Between November 29th and December 3rd, 2012, I.G.F. deployed a few important moments for our activity in the capital of European culture, Guimaraeş, Portugal.

I.G.F.’s General Assembly wrote down the presence of the following delegations : Romania, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece, Serbia, Israel, Ukraine, Croatia, Portugal.

I.G.F.’s president, prof. PhD Dorel Cosma, presented a report on the activity carried out between the elections till present days :

Dear colleagues,

We see each other again, almost all of us, one year and two months after the I.G.F. elections. Back then, in October 2011, I took over I.G.F.’s management with a new team, whose goal was to enliven the name and the renown of our organisation. The steps that we made were not easy at all. At the beginning, a real reorganisation was called for. And we started everything from nil, seeing that the former top management didn’t give us over any document, not even a list of the composing members. Therefore the very first step was to draw up the real breakdown of the I.G.F. members that comply with our requirements and are not mere formal presences in I.G.F. That is the reason why the leaflet that we spread out in the world includes the Federations that complied with our requirements and sent us the complete form of the country that they represent. There are a few more specifications of certain Federations, which we will be awaiting till the end of this month. So, starting from 2013, I.G.F.’s General Secretariat will have the full list of the active members and their correct addresses. Given that many times official letters are needed, we took the urgent measure of creating an I.G.F. corporate seal that could authenticate the official documents. At the chairman’s office there is now a file with all the documents sent or received. One of the goals I set up is to be able to draw up official certificates for all I.G.F.’s Board members after the first meeting after the October General Assembly. Consequently, at the December 2011 meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria, each present member officially received the member certificate duly registered, signed and stamped. We will carry on this activity and we will issue member certificates to all I.G.F.’s Federations.

As everybody knows, our organisation hasn’t had a representative flag for a long time. We took the necessary measures and in Sofia too we presented our new flag, which was sanctified at the St. Sofia cathedral, in the presence of I.G.F.’s board. The flag can now be seen here and we officially proceed to its handing over while the anthems of the transmitting and receiving countries are being sung.

We thought that the I.G.F. News magazine should be continued with at least annual issues. The activities of the year are to be found in issue 19-20 / 2011-2012, where we set out both the most important moments and I.G.F. Board’s decisions, as well as the Regulations for our important activities. We also edited the ‘Men and Women’ scientific magazine, which includes the colleagues’ speeches made within the symposium held in Bistriţa.

I’d like to recall another important administrative activity, namely the creation of the website, which can be accessed from any corner of the world anytime. The site is a presentation of our activity and an important means to make ourselves known.

After my attending the ‘Oscar’ Awards in Russia 2011, I set up a few measures for I.G.F.’s Board as to how this important prize should be awarded. These measures were approved of and will take effect from 2013 thereon. These new Regulations are to be found both in our magazine and on I.G.F.’s website, so I’m kindly asking all my colleagues to comply therewith. This year, in 2012, here, in Guimaraes, we will act according to the old organisational way, combined with a few elements taken from the new regulations. Please note that so far there were no Regulations, which is a fact that gave rise to many debates. For the awards of this year, 2012, I personally was present here, in Guimaraes, where I discussed very good and important matters with our colleague, Fernando Ferreira, whom I thank in this way as well for his effort and work in the putting on of this event. On this occasion, apart form the official plaquettes that we award to the prize winners, we also introduced an ‘Oscar’ medal, which will be handed over to each prize winner, as a sign of acknowledgment and appreciation to those who received this prize since 2008 till present time. I will gladly hand them over to them officially. I’d like to specify that all these prizes are made directly by the chairman, so not from I.G.F.’s funds.

World Folk Stars is another event that was carried out under I.G.F.’s new top management. In Razgrad, Bulgaria, our colleague, Rosen Bogdanov – secretary general, was the host of an excellent festival that crowned the work of six Federations : Bulgaria, Italy, Cyprus, Romania, Ukraine and Croatia. It was a real success and I thank all the colleagues that honoured the invitation and came to Razgrad. This proved I.G.F.’s value and force.

The Metz, France Congress and Festival were highly successfully arranged by deputy chairman Charléty Nicolas. Both the Festival and the Symposium enjoyed real success both from the part of the audience and by the artists.

The meetings that I had with the Italian Federation in Castrovilari, with the Serbian Federation in Belgrade or with the Spanish one in Qurense proved to me the effort and the work of our colleagues, Benito Ripoli, Vladan Tesanovic and Antonio Vinars in furthering the universal folk values and I.G.F.’s renown.

During that period of time, I also met some other managers of Federations belonging to several countries, which I am kindly awaiting to come towards us. In this respect, the Federations from Germany, Israel 2, The Moldavian Republic and Italy 2 are already our members. We have also carrying out advanced discussions with Austria, Greece 2, Norway and so on.

I have recently been the guest of a powerful Federation from Petersburg, Russia. I was part of an international jury and I saw an amazing folklore there. I am also awaiting this Federation to come towards I.G.F., too, these days.

Money contribution is an important element in our activity, as the modest sums suggested are necessary for our furtherance. That is why I am kindly asking all our colleagues to pay the set up contribution in due time, during the first quarter of each year. I am saying this in order to avoid the unpleasant situations of exclusions. Please find attached a contributions breakdown that our treasurer, Claude Serrail, sent us.

I’d like to thank here the colleagues from I.G.F.’s Board, with whom I had an excellent work. I’ve also had and still have a remarkable collaboration with the secretary general, Rosen Bogdanov, who is particularly active and interested in our name. I also collaborated very well with deputy chairman Nicolas Charléty and with the French Federation. I also had frequent meetings with vice-chairman Benito Ripoli, where I noticed the effort of the Italian Federation. I have also had excellent joint activities with vice-chairman Antonio Vinars and vice-chairman Michalis Lanitis. I’ve had many meetings or discussions with Vladan Tesanovic, Claude Sarrail, Birute Akelaitiene, Indra Filipsone, Fernando Ferreira, Zenon Kolybich, Manda Svirac, Ammen Kassem, Josef Revak and so forth. I am glad to have such excellent colleagues, with whom I can arrange and discuss important matters linked to the future of I.G.F. and of folk culture in general.

Everything I did and will do is in the spirit of our Charter and Regulations, namely mutual respect, appreciation and valorisation of universal culture. No activity report has ever been presented in I.G.F.’s history. I think it’s time to overcome the meaningless meetings and words ; that is why I drew up this report, which I most confidently submit to your attention.

Dorel Cosma, Prof. PhD

I.G.F.’s president

Then the Secretary General, Rozen Bogdanov, presented the updated breakdown of the pecuniary contributions, according to the document forwarded by the treasurer Claude Sarrail.

I.G.F.’s vice-chairman, Benito Ripoli, introduced the Italian delegation and the new federation F.I.S.B., which adhered to I.G.F.

The vice-chairman Antonio Vinas spoke about the sponsors’ usefulness in the folklore life.

I.G.F.’s chairman, Dorel Cosma, presented the Oscar plaquettes and medals to the General Assembly. Then he thanked the Board mates for their work and officially handed the Oscar medals for the previous years’ laureates. He then thanked the Portuguese Folklore Federation’s chairman, Fernando Ferreira, for the good organisation of the Guimaraeş meeting.

I.G.F.’s Regulations, as well as the Oscar and World Folk Stars Regulations were set up to be strictly complied with.

As regards the money contribution, the outstanding countries were indicated, the next step being the secretary general’s sending them a last warning, after which there comes exclusion.

The federations from Germany, Italy 2 and the Moldavian Republic were approved of and received in applauses, the answer of some other federations being awaited, too, in the near future.

I.G.F.’s chairman’s proposition concerning the execution of a presentation movie was welcomed very well. Till January 30th, 2013 each country shall send the chairman a maximum 6-7 minute movie presenting its federation.

In June 2013, I.G.F. will arrange a real folklore caravan on the Romania–Italy–France–Spain route, 2 soloists from each country participating therein. In early January 2013 we will draw up the regulations and forward them to everybody. In January we will also set up the place and date of the Board’s meeting for 2013, given that in the summer of 2013 we will have the Oscar and World Folk Stars prizes in Serbia (in August).

All delegates were welcomed by Guimaraeş’ mayor within an official meeting.

The Oscar Prizes Gala took place in a splendid elegant hall-room, where both the 13 Oscar prize receivers and 8 personalities from the Portuguese federation, to whom I.G.F. granted the ‘Lucien Moll’ and ‘Denis Bidault’ Special Prizes, as well as some other awards for the first time, were invited.

Mister president

Dear audience,

I am tremendously honoured to address here, in Guimaraeş, the capital of European culture, warm salutations to all the guests and to all the people in the world that love culture. I came here with the joy of a new experience – because ‘Culture’, as Fernando Pasoa asserts, ‘means first of all to know a lot.’ And I think that in a wonderful capital of European culture as Guimaraeş, this is precisely that we are doing now : we try to know a lot, to know each other better, to appreciate ourselves, to appreciate and to treasure our national and international cultural values. In this way we respect our national and universal history, because, as André Malraux was saying, ‘Culture is the sum of all forms of art, of love and of thinking that, along the centuries, helped man be less and less enslaved’. In this large sphere of culture, folklore is an inseparable part of a people’s life and it stands out as an important means of knowing people, social life and the national framework where these ones are carried out. It is the very way of living of the people throughout history and it expresses, in artistic images, the sorrows and the joys experienced during the integration in the identity of a country, of a people, the goals of freedom of this one and of the community to which it belongs. Folklore proves to be art in its pure definition, it provides a link to the real world by the artistic sublime, it is a human response to the crucial moments of life, of existence. Because what else would Fado – this sublime expression of the Portuguese culture – be ? Today we enjoy and freshen up our cultural forces from this inexhaustible fountain of the Portuguese folk culture.

I.G.F.’s European and extra-European Union is present here at its highest level, including delegations coming from countries with a wide and various folk range. This is a sign of respect for the work and the effort of the Portuguese Folklore Federation that is wisely managed by its chairman, Mr. Fernando Fereira, a member of I.G.F.’s Executive Board. Maybe some of the people present here are wondering ‘What is this I.G.F. ?’ It is a European and extra-European folklore Union founded in 1947 by the Folklore Federations from France and Italy. This was perhaps the very first step towards what the European Union is nowadays. Our family has extended ever since, comprising today more than 50 countries, even beyond Europe’s borders. It is a joy to have here today representatives of the folklore from Latin America and in the future we will even more glad if these delegations – with their federations – direct themselves towards our large I.G.F. family. The folklore ‘Oscar’ prizes, which we will award from this high rostrum these days are another living proof of the incessant activity that I.G.F. carries out worldwide. Freshened up an completed with new forces, I.G.F.’s new management established within the 2011 General Assembly set as a goal a sustained work of conspicuousness and cooperation with all the cultural forces worldwide. Apart from these ‘Oscar’ prizes, which are awarded each year, the World Folk Stars Festival, carried out in Razgrad, Bulgaria, for its first edition of 2012, points out, on a yearly basis, too, the most representative folk groups in the world. The deployment of Scientific Congresses, like the events from France coordinated by the deputy chairman Nicolas Charléty or from Italy – coordinated by the vice-chairman Benito Ripoli, are guarantees of I.G.F.’s interest in research and in the observance of the universal cultural values. Within the spirit of the same respect, I.G.F.’s Board ordained high merit awards to our forerunners, to those who laid I.G.F.’s foundations : Lucien Moll, Denis Badault, Hans Iorg Brenner, Maurice Perier or Lillo Alessandro.

From this rostrum of the capital of European culture, Guimaraeş, we transmit, on I.G.F.’s behalf, our wish of collaboration, of cooperation in the spirit of peace and of the world folk values. ‘Art expresses’, as the same great Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa says, ‘but the need to express oneself.’. We express our love for worldwide folklore, our respect and appreciation for this formidable organisation arranged by the Portuguese Folklore Federation. We will come back home persuaded that here, in Fado’s world, Matthew Arnold’s words will remain unaltered : ‘Culture means knowing what the best and most valuable things in the world were said and thought.’

Dorel Cosma Prof. PhD

I.G.F.’s President

I.G.F.’s president , prof. PhD Dorel Cosma, was granted the golden thread ‘Malta Cross’ award by the organisers for furthering and supporting world folklore.

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