We have long since demolished the high wall that had separated us from the democratic Europe, but at the same time we are still tolerant of new walls, just as bad as the fallen ones, that are gradually and inconspicuously rising around us and among us.
Václav Havel, New Year's Address, Prague, January 1, 1999
One half of this year’s theme - The Other Europe - refers back to the epoch when Europe was divided into East and West. The first part of the conference - The Other Europe in the 1980s - refers to a six-part series produced by the British Channel Four television in 1987–1988 about the situation in the communist-dominated countries of Central Europe, based on interviews with the leading opposition figures of the era. The Václav Havel Library is in possession of the complete raw footage of the series. One panel of the conference is dedicated to four interviewees from 1987/88 and their “Facing the younger me” responses.
The second half of the conference - The Other Europe Today - will address the current situation: Is there an Other Europe today? Is it drifting apart again from its Western neighbours? What impact has the pandemic had on the EU’s geopolitical standing and internal cohesion? Has the pandemic affected the perceptions of liberal democracy and the opinions of the younger generation? In this second part we aim to explore the possible links between the past and present concepts of the Central European “otherness” and the perspectives of overcoming such divisions.
The conference is aimed primarily at secondary and college-level students, as well as scholars, experts, and members of the public interested in European issues. Albeit at a distance, we look forward to a vivid online interaction between the speakers and our international audience.