The Unit is in charge of bilateral or multilateral cultural relationships with foreign partners (excluding the EU and the Council of Europe).
Its agenda includes the preparation and negotiation of bilateral international agreements in the area of cultural cooperation and the fulfilment of the obligations under these agreements. The lists are only available in Czech language at the following link.
In cooperation with the relevant state-funded institutions established by the Ministry, the Unit also provides for national presentations of Czech art at leading international cultural events. Trade fairs, festivals and show events represent ideal opportunities to promote and support Czech culture abroad. This in particular applies to presentations of national literature, performing arts and music, i.e., those cultural sectors that are, in terms of reception, most export-friendly. International trade fairs, festivals and shows are at once events where professionals from various fields meet to discuss their experience and share their knowledge and examples of good practice. The most important international events where Czech music is regularly showcased include: Eurosonic Noordeslaag (Netherlands), Reeperbahn Festival (Germany) and MENT (Slovenia). Presentations of Czech performing arts are supported, for example, at Tanzmesse (Germany), the Baltoscandal Festival in Estonia and Santarcangelo in Italy. Czech literature is presented, for example, at the Leipziger Buchmesse book fair in Leipzig and the Buch Wien fair in Vienna. Furthermore, in cooperation with the National Gallery, the Unit also prepares and executes exhibition projects connected with the presentation of contemporary Czech art and architecture at the Venice Biennale.
Other tasks of the Bilateral Cooperation Unit involve the preparation and organisation of official receptions of foreign delegations by the Ministry's top actors, coordinating with embassies of foreign countries and Czech embassies abroad, representatives of international organisations and other cultural actors.
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation also takes place as part of the membership of the Ministry of Culture in a number of international organisations or national inter-ministerial working groups, where the parties exchange information on ongoing, and examine newly proposed projects. The International Relations Department represents the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic in such bodies as the Council for Foreign Development Cooperation (MFA), the Czech-Azerbaijani Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (MIT), the Working Group on Cooperation Between the Czech Republic and the OECD (MFA), the Czech-Bavarian and Czech-Saxon Working Group on Cross-Border Cooperation (MFA), and many others.
In terms of territorial delimitation, Central Europe is one of the culturally closest regions with which the Czech Republic maintains intensive and long-term cooperation within the system of bilateral and multilateral relations. The Visegrad Group is the strongest cooperative body in the region. The International Visegrad Fund remains a key partner, significantly contributing to the strengthening of mutual ties between the citizens of the V4 countries and advancing the intercultural dialogue. The Visegrad cooperation in particular involves the exchange of expertise, creation of platforms to discuss topics of common interest and coordination of cooperative efforts with other foreign partners. The cooperative efforts rests on such pillars as library science, cultural heritage, audiovisual, music and live arts. It plays an indispensable role in supporting the execution of specific cultural projects in the member countries. The Czech Republic also maintains dynamic cultural relations with the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria.
What is characteristic in respect of Western Europe is the Czech Republic's long-standing cooperation with France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In addition, strong cultural exchanges with the Benelux countries are a source of inspiration and best practices in advancing the cultural policy as regards funding models and international cooperation.
Italy is yet another important partner in the Euro-Atlantic area and in South Eastern Europe. The cultural exchanges are quite intense. The priority of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic is to support on an ongoing basis the Czech national participation in the Venice Biennale of Art and Architecture. The Czech Republic has traditionally enjoyed strong cultural ties with Croatia. Traditional folk culture is an important element in Czech-Croatian cultural relations, with regular support made available to various ventures of the Croatian minority in the Czech Republic, especially the establishment of the Museum of Moravian Croats. This has been reciprocated with the establishment of the Czech Cultural House in Croatia. The Czech Republic also keeps long-standing direct cultural contacts with Slovenia.
The long tradition and common historical heritage are a testament to the mutual ties between the Czech Republic and the State of Israel. Also attended by the Ministers of Culture of the respective countries, joint meetings are held between the Czech and Israeli governments. Israel is a regular destination of Czech culture exports. In addition to the traditional cooperation between heritage institutions and the promotion of Czech theatre and Czech music, both countries pursue cooperation in joint film production.
Cultural relations have also been established with the countries of North Africa. Historically, Czechia has strong ties with Egypt following decades of cooperation in archaeology, the continuation of which the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic will support to the best of its ability. Cooperation with Syria will continue in the area of archaeology preservation of damaged monuments. In Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, potentials for promising joint projects are seen in digitisation and preservation of documents, and in museology and library science.
The cooperative ventures with countries in sub-Saharan Africa mostly take the form of ad hoc projects initiated by cultural actors and supported by grants launched by the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry continues to develop activities as part of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on the Implementation of the 2022-2024 Reconstruction Programme of the Czech Republic in the Middle East Region and the Africa Programme (MFA) and the Council for Foreign Development Cooperation (CDFC).
Cultural cooperation is an important means of strengthening relations with the Indo-Pacific region, which has long been one of the EU's foreign policy priorities. One of the most important partners in this region is the Republic of Korea. The cultural exchanges between the two countries are relatively intensive, also in view of the considerable geographical distance separating the countries and the inherent financial constraints. Japan is also a key partner. Bilateral cooperation with the People's Republic of China is based on existing cooperative ventures put in place on the basis of regularly signed cultural cooperation protocols. At the multilateral level, the Ministry of Culture participates, where possible, in the Chinese initiative aimed at the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, known as 16+1. Cultural exchanges with the countries of South-East Asia are rather sporadic, mainly due to the geographical distance separating the territories; yet the Czech Republic is increasingly viewing a huge potential for economic cooperation in this region, and the Ministry of Culture will support cultural ventures that help to enhance the cooperation. Cultural contacts with Australia are occasional.
In North America, the United States of America and Canada are undoubtedly top the strongest partners in the transatlantic relationship. Cultural exchanges with these countries mainly take place through the embassies, compatriot associations and, for the United States, through the New York-based Czech Centre. The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic regularly supports presentations of Czech theatre, dance and nouveau cirque in Canada.
Latin America and the Caribbean represent a geographically distant region, yet one that is dynamically developing and historically and culturally close. Cultural cooperation is rather sporadic at the time being, yet showing promise in terms of deeper mutual ties to be established in the future. The presentations of Czech literature in Columbia have shown promising signs.