Who we are

European Union National Institutes for Culture

EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is the European network of organisations engaging in cultural relations. Together with our partners, we bring to life European cultural collaboration in more than 90 countries worldwide with a network of over 120 clusters, drawing on the broad experience of our members from all EU member states and associate countries.

EUNIC advocates a prominent role of culture in international relations and is a strategic partner of the EU, actively involved in the further definition of European cultural policy. EUNIC is a platform for knowledge sharing and for capacity building amongst its members and partners.

EUNIC’s work is based on the principles of cultural relations. We aim to build fair partnerships by practising mutual listening and learning and engaging in dialogue, co-creation, and joint capacity building.

EUNIC’s understanding of culture includes the arts, creative industries, development cooperation, digitalisation, education, gender, heritage, human rights, language and multilingualism, social inclusion, sports, sustainability, tourism, youth, and others.

EUNIC is one of the 28 European networks supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. It has continuously benefited from this support since 2014.

The purposes of EUNIC are defined as follows:

  • to work together
  • to promote cultural diversity and understanding
  • to strengthen international dialogue and cultural cooperation
  • to become a partner of the EU in defining and implementing EU cultural policy
  • to advocate for the value of cultural relations in promoting better international understanding and, as part of this, argue for a strong and independent voice for the cultural sector
  • to conduct research and share best practices

In 2015, EUNIC devised its first strategic framework and indicated three specific objectives. EUNIC aims to enhance its capacity to design and implement cultural relations projects both inside and outside the EU; to strengthen its advocacy and support research on cultural relations; and to support and facilitate knowledge transfer, training and capacity building between the members of the network. In the course of 2020, the strategic framework will be revised to more accurately fit the network’s current activities and vision.

EUNIC is registered as an international non-profit association (AISBL) under Belgian law.

EUNIC Strategic Framework 2015

EUNIC members engage in cultural and related activities beyond their national borders. They are national institutes for culture or other organisations acting for or on behalf of a national entity, based in EU Member States. EUNIC unites both cultural institutes that operate at arm’s length from national governments and national bodies and ministries. EUNIC currently counts 36 members based in all EU Member States and the UK.

Czech Republic
Czech Centres
Culture Ireland
United Kingdom
British Council

Former members

  • Instytut Adama Mickiewicza
  • Flemish-Dutch House deBuren

EUNIC's General Assembly (GA) is composed of all members and is the governing body of EUNIC. It meets twice a year to steer the network strategically. The GA approves new full and associate members, elects the Board of Directors, and approves EUNIC’s activity plan and budget. The General Assembly is chaired by the President of EUNIC.

EUNIC Statutes
General Assembly Meeting Reports

Executive decisions are taken by the Board of Directors. The six Board members are elected for a period of two years by the full members of EUNIC, with the possibility of re-election for another two years. The set-up of the Board of Directors was revised in 2016 to include six instead of three Board members.

Roberto Vellano

President - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Miguel Albero Suárez

Vice President - AECID

Cees de Graaff

Board member - DutchCulture

Ciarán Devane

Board member - British Council

Johannes Ebert

Board member - Goethe-Institut

Teresa Indjein

Board member - Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs

The EUNIC president chairs the General Assembly and the Board of Directors and represents the network. S/he serves a period of one year.

Roberto Vellano, Director for Cultural and Language Promotion, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was elected Vice-President of EUNIC in June 2018 and became President in June 2019.

Roberto Vellano graduated in 1987 from Turin University in Political Sciences and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following year. His assignments took him to Maputo, Mozambique, where he was Ambassador from 2012 to 2016, as well as to Madrid, Warsaw, Geneva, and to various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. He was appointed Director for Cultural and Language Promotion in March 2017.

Miguel Albero Suárez was elected Vice-President of EUNIC in June 2019 and will become President in 2020.

Gitte Zschoch
Gitte Zschoch became Director of EUNIC in 2018. Previously, she was the founding director of the Goethe-Institut's branch in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and has held different roles for the Goethe-Institut in Seoul, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and in the Munich main office, where she was Deputy Head of Communications. She formerly worked as an independent cultural manager and writer with a focus on visual arts and literature. She holds an MA in Modern Korean Literature from Seoul National University and a BA in Comparative Literature from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

Former EUNIC Directors
Andrew Murray, British Council, 2015-18
Helena Kovarikova, Czech Centres, 2012-15

EUNIC Global is the secretariat of the EUNIC network, based in Brussels. EUNIC Global supports its members in the delivery of collaborative work worldwide, advocates for European cultural relations, and facilitates knowledge sharing and capacity building between the people of the network. The office was established in 2012.

Contact the team here.

Membership fees
EUNIC is funded by proportionate membership fees.

Worldwide activities
EUNIC activities on the ground are financed by members' and partners’ contributions.

Cluster Fund
The Cluster Fund is the network’s most important internal financial instrument and is financed by voluntary contributions by EUNIC members. It supports activities inside and outside the EU with currently around 200,000 euros annually. Since its establishment in 2012, 119 Cluster Fund projects, on average 15 per year, have been financed with a total budget of 970,000 euros.

Additional funding
In 2014, EUNIC received funding as European network from the Creative Europe programme, which was renewed in 2017 for an additional four-year cycle. The Preparatory Action European Spaces of Culture is co-funded by the Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sports and Culture of the European Commission.

Administrative Arrangement: Parntership agreement with the EU
In 2017, EUNIC signed a partnership agreement, an Administrative Arrangement, with the European Commission - represented by the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EAC) - and the European External Action Service (EEAS). In the Arrangement, the three parties agree to initiate joint pilot activities to enhance cooperation between EU Delegations and EUNIC clusters.

This was preceded by the publication of the EU strategy on international cultural relations, the Joint Communication ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’ in 2016, which identifies EUNIC as one of the implementing partners of the EU's cultural relations approach.

Joint activities between the EU and EUNIC
A first joint pilot activity was the publication of the Report on the current state of the partnership between EUNIC clusters and EU Delegations, based on the experiences of collaboration in 14 countries worldwide.

Furthermore, EUNIC, the EEAS and the Commission have co-hosted joint sessions on the role of cultural relations in EU foreign policy during regional seminars in North Macedonia (2018), Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea and the Philippines (2019). In 2020, they are co-hosting webinars on cultural relations for colleagues working in EU Delegations and in the EUNIC network.

To further facilitate cooperation between EU Delegations and the EUNIC network, the Joint Guidelines: EUNIC - European External Action Servic - European Commission partnership were co-authored and published. These guidelines advise colleagues working in EU Delegations and EUNIC clusters worldwide on how to design effective working relationships in order to deliver cultural relations projects.

European Spaces of Culture
In 2018, EUNIC has been granted the Preparatory Action European Spaces of Culture (formerly European ‘Houses’ of Culture), initiated by the European Parliament and implemented through EUNIC’s network, EU Delegations and local stakeholders. The project tests new models of European collaboration in culture.

Cultural relations projects and programmes between EUNIC clusters and EU Delegations are currently being implemented in Bolivia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Further reading

Former Presidents of EUNIC

  • Augustin Favereau, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Board member: 2017-2019, President: 2018-2019)
  • Koen Verlaeckt, Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs (Board member: 2015-2018, President: 2017-2018)
  • Michael Metz Mørch, Danish Cultural Institute (Board member: 2014-2017, President: 2016-2017)
  • Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga, Instituto Cervantes (Board member: 2013-2016, President: 2015-2016)
  • Annika Rembe, Swedish Institute (Board member: 2012-2015, President: 2014-2015)
  • Charles Etienne Lagasse, Wallonie-Bruxelles International (Board member: 2011-2014, President: 2013-2014)
  • Delphine Borione, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Board member: 2011-2013, President: 2012-2013)
  • Ana Paula Laborinho, Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, I.P. (Board member: 2011-2012, President: 2011-2012)
  • Horia-Roman Patapievici, Romanian Cultural Institute (Board member: 2008-2011, President: 2010-2011)
  • Finn Anderson, Danish Cultural Institute (Board member: 2007-2010, President: 2009-2010)
  • Hans-Georg Knopp, Goethe-Institut (Board member: 2006-2009, President: 2008-2009)
  • Emil Brix, Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Board member: 2006-2008, President: 2007-2008)
  • David Green, British Council (Board member: 2006-2007, President: 2006-2007)

Former Board members

  • Anne Grillo, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016-2017)
  • Zdenek Lycka, Czech Centres (2016)
  • Malgorzata Wierzejska, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016-2017)
  • Mario Vielgrader, succeeded by Sandra Kowald, Austrian Cultural Forum (2010-2011)
  • Beata Podgorska, Polish Institute (2010-2011)
Joint Guidelines on the Partnership between EUNIC, the European Commission and the European External Action Service published
European ‘Houses’ of Culture Preparatory Action grant received
Creative Europe programme funding received for the period of 2017-2021
Administrative Arrangement signed, a partnership agreement between EUNIC, the European Commission and the European External Action Service
First strategic framework adopted
EUNIC brings together members from all EU Member States
Creative Europe programme funding received for the period of 2014-2016
EUNIC Cluster Fund created
EUNIC Global office in Brussels installed
Network grows to 50 clusters
Integration of ministries for Member States without cultural institutes
EUNIC network created by six EU cultural institutes: Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British Council, Danish Cultural Institute, Goethe-Institut, Institut français and SICA, the predecessor of DutchCulture