In 2004, the „Berliner Konferenz“, marked the beginning of a bottom-up dialogue between representatives from the spheres of politics and civil society. That dialogue aimed at integrating culture as an asset and creative force in the process of European integration, on all levels of political action and decision-making. The conferences have continued on a regular basis ever since.
The A Soul for Europe initiative grew out of those conferences. With its decentralized working structure, “A Soul for Europe” has been feeding locally grown projects and activities between civil society, politics and culture for years now. The name references former EU Commission President Jacques Delors' exclamation that “Il nous faut donner une âme à l'Europe!” (We have to give Europe a soul!) In 2016, the Berlin Conference was renamed to match the initiative. Each A Soul for Europe conference reacts creatively to the latest challenges confronting Europe and formulates concrete suggestions for stronger collaboration between politics and civil society in European cities and regions.
Over the years, A Soul for Europe has won many supporters, partners and backers through its work: With the support of leading European politicians, it brings scholars, cultural representatives, politicians, economic experts and decision-makers from all areas of society into contact at its conference and makes space for participatory discussions on culture as a component of European politics. Visions of a culturally open Europe consistently come out of those conversations.
The Allianz Cultural Foundation has been backing this project since its inception. In 2014, the European Parliament became the official patron of the A Soul for Europe Conference. The Stiftung Zukunft Berlin is the seat of the Berlin office of the pan-European initiative and has been legally responsible for the A Soul for Europe Conference since 2006.
Market place & project presentations with Cafebabel, Emergency, Europa Light Installation, Idea Camp and Route 28 (Alex TV Berlin, 19 Nov 2016)
The conference kicked off with discussions between researchers, politicians active at either the local or European level and NGO representatives on the subject of new urban and regional responsibilities toward Europe. Participants presented strategies and projects from their cities. At the “Marketplace Europe” event, guests got a chance to meet and get to know civil society initiatives working toward a socially inclusive and culturally open EuropeThe second segment of the conference featured round table discussions on the topics Art and Culture in Europe, Migration and Europe “From Below”.
Introduction by Rita Süssmuth to the panel discussion "Flight and Migration: The New European Divide" with Dessy Gavrilova, Aleš Šteger, Rita Süssmuth, Dejan Ubović; moderated by Gemma Pörzgen.
"A Soul for Europe Conference", Allianz Forum, Berlin 2016.
Panel discussion "Starting From The Bottom-up" with Ulrike Guérot, Jon Worth, Rumena Bužarovska, Lorenzo Marsili, Maria Badia i Cutchet, Allianz Forum Berlin 2016.
15-Minutes discussion with Beral Madra, Allianz Forum Berlin 2016.
In "15 Minutes Of Conversation With" speakers of the conference and other committed Europeans shared their practices,tools and reflections with the audience. A session to create a space for participants to learn,share and exchange inspiring experiences and ideas in small groups. With Cornelius Adebahr, Hubertus von Amelunxen, Enrique Barón Crespo, Rumena Bužarovska, Paul Dujardin, Rose Fenton, Ulrike Guérot, Beral Madra, Jagoda Marinić, Paul Spies and Hannes Swoboda.
A concert by refugee children project MitMachMusik topped the programme off artistically.
A Soul for Europe Konferenz 2016
Opening Remarks by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Initiative A Soul for Europe, at the Berlin Conference at the Allianz Forum, Berlin 2015.
From right to left: Martin Schulz, Volker Hassemer, Hannes Swoboda, Georgi Gospodinov and Kaspars Ruklis.
Welcoming Remarks by Doris Pack, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Initiative A Soul for Europe, 2015.
Discussion “The City as a Site of Innovation, Inclusion, and of New Models of Citizen Involvement” (2015).
From left to right: Volker Hassemer, Jens Nymand Christensen, Miguel Angel Martin Ramos, Arne Lietz and Farid Tabarki
Hannes Swoboda's introduction to the topic “The Periphery as an Inspiration for Europe” (2015).
Discussion “The Periphery as an Inspiration for Europe” (2015) with Lirac Çelaj, Doris Pack, Thierry Fabre, Georgi Gospodinov, Gianni Skaragas and others.
A Soul for Europe Conference 2015
Discussion “Artists and Intellectuals Debate with European Political Leaders” (2014) with Alicja Gescinska, Martin Schulz and Klaus Staeck.
Discussion “Artists and Intellectuals Debate with European Political Leaders” (2014) with Jean-Claude Juncker (European People's Party), Fruzsina Szép and Wim Wenders.