Art of Friendship

Belarusian public and cultural fellowship in Bialystok marked 50th anniversary
“I love my land, my native clime…” — the well-known verses of Constance Builo sounded at the end of the Polish contest “Belarusian song”.
The feeling of community, relation without border and absence of barriers and frontiers reigned at the final gala of the 13th festival “Belarusian song-2006”, timed to the jubilee of the Belarusian public and cultural fellowship. The public organization has been filling Belarus-Poland friendship with initiatives and sparkling spirit of art. The support of the Belarusian embassy in Poland helped make the anniversary a real celebration.

“Any festival organized by the fellowship turns into a red-letter day,” says the culture attachй of the embassy, Tadeusz Struzecki, who has visited the festival for several years now. “Viewers are well aware they will see a magnificent performance, so the festival always gathers full houses, and all tickets are sold out before the celebration,” he adds. The State dancing ensemble of Belarus, Svayaki company and winner of children’s Eurovision Ksenia Sitnik were very welcome in Poland.

Belarusian songs, art and poetry are not aliens in Poland, as there are over 50,000 Belarusians in the Bialystok Province, according to official statistics, so the region is bound to be in the “vanguard” of Belarus-Poland cooperation. A delegation of distinguished guests from Belarus that has visited the Bialystok Region proves that the role of fellowships, societies and organizations may contribute to the European integration even more than EU projects aimed to develop neighborly relations in border regions. The delegation included representatives of the Culture Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Religions and Nationalities Committee and members of the National Assembly, who brought with them awards and prizes for the administration of the Belarusian public and cultural fellowship in Bialystok. The oldest organization of the Belarusian minority in Poland received diplomas and souvenirs not only from the Belarusian delegation, but also from Polish authorities — the Education ministry, administrations of provinces and districts.

“We have about 70 different projects,” the chairman of the headquarters of the fellowship, Jan Sycevski, tells us on the phone. “We have elocutionary contests “Native Tongue” for schoolchildren, theatrical contests, presentations of the teams and companies that preserve rites and traditions of Belarusians in Poland. The 14th international conference “Way to Reciprocity” will soon be held in Poland.

The dialogue of cultures on the Belarusian-Polish border is developing providing new spans in the ancient bridge of friendship that connects the two peoples.
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