The European House for Culture together with the Marcel Hicter Association, the Access to Culture Platform, "A Soul for Europe" and the Festival of Philosophy bring the initiative A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe to Brussels; in collaboration with the European Festivals Association (EFA), ENCATC, EUNIC and Felix Meritis. The Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises de Belgique will host the Brussels Conversations 2012 on the 16-17 November where participants will discuss the future of the European project and the citizens' role in making it a reality. Developing citizenship in Europe is one of the essential needs that should be addressed during the European Year of Citizens 2013, and the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe believes that culture is the key to increasing this spirit of citizenship.
The event invites speakers and over 120 participants (presently registered) from all sectors of European society - citizens, civil society leaders, members of the press, and policy makers- to discuss the role of culture in expanding participation in civic life throughout Europe. Lectures, panel discussions, and open conversations will emphasise that arts and culture do not only bring "added value" to citizenship and governance, but allow the re-evaluation of these concepts, thus strengthening democracy and human rights.
On 16 November at 19:00 the keynote speech by Luuk van Middelaar (Historian, Political Philosopher, and Author) will be the kick-off of the Brussels Conversations 2012. The 2-day programme features strong voices acting for a better Europe. Speakers Patrice Meyer-Bisch (Coordinator Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights, UNESCO Chair for Human Rights and Democracy, University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Alicja Gescinska (Philosopher, Writer), and moderator Annelies Beck (Journalist, Writer). Contributing to the conversations are Paul Scheffer (Writer, Publicist, and Professor of European Studies at the Tilburg School of Humanities), Anna Luyten (journalist, philosopher, literature and theatre scientist), Peter Vermeersch (Initiator G1000 citizens' summit), Jacques De Decker (Permanent Secretary Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises de Belgique, Author, Playwright, President Philosophy Festival) and many more.
"The Brussels Conversations 2012 will demonstrate that citizens are ready to act on their own responsibility and convictions for the benefit of a shared Europe. The ultimate aim is to advance the search for creative manners in which to develop a European citizenship based on its cultural component, revealing how the active involvement of citizens can be the basis and the motor for all future development at the local, national, European, and global levels," says European House for Culture President Frans de Ruiter.
The Brussels Conversations 2012 is the second in a series of three events dedicated to a Europe from the bottom up under the title of A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe. The series begins with the Berlin Conference 2012 by "A Soul for Europe" on 10 November; the results of the progress made in Berlin will be carried over to the Brussels Conversations 2012. The fresh ideas and perspectives will then continue to the Amsterdam Conversations by the Felix Meritis Foundation on 30 November. Throughout the European Year of Citizens 2013, A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe will strive to take this opportunity to make European policy and European citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities as Europeans: giving the European Year of Citizens a sense of urgency.
European House for Culture
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