz, a Flamenco guitarist who decided to move to the Philippines and since then, has been collaborating with Flamenco academies in Manila and several Filipino musicians; Jean Paul Zialcita, a Filipino percussionist who uses an exotic mix of upcycled found objects and local materials combined with elements of Filipino Martial Arts; and DJ Marie Badkiss, a half-German, half-Filipina, one of the top hottest female club DJs in Manila, according to