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Europe as a mediator in the dialogue of civilizations

Plenary / Panel
German and English language


Analyst, RAND Corporation; Director, Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth (IMEY), Arlington
Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Abstract
Seit genau 44 Jahren wird seitens der Europäischen Union (EU) der Türkei die Vollmitgliedschaft versprochen. Und aufgrund dieser Versprechung beseht das Land am Bosporus ebenfalls seit 44 Jahren vergeblich auf den Tag, an dem sie als Vollmitglied der EU beitreten wird. Fakt ist, dass die EU aus zahlreichen Gründen nicht bereit ist, die Türkei aufzunehmen. Anstatt dem die Wahrheit zu sagen, werden immer neue Beitrittsbedingungen erfunden, die kaum einzuhalten sind und daher dem Land den Beitritt faktisch unmöglich machen. Und auch die Türkei ist unter der Führung der sogenannten  Partei für Gerechtigkeit und Entwicklung (AKP) von Recep Tayyip Erdoan weder in der Lage, noch bereit, die von der EU geforderten Beitrittsbedingungen erfüllen zu können bzw. zu wollen. Im Falle eines türkischen Beitritts würde wir eine völlig andere Türkei und eine völlig andere Eu haben müssen.
Stv. Kabinettschef bei EU-Kommissar Leonard Orban, Europäische Kommission
Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in South East Europe, Thessaloniki Abstract
- When we say  Civilisations we more often than not think of a conflict, a  Clash , as in  The Clash of Civilisations as authored by Samuel Huntington then of a  Dialogue of Civilisations . Why?

- In the past, if at all possible, Civilisations used to replace one another as soon as they came into contact with each other (Africa, the Americas). Is the human race in the 21st Century above and beyond this approach? Are we capable of accepting that a different language, culture and way of life are at least as valid as the one we know and appreciate?

- To have a mediator in a dialogue of civilisations, one must have that dialogue in the first place. Do we have such a dialogue at all today? Who are the participants? Are we talking Dialogue of Cultures? Civilisations? Religions? Or are these three all one and the same?

- If there is, or if there is to be a Dialogue of Civilisations, Is Europe the best placed mediator one could hope to find? What are Europe s strengths and weaknesses; what are the assets that could be used in a mediating role?

- What is Europe? When we say  Europe , do we actually mean the EU? Does the EU/Europe need to have  one voice or  one telephone number in order to be an efficient mediator?

- The immigrant communities in Europe  Bridging or deepening the divide? If the latter, what can/should Europe do to turn a liability into an asset?
Delegate General, PlanetAgora, Paris Abstract
Why have cultural matters been raised as political issues since 1989?
Intercultural dialogues: an empty formula or an acknowledgment that culture is a central dimension of the globalisation process that usual politics have not succeeded to manage? Can the European political project develop further without assuming its cultural dimension?

1- A necessary conceptual clarification: civilization, culture, globalisation, identity&

Culture is what makes a social group different from another. It is closely related to identity.

Globalisation is not only about economic integration. Cultural globalisation changes the patterns of human geography. Relations between societies and their cultures now proceed within a new symbolic ecosystem generated by the media. The socializing power of every local culture is thus affected. This rapid process of  creative disruption raises fear for cultural security, demand for protection& It opens the opportunity to reinvent politics in order to deal with these extra-national issues. Culture has become a matter of realpolitik while it escapes the usual framework of inter-national relations and the logics of the  raison d État .

2- Europe as a possible laboratory of cultural pluralism?

European history presents some of the most dramatic expressions of human interactions as well as some of the most positive examples of cross-cultural fertilization.

The EU s enlargement process raises crucial questions about the European identity: culture (a concept not limited to values) is what differentiates Europeans between themselves and from non Europeans. If the European political project is to be not only about managing market liberalization, it will have to deal effectively with the fundamental political question: what do we need, what do we want to do together, as Europeans? In order to elaborate adequate answers, the Europeans should assess first what they know about one another: What do they see, listen to and read one from another?

Since they are so many ways of being European, cultural pluralism clearly stated as the political answer to the fact of European cultural diversity might offer the foundation of the European political project. It offers the potential foundation for real intercultural dialogues within Europe. And for renewed interactions with other geo-cultural entities.

3- Some ideas for real intercultural dialogues

EU s future as a political project implies new and permanent processes of greater interactions between different European societies and their cultures. Not only between or through states and bureaucracies. Media should assume an important responsibility in this necessary effort to build mutual knowledge and understanding in a globalized world that will not follow the uniform path dreamed of by some totalitarian utopia. Some ideas about what could be done.
Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, London Chair

Ph.D. Cheryl BENARD

Analyst, RAND Corporation; Director, Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth (IMEY), Arlington

 B.A. from the American University of Beirut
 Ph.D. from the University of Vienna
 Novelist and Feminist author on topics including current events, women in nation-building, youth radicalization in the European Diaspora, and secularization pertaining to Islam


Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

1987-1991 Studium der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an der Universität Bremen
1992-1997 Dissertation an der Universität Bremen
2000-2004 Assis. Prof. an der Universität Kafkas in Kars/Türkei
seit 2005 Dozent an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Dipl.-Vw. Jochen RICHTER

Stv. Kabinettschef bei EU-Kommissar Leonard Orban, Europäische Kommission

 Nach dem Studium und einer Erstverwendung im öffentlichen Dienst Deutschlands 10 Jahre in der Informatik tätig (öffentlicher Dienst, Europäische Institutionen und Privatwirtschaft)
 Seit 1994 Europäischen Kommission (in den Bereichen Forschungspolitik und im Assitenzbüro des Generaldirektors Wettbewerb)
1999-2004 Kabinettsmitglied beim Binnemarktkommissar Bolkestein
 Seit 2007 Stellvertretender Kabinettschef bei Kommissar Orban, zuständig für Mehrsprachigkeit
seit 2004 Europäisches Parlament (Binnenmarktausschuss, Lissabon Koordinierungsgruppe und Vermittlungsausschuss)


Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in South East Europe, Thessaloniki

1975-1986 Journalist, presenter and editor, Radio Belgrade
1986-1991, 1994 Producer, Senior Producer in Yugoslav (later South Slavonic) BBC World Service
1992-1993 Special Reporter for the former Yugoslavia BBC World Service
1995 News Producer, BBC World Service Newsroom
1996-1999 South East European Correspondent, based in Zagreb then Belgrade, "The World"
1998-1999 Director of Media Focus, a media monitoring project funded by the EU and the UK government covering the main media in Belgrade, Pristina, Podgorica and Novi Sad, IWPR (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)
1999-2002 Moscow Correspondent, The World (A co-production of the BBC World Service, WGBH and PRI)
2004-2007 Adjunct Assistant Professor in Politics and Journalism, ACT (American College of Thessaloniki)
since 2007 Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe, Thessaloniki


Delegate General, PlanetAgora, Paris

 Director general - Policies - Quebec Department of International Relations (1989-1998)
 Quebec's Delegate General in Brussels
 Quebec's Representative for Francophone Affairs (Paris)
 Director - Francophone Affairs - Quebec Department Of International Relations
 Director, Secretary General's Office, Francophone International Agency (Paris)
 Lecturer (National School of Administration and Law - Kinshasa) - Professor of Anthropology (University of Congo)

Mag. Dr. Emil BRIX

Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, London

1975-1979 Studium der Geschichte und Anglistik, Universität Wien
1979-1980 Forschungsprojekt "Soziale und kulturelle Konflikte in der Donaumonarchie"
seit 1982 Österreichischer Diplomatischer Dienst
1982-1984 Bundesgeschäftsführer des Management Clubs des Österreichischen Wirtschaftsbundes
1984-1986 Klubsekretär im Parlamentsklub der Österreichischen Volkspartei
1986-1989 Leiter des Ministerbüros im Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung
1990-1995 Generalkonsul der Republik Österreich in Krakau/Polen
1995-1999 Direktor des Österreichischen Kulturinstitutes in London
2000-2003 Leiter der Abteilung "Durchführung kultureller und wissenschaftlicher Veranstaltungen im Ausland" (Gesandter) in der Kulturpolitischen Sektion des Bundesministeriums für auswärtige Angelegenheiten
2002-2010 Botschafts Leiter der Kulturpolitische Sektion im Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten
2007, 2008 Präsident von EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture)
seit 2010 Botschafter der Republik Österreich im Vereinigten Königreich Großbritannien und Nordirland

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