In the build-up to the European parliamentary elections, this Red House Festival of Ideas on Europe discussion with Kilian Kleinschmidt looked to introduce new perspectives on the migration crisis of 2015 and its aftermath.
About the lecture:
This first Festival of Ideas on Europe session focused on migration and its impact upon European politics.
Opening the evening with his lecture, the former UNHCR development worker, Kilian Kleinschmidt, talked about the need to shift the paradigm of discussions around migration from crisis to opportunity.
Pulling no punches, Kleinschmidt spoke of the shock therapy of the migration wave which Europe experienced in 2015, talking about how it “felt like an attack” from the perspective of people in Vienna.
Yet, for Kleinschmidt, 2015 also provided a necessary corrective, bringing political discussions back on track and ensuring a proper debate on a range of matters: from European values within and without our societies through to our relationships with the global south.
In a wide-ranging talk, Kleinschmidt, therefore, focused on the realities behind the political discussions we have been having since 2015, putting the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe into context, talking about the role of aspiration, global aid, climate change, urbanisation and the many interconnections between these different factors.
★ To find out more, watch the English-language highlights of the discussion at the top of this page. A short biography of Kilian Kleinschmidt, information about the Bulgarian-language debate which followed this lecture and a link to that discussion can also been found further down this page.
★ Alternatively, if you want to find out more about the Festival of Ideas on Europe and its other discussions, click here to visit our festival page.
Schedule of events & speaker biographies:
Shifting the paradigm – from crisis to opportunity
Opening lecture - in English
Kilian Kleinschmidt - German Entrepreneur and former UNHCR Official
Kleinschmidt worked for many years as a UNHCR development worker, serving most recently as the director of the Za’atari camp in Jordan. Since leaving the UNHCR, Kleinschmidt has lived in Vienna, where he has also advised the Austrian government on the running of the refugee camp in Traiskirchen.
Global and local migration: challenges and opportunities
Follow-up discussion - in Bulgarian
(Bulgarian speakers can access the follow-up discussion on The Red House's YouTube channel by clicking here)
Yavor Siderov - Political Scientist & Bulgarian Government Advisor in the field of migration
Philip Gounev - Deputy Minister of Interior of Bulgaria (2014-2016), Independent Consultant & former Security Expert at the Centre for the Study of Democracy
Ildiko Otova - Professor of European Migration Policy in the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia’s Department of European Studies
Radostina Pavlova - Legal Expert, Consultant and Researcher, working on migration-related topics such as the prevention of human trafficking, vulnerable migrants and access to public information in the area of asylum and migration
The Sofia Festival of Ideas on Europe was organised and curated by The Red House for Culture and Debate, a leading independent institution for artistic, social and cultural events in Bulgaria. The festival was funded by the European Parliament and realised in cooperation with the Centre for Liberal Strategies, the European Network of Houses for Debates, Time to Talk, the České Centrum Sofia, the Instituto Cervantes, the Goethe Institut and the Polski Instytut in Sofia. The festival’s media partners were offnews.bg, mediapool.bg and Free Europe.
Although the European Parliament financially supported the festival, it had nothing to do with the content of its individual events and cannot be held responsible for any theses, comments and/or opinions expressed during the discussions.