The 2nd IOV Assembly of the Americas, „Ethnic Diversity: The Protagonist of Future Generations”, took place in Ijui, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, between October 12th-16th, 2022. The participants were comprised of IOV National Section Chairs and IOV members: in person from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Mexico, various parts of Brazil, and from Armenia and Poland outside South America, and virtually: from Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica and Panama. They presented and discussed work in their National Sections: projects actually conducted and planned for the future. The Assembly manifested intense and lively activity of our American IOV colleagues and their enthusiasm and devotion to work for IOV in this part of the world, where folk culture is very strong and important. Apart from face-to-face participants, the 2nd IOV Assembly of the Americas, which was open to the general public, included many of those outside IOV who took part virtually: members of public and private organizations which deal with diversity of cultural expressions and protection of material and immaterial cultural heritage, students of Ijui University, and other interested persons and organizations. The Assembly was organized in conjunction with Expofest Ijui 2022, the largest Festive Event of Ethnicities in Brazil: it honored over 130 years of the multiethnic colonization and the Ethnic Movement in Ijui, the municipality which has been called „Little Europe of America” and „Babel of the New World” and was granted the titles of „National Capital of Ethnicities” and „International Capital of Ethnicities of the Americas”. IOV World was represented by IOV Secretary General Fabrizio Cattaneo and Chair of IOV Europe Science and Research Commission professor Anna Brzozowska-Krajka, special guests to the Assembly.
In the opening ceremony, which took place in the Auditorium of the Headquarters of Union of Ethnicities of Ijui (UETI), official addresses were given by the President of UETI and Expofest Ijui 2022, the Vice-President for International Affairs and Institutional Links at Expofest 2022, the initial articulator of the Movement of Ethnicities in Ijui and the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the Mayor of Ijui, the Secretary General of IOV World, and the Executive Director of IOV of the Americas and the President of IOV Brazil. Diplomas of appreciation for work in IOV were granted, among others, to IOV officials: IOV World Secretary General Fabrizio Cattaneo, Executive Director of IOV for the Americas and the Chair of IOV Brazil Antonio Clerton Vieira da Sailva, and Chair of IOV Europe Science and Research Commission professor Anna Brzozowska-Krajka. The plenary lectures at the 2nd IOV Assembly of the Americas were delivered by
– IOV Secretary General Fabrizio Cattaneo who presented the IOV structure, principal goals and possibilities of work in the organization;
– IOV Executive Director for the Americas and President of IOV Brazil Antonio Clerton Vieira da Silva who outlined the achievements of IOV in this Region;
– Vice-President for International Affairs and Institutional Links at Expofest 2022, professor Adelar Francisco Baggio, who presented achievements of the Ethnic Movement in Ijui and environs, along with the goals and organization of the Ethnic Festival Expofest 2022;
– Chair of IOV Europe Science and Research Commission, professor Anna Brzozowska-Krajka, who presented her lecture „A unity of ethnic diversities: the importance, priorities, partnerships and academic and scientific perspectives of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe”. Her resume of the achievements of this Commission was crowned with a proposal to conduct global studies of diasporic folk cultures as a project of co-operation among the Science and Research Commissions of IOV Regions. Her lecture was seconded by the text „Folk Culture as a Platform and Bridge of Communication”, authored by professor Mohammad Al Nouiri, Chairman of the IOV World Science and Research Commission, which was sent and distributed among the Assembly participants.
These lectures aroused interest among the participants of the Assembly, and discussions upon them nicely amalgamated with the panel presentations and discussions by the IOV representatives from the Americas about activities and work of IOV in this Region which followed the plenary lectures. The Assembly definitely strengthened relationships and exchanges between the IOV structures operating in the countries of the Americas, as well as the civil society initiatives focussed on diversity of cultural expressions and safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Assembly was concluded with preparing and signing its Final Document. It is hoped that intense work of IOV members in the Americas will continue, will bring good results, and that it will stimulate activity of IOV members in other Regions of the World, as well as their global co-operation.
The Assembly and the Expofest took place in the fabulous atmosphere of the Wanderley Agostinho Burmann Exhibition Park where the IOV members present could enjoy performances given by folk dance ensembles of various ethnic groups from Brazil, as well as enjoy African, Arab, Austrian, Dutch, Gaucho, German, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish ethnic cuisine. They could immerse in the crowd of local people who enjoyed all attractions of the Expofest.
Accompanying events included a visit to the Jesuit Missions and Ruins of São Miguel (a site of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage) – the place of massive missionary activities directed at the indigenous people from the 16th century onwards, and planting a symbolic tree in the Ijui Expofest Park; there were also some ethnic performances by participants in the Assembly.
Gratitude should be expressed to the organizers and sponsors of the 2nd IOV Assembly of the Americas and of the entire Expofest Ijui 2022: first of all to Union of Ethnicities of Ijui, the Municipal Authorities of Ijui, Public, Business and Strategic Institutions of Ijui, and the Board of Directors of IOV Brazil.
professor Wiesław Krajka
member of IOV Poland