Mission of the VEF:
To bring new life to the Via Egnatia and the regions around it, so that Via Egnatia can again become a way to connect people, through contact and exchange of knowledge and culture.
The concrete part of this mission is to help develop Via Egnatia into a cross-border hiking trail. The relational side is to stimulate cooperation and exchange between people, organizations and experts involved in the Via Egnatia.
All the activities of VEF have one common focus: to further social and economic development of the regions along Via Egnatia, and ultimately friendship and peace by connecting people from many countries.
Principles of VEF:
- This is not our road. Nor is VE anybody else's property. VE is part of a common cultural heritage that is worth to be protected and preserved.
- VEF is a non-profit organization.
- Communication with and tuning in with local population and organizations on an equal basis.
- Respect for environment; nature and culture.
- Cooperation and teamwork on all levels of the organization.
- Diverse talents and contributions are valued in the VEF.
- Crucial decisions about Via Egnatia should be based as much as possible on scientific research.
- Stimulation of interdisciplinary and international research on VE.
- Historical educational material should be based on common history.
- Focus on cross-border activities rather than only local activities.
- Encouraging tourism that is based on real interest in and commitment to the VE region.
- To stimulate creativity and pleasure on all levels and in all (sub)projects.
Examples of what VEF does:
- Making a book and a documentary about life along Via Egnatia
- Youth-exchange programs connected with archeological sites, as well as between schools along VE
- Archeological events along VE for in- and outsider
- Making a common database on the archaeology of VE
- Research into "migration along Via Egnatia"
- Developing educational material based on Via Egnatia’s common history
- Organizing concerts with musicians from all involved countries along VE
- Organizing a traveling exhibition about history of VE
- Helping with preservation and reconstruction of the road itself
- Supporting local initiatives like small Bed&Breakfast’s, donkey-stations
Examples of what VEF does not:
- We do not organize touristic events
- We do not fund non-VEF initiatives
- We do not impose projects on local people against their wish
- We do not engage with nationalistic organizations or ideas
- We do not take sides in conflicts between nations
Again: the aim of all this scientific, human and cultural endeavor is to contribute to the development of the regions along Via Egnatia, and ultimately to friendship and peace, by connecting people.
(...) That’s the whole
point of being a path: it came to be made
long ago. Who made it? Charcoal burners, fisherfolk,
women with skinny arms, gathering firewood?
The outlaws, shysters, gray as the moss,
Still in their dreams the blood of fratricide
reddens their hands. Autumn hunters on the tracks
of pointer dogs with barks clear as frost?
All of them, none of them. We make the path together,
you too, on a stormy day, on earth,
be the hour late or early:
we write the paths and they stick,
and the paths are more clever than us,
and they know all the things we wanted to know.
From: Ballad of the Paths in Västmanland by Lars Gustafsson.
In: Elegies and other poems by Lars Gustafsson,
edited by Christopher Middleton, NDP, New York, 2000.