What distinguishes Europe from the rest of the world is the common European tradition and its forms, which are expressed in different ways by each country’s uniqueness; and Europe’s power lies in this precise diversity, Minister of State for EU Affairs, Eniko Gyori i said, at the opening ceremony of the exhibition titled “Images of Europe” (L’Europa delle immagini), at the Hungarian National Museum, on 3 June 2011 in Budapest.
Compiled at the Alinari Museum, Florence, this travelling photo exhibition, which aims to present the cultural, religious and economic traditions that connect the European countries. The exhibition reveals, in spite of all the differences, the common heritage, which is a real connection between them. The exhibition consists of two main parts. The first is about the history of European thought and united Europe. In the second one, all the 27 Member States each had the opportunity to represent themselves on four photos.
The show of more than two hundred photos has already been displayed in Rome, Berlin, Ljubljana, Paris, Brussels, Bratislava and Madrid. Now, the exhibition is hosted by Budapest, on the occasion of the Hungarian Presidency and was opened on the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification.
In addition to Eniko Gyori, Director General of the Hungarian National Museum and the co-organiser of the exhibition, László Csorba and Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Budapest Salvatore Ettore, were also present at the opening ceremony.
Unity in diversity
In her speech, Eniko Gyori reminded others that the travelling exhibition was designed four years ago, at the Alinari Museum in Florence, for the 50th anniversary of the signature of the Treaty of Rome. It also laid the foundations of the European Union, and it was aimed at “signifying Europe’s slogan: ‘Unity in diversity’ visible and palpable”. The Minister of State underlined that this attribute of the old continent is so important that it even appears in the Treaty of Lisbon, “Tightly connected with the values of innovation and creativity.”
The Minister of State also added, people in Central Europe, especially understand the meaning of diversity and the power it assumes when cultures, nations and ethnic groups mutually enrich each other, with their own traditions. “In this part of the world, where the borders of countries do not overlap with ethnic borders, and where barbed wires and barriers separate families, communities, nationalities have disappeared during the last few decades, we greatly appreciate the mutually fruitful co-existence of cultures,” Eniko Gyori emphasised. “It is not by chance that during the last months, we have made special efforts to have the Danube Strategy adopted; we know that this river connects so many nationalities,” said Ms Gyori, referring to an important achievement of the Hungarian Presidency. She added, “A similar motivation has been behind our struggles for the acceptance of the European Roma Strategy.”
Passing on European culture
“Europe’s traditions and culture represents a great global value, in the broadest sense of the term. It is up to us to preserve and pass it on,” Eniko Gyori pointed out. She closed her speech with the words of Sándor Márai, the famous Hungarian writer, “Wise old politicians have already spoken about the necessity of creating an economic community in Europe that is against and above nationalist interests. However, an economically united Europe without a sense of mission cannot be a world power, as it used to take centuries before it started to believe in itself, and its mission.”