Rigaer Gespräche I: Russischsprachige EuropäerInnen: Politische Teilhabe und Politische Bildung in Europa

Riga talks I: Russian-speaking Europeans: Political participation and civic education in Europe 

Rigaer Gespräche I: Russischsprachige EuropäerInnen: Politische Teilhabe und Politische Bildung in Europa 

September 19-20, 2018 Riga, Torņa iela 1

organised by
Žanis Lipke Memorial (Riga)
in cooperation with
Bundesverband Russischsprachiger Eltern e.V. (BVRE e.V., Germany)

Supported by
Embassy of Germany in Latvia
Goethe - Institut Riga 

For the last decades young Europeans have been enjoying the free space of opportunities in a growing, confident and welcoming Europe. They work, travel and study unimpeded by geographical and social borders, which defined and limited the lives of the earlier generations, especially in Eastern Europe.

And yet paradoxically, the disenchantment with Europe`s idea is today the central theme of many discussions across the EU. The professional Eurosceptics, populists, nationalists and various religious groups exploit this crisis and amplify the signal of "the end of Europe". Where does this crisis originate? Is it the stress of rapid globalisation? Have the elites become detached from the reality on the street and are losing their legitimacy as representatives? Or is it a crisis of participation, which made European peace and stability possible?

The Russian-speaking European youth of the Baltic region are a particularly interesting part of this picture. Although Russian is not an official EU language, it is difficult to imagine the European idea without its constant reengagement with its Russian-speaking populations, with their fears, hopes and voices. And all the more so in the Baltics, where cultural and societal cross-currents continuously prompt us to question the place of the "Russians" in the wider European vision.

This is the origin and the aim of Riga Talks. We seek to re-engage the Russian-speaking youth from the Baltic region by giving them voice and connecting them with the experts, into the larger academic and policy world.

In the first round to take place on September 19-20, 2018 we explore the themes of a сhanging media landscape, civic education of youth, political art, civic poetry and politics of memory. Academics, journalists, educators, museum staff and artists from Germany, Latvia and Russia as well as young men and women from Riga schools and universities will be looking for answers to the question: how can civic education help sustain Europe as a democratic and pluralistic space?

We need a critical inquiry of the alienation of the Russian-speaking Europeans from the European idea. Yet we also want to look for possible solutions in form of civic education and political art, as well as a network of civil society actors working with the Russian-speaking youth.

With English and Russian as working languages, the Riga Talks is a public discussion open to all interested in the topic.