European Challenges | Lectures

The Evens Lecture Series is an Evens Foundation initiative, established to strengthen its commitment as an active contributor to the quality of the public debate on pressing issues of our times. Renowned speakers from different backgrounds will be asked to reflect on the core topics in the Foundation’s new strategic plan, starting from their own background and expertise.

The Evens Lecture Series is an Evens Foundation initiative, established to strengthen its commitment as an active contributor to the quality of the public debate on pressing issues of our times. Renowned speakers from different backgrounds will be asked to reflect on the core topics in the Foundation’s new strategic plan, starting from their own background and expertise.

Lecture | 3 December 2018

The Age of Imitation and Its Discontents

The end of the Cold War gave birth to the age of imitation. This imitation had different names - globalization, democratization, integration, but the meaning was clear. Imitating the West, its values, institutions and practices was the imperative. Looking back at the three post-Cold War decades and reflecting on the current crisis of liberal democracy, Ivan Krastev tries to suggest: why does imitation fuel resentment and hostility? Why do many imitators of foreign institutions feel like impostors? And why not only imitators but the imitated turned against the post-1989 liberal order?

Full lecture available here.

Keynote Speaker
Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences.
He is a founding board member of theEuropean Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of The International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Krasteve was appointed as the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress (2018-2019). His latest books in English are After Europe (2017), Democracy Disrupted (2014), The Global Politics on Protest (2014). He is a co-author with Stephen Holmes of a forthcoming book The Light that Failed (2019) on perils of the politics of imitation.

Respondents
Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute
Jorg Kustermans, Assistant Professor in International Relations at the University of Antwerp

Lecture | 24 September 2018

Academic Freedom and Democracy in Europe

Michael Ignatieff’s lecture analyses the role that universities play in the current cultural and institutional environment subject to shifting approaches to democracy. In this context the importance of securing academic freedom as a cornerstone of a free society seem pivotal as well as the necessity to grant educational institutions their function of corps intermédiaires. Academic freedom seems to be under attack from the state authorities in many parts of the world but also from within the academia itself. Debates have erupted about whether liberal academic freedom have turned into a form of coercive political correctness. Populist currents of political opinion are questioning the price the society pays for the freedom of its experts whilst academics strive to protect institutional and intellectual autonomy.

Full lecture available here

Keynote Speaker
Michael Ignatieff, Rector and President of the Central European University.
An international commentator on contemporary issues of democracy, human rights, and governance, Ignatieff is also an award-winning writer, teacher, former politician, and historian with a deep knowledge of Central and Eastern Europe. His major publications are The Needs of Strangers (1984), Scar Tissue (1992), Isaiah Berlin (1998), The Rights Revolution (2000), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004), Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013), and The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World (2017).

Respondents
Natalie Nougayrède, Columnist at The Guardian, Editor of Europe Now series and This is Europe newsletter
Philippe Van Parijs, Guest Professor at KU Leuven and UCLouvain, Robert Schuman Fellow, European University Institute