We invite you to read the contributions from journalists, researchers, writers who are, as we, investigating and questioning European Narratives and their making in the present and the future.

Reading Room contributions are listed by author in alphabetical order below. You can also click on the picture of each author above to access their content directly.

Authors (pictured above from left to right): Umayya Abu-Hanna, Abdelkader Benali, Jan Brokken, Odile Chenal,  Magnólia Costa,  Hongjian Cui, Jason Dittmer, Lillian Fellmann, Amitav Ghosh, Marc Hannemann, Yudhishthir Raj Isar, Rajendra K. Jain, Renée Jones-Bos, Wolfram Kaiser, Gazmend Kapllani, Svetla Kazalarska, Karine Lisbonne-de Vergeron, Wietske Maas,  Nat Muller, Silvia Nanclares, Thijs van Nimwegen, Fokke Obbema, Rainer Ohliger, Didier Pasamonik, Cristina Pecequilo, Kerstin Poehls, Ranabir Samaddar, Monica Sassatelli, Paul Scheffer, Jian Shi, Bas Snelders, Iryna Videnava and Niña Weijers.

This Reading Room also presents some ECF publications related to our topics and the building of Narratives for Europe, such as Remappings: The Making of European Narratives and The Dwarfing of Europe, as well as a report from the Danube Foundation.

Enjoy!

Mirza Redzic

Made in War (Boomed in Peace): The Sarajevo Film Festival

Poster of the Sarajevo film festival “Beyond the End of the world”

Poster of the Sarajevo film festival “Beyond the End of the world”

As the 20th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) opened its doors on 15 August 2014, we are featuring an essay by scholar and historian Mirza Redzic retracing the history of the festival. 

Why are you holding a film festival in the middle of a war?
— International Press Correspondent from besieged Sarajevo (1993)
Why are they holding a war in the middle of a film festival?
— Haris Pašović, Director of the Sarajevo film festival “Beyond the End of the World"
From 1992 to 1995, through a period of roughly forty-six months, the city was under a mediaeval-style siege, exposed to heavy enemy shelling and sniping, which resulted in significant human casualties and caused severe destruction of cultural heritage. There was no running water, and gas, fuel and electricity along with food provisions were extremely scarce. In such an appalling context, the Sarajevo Film Festival was established as a genuine “child of war.
— in "Made in War (Boomed in Peace): The Sarajevo Film Festival

Mirza Redzic (1976) is a scholar and historian from Sarajevo. 

Youth mobility: the living bridge between Europe and China

by Jian Shi and Yan Zhuang

In the 21st century the world is changing in a dramatic way. Rapid economic and social development is accelerating the process of globalisation and promoting wider-ranging cross-cultural dialogues. The roles played by different global actors are changing. In addition, new forms of activities and powers are emerging in the discourse of international relations. In the post-modern world, when discussing the promotion of relations between the European Union (EU) and China, and the global players’ roles in international forums, we should not ignore ‘soft power’, nor should we neglect people’s roles (both individual and collective) in intercultural dialogue. If we analyse the future of these areas further, it will be necessary for us to pay more attention to the youngsters of today, especially their remarks and feedback on their educational experience and personal development in a multicultural environment. The young people of today will be the main force for the world-making projects of tomorrow, so their knowledge and perception of global issues and other cultures will strongly affect their behaviour and decisions in the future.

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Umayya Abu-Hanna

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Umayya Abu-Hanna is a writer and columnist. Her first novel Nurinkurin was published in 2003, followed in 2007 by a book on identity, Sinut. She is currently working on her next book, to be published in 2012. In addition to her writing activities, Abu-Hanna was a Radio and TV-Journalist, and documentary maker. She was also the Cultural Diversity Advisor at the Finnish National Gallery’s Research Department (2005-2010), a member of the Arts Council of Finland (2004-2009), and chaired its first Multicultural Board (2009).

 

We do a lot of travelling and the minute we land at any European airport, I sigh with relief. I feel safe and at home. Europe is in fact a very successful project. But we are disillusioned because Europe is not a paradise, because being together is complicated, and because there’s always a fear for the future.

 Read Umayya Abu-Hanna's column (PDF).

Abdelkader Benali

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Abdelkader Benali is described as one of Netherland’s leading writers. His debut novel Bruiloft aan zee (Wedding at Sea, 1996), which was translated into many languages, was a huge critical and commercial success. He received the prestigious Libris prize for literature for his second novel, De Langverwachte (The Long-Awaited, 2002). Besides novels and plays, Benali has published essays and reviews in respected Dutch newspapers and magazines, including De Volkskrant, Vrij Nederland and De Groene Amsterdammer. Next to this Benali has just created a new successful literary TV Programme in the Netherlands Benali boekt (Banali books) www.abdelkaderbenali.nl

 

Looking for Europe in Mexico City

It’s déjà vu all over again. Europe: a proclamation of unity amid a field of lonely fools.

 Read Abdelkader Benali's 1st column (PDF).

Three possible dreams for Europe

There are too many countries in Europe, too many national kitchens too, too many former capitals of colonial empires, too many women sitting in the metro dreaming of a hanged man, too many Tintorettos, too many philosophers, too many ideas, too many wars, too many conservatives, too many coffee machines…

 

 Read Abdelkader Benali's 2nd column (PDF).

Also read Benali's exchange with Jan Brokken in our DUO section.  

Jan Brokken

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Jan Brokken is a well-known journalist who made his debut as a writer in 1984 with the largely autobiographical novel De provincie (The Province), the story of a youth spent in the countryside, which was made into a successful film. He has published gripping travel books about, among others, Africa, Indonesia and Curaçao, and is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling novels De blinde passagiers (The Blind Passengers, 1996), Jungle Rudy (2006) and Baltic Souls (2010) in which Brokken connects the cultural richness and social diversity of the region over the past eight centuries with tales of personal tragedy and a first-hand account of his travels.

 

A Swedish Frisian in Milan

The Basque waiter prefers not to understand ‘vino tinto’, nor does he understand ‘vin rouge’. Instead he gives me a bottle of rosé. It’s a moment when my ideal Europe is very far away….

Read Jan Brokken's 1st column here (PDF)

 

 

The comets we do not see

We discover what is truly ground-breaking only later on. The brightest comets pass us by. During all those evenings we spend sitting in theatres or concert halls we miss the essence.

 

 Read Jan Brokken's 2nd column here (PDF).

Also read Jan Brokken's exchange with Abdelkader Benali in our DUO section.  

Odile Chenal

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Odile Chenal has had an illustrious career as a sociologist and a cultural ambassador in France and her adopted home in the Netherlands over the past 35 years. After graduating in Art History and History (University of Nancy, France) and Political Sciences (Paris/Oxford), she worked as a sociologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris from 1975 to 1982. In 1982, she moved to the Netherlands as Director of the Centre Culturel Français in Rotterdam. She later worked as Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in The Hague before joining ECF in 1990. For 23 years Odile has been the well-known and much loved ‘face’ of ECF in Amsterdam and across Europe. In recognition of her untiring work supporting cultural thinkers and creators across Europe and beyond, Odile received the prestigious Légion d’Honneur in June 2012 – the highest decoration in France.

Imaginez-vous!

Stop complaining,’ said one man in his forties. ‘Create your new utopia. You will never succeed if you think the future in the same terms and models as the past. You have huge challenges? But also new instruments. Use the crisis for change. It is not their, it is your future!'"

Read Odile Chenal's column here (PDF).

Magnólia Costa

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Considering universal museums generate knowledge that subsidizes narratives of many different peoples – South Americans included – I propose a discussion about the relationships between those and Brazilian museums. If “museum is the world,” it reflects the manners in which cultures are understood and presented among themselves.

Doctor Magnólia Costa is a philosopher, translator and art critic specialized in  17th Century Franco-Italian Art. She received her PhD in Philosophy from University of São Paulo. She is a lecturer on Contemporary Art History and Brazilian Culture at MAM, Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, where she also acts as Head of Institutional Affairs.

Museum Is the World

Abstract:

 In 1966, Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica wrote: “Museum is the world.” This phrase could be part of the definition of “universal museum,” a place where cultural assets produced in every area of the planet are preserved, studied and exhibited, in a wide temporal arch.  

Considering universal museums generate knowledge that subsidizes narratives of many different peoples – South Americans included – I propose a discussion about the relationships between those and Brazilian museums. If “museum is the world,” it reflects the manners in which cultures are understood and presented among themselves. 

The concept of universal museum is being debated since 2002, with the publication of “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums.” This document was signed by eighteen different museums; among them the “big five,” three of which are located within the European Community: the Louvre, the Berlin State Museums and the British Museum, this last one responsible for composing the text. 

The main criticism to the declaration comes from the museum industry in Europe. They question the self-nomination of these museums as legitimate keepers of humanity’s cultural heritage, denouncing their presumptuous superiority in regards to nations that request repatriation of pieces, considered incapable of preserving their own heritage. 

For Brazilian museologists, both universal museums and their European critics are concerned with the issue of past acts that originated their collections. This concern does not affect the present or the future. Evidently, universal museums will never give back to Brazil the gold and jewels that ornate their artworks’ frames – as well as the interior of palaces and the heads of officials. 

In the European discourse, silence is noticeable in regards to current treatment of this heritage formed on bases that today would hardly be considered legal. In the present, universal museums generate direct or indirect revenue that is not shared with those who have produced the pieces they preserve. Quite the contrary: a considerable part of these incomes comes from visits and sales of by-products of these same pieces to descendants of those who have produced them. 

The policy of universal museums regarding Brazilian museums is based, therefore, on values from the past, particularly when they suppose themselves as superior. It reflects a certain imaginary that is still inhabited by a predatory relationship with the Others: those who are non-white, non-Christian, uncivilized. From the Others, natural, cultural and spiritual wealth are extracted so that they can be exhibited in a scientific and supposedly neutral manner in universal museums. 

Considering universal museums generate knowledge that subsidizes narratives of many different peoples – South Americans included – I propose a discussion about the relationships between those and Brazilian museums. If “museum is the world,” it reflects the manners in which cultures are understood and presented among themselves. 

The concept of universal museum is being debated since 2002, with the publication of “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums.” This document was signed by eighteen different museums; among them the “big five,” three of which are located within the European Community: the Louvre, the Berlin State Museums and the British Museum, this last one responsible for composing the text. 

The main criticism to the declaration comes from the museum industry in Europe. They question the self-nomination of these museums as legitimate keepers of humanity’s cultural heritage, denouncing their presumptuous superiority in regards to nations that request repatriation of pieces, considered incapable of preserving their own heritage. 

For Brazilian museologists, both universal museums and their European critics are concerned with the issue of past acts that originated their collections. This concern does not affect the present or the future. Evidently, universal museums will never give back to Brazil the gold and jewels that ornate their artworks’ frames – as well as the interior of palaces and the heads of officials. 

In the European discourse, silence is noticeable in regards to current treatment of this heritage formed on bases that today would hardly be considered legal. In the present, 
universal museums generate direct or indirect revenue that is not shared with those who have produced the pieces they preserve. Quite the contrary: a considerable part of these incomes comes from visits and sales of by-products of these same pieces to descendants of those who have produced them. 

The policy of universal museums regarding Brazilian museums is based, therefore, on values from the past, particularly when they suppose themselves as superior. It reflects a certain imaginary that is still inhabited by a predatory relationship with the Others: those who are non-white, non-Christian, uncivilized. From the Others, natural, cultural and spiritual wealth are extracted so that they can be exhibited in a scientific and supposedly neutral manner in universal museums. 

Hongjian Cui

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Doctor Hongjian Cui has been associated with China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) since 1998. He is a senior research fellow and director of the Department for European Studies, CIIS. Dr. Cui served as First Secretary and director of the Office of Political Affairs, Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai, India from 2004 to 2007. From 2003 to 2004, he was director of the Office of Political Affairs, Chinese Embassy in Jamaica. He has published over one hundred of articles. Dr. Cui received his doctorate in International Relations from Peking University, China in 1998.
Cui is the author of a book on Containing China: Myths and Reality (1996) and his works included programs on Transatlantic Relations(2000-2003), China-EU Relations in the weak of International Order Change (2009-2010), European Public Opinion on China and Chinese Public Diplomacy in Europe (2010-2011), China-EU-USA: a possible framework for Global Governance (2012- ) and articles such as China-EU Economic and Trade Relations in the Post-Crisis era, European Energy Diplomacy in Central Asia Area and China-EU Cooperation (2010), Challenges to China’s Foreign Policy and Innovative Thinkings, Model Roles, Rediscovery: promotion of relations between China and Central & Eastern Europe (2012), China-EU Cultural Dialogue and its Relevance to a Forthcoming Global Civilization (2013).

The Evolution of European Image in China  and Europe’s Role in the World 

Abstract: 

Image of Europe changed in China. It is a long story of the European image evolution in China which is traced back to the Opium War. Later, Europe has played the role of the “target” to be “caught up” in Chinese modernization movement and the main economic and trade partner to China in succession. Two recent events played the decisive role in changing the Europe‟s image in China further: the sufferings of 2008 Olympic torch relay in some European countries, and the Euro zone debt crisis. The former shaped especially the Chinese general public's impression on Europe which is turning from “romantic” to rationality, while the latter is making the Chinese people to cast doubt on the future of Europe. It is noteworthy that as a result of this change, the perspectives of Chinese government and the people on Europe are splitting. How does culture play its role in the image evolution? Besides the difference of their stages of development, historical and cultural differences between China and Europe are apparently becoming an important factor. There is a long-term ideological and political culture differences and disputes between China and the EU, and this argument is going to be strengthened by happenings at this moment: China's cultural self-confidence is increasing obviously with the economic development while it is taking place in the opposite thing in Europe. China is aware of some of the “defects” of the its culture from the current crisis in Europe, such as "democracy" may lead to “incorporation” between the government and the people, as well as a variety of interest groups‟ “over-expression”. But these “shortcomings” are also China's problems in turn, such as the decision-making process lack of the full participation of the people, the people is overrepresented by the government. All of these differences could be traced to the cultural differences between China and Europe and would strengthen the difference on the behaviours and narratives between the two sides. 

Jason Dittmer

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Jason Dittmer is Reader in Human Geography at University College London. His research revolves around the relationship of popular culture and geopolitics, with a particular focus on comic books and their narratives. His book Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity (2010) is available from Rowman and Littlefield, while his new book Superpowers: Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero is due to be published by Temple University Press at the end of 2012. He is presently editing a volume entitled Comic Book Geographies to be published by Franz Steiner Verlag.

Graphic Narrative and the Imagined Community of Europe

What do comics have to do with the European project? In this first of a series of essays, Jason Dittmer argues that graphic narrative is the ideal narrative for a Europe that seeks to emphasize its own outward-facing nature:

If Europe is looking to animate its politics with new narratives, comics are the way to go.

Read Jason Dittmer's first essay here (PDF)

On the Perils and Promise of Representing Europe in Graphic Narrative

If the European project is about tearing down (internal) European borders, then having Europeans imagine their national spaces entwined in the way that panels are entwined in graphic narrative cannot hurt.

If European cultural policy were to veer towards graphic narrative, what kind of narratives should be told? In this second essay (PDF), Jason Dittmer argues for a new narrative that highlights the plural, de-centred nature of Europe. 

Lillian Fellmann

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Lillian Fellmann is the Founding Director and Chief Executive Manager of the Center for Art and Politics in Amsterdam. She conducts research on the intersection of art, politicians and social change in East Europe and the Middle East since 2008.

 

No country for old men

Europe needs each other in fresh ways, if not as friends then as visionary accomplices to redefine its unity in and with the world. Change is here, and we need to have the courage to call it what it is: a chance, and not a crisis.

 Read Lillian Fellmann's colum here (PDF)

Amitav Ghosh

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Amitav Ghosh is an Indian author, whose work has been translated into more than two dozen languages. He published his first novel, The Circle of Reason in 1986, and his second, The Shadow Lines, in 1988. Since then, Ghosh has written a number of books, including The Glass Palace, which won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001. Sea of Poppies was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Award in 2008. Most recently, he has published River of Smoke (2011), which is the second volume of a projected series of novels, The Ibis Trilogy. Ghosh has also published in journals and magazines like The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The New York Times.

 

Confluence and Crossroads: Europe and the Fate of the Earth

The new Europe has yet to find its story – and politicians and leaders will never be able to give it that story. This story can only come from writers, dreamers, and thinkers – and it has yet to be told.

 World-renowned Indian author Amitav Ghosh – who provided the thought-provoking keynote speech for ECF’s Imagining Europe event in October 2012– has written a stimulating essay, you can read it here (PDF)

Marc Hannemann

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Marc Hannemann (1981) studied History and Eastern European studies in Groningen and Berlin. He travelled the borders of Europe for NRC.next, and is co-author of the book Vals plat in de Oeral – een zoektocht naar de oostgrens van Europa. Today he Works as a historian, text writer and freelance journalist.

 

Imagining Europe: New Stories for the Old Continent

Both proponents and critics of a united Europe continue to employ clichés, trapping themselves in their respective trenches. It’s time to imagine Europe in new ways, to broaden the debate, and to come up with an original story. ECF’s four-day eventImagining Europe was a small but ambitious attempt in this direction.

Read Marc Hannemann’s review of Imagining Europe (PDF).

 

Thesenanschlag an die Brüsseler Kirchentür

(Nailing it to the Brussels Door)

Man muss wahrscheinlich Hans Magnus Enzensberger und sein Werk schon ein wenig kennen, um bissige Satire und wahrhaftige Sorge in seinem jüngsten anti-EU Pamphlet von einander trennen zu können.

The following essay (PDF, in German) is a review by Marc Hannemann of Hans Magnus Enzensberger’sSanftes Monster Brüssel, oder die Entmündigung Europas: "Man muss wahrscheinlich Hans Magnus Enzensberger und sein Werk schon ein wenig kennen, um bissige Satire und wahrhaftige Sorge in seinem jüngsten anti-Pamphlet von einander trennen zu Könne.

Spiegelpaleis Europa

De imagologische blik op Europa is prikkelend en vernieuwend, al vliegt Joep Leerssen soms wat dicht bij de zon.

The following essay (PDF, in Dutch) is a review by Marc Hannemann of Joep Leerssen’s bookSpiegelpaleis Europa. In Europhobic times of Us against Them, Leerssens apopulistic message offers relief. But the question remains: who really feels a strong personal bond with Odysseus, the Barber of Seville, or the Count of Monte Christo?

 

Marc Hannemann has also written Playing Stalin's Piano , a short graphic story you can read in our Comics section.  

Raj Isar

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Professor Yudhishthir Raj Isar is an analyst, advisor and public speaker who straddles different worlds of cultural theory, experience and practice. He is Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris (Jean Monnet Professor, 2003-2008), Eminent Research Visitor with the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, Australia (2011-2013) and a visiting professor at universities elsewhere. With Helmut Anheier, he was the founding co-editor of the Cultures and Globalization Series (SAGE), whose five volumes were published between 2007 and 2012. He has been a trustee of various cultural organizations in Europe and a consultant to the European Commission, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the European Cultural Foundation and UNESCO. From 2004 to 2008, he was President of the European arts and culture advocacy platform Culture Action Europe.  Earlier, at UNESCO, as an international broker of ideas for almost three decades, notably as Executive Secretary of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Director of Cultural Policies and of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture. In 1986-87, he was the first Executive Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Raj Isar speaks at the Dwarfing of Europe event in Amsterdam

Rajendra K. Jain

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Professor Rajendra K. Jain is Chairperson and Professor at the Centre for European Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is Jean Monnet Chair and Adjunct Professor (Research), Monash European and EU Studies Centre, Monash University, Melbourne.  He is currently Visiting Professor, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, Paris (May 2013) and will be Visiting Fellow, NFG Research Group "Asian Perceptions of the EU", Free University of Berlin (June and August 2013).

Prof. Jain has participated in nearly 150 national/international conferences, including 90 conferences in various parts of the world. He has delivered nearly 40 lectures on contemporary Europe and India-Europe/EU/EU-South Asian affairs at leading American, Asian and European universities and think tanks. Prof. Jain is the author/editor of a number of books, including the forthcoming India and the European Union in a Changing World  and has published 95 articles/chapters in books.

 

Professor Rajendra K. Jain speaks at the Dwarfing of Europe event in Amsterdam

Indian Perspective: Abstract

For over three centuries, there has been extensive historical, ideological and intellectual proximity between India and Europe. European ideas and values have profoundly influenced India's English-educated elites, its freedom struggle, its political life and political leadership. Indians sought to emulate Europe by trying to adopt and adapt Western value systems and Western institutions to the Indian milieu. In recent decades, many of the historical and cultural bonds and terms of reference which traditionally linked India with Britain and, in turn, Europe have considerably withered away. India’s interaction with Continental Europe continues to be thin and limited. For the great majority of Indians, most of Europe is a strange land, an exotic place for tourism to which only a privileged layer of society has had access. There continues to be an enormous information deficit about Europe in India largely because of mutual indifference and neglect. 

Europe has become increasingly important in the Indian foreign policy calculus since the 1990s as a vital source for foreign direct investment, advanced technology, and modern arms. India views the European Union as a major pole in the emerging multipolar world, but not as a potential counterweight to the United States. It is widely acknowledged as an economic superpower and a formidable negotiator in multilateral trade negotiations. However, despite a strategic partnership, India and the European Union have not been able to transform shared values into shared interests and shared priorities because of a big disconnect in world-views, mindsets and practical agendas. These fundamental differences will remain because the two are at different levels of development, come from two different geo-political milieus and have different geographical and geopolitical priorities. The Eurozone crisis has tended to reinforce perceptions of a continent in relative decline. However, Europe is considered to be resilient enough to adapt the challenges of 2 globalization and influence global events for a long time to come. Europe continues to be critical for India’s own future and as a vital development partner in its modernization. Most educated Indians perceive Europe to be social and cultural protectionist. Europe, they feel, confronts social and political difficulties in dealing with its diversity of cultures, that multiculturalism does not seem to be working in Europe, and that European societies have not been able to meaningfully integrate non-Western ethnic minorities, especially Muslims. As a fascinating laboratory of interdependence, there is much that India can learn from European experiences in regional integration. A dialogue on Islam with India – which has the second largest Muslim population in the world and with whom it has peacefully coexisted for centuries – may offer new insights into integrating Muslims in Europe. 

A worsening demographic profile with a graying population is compelling the European Union to address the problems and opportunities of in-sourcing highly skilled immigrants or outsourcing services. There is considerable potential for India and Europe to move increasingly towards partnership in cutting-edge technologies in a manner with combines India’s strengths with European capabilities. India and Europe need to widen and deepen civil society linkages and build a more robust framework of educational, cultural and elite exchanges. 

India and Europe often talk at each other rather than to each other. If we are to graduate from a dialogue of the deaf to a meaningful dialogue which seeks creative solutions to contemporary problems, Europe needs to shed its traditional Eurocentrism and revise its mental maps about the emerging powers in a rapidly changing world. 

Renée Jones-Bos

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Renée Jones-Bos took up her position as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 July 2012. From 2008 to 2012 she was Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States of America.

Renée Jones-Bos served as the (Deputy) Director-General for Regional Policy and Consular Affairs from 2003 to 2008 and as Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights from 2000 to 2003.
From 1998 to 2000 Renée Jones-Bos was the Head of the Security Council Task Force of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previous duties within the Ministry included: Deputy Head of Mission at the Dutch Embassy in Prague (Czech Republic); Head of Recruitment and Training; and postings in Washington (USA), Paramaribo (Suriname), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Moscow (USSR).

Renée Jones-Bos has held several board positions during her career including on the Supervisory Board of the Leiden University Medical Center; the Board of the Netherlands Society for International Affairs; the Advisory Board of Tilburg University; and the Selection Board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She holds a degree (MA) in Russian Studies from the University of Sussex (UK) and a degree in Russian and English Studies, Politics and Economics from the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Apart from Dutch and English, Renée Jones-Bos speaks French, and has a basic knowledge of German, Russian and Italian. She was born in the Dutch town of Oud‑Beijerland in the province of South Holland and grew up in Zeist near Utrecht. Renée Jones-Bos and her husband, Dr Richard Huw Jones, have two children.

Wolfram Kaiser

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Wolfram Kaiser is Professor of European Studies at the University of Portsmouth, England, and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. His book Europa im Museum. Europäisierung als kulturelle Praxis (co-authored with Stefan Krankenhagen and Kerstin Poehls) will come out with Böhlau Verlag in the Spring of 2012. An English version of the book is planned for 2013. In this book the authors discuss the role of state actors in EU cultural policy, the activities of societal actors and networks in the Europeanisation of the cultural and museum field, and the Europeanisation as cultural practice of collecting policies, historical narratives and narratives about Europe’s borders and migration in museums, exhibitions and collections across Europe.

 

Narrating Contemporary European History

Collecting European narratives is not an innocent cultural practice. Rather, it is a highly politicized normative practice to bolster a particular “European” position in the European “battlefield of memory".

Read Wolfram Kaiser's essay here (PDF).  

Gazmend Kapllani

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Gazmend Kapllani was born in 1967 in Lushnjë, Albania. In January 1991 he crossed the border into Greece on foot to escape persecution by the communist secret services. In Greece he worked as a builder, a cook and a kiosk attendant, while also studying at Athens University and completing a doctorate on the image of Albanians in the Greek press and of Greeks in the Albanian press. He is now a successful writer, playwright, broadcaster and journalist with a twice-weekly column in Ta Nea, Greece's biggest daily newspaper. His first book A Short Border Handbook was published by Portobello Books in 2010.

Narratives of fragmentation

In the middle of this international economic hurricane, on board the “common European ship,” the passengers create solitary narrations for internal culprits. United Europe also looks like the Edvard Munch painting “Anxiety” – a group of worried, trapped people crossing the bridge without self-confidence, without knowing what is waiting for them on the other side.

Read Gazmend Kapllani's 1st column here (PDF).

 

'What doesn’t kill Europe…'

‘If you write about the incident, be sure to emphasise that you were robbed in Cologne, not in Brussels,’ she tells me…. – The entire mentality of the modern-day European Union is summed up in that one piece of ‘advice’.

Read Gazmend Kapllani's 2nd column here (PDF).  

Svetla Kazalarska

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Svetla Kazalarska has been recently awarded a Ph.D. degree (2011) in Cultural Anthropology by the “St. Kliment Ohridski” University of Sofia. Her dissertation explores the difficult relationships between history and memory at the newly established museums of communism in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989. Her research interests are spread across several fields: post-communist memory and historiography, urban anthropology of the post-communist cities, visual studies and contemporary art histories.

Re-drawing the Art Map of “New Europe”

Notwithstanding the long asserted crisis of the legitimacy of metanarratives, the “battle” of the narratives for Europe is still being fought on all fronts.

Since 1989, art exhibitions have been at the forefront of the battle for new European narratives, and narratives about the art of Europe’s former East have been proliferating. In this essay (PDF), Svetla Kazalarska discusses the curatorial strategies in exhibitions of modern and contemporary visual art from Central and Eastern Europe, and identifies the different narratives that have recently been brought into play. She argues that these exhibitions may be examined as powerful tools for re-mapping the art geography of the ‘New Europe’.

Karine Lisbonne-de Vergeron

Karine Lisbonne de Vergeron, France  UK.jpg

Karine Lisbonne-de Vergeron is a fellow and associate author of the Global Policy Institute (United Kingdom). She has specialized in international relations and European politics, specifically on the relationship between Europe and the Asian emerging giants. She initiated a research programme on Chinese and Indian views of Europe with Chatham House (United Kingdom) and the Robert Schuman Foundation in 2006. She is the author notably of Contemporary Indian views of Europe (2006) and Contemporary Chinese views of Europe (2007), jointly published by Chatham House and the Robert Schuman Foundation in English and French, Chinese and Indian views of Europe since the crisis: new perspectives from the emerging Asian giants (2012), jointly published by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Global Policy Institute and the Robert Schuman Foundation in English and French. She has also contributed to wider European foreign policy issues including defence, and is the author of France, European defence and NATO (2008) published by Forum Press.

She was awarded a special prize by the French Ministry for culture for her thesis on cultural matters (contemporary art and business relationships in Europe) and is the co-author of L’Art avec pertes ou profits published by Flammarion in 2007. She is a contributor to numerous conferences and media across Europe.

Karine Lisbonne speaks at the Dwarfing of Europe event in Amsterdam