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Òmnium Cultural is a cultural association based in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). It was originally created to promote the Catalan language and spread Catalan culture. Since democracy returned to Spain in the 1970s the association has gradually acquired more political stances by sponsoring or joining petitions related to Catalan nationalism advocating for a national identity of Catalonia as a distinct nation[1].

Its motto is Llengua, cultura, país ("Language, culture, country", in Catalan)

Contents

History

Òmnium Cultural was created on 11 July, 1961 in the context of Francoist Spain when the institutional use of Catalan was forbidden. In 1963 the Francoist authorities closed down the association. Òmnium had to continue to exist as a clandestine association in the 1963-1967 period. In 1967, after a long legal case before the Francoist courts, the association won its right to exist and was once again authorized.

In order to promote the Catalan culture within the many limits of Francoism, Òmnium was the main sponsor of creating various awards and literary contests for works published in Catalan, such as the Premi d'Honor de les Lletres Catalanes (1969). Then by the early 1970s it established the`Nit de Santa Llúcia a festival of Catalan literature when three different awards are granted, Premi Sant Jordi (novel), Premi Mercè Rodoreda (short story) and the Premi Carles Riba (poetry).

After the end of the Francoist dictatorship in 1975, Òmnium continued its work, which became, then, unrestrained. Still, the subsequent legalization of all the political parties (including Catalan separatist ones) deprived Òmnium of some of its former pervasiveness in things Catalan. Once democracy was restored, Òmnium started moving towards more straightforward Catalan nationalist positions, sponsoring campaigns such as lobbying the government to have all the products sold in Catalonia labelled in Catalan.

Structure and Funding

The association claims to have some 20,000 members and 26 regional offices besides the headquarters in Barcelona. It is headed by Jordi Porta i Ribalta.

Òmnium Cultural works with other organizations that share similar goals in other Catalan-speaking territories: Acció Cultural del País Valencià (in the Valencian Community) and Obra Cultural Balear (in the Balearic Islands).

Its main source of funding is the public money granted by the Catalan regional government or Generalitat de Catalunya, which amounts approximately 600,000 euros a year[2].

As of 2009, there has been recent debate in the Catalan parliament about the high amount of the funds received compared to other cultural entities [3] and certain irregularities about its origin [4]. The debate has been centered about the neutrality of the Catalan Government towards the organization, since the fundation is actively promoting certain political viewpoints -namely Catalan independentism- which are held by Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, one of the political parties in the Catalan regional government.

It was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi by the Generalitat de Catalunya.

See also

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ http://www.cope.es/espana/21-10-09--escandalo-omnium-cultural-guerra-constitucion-dinero-publico-97909-1
  4. ^ http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2009/10/13/barcelona/1255412920.html
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