20 June, 2017

Association EPEKA, soc. ent. is celebrating its 9th birthday! On 20 June, we boldly entered our first decade of operation at the Scientific Research Association for Arts, Cultural and Educational Programmes and Technology, a social enterprise.

Nine years have gone by in a flash. Since the euphoric start in 2008, when the founders had big and high-flying goals, the initial enthusiasm has waned and EPeKa was then just another one of the countless stories that took part in the Maribor 2012 – European Capital of Culture programme.

As is our habit – not only towards our funders, but towards our own statutes and mission, we continued our work in a sustainable and responsible way even after the ECOC title. Thus, EPeKa became one of the few, if not the only institution established for the Maribor ECOC 2012 title to continue and expand its mission after the title. Although it often feels lonely and sometimes abandoned, it is proudly and fearlessly blazing new trails. Our past successes are the result of responsible work, which has been built upon by opening EPeKa offices abroad: EPEKA Austria, EPEKA Serbia, EPEKA Montenegro, EPEKA Turkey, EPEKA Czech Republic. Why? Because we are proud of our EPC heritage and we are happy to spread it.

So far, we have carried out many projects at home and abroad. From exhibitions in Brussels, Venice, Graz, Luxembourg, Zagreb, youth projects practically all over Europe, social entrepreneurship initiatives (Romani kafenava, EPEKA Youth Cooperative, EPEKA Agency), we are currently an organisation with a regular staff of eight people and dozens of paid staff and volunteers. In the spirit of European community values, we have innovatively built on the ECOC idea with the new title of European Roma Capital.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters who have more or less followed us throughout our life and without whom we would not be what we are. Thank you to the Movit Institute, the Youth Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Economy, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Maribor, CMEPIUS, the Austrian Cultural Forum and others. We sincerely hope to continue our joint stories in the future, when we plan the project Maribor 2025 – European Capital of Culture II.

Štefan Simončič, President

The youth program of EPEKA, Soc. Ent., is supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport — Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth.