5-7 October 2022
Cross-Border Cooperation Congress has become a permanent fixture on the calendar of Lublin’s most important international events as a meeting place for practitioners of cross-border cooperation from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. The Congress is a platform for dialogue between local governments, non-governmental organizations, science, culture and business. Thousands of people from over 40 countries have participated in the previous editions of the Congress.
This year’s edition of the Congress will be held on October 5-7, 2022 in a hybrid format (participants onsite in Lublin and on-line), with simultaneous translation into Polish, English and Ukrainian.
The main theme of the 11th edition of the Congress is “Security and Solidarity”. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the refugee crisis it triggered have demonstrated the strength of the bonds between local communities from Ukraine, Poland and the whole democratic Europe. The often underestimated city partnerships, many years of cooperation between cultural institutions, schools, universities and non-governmental organizations have built intercultural and organizational competences that allowed to create an effective system of support for millions of refugees and humanitarian aid to the fighting Ukraine.
We invited city representatives from different parts of Europe to participate in the discussion to summarize the cooperation of local communities in support for Ukraine and its citizens from a broad perspective. During the open debate with the authorities of the cities involved in helping Ukraine, we will talk about their experiences from the first weeks after the outbreak of the war. The starting point for further discussion will be the presentation of the experiences of Lublin, where the Lublin Social Committee for Aid to Ukraine was established just a few hours after the outbreak of the war. Established on the initiative of non-governmental organizations from Lublin in cooperation with the local government, supported by a multitude of volunteers, it offered comprehensive assistance to refugees arriving in the city.
In the Congress program, we have planned a wide range of interesting topics related to the current situation, including: cooperation and medical assistance for Ukraine, the functioning of the administration and judiciary during the war, and the phenomenon of disinformation and manipulation. There will also be a panel presenting war from a female perspective: “War through the eyes of women, women at war”.
As the next year’s European Youth Capital, we invited young people from all over Europe to the meetings and debates. Thanks to the initiative “Youth for the City, City for Youth – projects and initiatives involving and including local communities”, we will create space for young people from Poland, Norway, Ukraine and Belarusians for discussion during panels and workshops as well as study visits within the Congress. We will talk about forming youth policies with the participation of young people themselves, about the experience of migration and the role of young people in intercultural integration and combating discrimination.
This year’s Congress will be accompanied by Cross-Border Cooperation Academy – a week-long workshop for young leaders from the Visegrad Group and the Eastern Partnership on, in particular, activities for intercultural integration.
An important area of the Congress will be the sustainable and innovative development of public transport. Within the project “MOVE IT LIKE LUBLIN” implemented in partnership with Chișinău, there will be a panel, workshop and study visit on innovative solutions in public transport.
Traditionally, there will be the Grants’ Fair and the Partners’ Forum, combined with the presentation of the new financial perspective of the Program Interreg NEXT Poland-Ukraine 2021-2027 (former Cross-border Cooperation Programme PL-BY-UA).
The main feature of the Congress is a diverse cultural program. This year, it will be possible to participate live or on-line in performances, concerts, exhibitions and meetings with the slogan “City beyond the borders”. Within a short period of time, the immigrant community already present in Poland was joined by several million refugees and women refugees from Ukraine, Belarus and other countries at war or ruled by authoritarian regimes. In this situation, the topic of integration, inclusion through culture, but also providing creators with a safe space for artistic expression, becomes extremely topical. Using the language of art, we will examine the challenges and threats to the freedom of creativity and artistic expression, in times of growing conflicts and the tendency to close oneself within one’s own boundaries – both literal and metaphorical.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the wake of Russia’s attack on sovereign Ukraine we witnessed events that have changed Europe and the world for good. Russian aggression has caused a number of repercussions. We are yet to see their global impact. Ukraine is fighting for its freedom, and Europe and its local communities have difficult challenges to face — humanitarian crisis and millions of refugees. Europeans will eventually have to confront economic fallout of war, consequences of sanctions and political decisions. While we still feel the effects of two-year-long pandemic our world is changing rapidly once more.
‘Security and Solidarity’ is this year’s Cross-Border Cooperation Congress motto. Security — the feeling that has been uncompromisingly torn from us and Solidarity — which is a living symbol of Poland and Europe after 24th of February. These two values, so crucial in the current situation, take center stage at the 11th edition of the Congress.
We, together with an international group of local government representatives, non-governmental organizations, businesses and science, will discuss how our communities reacted to the current crisis. How they dealt with it at the very beginning — just in the first weeks after war had broken out. We will also focus on the analysis of future actions necessary to take. This certainly includes helping Ukraine in its post-war reconstruction and joint initiatives to strengthen the relations between the West and Ukraine. Also, Ukraine’s inclusion in the transformation process and its integration into the European Union structures.
Under projects carried out with international partners from the Visegrad Group, the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, young people from all over Europe, will discuss youth policy, inclusion and integration. Debates, meetings and workshops created and organized by young people are also an element of Lublin’s preparations for the celebration of the European Youth Capital 2023. Partners’ Forum and Grants’ Fair, hosted by the Cross-Border Cooperation Program Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2014-2020, will facilitate the exchange of specific ideas and networking opportunity. Here we aim for joint activities.
As every year, Congress participants will be able to take part in study visits and industry meetings conducted by experts, leaders of civic organizations and business representatives. The Congress will also be accompanied by a rich program of cultural events, prepared under the slogan ‘City Beyond Borders’.
I invite you cordially to participate in the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress. Save the date now and see you in Lublin!
Dr Krzysztof Żuk
Mayor of Lublin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Announcing the Congress in 2020, I pointed out that “the world we knew well will not come back and for this reason we have to re-evaluate and then redefine our ways of thinking about the world order …” Today, at this special time, it’s obviously that we want to talk about Ukraine, but also about important initiatives, activities and projects concerning youth (after all, Lublin is the European Youth Capital 2023), its civic activities, leadership and managerial competences, international cooperation.
There will be discussions about the situation in Ukraine and its inhabitants who stayed in their homeland, as well as those who found their home in Poland. The situation in the world is very dynamic at the moment, we do not know what will happen in a month.
We want to summarize the results of the human solidarity test in the first days of the war (how effectively was the aid and support organized), also we want to define the most important long-term challenges that currently face societies almost from all over the world, for example in the field of education, housing or job for war refugees, fighting disinformation, trolling, but also discouragement, apathy and weariness. Looking to the future with hope, we will consider how to help reconstruct not only housing and infrastructure, but also the economy and public life in Ukraine.
Within the Cross-Border Cooperation Academy, we will discuss how to intensify cooperation between the Eastern Partnership and the Visegrad Group. During workshops and study visits, young people will broaden their knowledge and gain new skills in the field of international cooperation. The activities are implemented within the project, which is a joint initiative of Lublin and the local governments of Olomouc, Debrecen, Chisinau, Lviv, Košice and Tbilisi.
Another initiative involving young people at this year’s Congress is the exchange of experiences and good practices between the young people themselves and people working with them in the EEA countries (Poland, Norway) and in Ukraine. The project will take place as part of the initiative “Youth for the City, City for Youth”.
Cross-Border Cooperation Congress 2022 is a great opportunity to discuss innovative solutions in public transport. The basis for these considerations is the joint project of Lublin and Chisinau “MOVE IT like Lublin – initiative for sustainable development of public transport in Chisinau”, financed by the European Commission. In a broader perspective, during the discussion on green transformation and ecological development, as part of the panel and workshops, detailed issues related to ticket sales systems in public transport, methods and forms of payment or various tariff solutions will be analyzed.
From the first edition, the Congress has been inspired by cultural events. This year’s cultural part of the event will be accompanied by the slogan # City Beyond Borders. We will “work on study” the boundaries: the literal and metaphorical ones, to look at them from different angles and transcend them with the help of the language of art, which is universal, free from divisions.
There will be panel discussions, concerts, exhibitions and performances. The Congress will be complemented by Grants’ Fair and the Partners’ Forum accompanying it from the first editions.
We cordially invite you – please book 5-7 October 2022 on your calendars today.
Chairman of the Organisational and Programming Committee
Chairman of Foundation for Managerial Initiatives