Give citizenship a chance

Between the 15th – 17th November 2013, Project Forum presented the Central European Forum 2013. 2013’s programme was entitled Give citizenship a chance and focussed on the contemporary state of democracy in Central Europe.



Democracy in crisis

While pluralism has become widely accepted in Central Europe in the last decades, democratic institutions have suffered a rapid decline and a significant loss of credibility. Following Karel Schwarzenberg’s observation in 2013 that “This will never be the West”, Central Europeans found themselves wondering whether we they were witnessing the emergence of a specific Central European variety of representative democracy? If so, they wondered, what are its characteristics? Is there something fundamental that prevents Central European citizens from creating successful democratic institutions? And what role has the crisis of the concept of the “citizen” had to play in it all?





FRIDAY 15th November


17:30 Conference opening

Speakers: Magdaléna Vášáryová, chairwoman, Via Cultura

Karel Schwarzenberg, politician

Filip Radunović, project manager Europe, ERSTE Foundation


18:00 Panel 1: Civic amnesia

Could the absence of a legacy of citizen-inspired change be hampering the creation of genuine civic space in Central and Eastern Europe?

Speakers: Péter Esterházy (Hungary), Marci Shore (USA), Rudolf Chmel (Slovakia), Viktor Erofeyev (Russia), Slavenka Drakulić (Croatia).

Moderator: Jacek Żakowski (Poland)


SATURDAY 16th November


11:00 Film screening : The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Kino Film Europe, Pisztory Palace. Entry €4.00,  students €2.00

In cooperation with our partner Film Europe we will premiere Slavoj Žižek’s film The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology in an authentic 1950′s cinema.


14:00 Panel 2: Don’t act, think!

Discussion not only of the film, but also of the ideological temptations all around us.

Speakers: Egon Gál (Slovakia), Kamil Fila (Czech Republic).

Moderator: Michal Havran (Slovakia)


16:00 Panel 3: Bloodlands

Europe between Hitler and Stalin. A debate based on Timothy Snyder’s book.

Speakers: Timothy Snyder (USA), Martin M. Šimečka (Slovakia).

Moderator: Thierry Chervel (Germany)


18:30 Panel 4: Save the citizen!

Is there a sound alternative to the existing institutions of representative democracy? If so, is this alternative more democratic than the existing one? If not, how to overhaul representative democracy to make it more democratic?

Speakers: Ivan Krastev (Bulgaria), Ilija Trojanow (Germany), Lucinda Creighton (Ireland), Justin Wedes (USA), Aleš Debeljak (Slovenia).

Moderator: Martin Bútora (Slovakia)


SUNDAY 17th November


14:30 Panel 5: Why does Europe still exist?

Has Europe survived thanks to its individual civic cultures or despite the absence of a common European civic culture?

Speakers: Pascal Bruckner (France), Leonidas Donskis (Lithuania), Timothy Snyder (USA), Karel Schwarzenberg (Czech Republic), Olga Tokarczuk (Poland).

Moderator: Chris Keulemans (Netherlands)






FRIDAY 15th November – SUNDAY 17th November



Pisztory Palace, Bratislava

Peter Župník’s photo exhibition capturing five years of Central European Forums through a series of photo portraits.

Peter Župník (Slovakia/Czech Republic/France)


SUNDAY 17th November


11:00 ASPEKT at the Central European Forum

Pisztory Palace, Bratislava

About literature, borders, feminism, taking things for granted and travelling.  Featuring a reading from and a subsequent discussion with one of the most popular Polish writers.

Speaker: Olga Tokarczuk (Poland)

Moderators: Jana Juráňová and Jana Cviková (Slovakia)


Download the original programme here