NEWSLETTER 2/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

In his “State of Europe” speech on 9 November 2014 in Berlin, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz warned of the tendecy to set up walls again in Europe, after they had been brought down 25 years ago. He called on all of us to prevent that, out of fear, new borders are built.

 

“A Soul for Europe” believes that culture can help overcome this fear, because culture is what unites us, even when different economic interests seem to separate us. In his opening remarks to Schulz’ speech, “A Soul for Europe” Strategy Group member Farid Tabarki emphasized that “Now is the time to reach out and create alliances that will strengthen our old and new democracies with the means of culture.” And “A Soul for Europe” Strategy Group member Benedict Schofield pointed out the need to “explain and pass on my own passion for our European narrative as a new generation comes of age that has never directly experienced Europe’s foundation out of the ruins of war. Addressing this generational shift has rightly become a core feature of many European projects, not least the new programme of “A Soul for Europe”. Providing the space and mechanisms to allow the citizens of Europe to take responsibility for their own European futures is, indeed, at the heart of my own commitment to Europe, and to the work of “A Soul for Europe”.”

 

 

Projects and Publications

 

Europa eine Seele geben

 

This month, an anthology was published with contributions by members of the “A Soul for Europe” Strategy Group and of the wider “A Soul for Europe” network, such as Erhard Busek and György Konrád. The authors from Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Switzerland and many other countries explore different aspects of their own engagement and involvement in the process of European integration. Among the issues addressed are the role of a European Capital of Culture or a more local experience in trying to build a dialogue with political decision makers or how to encourage a young generation to become active and take responsibility. A great variety of different points of view presents the idea of a Europe, united in its diversity.

The anthology, which was edited by the initiative’s co-founders Nele Hertling and Volker Hassemer, contains a welcoming address by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Advisory Board of “A Soul for Europe”. The book can be purchased here. An English version will be published in 2015.

 

 

Upcoming Events/Activities

 

10 December 2014, Brussels: BRUSSELS CONVERSATIONS

 

The European House for Culture is organizing the Brussels Conversations 2014 on the 10th December 2014 from 9:30 to 15:00 at De Munt/La Monnaie in Brussels.

 

The European House for Culture, as part of the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe, embarked on a programme for the 2014 European elections called The Decisive Deal: A European Resolution on Culture, Values, Democracy and Citizenship. The participatory process has gathered citizens’ ideas from across Europe and developed them during various events and online during 2012-2013. Developed together with high-level politicians, these proposals and demands were presented as a citizen’s pact to the top candidates to the European elections at the occasion of the Berlin Conference in March 2014. Now that the new Parliament and the new Commission are in place we will work with elected leaders of all parties at local, national and European level and to realize the goal of implementing this Decisive Deal: A European Resolution on Culture, Values, Democracy and Citizenship in the next 5-year political term.

 

This is an invitation only event. 

 

 

Past Events/Activities

 

11 November 2014, Riga: FORUM RIGA - “A Soul for Europe”

 

The one-day discussion entitled “Cities for Europe – Freedom. Responsibility. Action” was organized in cooperation with Riga 2014, European Capital of Culture, and with the support of Goethe Institute Riga. Together with representatives of past, present and future European Capitals of Culture, with politicians and civil society actors, we explored the following questions:

 

  • Can Riga be seen as a “model” for an ECoC?
  • How can a positive process during an ECoC year be sustained? Can the EU have a responsibility after the end of the year?
  • How can cities and citizens actively contribute to the European unification process in cooperation with political decision makers?
  • What is the role of citizens in the development of democracy and preservation of freedom?

 

Participants included Māra Lāce, Director of the Latvian National Arts Museum, Ukrainian writer Andrei Kurkov, MEPs Arne Lietz and Inese Vaidere, Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as Jiři Sulzenko, Programme Director of Plzen 2015 and member of the “A Soul for Europe” Strategy Group.

 

The discussions were accompanied by a "Marketplace Europe": Projects and activities from different parts of Europe illustrated how citizens experience and strenghten Europe every day in their cities and regions. Best practice examples can also be found on the "Cities for Europe" website.

 

Watch the video recording of Forum Riga (in English, Latvian and German) here. For impressions of the conference, please visit our website.

 

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The Strategy Group was set up and its work is made possible with ongoing financial support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

 

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