International Forum on Active Citizenship and Democracy

International Forum on Active Citizenship and Democracy
Kaspars Garda, Riga 2014 . One of the active citizenship projects in the “Riga 2014” Programme – the cleanup movement for courtyards in Riga neighbourhoods
The international “Riga 2014” forum “Cities for Europe – Freedom. Responsibility. Action” will be held at the conference centre “Citadele” (Republikas laukums 2a, Riga) on the 11th of November to discuss the unalienable value of freedom and the role of cities and citizens in supporting the European unification process, thereby strengthening democracy.

2014 marks several important anniversaries in the political life of many countries: ten years since Latvia joined the European Union and NATO, 25 years after the Baltic Way, 75 years after Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact, 100 years after the start of the First World War. For this reason, the forum will feature various opinions about the future scenarios for Europe, based on active citizenship.

This year, “Riga 2014” is organising the international forum together with the European non-governmental organisation “A Soul for Europe” with support from the Goethe Institute in Latvia.

You can download draft programme here!

Together with representatives of past, present and future European Capitals of Culture, with politicians and civil society actors, the following questions will be explored: Can Riga be seen as a “model” for a European Capital of Culture? How can cities and citizens actively contribute to the European unification process in co-operation with political decision makers? What is the role of citizens in the development of democracy and preservation of freedom?

The forum will include three panel discussions on the following themes: Riga for Europe – visions and reality. A model for European Capitals of Culture and European cities; Europe in our cities: Culture as a driving force – citizens as actors; Europe from bottom-up: Active citizenship – freedom and responsibility in Europe 2014.

The international forum in Riga will be attended by Nele Hertling, Vice-Chair at the Academy of Arts in Berlin and the Head of the European Capital of Culture Programme for Berlin in 1988, Jiri Sulzenko, Artistic Director for the European Capital of Culture 2015 in Plzen, Kathrin Deventer, Director General at the European Festivals Association, European Parliament Member Arne Lietz, Ukrainian author Andrej Kurkow, Hella Dunger-Löper, Commissioner for European Affairs and Commissioner for Active Citizenship at the Berlin Senate Chancellery, and the former and present mayors of several European cities.

The participants in the forum will also talk about some of the “Riga 2014” projects, including the “Corner House. Case No. 1914/2014” project and courtyard cleanup campaigns in neighbourhoods of Riga, as well as the active citizenship experience of “Umeå 2014”.

The conference will be accompanied by a “European Marketplace” in the lobby of the venue: projects and activities from different parts of Europe showing “Europe in practice”, how citizens live Europe every day in their cities and regions.

Those who wish to participate in the forum are requested to register by sending an e-mail to riga2014@riga2014.org. Entry will be free of charge for members of the general public.

The European Capital of Culture Programme of Riga is prepared and run by the foundation “Riga 2014” in collaboration with state, municipal and non-governmental cultural organisations and creative associations. The Programme is financed by the Riga City Council, Ministry of Culture and the European Commission, and offered to the public in partnership with “Lattelecom”, which also provides technical support for the Programme. The conference is organised in collaboration with the European organisation “A Soul for Europe” and financially supported by the Goethe Institute, “Stiftung Zukunft Berlin” and “Bosch-Stiftung”.

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