27 February 2013 - More Europe mourns the loss of Stéphane Hessel who supported the initiative since its very beginning.
Stéphane Hessel was a diplomat, ambassador, writer, concentration camp survivor, former French Resistance fighter and BCRA agent. Born German, he became a naturalised French citizen in 1939. He participated in the editing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. In 2004 he was awarded the North-South Prize by the Council of Europe and in 2008 the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. In October 2010, his essay Time for Outrage! (original French title: Indignez-vous !) was published in an edition of 6,000 copies. It has sold more than 3,5 million copies worldwide and has been translated in more than 14 languages. In 2011, one of the names given to the Spanish protests against corruption and bipartisan politics was Los Indignados (the outraged). These protests, in conjunction with the Arab Spring, later helped to inspire other protests in many countries, including Greece, the UK, Chile, Israel and Occupy Wall Street. In 2011, Stéphane Hessel was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers “for bringing the spirit of the French Resistance to a global society that has lost its heart.”
Odile Quintin, a French lawyer, has been Director General for DG Education and Culture at the European Commission for 2006 to 2010. With the Slovak Commissioner, Jan Figeĺ, she had responsibility for policies on education, training, youth, culture, sport and citizenship. In this role, she played a major part in increasing the recognition of these fields at Community level. In addition, within the scope of the portfolio of the Romanian Commissioner, Leonard Orban, she also had responsibility for policy on multilingualism. She entered the European Commission in 1971. Over the first eleven years at the Commission, she held various positions at DG Agriculture and then at DG External Relations. In 1982, she joined DG Employment, where she spent a large part of her career. She successively occupied the posts of Head of Unit, Director of the European Social Fund, Director for Employment and the Labour Market, and finally, Director for Social Dialogue. From 2000 to 2005, she worked as the Director General for DG Employment.
Ambassador of Palestine at the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg since December 2005, Leila Shahid served as General Delegate of Palestine in France between 1993-2005, Unesco 1993-1996, the Netherlands 1990-1993, Ireland 1989 - 1990. Born in exile in Lebanon of Palestinian parents, Leila Shahid studied Anthropology at the American University in Beirut and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes. Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She is married to the Moroccan novelist and literary critic Mohammed Berrada. Leila Shahid believes in the importance of culture and art in her political and diplomatic work and initiated the two important cultural events on contemporary Palestinian art and culture in France in 1997, Le Printemps Palestinien, in collaboration with the Quai d’Orsay and l’Institut du Monde Arabe and in Belgium in 2008 Masarat, with the Communaute Francaise de Belgique and les Halles de Schaerbek in Brussels. Both events were very well received by the public as witnessed by the massive attendance and the media coverage.
- Leila Shahid participated to the launching event of More Europe, on December 8, 2011.
Radu Mihăileanu, the son of a Jewish journalist, left Romania in 1980 because of Ceausescu's dictatorship, to go to Israel, and then to France, where he graduated from the IDHEC cinematographic institute in Paris. In the 1980s, he worked as an assistant director, notably with Marco Ferreri. His first full-length movie as a film director, Trahir (1993), received several awards (Montreal World Film Festival, International Istanbul Film Festival…). His second movie, Train de vie (Train of Life), released in 1997 was an international success and received two awards at the Venice Film Festival. After meeting with Ethiopian migrants in Israel, Radu Mihăileanu started a new project leading to Va, vis et deviens (Live and Become) in 2005, for which he received the Best Original Screenplay César Award and several awards at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2009, Le Concert reached 1,9 million spectators. His latest film, La Source des femmes (The Source) premiered in Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, he published a book of poems in 1987, entitled Une vague en mal de mer.
Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, was elected on 17 June 1999 by the Parliament for a four-year term as President of Latvia and re-elected for a second term in 2003. Outspoken pundit on social issues, moral values, European historical dialogue, and democracy, she was awarded the 2005 Hannah Arendt Prize for political thought. She was named Special envoy on the reform of the United Nations in 2005 and was an official candidate of the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) for the position of Secretary General in 2006. After earning a PhD in experimental psychology in 1965 from the McGill University in Montreal (Canada), she pursued a professorial career at the Department of Psychology of the French-speaking University of Montreal and conducted scholarly research on semiotics, poetics and the structural analysis of computer-accessible texts from an oral tradition -- the Latvian folksongs (Dainas). In June 1998 she was elected Professor emerita at the University of Montreal and returned to her native land, Latvia, where on 19 October the Prime Minister named her Director of the newly founded Latvian Institute. Since 1999, she has received many medals and awards, twenty-seven Orders of Merit and ten honorary doctorates.
After completing school, Navid Kermani studied Islamic Studies, Philosophy, and Theater in Cologne, Cairo, and Bonn. He completed his studies in 1998 with a PhD. at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität Bonn on the aesthetic reception of the Koran. From 2000 to 2003 he was a Long-Term Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin / Institute for Advanced Study, and in 2005 he received his post-doctoral degree ("Habilitation"). From 2005 to 2007 he worked as a director and "curator for extraordinary events" at the city theatre of Cologne (Schauspiel Köln). Together with Guy Helminger he hosts the "Literary Salon" at the Stadtgarten Cologne since 2006. Since 2009 he is Senior Fellow at the “Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg Essen” (Institute for Advanced Study). He is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry and the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg. For his literary and academic work he was awarded numerous prices, the latest being the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal and the Hannah-Arendt-Price, both in 2011. His latest book Dein Name (Your Name), was nominated for the German Book price 2011.
- On May 23, 2012, Julia Kristeva spoke at the opening session of the More Europe debate in Paris.
Culture flourishes best in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. In a time of financial crisis, culture can inspire innovation and prepare the ground for new advances in sustainable economic development. New jobs can be created in the cultural industries."
photo Johannes Jansson, via Wikimedia Commons