Christopher Coker (Director), Emilia Knight (Centre Manager), and Vlad Zigarov (Central and South-East Europe Programme Manager) attended the ‘Ratiu Dialogues on Democracy’ conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The conference was hosted by the Ratiu Centre for Democracy between May 19 and May 23 2019.
Christopher Coker delivered the keynote lecture, ‘Is Europe splitting in two? The growing cultural rift between western and eastern Europe.’ A ‘culture war’ seems to be forming between Eastern and Western Europe, and it will likely be further amplified in the years ahead. A constructive cultural dialogue requires recognition that there is a difference between the values all Europeans profess to share and the norms whereby they are institutionalised. Christopher concluded that it is necessary to acknowledge how national identity and history shape “the perennial battle between values and norms” in order to effectively approach the growing divide within Europe.
Christopher Coker speaking on a panel at the conference.
Emilia Knight and Vlad Zigarov participated in a panel discussion on ‘The role, functioning and impact of a think tank and the challenges of the contemporary age. The case of LSE IDEAS.’ Emilia was a discussant alongside Mădălina Mocan who manages the Central and South-East Europe Programme desk at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Emilia shared IDEAS’s 10-year journey to becoming globally ranked number 2 for university-affiliated think tanks. You can find out more about the history of IDEAS in ‘A Short History of IDEAS’. The key message focussed on the importance of fostering a dynamic culture through a mix of research projects enhanced by Visiting Fellows and Professors, and Directors with opposing views. Vlad noted that the collaboration between LSE IDEAS, The Ratiu Family Foundation, and the Babes-Bolyai University reflects academic and civic cooperation that should be emulated by other actors.
Vlad Zigarov, Emilia Knight, and Mădălina Mocan speaking on a panel at the conference.