Between the 15th – 17th November 2013, Project Forum held another edition of Central European Forum, entitled Give citizenship a chance and focusing 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?
Programme and debate videos:
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.
In cooperation with Film Europe, Project Forum premiered Slavoj Žižek’s film The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology in an authentic 1950s 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)