Competent management to help work European-style

Alexander Lukashenko meets artistic young people

By Igor Slavinsky

The event at the National Library seemed to be a logical continuation of the President’s recent meetings with writers and scientists. However, there was one serious difference: on meeting grey-haired doctors of science and members of the Writers’ Union, Mr. Lukashenko seriously questioned them. At the National Library, he spent more time listening. The youngsters offered many ideas but, despite the meeting lasting three and a half hours, time did not allow for all voices to be heard.

An exhibition of youngsters’ achievements was organised at the entrance to the conference hall. These included a design for a car, an architectural project for a new House of Culture for the city of Nesvizh and a ‘Crucifix’ sculptural composition (to honour victims of the Minsk metro terrorist act). After viewing exhibits on show, the President said, “If you’re talented and determined and do not give up on your dreams, you’ll be a success eventually. We won’t leave such people without support in the future.” He admitted that he believes money is better spent on supporting new talent and concrete artistic projects than in distributing small sums among many groups.

Another aspect which united all those at the meeting was that they universally highlighted Belarus’ support of talented young people. The list of participants — handed to journalists before the meeting — indicated that almost all of the 42 youngsters present were scholarship holders of the Special Fund of the President of Belarus for Support of the Talented Youth. “We have almost two thousand in total; we’ve raised a new generation of artistic intelligentsia,” Mr. Lukashenko explained.
Belarus has established careful infrastructure for supporting talented children — including over 100 pre-school educational centres, 29 lyceums, 215 gymnasiums, and dozens of thousands of clubs uniting youngsters through their interests. The country has preserved a successful system of art education, embracing arts schools and universities. Most importantly, all are open to anyone with talent and the desire to succeed.

“You all wish to live as they do in Europe,” the President told not only those present at the National Library but all talented youngsters countrywide. “It’s no bad thing but, to achieve this, you need to work European-style — where success relies both on artistic ability and competent management. We are yet to achieve a worthy level in the latter.” With this in mind, Mr. Lukashenko wishes to encourage sponsorship. Much has been done in this field already, with laws adopted not long ago. Culture Minister Pavel Latushko explains that, this year, much non-budgetary money has been attracted for various festivals, although such sponsorship is yet to become common here (as noted by the young people).

The outflow of young specialists is another problem, as theatre director Tatiana Troyanovich commented. She notes that potential colleagues have left the country, with Russia and Europe offering better salaries. The Presidential Press Service distributed briefing papers among journalists which stated that, since summer, 14 people have left the Belarusian Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre (last year, only 3 people left). However, at the meeting, ballet dancers and opera singers expressed their gratitude for the restoration of their theatre, which has inspired their artistic development. In fact, tickets for traditional ballet and opera performances sell out very quickly.

“The state is ready to give you a fishing rod but you must be prepared to fish,” Mr. Lukashenko said. Speaking of a fishing rod, he explained that he primarily meant the creation of conditions for talented young people to receive an education and undertake further creative work.

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