For a Renaissance of the European Project: Archaeology as a key tool for unveiling Europe’s memory and identity
Sneka Quaedvlieg-Mihailovi, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra
Thursday August 31st, 10.00-11.15 hrs., room 2.1
In response to so many national, European and global challenges, we are today facing some encouraging signs of a renewed political commitment to the European project based on a set of European values. In this changing political context, there is a growing need to put a much higher emphasis on our shared culture and shared history as a strategic and cohesive force for the future of Europe. The forthcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 provides a perfect opportunity for such a shift in EU policy and funding priorities.
The speaker will argue that archaeology, as well as all the other disciplines that help define and better understand our European cultural background and our present multi-layered identity, can have a decisive role in this vital process. Since archaeology investigates the most remote past of this identity, it is essential to help our better understanding that we, Europeans, have more common cultural baggage, than differences and also that we have important cultural ties with other world civilisations. At the same time, since Archaeology investigates networks, as well as the material culture of populations, it is also a strong tool to identify the nuances, the diversities, which make our culture so rich and multifaceted. But some groups of people and some political leaders are using these differences to build walls rather than bridges. We must therefore ensure that Archaeology is not used to divide but rather to unite. We indeed need to accept and embrace the idea that diversity is a strong asset to our European identity and to our open society.
The speaker will illustrate her contribution by examples of outstanding archaeological projects from various parts of Europe that have received in the past years one of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards.
Sneka Quaedvlieg-Mihailovi is the Secretary-General of Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation of non-governmental organisations active in the field of cultural and natural heritage. Sneka has advocated and supported European policies and programmes that aim to preserve cultural heritage and that foster the respect and understanding of other people's cultures for almost three decades. Europa Nostra closely cooperates with the UN and UNESCO, the Council of Europe and especially with the European Union. The common thread in many of the initiatives which Europa Nostra has led, or has been part of, is that culture plays an essential role in society and that cultural dialogue between the citizens of Europe is vital to ensure a continued support for the entire European project.