Here began World War I. Bridge in Sarajevo, on which Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was assassinated by Serbian national Gavrilo Princip. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Jrwooley6 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

The new Austrian Cultural Forum Sarajevo was ceremoniously opened in the youth theatre of Sarajevo.

The task of the Cultural Forum Sarajevo will be to exploit synergy potential between the various Austrian cultural and educational institutions that already exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to the Austrian Embassy in Sarajevo and the newly founded Cultural Forum, these include the Austrian Libraries in Sarajevo, Tuzla and Banja Luka as well as the Austrian Institute in Sarajevo and the Office of the Austrian Commissioner for Educational Cooperation.

It is the 30th Cultural Forum in the network of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA).

As part of the Austrian Embassy in Sarajevo, it will provide an important platform for exchange in art, culture, science and education between Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The countries of South Eastern Europe belong to Europe. We support them on their way to the European Union. A close political, economic, cultural and social exchange already exists with Bosnia and Herzegovina. With the new Sarajevo Cultural Forum we are strengthening our cultural ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina and South Eastern Europe”, said Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at the opening ceremony.

The further development of the network of Austrian Cultural Forums, especially in South Eastern Europe, was a major concern.

The Sarajevo Cultural Forum is to devote itself above all to networking and dialogue in the country and with Austrian artists, cultural workers and scientists.

The new Cultural Forum, which is located in the premises of the Austrian Embassy, is headed by Sabine Kernthaller.

Ambassador Kernthaller most recently worked in the Protocol Department of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and has been involved in the development of this cultural institution since October. Sabine Kernthaller comes from Bad Ischl, which maintains a city partnership with Sarajevo.

Austria’s Ambassador in Sarajevo, Martin Pammer, and Ambassador Teresa Indjein, Head of the Section for Cultural Relations Abroad of the BMEIA, also took part in the opening ceremony.

At the opening, Ambassador Indjein stressed that the institutionalisation of a cultural forum in Sarajevo once again underlined the importance of South Eastern Europe in general and, in particular, the appreciation of Austrian international cultural work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Already in 2016 the “Cultural Year Austria – Bosnia and Herzegovina” took place in order to deepen cultural relations as well as dialogue and civil society activities between the two countries. The new Cultural Forum builds on the close network of cultural and scientific connections created at the time,” said Ambassador Indjein.

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