Forum “Cities for Europe – Freedom. Responsibility. Action”. Video Record
This year, “Riga 2014” organised 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 the programme of the forum here!
“One of the objectives of the European Capital of Culture year in Riga was to discuss the role of culture in contemporary Europe – in a great variety of areas, up to national security. I am very happy that the day has come and we, together with the “Soul for Europe” organisation, can discuss issues that matter the most for the Europe of today. These include culture as well as the current situation in Europe. The keywords for this year’s forum – freedom, responsibility, action – are of utmost importance at this time, and the main idea is in what we, every one of us, can do so contemporary Europe could be free, take responsible decisions about our lives, our Europe. We are the ones to shape the future of Europe,” commented the “Riga 2014” Head of Programming Aiva Rozenberga.
“It is the people of Europe – a whole lot of people who consider Europe their home – that determine what Europe actually is. This, in fact, goes for not just Europe but the entire planet. We’ve been given this place, and a limited amount of resources, and we all have to somehow live here together – and the way we do is up to us. The role of culture in the European integration process has been largely undervalued, but culture can help a lot in solving these matters of paramount importance,” said Kathrin Deventer from the “Soul for Europe” organisation.
Kathrin Deventer went on to say, the idea of “Soul for Europe” organisation was an initiative of a couple of people ten years ago to bring together politicians, who make major and very important decisions, with artists, city mayors, businessmen and intellectuals to jointly discuss the role of culture in the development of society. At the moment, there are 55 young people working at the organisation, many of which arrived in Riga for the forum. The organisation is actively promoting cultural activities in various cities and regions of Europe. “It is important to note that we don’t want any revolutions or to fight against anything,” adds Kathrin Deventer. “What we offer is to act in a constructive way, to foster dialogue and co-operation among residents.”
Together with representatives of past, present and future European Capitals of Culture, with politicians and civil society actors, the following questions were explored at the forum: Can be Riga 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 international forum in Riga was 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, Henri Malosse, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, and the former and present mayors of several European cities.