The main role of the Kistarcsa Cultural Association is to support the local cultural life. We organize programmes and make calls for proposals in the furtherance of this. We develop the local community life and try to motivate the younger generation to do the same.

We consider helping European integration an important task. We had already organized international seminars before Hungary joined the EU. Through foreign partnerships we got into the European circulation, and get more and more invitations for other programmes organized by our partners. It's almost a natural thing that our young association members travel the most. After their return there are presentations and writings about the experience of seminars. Seminars are held on a wide range of topics. For them the participants are prepared by the older members of the association before the start. The older members cannot take part in the youth programmes over a certain age, although they also would like to participate in them and would like to meet and have a chat with foreigners. We were very happy to discover the Europe For Citizens programme, in the framework of which we were able to organize another international seminar.

According to our experience the members of organizations in connection with the EU, and the organizers themselves still know little about the most important institutions of Europe. People generally have enough knowledge only about those fields related to them, but sometimes that knowledge is also imperfect. That's why we decided to broaden knowledge about the EU in this project. Our goal is to give an overall picture of the EU's institutions, its activities and most important documents to the participants and through them to many others. And to give them information about other important facts related to the community, because these are necessary for the way to the European integration.

In nine countries - Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Italy, Romania and Slovakia - there was interest in our call. The majority of them were representatives from our older partners, but most of them travelled to Hungary for the first time and also took part in such a programme first.

The languages of the seminar were both Hungarian and English. The presentations given by the staff of the main state institutions - ministries, Hungarian offices of the European Union - were in Hungarian, but simultaneously translated to English.

Two of the four vocational days of the seminar ere taken by presentations, and on the other two days we organized workshops. The audience received information on facts from the presentations. During the workshops, with the help of facilitators, the participant organisations discussed questions considered daily by the European citizens. Each topic had a responsible organization, the members of which prepared at home for a presentation before travelling, and which mainly showed the basic facts of their topic. After this there were discussions. As discussion through a translator would have been too difficult for this section of the seminar, the workshops were held only in English, which also developed the language knowledge of the participants.

Beside the vocational work we organized programmes which gave an unforgettable experience to the foreigners - a sightseeing tour of Budapest, wine tasting, a guided tour of the Gödöllő Royal Castle... These events provided a splendid chance to create and strengthen personal relationships.

Both the organizers and the participants considered this project a great success, so we will organize similar seminars in the future, and look forward with the same ardour to the invitations we receive from our partners.

Ferenc Kereszti
president of the Kistarcsa Cultural Association