DEAC News Update: Israel's Foreign Ministry Partners With Dukley European Arts Community in Montenegro

Press Release ( - Kotor, Montenegro - Sep 20, 2016 - ​​​​In the days prior to the Jewish New Year, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has entered into a unique partnership with the Montenegrin NGO Dukley European Arts Community (DEAC). This comes on the heels of a June reception in Jerusalem celebrating the 10th anniversary of Montenegrin independence and a successful summer tourism season of direct flights shuttling Israeli tourists to the Adriatic Riviera. 

At the historic Jugooceanija Building in Kotor, over 100 dignitaries from around the world gathered tonight to welcome two award-winning Israeli artists – Shirley Siegel and Shuruq Egbariah. One Jewish and one Arab, these two “citizen ambassadors” are tasked by the Israeli government with the same unique mission – demonstrating the power of art to bring people and cultures together. The night marks the first time in history that Israeli food was served in Montenegro and signals rapidly deepening ties.

Art is the universal language and it plays a unique role in bringing peoples and cultures together.

Neil Emilfarb, Founder of the Dukley European Arts Community

Before Ministers, Ambassadors, civic, religious and business leaders, Neil Emilfarb, founder of the Dukley European Arts Community opened the reception, “Art is the universal language and it plays a unique role in bringing peoples and cultures together. Montenegro is a short flight from Israel and has never had an incident of Anti-Semitism.”

Emilfarb was one of the first Jewish emigres from the USSR to New England leaving Tashkent, USSR in 1979 to settle in Hartford. Having lived the American dream, he has spent the last eight years residing in Montenegro. In Budva, Montenegro, Neil has been active in the tourism industry constructing multi-million euro seaside resorts. Rising to be the largest American investor in the region, he has been the leading advocate of Montenegrin NATO integration. In October 2014, for example, he coordinated with the US Embassy to host Senator Chris Murphy for high level discussions centered on NATO enlargement and the power of commercial diplomacy.

In less than two years, the Dukley European Arts Community (DEAC) has begun to positively transform the cultural infrastructure of Montenegro. Utilizing artists from across Europe, DEAC has enhanced Montenegrin theaters, universities, galleries and municipalities. Additionally, DEAC has prolonged the tourism season – critical for the Montenegrin economy – with innovative cultural programming and arts festivals in the spring and autumn. Gallery and studio space for visiting international artists comprise the heart of DEAC and are located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kotor.

DEAC was launched by Emilfarb as a way for his company, Stratex Group, to give back to the people of Montenegro and to push the limits of 21st Century cultural diplomacy.

Similar to Montenegro, Israel is blessed with incredible natural beauty and has always been situated at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations. It is from this diversity and this history that these artists will find their muse. Through innovative cultural diplomacy over an intense two week residency, these dynamic artists aim to bring the people of Montenegro and Israel closer together.

To Coordinate Interviews in Montenegrin, Hebrew or English with the Artists or Neil Emilfarb:

Milena Spahic, +382 69 170007,

Ari Mittleman, +1-202-744-7170,

Source : Dukley European Arts Community (DEAC)
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