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 Our History

‘MITTELEUROPA’ - Our History

The ‘Mitteleuropa’ Cultural Association was founded in Cervignano del Friuli (Italy) on 26th October 1974 during a convivial evening, where a group of citizens from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region took the initiative to create a sodality promoting friendship among Central European peoples, by facilitating their meeting and cultural debates. Since that milestone evening, conceiver and leader has been Dr. Paolo Petiziol, a guide who succeeded in obtaining prestigious national and international approval, following some significant activities undertaken during these thirty years of association duration.



It is to be duly remembered how, at that time, Europe was divided and wounded by an iron curtain which crossed it from north to south, just in its central area. Communication and dialogue were very difficult, almost impossible… in short, ‘the Central-European idea’ could appear to be a real utopia! However, being able to believe in “dreams” and pursuing them with passion and firmness has been the true strength of such a unique sodality.



From the very beginning, the Association evinced its missionof social solidarity by consolidating the bonds of brotherhood and coexistence with neighbouring countries - as its Statute says, beyond old and new borders - as well as extending projects and horizons to the whole Central-European area.



Since 1979, the Association has published a quarterly magazine, “Mitteleuropa, which is sent out to members, international, national, regional institutional delegations and cultural operators (libraries, universities, etc.).



Since 1975, in the third week of August, the Association has organised the Central European People’s Festival in Cormòns and Giassico, an event which draws dozens of thousands of persons coming from various Central European countries every year. This festival is arranged under the patronage of the relevant Embassies, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities, the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Province of Gorizia.
In connection with the above-mentioned event, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture awarded the ‘Mitteleuropa’ Cultural Association with the prize “The Golden Stars of Town Twinning” (Poznan, 2003), an award reserved to the best ten projects all over Europe.



Since 1991, every year, the Association has celebrated the Day of Remembrancein memory of 2nd May 1989, when the governments of Austria and Hungary let the iron curtain fall, taking down that barbed wire dividing them after several centuries of common life. Since that ‘prophetic’ day, the process of European reunification has started: a long, difficult but unavoidable process… a cultural imperative for everyone of us.




In 2001, the Association set up an international award, the Laudis et Honoris Signum”,which is annually conferred to illustrious figures who - in their specific fields of expertise (art, economy, music, politics, diplomacy, literature and poetry, humanitarian deeds, etc.) - have achieved excellence and special merit in favour of the supranational ‘Mitteleuropean’ ideal, promoting solid cohesion among European peoples.




Thanks to the choice and financial support of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, since 2002 the Association has hosted a three-year project, entitled ‘Aquileia: from a Land of Passage to a Land of Message’. This endeavour focused on encouraging dialogue among Europe’s Christian cultures (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) as a contribution towards building the founding principles of European union. The 2004 edition of the project sponsored an international conference with the participation of leading religious delegations and scholars from East and West. United Europe in spirituality, at least!




In addition to those projects, the Association organises a multitude of activities and initiatives supporting international deeds of collaboration and cooperation among Central-European countries (1991, Cervignano del Friuli: meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. 1995, Gorizia: meeting between the Presidents of Italian and Austrian Republics, etc.).



Cervignano del Friuli, 26.10.1974 - The Association was set up

The “Mitteleurope Cross” is being given to an Austro-Hungarian veteran from Friuli

Giassico, 1997 (the Czech group)

Cervignano del Friuli, 3.11.1991 - Mr. P. Petiziol, Prof. J. Mikloško (Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech and Slovak Republic), Mr. G. Jeszenszky (Foreign Minister of the Republic of Hungary), Mr. T. Klestil (Secretary at the Foreign Ministry of the Austrian Republic), Mr. A. Grafini (Head of the Cabinet at the Italian Foreign Ministry), Prof. M. Travanut (Mayor of Cervignano)

Trieste - Serbian Orthodox church of St. Spiridione, 25.10.2003 – Meeting among the western and eastern Christian churches

Klagenfurt, 10.10.1990 – Mitteleurope Association parading before the highest authorities of the Austrian Republic (in the picture the President, the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister)

Gorizia, 4.10.1995 – The cuirassier on the Isonzo river bridge before the arrival of the Presidents of the Italian Republic and the Austrian Republic. This meeting was strongly encouraged and organised by our Association

President Petiziol is giving the “Wine of Peace” to the President of the Italian Republic (Mr. Scalfaro)

Strasburg, June 1992 – EMPs Joachim Dalsass and Otto von Habsburg welcomed the Mitteleurope delegation at the European Parliament

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