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De Balie - ENGLISH

English spoken programs of De Balie

Michael Ignatieff - Europe and the battle for democratic freedom

How should the European community stand up against the rise of authoritarian leaders such as the Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán? Is Europe “saved”, after more pro-European leaders have won in a series of important European elections last year? Or is the future of Europe still at risk?

We are very honoured to discuss these current challenges of the European project with the internationally renowned philosopher, author, journalist and former-politician Michael Ignatieff. Currently Michael Ignatieff is Chairman and President of the prestigious, multicultural Central European University in Budapest with students from all over the world. Since April this university – a beacon of democratic values in Central Europe – is under threat as Orbán passed a law that aims to close down the critical and independent institution next year. Passionately defending academic freedom, Ignatieff is a central figure in the battle against Orbán. If Orbán wins, it would be the first time that a member of the European Union dares to legislate an attack on the academic freedom of a university in Europe.

What does this fight about the Central University say about the rise of illiberal regimes in Europe? How should Europe react, according to Ignatieff?

Michael Ignatieff is an important present-day thinker in the fields of ethics, nationalism, human rights and international conflicts. He has written influential books such as The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004) and Isaiah Berlin: A Life (1998) and is a regular commentator for, among others, The New York Times, the Guardian and The New Yorker. Between 2006 and 2011 he was the leader for the liberal opposition party in the Parliament of Canada and prepared the way for the present Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau.

The Dutch translation of his newest book Ordinary Virtues. Moral order in a divided world will be published in September by Uitgeverij Cossee. For this book, Ignatieff visited the Brazilian favela, the South-African and Zimbabwean townships, Japanese farmers, gangs in Los Angeles and monks in Myanmar, to research which moral virtues connects people all over the world. While globalisation connects the world population on an economic level, the question rises if our values correspond as well. Have universal human rights nowadays become a worldwide shared moral system?

Bastiaan Rijpkema, legal philsopher and author of the awarded book Weerbare Democratie [militant democracy] will give an introduction.

Moderator: Lennart Booij

Language: English

Live stream 2017-09-01

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N E D E R L A N D S :

Hoe zou de Europese gemeenschap moeten reageren op autoritaire leiders als de Hongaarse premier Orbán? Is Europa “gered” nu meer pro-Europese leiders gekozen zijn in de reeks belangrijke Europese verkiezingen afgelopen jaar? Of staat de toekomst van Europa meer op het spel dan ooit?

We zijn vereerd dat Michael Ignatieff, filosoof, auteur, journalist en voormalig politicus, naar De Balie komt om over deze belangrijke uitdagingen voor Europa te spreken. Momenteel is Michael Ignatieff voorzitter en president van de prestigieuze en multiculturele Centrale Europese Universiteit in Boedapest, met studenten uit de hele wereld. Sinds april wordt deze universiteit – een baken voor democratische waarden in Centraal Europa – met sluiten bedreigd omdat Orban een wet doorvoerde die erop gericht is om de deuren van deze kritische en onafhankelijke instelling te sluiten. Sindsdien doet Ignatieff er alles aan om academische vrijheid te verdedigen. Als Orbán wint zou het de eerste keer zijn dat een Europees lidstaat via wetgeving de vrijheid van een universiteit aanvalt.

Wat zegt de strijd om deze universiteit in Boedapest over vrijheid in Europa? Wat zou Europa moeten doen volgens Ignatieff?

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