Diplomatic World nummer 54







Ambassador of the

Russian Federation



President of




Ambassador of


H.E. DR.




















Cancer Center




Autumn 2017 www.diplomatic-world.com Quarterly edition

P409937 - v.u. Barbara Dietrich, Beiaardlaan 25b, 1850 Grimbergen, Afgiftekantoor Mechelen X


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Address: Beiaardlaan 25

1850 Grimbergen I Belgium

T +32 2 770 03 06



Barbara Dietrich



ir. Marc Kintaert


Barbara Dietrich


Bruno Devos I Phillippe Billet I Marc Kintaert

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann I Els Merckx

Barbara Dietrich I Brita Achberger I Stefanie De Jonge

Sylvie Van Cutsem I Lorenz Kintaert I Lejton Vokshi

Liberta Vokshi I Maarten Vermeir I Nicolas Styfhals




Stockmans I Bruno Devos I Wouter Van der Wangen


Stockmans I www.stockmans.be


Stockmans at Antilope De Bie Printing



T +32 2 770 03 06

ISBN 2995-3655

The texts were written in English or Dutch and translated in the other

language. Some expressions can change by the translation. To safeguard the

language and tone of all authors, the author’s initial choice of spelling has

been maintained as much as possible. The editorial staff has done its utmost

to identify and mention sources and beneficiaries of the text and images used.

The publisher has made every effort to secure permission to reproduce the

listed material, illustrations and photographs. We apologize for any inadvert

errors or omissions. Parties who nevertheless believe they can claim specific

legal rights are invited to contact the publisher.

Opinions in this magazine belong to the writers and are not necessarily

endorsed by Diplomatic World.

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored

in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,

mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written

permission of the artist and publisher.

©2017 Diplomatic World Magazine


We need to ‘step outside’ to see the true motions and connections

of events, evolutions, and cultural standards shaping our world

and referential framework.

Do we realize that Apfelstrudel — the Austrian national dish

— came originally from Arabia? Do we truly recognize that

Edelweiss — the Swiss national symbol — originates from

Mongolia? In the end the world has always been a global village:

only the time needed to travel our human space has now truly

changed. Connectedly, everything used to evolve slowly; this

pace has now accelerated and humans are currently moving

at such high speed that they risk losing themselves. Therefore

retrospection is today of key importance. It is today, more than

ever, time to take a deep breath again and to feel the thrill of our

fragile but creative lives flowing through us and giving real sense

to our existence.

Let us take again more time for ourselves, let us take the time

and learn to truly see again. Mankind needs such mental space

and peace because creativity is impossible if restricted by

boundaries. Let us see again that there will always be a way,

when there is a will. We need to learn again to be interested in

one another and in the needs of the others.

We need this now because we cannot let problems agglomerate:

we need to face them and be adequately creative to see the

solutions within each unique setting. We need to implement

such solutions: this is equally valid in business, in politics and in

diplomacy; this is valid for our interpersonal relationships and

for the entire world.

Our world must find its balance again. We have to be there for

each other.

Barbara Dietrich












































Founder and

Chairman of



Services ag, Vaduz



















Julia Prettl







Sophia Kishkovsky











Dieter Brockmeyer



































The university setting yielded immediate high credibility and




even without active

advertisement, SPACE mainly because of the neutrality of the learning TRANSDISCIPLINARY

platform and its primary

objective of TIME learning about Arabic and European culture in the native ECO-SYSTEM tongue, but also because

of the monitoring POWERSby academics of the content, didactic methods FOR and EUROPE learning outcomes. The

success of


the school’s


success is illustrated by the student numbers:



A. Kaili

164 students

(83 boys and 81 girls) from different origins (see pie chart) and in 2017-2018, 250 students (133

boys and 117 girls), although whereby the number should have been had to be limited to 200

due to insufficient financial constraintsresources.

Krista & Grety

90 124 144




Emmi Pennanen










Also, parent’s’ testimonials are indicateing that there is a high demand for Arabic language

courses independent of religion (see enclosure 1). A question One of them coming from a


Moroccan AT mother HOME caught was catching my attention, “Can you teach some basic religion in your


class, just WITH something ART about good moralities?”. I asked Sami about this and he replied it. Sami


Azar: “Of course,




and Islam can be discussed in the school,


as these




it is part of our

cultural heritage and today’s daily life, but the courses themselves should be are strictly neutral

and independent of religious beliefs”.









Bruno Devos


Quality Assurance is a unique selling point proposition of our Arabic language courses and we’re

developing a Quality Assurance handbook is under construction. VUB developed the curriculum


in collaboration with experts in Arabic linguistics. Sami Azar: “One of the teachers, an Iraqi


refugee, has a PhD in Arabic literature. Also, A the FRAMEWORK other teachers are highly qualified refugees

from Iraq and Syria. Grammar, vocabulary, and FOR spelling, EUROPE as well as speaking and writing the

language fluently, are important but also playful learning, such as Arabic songs and games, isare

Maarten Vermeir

part of the curriculum.” For example, we’re now developing some 156 cCourse books that are under

construction, they will be illustrated withby cartoons.






Zeno X Gallery







































The third of October 1990 marks the day of the restoration

of German national unity, the end of the 40 year divide of

Germany. It is a day of celebration for Germany, a day that

we can be proud of.

Not only can we be proud that reunification was achieved,

but we Germans can be especially proud of how unity was

achieved: Through patience, peacefully, and with a clear

compass of values and an unconditional affirmation to the

unity of Europe. Through this unity, central corner stones

of German politics have been set that guide Germans to

this day.

These corner stones are built upon what the bloody 20th

century has taught us. It seems useful to be reminded

of it now, at a point in time when central teachings and

lessons are being carelessly thrown overboard, consciously

disregarded, or are just seemingly passing out of mind.

To what ends do we need patience and persistence today?

Hotheadedness and sabre-rattling are dangerous. For this

reason we are settling on Dialogue and Diplomacy also in

the case of North Korea. As has been proven, martialist

behaviour, does not lead us forward, but brings with it

threats of escalation not to be underestimated. During the

Cold War, we have always, though faced with established

oppositions, sought agreement to solutions through


Bruno Devos, H.E. Rudiger Lüdeking and Barbara Dietrich

The floodlit Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with a few fleeting shadows of anonymous Berliners

© Shutterstock

patience and persistence. The stakes are too high. Not in

the least during the current commemoration of the different

battlefields of Flanders, which happened a 100 years ago

and that should clarify how important and valuable peace


When we bank on patience, this does not mean passive

waiting, but active, and prudent, inexhaustible effort for

political solutions in coherence with our central values.

We must maintain a sharp eye for the realities, and the

short-term posibilities, but also seize the opportunities that

present themselves. This way, with patience and persistence,

the negotiation of the separation of Germany and Europe

was successful.

In this respect we should not look to the future with fear

and despondency, of which the unification is proof and

encouragement. For we have many reasons to be confident.

At this point, I would also wish to address another, to

me, very important issue: If these days we mourn the

third battle of Flanders, we should not merely mourn the

hundred-thousand fallen; rather we must be aware that

we have an obligation toward the dead. An obligation to

do all in our power to hinder wars. This awareness moved

politicians at the end of World War II to anticipate and

focus on a unified Europe. Europe is — and this is often

forgotten — first and foremost a political project that

has provided us 70 years of peace and prosperity on our

continent. Therefore, it is only consequential that the

unification of the two German states was unshakeably

imbedded in the European unification process.

It pains me when current actors in Europe are betting

on the populist-national agenda. This is, in my opinion,

forgetting history and ignoring the lessons learned from the

20th century. This is valid independently from — and this

seems obvious to me — the fact that only a strong unified

Europe can master the current challenges, defend and

advocate its central values of peace, democracy and rule of


The base corner stones just presented, will continue to be

guidelines for Germany’s foreign policy. Germany remains a

dependable and reliable partner. Together with our friends

we want to consolidate and deepen Europe’s unity. Belgium

is taking an important role, as we do share a vision for

Europe’s future.


People crossing the road at Alexanderplatz, Berlin


It is also appropriate here to reminisce of what the

German re-unification has taught us. For successful coexistence

in Germany community cohesion and solidarity

is imperative. This is only achievable on a basis of a

communal understanding of the valid core values and

rules, a distinct community spirit and an orientation

toward the common good. Leaving or excluding oneself

from our free-democratic constitutional order is therefore

just as permissible and intolerable as upsetting the social

peace, for example, through missing equal opportunity

and excessive broadening of the gap between rich and


I am certain that based upon our historical experience as

German citizens — and also our experience of unification —

the awareness and responsibility, and commonalities of the

democrats at the Bundestag will not change.

Today, the day of German unification, is occasion for

courage, optimism and confidence. Even in difficult

times we accept our challenges and will master them, in

partnership with our friends in Europe.


Germany has elected. The free and fair elections were

proof of a matured democracy and a functioning

parliamentarianism. Another positive factor is that, after a

drop in voter turnout at the previous Bundestag elections,

the turnout rate has increased significantly this time,

amounting up to 76,2%.

The outcome of the elections is now the subject of many

discussions and analyses. Whatever the position is, it

will only emphasize the importance of these elections.

© Shutterstock

The importance has been heavily underestimated in

the last weeks before the elections by many observers,

who suspected that everything would remain how it

was. Although the CDU/CSU has yet again secured

a mandate to form the new government, it is already

predictable that, in the days and weeks to come, difficult

discussions and negotiations in regards to the formation

of the new government will arise. This can in turn have

further consequences for central themes of the political


The result of the “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD)

party was at the centre of many reactions, both in Germany

and in Belgium, along with other European states. During

the election campaigns, this party has provoked with

xenophobic, racist and extreme right statements. With an

end result of 12,6%, the party scored better than many had

predicted. Even so, no wrong conclusions should be drawn

from this. The voters of AfD aren’t all right-wing extremists:

the analyses of the elections clearly show that many people

voted for AfD merely out of protest. This vote of protest

might have seemed an option for many, since according to

polls prior to the elections it was generally assumed that

nothing would fundamentally change.

However, the protest should be taken seriously. The

concerns of a number of citizens — even though they

are a minority — cannot simply be ignored or classified

as irrelevant. That is what characterizes a democracy; it

doesn’t only exist out of the dominance of a majority over

a minority, but it also guarantees respect for the interests

of minorities in the framework of a democratic decisionmaking

process. A stable and democratic society has to

make sure it doesn’t fall apart and that the general social


Hamburg, harbour view (HafenCity) with St Michael’s Church and Elbe Philharmonic Hall

© Shutterstock


consensus remains guaranteed. That way, the growth of the

gap between poor and rich serves no one’s interest.

Furthermore, even if 12,6% voted for AfD, an overwhelming

majority of 87,4% of the voters chose differently. In my

opinion, we shouldn’t unnecessarily dramatize the outcome

of the results of the elections. There is no reason for

alarmism or exaggerated fear. I look forward to the future

with confidence, regardless of the challenges that come

with the results of the elections. Based on the historical

experiences and the scepticism about extremism and

fanaticism, I am confident that this situation is without

prejudice to the sense of responsibility and agreement

regarding a social consensus the Bundestag has. Now it

is up to AfD to prove that they can respect the general

consensus and a constructive parliamentary cooperation,

despite the substantial differences.

A stable and efficient government has to be formed based

on the results of the elections in the next few days and

weeks. This is a great responsibility with which the elected

officials and parties of the newly chosen parliament will

be confronted. It is, after all, all about facing and tackling

difficult challenges.

Not only Germany is facing these challenges, the rest of

Europe and the international community have to tackle

them as well. That’s why it’s about contributing to the

consolidation of safety and peace, given the hostile rhetoric

currently present on the world stage. As a result, the

safeguarding of continuity in the German foreign policy,

which counts on dialogue and cooperation, occupies

an important place. And because the member states of

the European Union can only have a joint influence in

a globalized world with many challenges, the efforts to

guarantee a favourable future for the European Union

should be resolutely continued in the coming months. To

achieve this, the confidence in the European Union as a

political project that has guaranteed peace and freedom for

its citizens for over 70 years should be strengthened, and

the advantages it has for all citizens must be made visible.

In addition, the new federal government will have to take

on important tasks in the framework of internal affairs,

which — and this cannot conceal the currently favourable

economic situation in Germany — are also related to

fundamental issues, such as the sustainable cohesion of our


By Rüdiger Lüdeking, Ambassador of the Federal Republic

of Germany to the Kingdom of Belgium.

Armin Linke

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

Stencil, paint on wall

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

The photograph I initially had in my mind for this project depicts Aerogel, an ultralight nanoporous material in which the liquid element is

replaced with gas. It is an extremely low-density substance and is used in space exploration. It is fascinating to bring such a translucent,

almost invisible substance into the medium of photography which incorporates the opposite of invisibility and immateriality. Since it was not

possible to transfer a photograph into a stencil, I tried to transfer the content into something graphic and I came up with the sentence

“All That is Solid Melts Into Air” which is a quote from Karl Marx. Somehow, this work for the stencil project is like an additional layer:

first the substance, second the photograph of the substance, third the abstraction, the paraphrase of the photograph.








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Diplomacy means art, skill and practice of

conducting negotiations between nations and

regions, in handling affairs in a sensitive and

tactful way without arousing hostility. Throughout

history this definition and practice of diplomacy

has proven its success. The geopolitical challenges

that lie ahead of diplomats demand a return to

this original definition. How would you advise the

corps diplomatique to look actively for a dialogue,

a creative form of diplomacy and the returning

to the act of compromises which could lead to

breakthrough results and the making of diplomatic

winners on a global level?

I am convinced that there is no alternative to reviving the

culture of dialogue in this highly complicated period in the

international relations, marked by uncertainty and turmoil.

Of course, the global landscape has never been static, but

the transformations it now undergoes come at increasingly

high pace. We have to deal simultaneously with various

threats including terrorism and extremism, crises in various

regions, financial and economic instability, proliferation

of weapons of mass destruction, illegal migration,

transnational crime, mass poverty and disease, climate

change, to name but a few.

Our world has become interdependent to the extent that an

event in any region can resonate in any other. The price of

wrong or shortsighted decisions is rising accordingly. The

fact is that durable solutions to today’s conflicts cannot be

found through the use of military force, but only by political

and diplomatic means. No state or a group of states, no

matter how powerful, can aspire to settle international

problems single-handedly.


Barbara Dietrich and H.E. Alexander Tokovinin

Capital morning at the Kremlin

It is widely accepted that a polycentric picture of the

world has become a reality. That means that effective

global architecture can be constructed not by imposing

somebody’s will on others, but on the basis of full respect

for the sovereignty of states, by forging consensus between

the centers of economic power and political influence.

Such vision, of course, does not eliminate competition, but

tends to arrange it in the framework of rules that are jointly

worked out and universally applied. The cornerstone of the

international system should be respect for international law

and the centrality of the United Nations, the recognition of

political pluralism and freedom of choice.

Diplomacy, of course, leans on tradition. But at the same

time it constantly transforms with the changing reality. Today

the goal of diplomatic negotiations should not and cannot

be viewed, as was the case during the preceding centuries,

as forming coalitions in preparation for the next war. Such

a vision would be a recipe for global catastrophe. What is

needed today is common work to confront real challenges and

not imaginary ones, like the mythical Russian military threat.

Russia is not preparing to attack anyone. We are not looking

for adversaries, we need friends.

In other words, the multilateral approach is key to solving

international problems. Over the last years it has been proven

over and over again. When the desire to work together in

good will prevailed, solutions to complex problems were

usually found. One can cite the Joint Comprehensive Plan

of Action on Iran or the Paris climate agreement. This is, in

our view, the path to follow on the situation on the Korean

peninsula and elsewhere. Working out compromise has never

been easy, it often takes a lot of effort and long hours, days,

weeks and months of tedious talks, but the result is always

worth it as it reflects the positions of international actors

concerned and their commitment to uphold the deal.

I would like to quote Minister of Foreign Affairs

Sergey Lavrov : ‘As you know, it takes two to

tango, but it seems to me that our [USA] partners

keep performing individual breakdance. Russia

does not seek any quarrel. Russia has always been

friendly to the American people, and is open to

constructive cooperation where it meets Russian

interests. Generally, we will continue to promote

a positive agenda, mutually respectful approaches.

We will seek and find compromises.’ Wise words

that remind us that being empathic towards our

partners in dialogue is essential. We need to show

true interest in each other, and try to understand

and focus on our joint diplomatic agendas. Brussels

could be the meeting platform to connect and put

this thesis into practice. Which strategic points of

interest do we share and could become the start of

a shared diplomatic vision?


Yekaterinburg-City with Buildings of Regional Government and Parliament, Hotel Hyatt, Drama Theatre, Iset Tower, Yeltsin Center, Demidov Plaza,

President Center


Once again, Russia has always promoted sovereignty and

mutual respect. Our country has gone its part of the way

to eliminate the legacy of the Cold War and to strengthen

confidence and mutual understanding in the Euro-Atlantic

region and in the world. It is not our fault that instead

of bringing to life the principle of equal and indivisible

security across the OSCE area, NATO chose the path

of eastward expansion, proceeding its policies from the

principle “he that is not with us is against us”. George

Kennan, who at the start of the Cold War masterminded the

policy of containment of the Soviet Union, in 1998 called

NATO expansion a tragic mistake. Nevertheless, Russia is

prepared for constructive work with all those who are ready

to cooperate in good will and on the basis of equality.

As you look at the map, it is easy to see that EU and

Russia are two major actors on the European continent

and, accordingly, relationship between them is crucial for

its future. However, it is astonishing that there is no clear

strategic vision of how these relations should develop, while

it is evident that to ensure sustainable development we

should combine our potentials. President Vladimir Putin

proposed a concept of great Eurasian partnership open to

both Asian and European States and aimed at formation of

common economic and humanitarian space on the basis of

indivisible security.

Belgian diplomacy is known for its moderation, common

sense and desire to assist building compromise. Perhaps

this talent of negotiation is partly rooted in the historic

experience of this country which lies on the junction of

Romanic and Germanic cultures.

We appreciate the call by Prime Minister Charles Michel

and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign and

European Affairs Didier Reynders to restart high level

substantial dialogue between the European Union and

Russia. If we really want to meet the challenges facing

us on the European continent, this is the only way. The

constructive atmosphere of Foreign Minister Sergey

Lavrov’s visit to Brussels last July attests to the fact that

Russia and Belgium can work together to bolster positive

trends in international relations.

And of course, Brussels is a meeting point and a platform

for discussion on various levels, both in political and

academic formats. One of the recent examples is a

conference on the role of BRICS in the world held jointly

by the embassies of the five countries and the Egmont

Institute. We are looking forward to working on new

projects promoting better mutual understanding and

shedding light on ways to improve the situation on the

European continent.

Reading about the mission of the Hermitage

Museum in Amsterdam, its focus points are the

aims to use art and history to inspire, enrich

and above all offer opportunity for reflection.

With its diverse exhibition and supplementary

programming, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents

the world heritage of one of the greatest museums

— the State Hermitage in St Petersburg — to Dutch

and international visitors, taking inspiration

from the historical ties between Amsterdam and

St Petersburg and between the House of Orange-

Nassau and the Romanovs. Taking the Hermitage

Amsterdam as a strong case, how could Cultural

Diplomacy become an instrumental tool to improve

international relations between Russia, USA,

China and Europe?

I do believe that culture is at the core of relations between

nations and is perhaps more important for building lasting

and stable cooperation than political or economic ties.

Cultural and civilizational diversity is a feature of the world

of today which was only highlighted by the process of

globalization. Harmony in international relations cannot be

achieved by trying to make a single set of cultural traditions

and values applicable everywhere. What is needed is

partnership of civilizations, based on respect for other

cultures and ways of life. Therefore, it is essential to have

better understanding of the cultural matrix of other nations.

I believe it is not necessary to dwell on the European roots of

the Russian culture. No Russian child is raised without being

acquainted with the heritage of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart

and Hugo. Everyone in Russia is familiar with “L’oiseau

bleu” by Maurice Maeterlinck. Similarly, one cannot imagine

an educated person in any European country not knowing

the works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov or Tchaikovsky,

Rakhmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Today, in the age of globalization, people multiply direct

contacts, and that is markedly different from the period

of the Cold War. I have noticed that today anti-Russian

information campaigns in the media have much less

influence on the minds of people because they can form their

own judgment. And they understand that erasing division

lines, not building new walls, meets their best interest.

The Grand Cascade, Peterhof Palace, Russia

recently performed with his Mariinskiy Orchestra in the

magnificent St Bavo’s Cathedral in the framework of the

Ghent festival? Over the last year there have been multiple

manifestations of Russian culture here, including recitals of

classical music, ballets, operas and art exhibitions.

In 2017 we have been celebrating 300th anniversary of the

visit of Peter the Great to Belgian cities. And I am grateful

to the authorities and the Belgian public for the wellorganized

colourful events in Antwerp and Brussels as well

as in Liège, where a new statue of the first Russian emperor

was installed.

In the months and years to come we are planning many

cultural exchanges of high quality which I am sure will

generate a lot of interest both in Belgium and Russia.

Some of them will be designed to commemorate the 165th

Anniversary of our diplomatic relations next year. That will

give us an opportunity to turn back to our rich heritage,

remembering such historic facts as the impressive role

of the Belgian companies in the development of Russian

economy before the World War I or the common struggle

of our citizens for the freedom of their countries. I am

convinced that all that provides solid ground for our future


I was gratified to see a lot of interest in Belgium for Russian

culture, and I see one of my priorities as Ambassador

to encourage our cultural ties. Indeed, who can better

represent the Russian identity than Valery Gergiev who

Famous beautiful marble quarry Ruskeala, Karelia, Russia






How do you compare the governmental and

administrative institutions of Russia and the

EU, knowing, as you do, that the EU has the

European Parliament, the European Council, the

European Commission, and the European Court of

Justice? Could you explain how governmental and

administrative institutions in Russia work ?

The European Union is an association of sovereign

states with diverse governmental structures. It includes

monarchies and republics, as well as federal and highly

centralized states. Russia, by contrast, is an integrated

republic with a federated structure. Thus to compare

the institutional systems of the European Union and the

Russian Federation side by side would be rather difficult to

do. About 18% of the population of the Russian Federation

lives in the non-Russian republics, the borders of which are

formed around the largest ethnic populations that reside in

a given region.

The other citizens of the Russian Federation live in

administrative districts whose borders follow the contours

of the land, or reflect the economic lives of the population,

and so on.

institutional practices. Today, Russia is a presidential

republic. And for the present moment in its history, that is

the best system for it.

Of course, it is not an ideal system. But at least in today’s

Russia, unlike during the period of the Communist

totalitarian regime, one can at least discuss openly both the

advantages and disadvantages of the present government, as

well as possible alternatives to it.

Article 13 of the Constitution prohibits the establishment

of an official ideology in the state and guarantees freedom

of expression and thought. This constitutional provision

is a vitally important factor in maintaining the delicate

balance between civil order and freedom of thought in our


The Imperial House does not involve itself in politics and

is open to dialogue with all our countrymen, regardless of

their political views. Nor do we take sides in any political

conflicts. If any public figures or governmental officials

Despite this internal federal structure, all citizens of the

Russian Federation are entirely equal no matter where they

live, and none of the Russian Federation’s constituent parts

have the right to secede from the Federation.

The legal system in Russia is based on common democratic

principles that are shared by the majority of the nations of

the world today. But even with these shared principles, the

legal system of each nation nonetheless expresses its own

national characteristics.


Russia is obviously a large, complex, multi-ethnic country;

thus in every aspect of its system of state and administrative

institutions, including its legal system, there needs to

be a strong central authority to unify and standardize

were inclined to see their opponents

as “enemies of the people,” we

would certainly want to remind

them that unanimity of thought

truly doesn’t exist anywhere anyway,

and that the so-called opponents of

the government are not all foreign

agents or irresponsible demagogues,

but are mostly honest people who

simply see their country’s future

differently. And we would also want

to remind the opposition who might

be inclined to see all government

power as tyrannical, that this is a

deeply damaging and unnuanced

approach that is unconstructive and


The institutional system in Russia

today is, certainly, not without its

problems. But it works. And the

kind and scale of the problems in

Russia are absolutely comparable

to those in any country with a

democratic and republican form of

government. So when some start

to criticize my country, I always

answer: “Yes, we have our flaws, and

we — the citizens of Russia — we

know what they are because we’ve

H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia

learned about them ‘the hard way.’

But we see that other countries all

too often apply a double standard to us. You have your

The Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia

own internal problems, and believe me: they are no less and Belarus, as its name implies, is focused primarily on

serious than ours. And as for international affairs, no

the development of economic relations between Russia

country is blameless in that arena. So when it comes to and Belarus, which has joined with Russia in an economic

internal affairs, let’s agree to mind what’s going on in our union, and Belgium and Luxembourg.

own country, and in international affairs, let’s agree to

resolve issues not sitting in judgment over others, but in a At the same time, given the globalized economy we all live

constructive dialogue among equals.”

in today, we are naturally also open to working together

with all countries that have economic and trade relations

As Chairman of the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber with Russia, Belarus, Belgium and Luxembourg.

of Commerce in Russia, how do you collaborate

and build bridges with different chambers of

As for the future development of global markets, many

commerce in the USA, China, India, and the EU, experts believe — and we have no reason to doubt them —

and also with countries in Latin America, Africa that the coming decades will see a strengthening and

and the Middle East? Which regions should you expansion of markets of India, China, and the countries of

prioritize in the coming years from a geo-economic Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific rim.

point of view?


I believe in the economic potential of the Russian economy

— not only because I love my country, but because I can

objectively analyze the historical path of Russia. Russia

has more than once risen from the ashes, like a phoenix,

after what would have seemed to have been unrecoverable

destruction and ruin. It seemed that way, for example, after

the Mongol conquest in the 13th century, after the Time

of Troubles ended at the turn of the 17th century, after

Napoleon’s invasion in 1812, and after the Second World War.

I have to admit, of course, that not all the trend lines today

look positive. I speak with Russian economists of various

stripes — liberals, leftists, conservatives. They all agree that

the Russian economy needs serious, fundamental reforms,

further investments in industry, and a transition away from

energy production and export to high tech, and so on.

But most important, we must all understand that, neither in

Russia nor in any country in the word today, can economic

strength be built upon conditions that produce stark income

inequality, social stratification, or the impoverishment of

a large percentage of the population. The priority of all

economic policies must be to raise the standard of living

of everyone, to increase wages, and to make it possible for

everyone to make the most of their knowledge, skills, and

ambition to realize their full potential.

H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia

No government or state structure can satisfy all the needs

of humanity. But those who manage the economy, both at

the state and private levels, can and must provide those

things that make for a stable, “sufficient” life.

In Russian there is this word “dostatok”, which is close

in meaning to the words “property”, or “economic wellbeing”.

It’s very difficult to translate. “Dostatok” doesn’t

only mean “property”, nor necessarily “prosperity”,

“abundance”, or “wellbeing” (as many English, French, and

other dictionaries often render it), but rather “that which is

sufficient” — dostatochno: or, perhaps better, “that which is

enough to get along”, enough for a person to live a full and

meaningful life.

And those nations that make the economic welfare of all

their citizens a priority will be the ones that will in the end

win the global economic competition.

How can we improve the diplomatic and trade

relations between Russia and the EU, knowing that

business partnerships have already been established

and are enjoying success based on the promise of longterm

relationships? These economic opportunities

could be even better exploited if the diplomatic

situation between the EU and Russia were to improve.

Politics and economics are interrelated. But one can’t let

politics influence economics to the point of absurdity.

Economic sanctions are a double-edged sword. The sanctions

that have been introduced against Russia have not only hurt

Russia, they have hurt the nations that have imposed them.

At the same time, these same sanctions have stimulated the

revival of industries that had previously suffered from the

importing of cheap goods from abroad.


Using sanctions to punish this or that country or to

destabilize its internal affairs rarely succeeds. It did not work

with Iran, nor has it been much better with North Korea.

To use sanctions for this purpose against a country as vast and

wealthy as Russia is utterly pointless.

If I consider economic sanctions in the abstract as a means

for achieving political goals, and not about the specific case of

the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia, then I might

agree that they serve a useful symbolic purpose. One might

declare a boycott, say, on the importation of rice from China,

sprats (canned fish) from Latvia, wine from Georgia, caviar

from Russia, bacon from Ukraine, or malachite from Congo …

That is, you can definitely “put a dent” in the economy of your

geo-political adversary and demonstrate to the entire world

your dissatisfaction with some aspect of their politics. But to

introduce an entire regime of sanctions and seriously think

that this will prod them to do what you want them to do is,

I repeat, utterly foolish.

Many in Europe are looking forward to diplomats finally

working out a pathway for the restoration of mutual economic

relations and mutual understanding between Europe and

Russia, which will in turn lead to the quick restoration of

economic relations at previous levels, if not, indeed, at still

more expanded levels.

But if and when that day comes, European businessmen will

need to be prepared to prevent a repetition of what happened

in Russia in the 1990s, when the unstable economic situation

encouraged their forebears to take advantage of the economic

turmoil and to carve out for themselves whole markets in

Russia. Russia today must defend its economic interests, and

work to assure that the restoration of economic relations

between Russia and Europe be based not only on economic

opportunism, but on mutually beneficial trade agreements.

As concerns cultural diplomacy: on June 22 of

this year you were present at the unveiling of a

new statue of Peter the Great in Liège, Belgium,

which commemorates the visit of Peter the Great in

Belgium 300 years ago. For two centuries cultural

diplomacy and cultural exchange were integral parts

of the vision of the Russian leaders. As a result, there

has been a constant exchange between our cultures,

which has worked both to inspire and create new

interactions between our peoples. As a descendant

of the Russian Imperial House, how do you perceive

cultural diplomacy as a form of “soft power,” and

how could you transform it into an active tool to

help re-establish Russian and European political and

economic partnerships?

H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia and

Barbara Dietrich

The Imperial House of Russia remains convinced of the utility

of the monarchical system of government, and I believe that

it has a place in the future. But at this historical stage, we

understand perfectly well that the necessary conditions are

not yet in place for a restoration of the monarchy in Russia.

But that doesn’t prevent us heeding the mission to which God

has called us, of doing everything we can to be useful to our

country today. Our main and unchanging purpose was and

remains to preserve the continuity of our country’s History —

the connections that link today’s Russia with its centurieslong

history, a country that, from its very foundation more

than 1000 years ago, had been a hereditary monarchy.

This mission involves not only our efforts to restore and

revive traditions in Russia itself, but also, as you correctly

noted, to engage in cultural diplomacy on an international

level. We strive to use the positive legacy that our Imperial

ancestors left in other countries, as well as our family ties

with European royal dynasties, to bear witness before the

entire world that Russia is a great nation, that it has many

illustrious pages in its history, and that we need focus not on

the sorrowful, bloody, and terrible moments in that history,

but on the bright and beautiful moments that fill the pages

of our history, and on the many examples of collaboration,

mutual assistance, and nobility.

If we do so, most of the current international conflicts can be

resolved without making the same mistakes twice: by taking

all the experience of the past into account, both the positive

and the negative, but stressing always the positive.






His Imperial Highness the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand

Duke George of Russia was born on March 13, 1981 (new

style) in Madrid, on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of

the martyrdom (on March 1/14, 1881) of his great-greatgrandfather,

Emperor Alexander II the Tsar-Liberator. He

is the son of H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and

H.I.H. Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich.

The Grand Duke was baptized before the miracle-working

Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, in the Orthodox

Church in Madrid. Present at the baptism were King Juan

Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain, and King Simeon II

and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria. His godfather was King

Constantine II of Greece.

The early childhood of the Tsesarevich was

spent in St.-Briac, France, and then in Paris.

Up until 1999, the Heir and his mother lived

principally in Madrid, where he completed

college. From the time of his early childhood,

the Grand Duke was educated in the spirit of

the Orthodox Faith and in the full awareness of

his royal duties to his homeland.

The Tsesarevich plays a variety of sports and is an excellent

marksman. Besides Russian, in which he always received

excellent grades, the Grand Duke speaks English, French,

and Spanish. He knows, and participates in, the order of

services of the Orthodox Church.

On April 9, 1997, during a pilgrimage of the Imperial

Family to the Holy Land, the Heir, Tsesarevich, and

Grand Duke George of Russia, pursuant to the Russian

Fundamental Laws, took his dynastic oath to the

Fatherland and to his august mother. The ceremony took

place in Jerusalem, in the Throne Room of the Patriarch’s

residence, where the oath of His Imperial Highness

was witnessed by the faithful guardian of the purity of

Orthodoxy, Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem.

The Tsesarevich first visited Russia in April

1992, when the entire Imperial Family attended

the funeral of Grand Duke Wladimir III. Since

then he has been many times to Russia, always

showing a lively interest in all aspects of the life

of the people.

Russia’s ancient Orthodox churches, and

what he considers their uniquely prayerful

atmosphere, have made an indelible impression

on the Grand Duke. He also takes special

interest and great pleasure in visiting military

bases and in meeting and conversing with

soldiers, sailors and officers of the Russian

army and navy.


The Patriarch gave his blessing to the Grand Duke and

offered his prayers that the Grand Duke will defend the

Orthodox Faith, serve Russia and her people, and inviolably

preserve the laws of the Russian Imperial House.

Imperial House a wonderful example of respect for work.

He scorned no form of employment and he was interested

in everything. One can and should do what one does best

and what benefits others, without regrets or stigma.

After completing his studies at Oxford University, and

wanting to study the processes that were determining the

future course of Europe, His Imperial Highness began

working for the European Parliament, and then moved

to the position of assistant to the vice-president of the

European Commission and Commissioner for Transport

and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, in Brussels. Later he

continued working for the European Commission in

Luxembourg, in the European Commission for Atomic

Energy and Security. During these years, the Grand Duke

visited Russia several times on business.

In 2006, he made his first official visit to Russia. He

came to Russia at the request of his mother, the Head of

the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria of

Russia, to congratulate His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksei II

of Moscow and All Russia, on the 45th anniversary of his

ordination to the episcopacy. During that visit, the Grand

Duke also met with the First Deputy Chairmen of the

Duma, Oleg Morozov and Liubov Sliskaia, as well as with

the chairs of several Duma committees and other Duma


During another visit to Russia in November 2008, the

Grand Duke accepted a job offer from the management of

Norilsk Nickel; and in December, the Grand Duke assumed

the position of special advisor to the company’s Director,

V. I. Strzhalkovskii. In this new position, His Imperial

Highness represented the interests of Norilsk Nickel — one

of Russia’s largest companies — in the European Union.

In addition, Grand Duke George of Russia took a seat

on the Board of the Nickel Institute. After having gained

significant experience advancing the interests of Russian

industry, and his employment contract with Norilsk Nickel

having expired, Grand Duke George of Russia formed

his own public relations consulting firm — Romanoff &

Partners — in Brussels. The agency represents Russian and

East European companies in the European Union.

Grand Duke George of Russia is entirely convinced that

for him there is no obstacle to exploring a variety of

professions and business activities. “My ancestor, Peter the

Great,” he stated, “bequeathed to future generations of the

Being a member of the Imperial house does not grant one

privileges. It rather imposes great responsibilities — that

neither your ancestors nor descendants should ever be

ashamed of you, and that the dynasty’s good name should

never be tarnished.”

In addition to his business ventures, Grand Duke George

of Russia of course regularly performs his duties as Heir to

the Head of the Russian Imperial House. Regularly visiting

(with his mother and by himself) the Russian Federation

and other countries that were once part of the former

Russian Empire, the Tsesarevich works to strengthen the

friendship between the peoples of these countries, and to

contribute to a range of charitable and cultural projects.

In 2013 — the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff —

the Grand Duke established in London the Russian

Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research.

Concerning his vision of the role of the Imperial House in

the modern world, His Imperial Highness has said, “Our

main responsibility is to preserve the continuity in our

history. Compared with this mission, even our role in

government pales in significance.

“Our ancestors never sought after power, even at the time

of the foundation of the dynasty. When emissaries from the

Assembly of the Land came in 1613 to Mikhail Fedorovich

to announce that he was the heir to the throne, he was filled

with terror at the very thought of it and for a long time

refused it.

“Power is a duty — a very weighty duty. If it is required of

us, we will do our duty without hesitation. We are prepared

to respond to a summons from the people of Russia, should

they want someday to restore the monarchy. But we do not

seek power, nor do we make any claims to it — neither to

any sort of political rights nor properties.

“To maintain a living connection to modern Russia and to

its thousand-year-long history — that is our duty and our

eternal right, regardless of what form of government may be

in power.”








A year ago, it looked like the seventh Moscow Bienniale

of Contemporary Art was dead in the water, with no

management, curator or venue. So it was a small miracle

when the main exhibition,CloudsForests, opened at the

New Tretyakov Gallery, the modern art branch of Russia’s

main national art museum, on 19 September (until 18

January 2018). It is one of several biennials running across

Russia this autumn.

The Japanese curator Yuko Hasegawa has brought a trio of

big names to the Moscow show — Olafur Eliasson, Matthew

Barney and Björk — as part of the concept of “creative

tribes” that overcome the divisions of nation states. The

biennial has been greeted with mixed reviews as an event

with little international impact. However, the Moscow

premiere of Björk Digital, the Icelandic singer’s immersive

virtual-reality installation, does fit with the Tretyakov’s

agenda of attracting young Russians — on a recent Saturday

evening, the average age of visitors to the museum appeared

to be under 20.

Although the biennial is also meant as a platform for

Russian contemporary artists, the entrance is dominated

by a monumental sculpture by Dashi Namdakov, an

established sculptor known for commissions by Russia’s

Kremlin and business elite. “Guardian of Baikal” pays

homage to the Buryat artist’s nomad and shaman heritage

and his connection to the world’s largest freshwater

lake in Siberia. The 7.5-metre-high bronze was meant to

be installed on Lake Baikal’s Olkhon Island during the

biennial, with a smaller plaster copy at the New Tretyakov

that visitors could view with virtual-reality (VR) goggles as

a high-tech complement. Environmental concerns scuttled

the Baikal version, but biennial visitors can still don a VR

headset for a slightly dizzying and rather breathtaking

journey to the lake.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of St Petersburg’s

State Hermitage Museum, was a guest speaker on

30 September to discuss the interaction between classical

and contemporary art. The Hermitage hosted Manifesta,

the roving European contemporary art biennial in 2014,

and recently exhibited works by the Belgian artist Jan Fabre

among Flemish Old Masters in the Winter Palace. But

Piotrovsky’s most striking revelation was that the Hermitage

had not been planning to mark the 100th anniversary of

the Russian Revolution — even though the Winter Palace,

former residence of the czars — was a central player.

“Our Dutch colleagues at the Hermitage Amsterdam asked

us, ‘What will we be doing for October?’ We said, ‘Nothing

much’,” Piotrovsky said. “They said, ‘Are you crazy? The

whole world is waiting. Something needs to be done’.”

The Hermitage is, of course, marking the event, with two

exhibitions: The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917

(26 October-4 February 2018) and The Press and the

Revolution: Publications 1917-1922 from the Hermitage

Collections (26 October-14 January 2018).


Sophia Kishkovsky




supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian

Federation and the Agency for Cultural Affairs,

Government of Japan

19 September 2017 – 18 January 2018

New Tretyakov Gallery

(The State Tretyakov Gallery, 10, Krymsky Val, Moscow)

Curator – Yuko Hasegawa (Japan)

Curatorial assistant – Seiha Kurosawa (Japan)


Dashi Namdakov’s Guardian of Baikal (2017) Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

© The Art Newspaper



Yekaterinburg has become one of Russia’s centres of contemporary art, bolstered by its Constructivist heritage, which

helps draw international participants to the biennial (until 12 November). This year’s main project, which has as its

curator João Ribas, the deputy director and senior curator of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, is

titled New Literacy and examines how the “fourth industrial revolution” of information and communication technology

is changing society. uralbiennale.ru/en


The biennial of Russia’s Pacific gateway has come back after a four-year hiatus, and given its location on Russia’s

eastern seaboard, not surprisingly with a view to the East (until 20 October). Xiang Liping, a former curator and

co-ordinator of the Shanghai Biennale, is curator of the main project, Port Morphology: Rules of the Game.


Simon Mraz, Austria’s cultural attaché and the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow, has spent two years

developing plans to mark the Revolution. His exhibition, Mir: the Village and the World forms the centrepiece of the

Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale, Russia’s longest-running contemporary art biennal — this is the 12th edition — (until

28 February 2018). “Mir”, in this case, refers to an arcane understanding of the word, which usually means peace, as

a name for the Russian village community. kunstaspekte.art/event/12th-krasnoyarsk-biennale-2018?hl=en



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The Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

for Russia and Belarus (CCBLR) has been helping

companies develop their business in Russia and

Belarus since 1974. Arkady Arianoff (Director

CCBLR Belgium and President CCBLR Moscow)

and Kurt Demeyere (Vice-President CCBLR

Belgium and tax lawyer with the Brussels office

of Benelux law firm NautaDutilh) share their

thoughts on and insight into doing business today

in the Russian Federation.

Arkady Arianoff: The purpose of CCBLR is to

bring Belgian and Luxembourg and Russian-Belarus

business partners together. We are a non-governmental

organisation, free to express our views and independent

of political and other influences. In Belgium, we have

over 100 members and around 10 honorary members

who support the CCBLR’s long-term vision. We regularly

organise conferences, trade missions and other cultural

and economic activities. Our biggest assets are our

experience, the fact the we speak Russian, and our longstanding

relationships based on mutual trust with both

Belarussian/Russian and Belgian/Luxembourg officials and



Our best memory from the past few years is without

hesitation the Belgian economic mission to Moscow and

St. Petersburg in April 2011, on which occasion more

than 400 Belgian businesspeople travelled to Russia in

order to enhance their knowledge of the country and

strengthen their ties. During the mission, several highvalue

contracts between Belgian and Russian companies

were signed. While due to the changed political and

economic climate, participation in business missions

has significantly declined in the past three years, we still

see a lot of interest, in particular for the Russian regions

which are increasingly profiling themselves to foreign

investors. CCBLR was the first organisation in Belgium to

Arkady Arianoff and Kurt Demeyere

give a floor to the Russian regions to present themselves.

Belgians sometimes forget that Russia is a federation, with

economic decision-making power at the regional level.

In the past 10 years, CCBLR has organised missions to

more than 20 Russian regions in order to discover business


Recent examples include our September 2017 mission to

Vologda and Tcherepovets (which focused on machinery

and metallurgy), our October 2017 mission to Lipetsk

(with a focus on iron and machinery), and our other 2017

CCBLR group picture from our Energy conferences.

missions to Tatarstan and Kaliningrad. We are also proud to

be a regional partner of Roscongress, organiser of the Saint-

Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Eastern

Economic Forum, the Sochi Economic Investment Forum

and Russian Energy Week.

Last but not least, we have organised several events relating

to the Eurasian Economic Union. The next event will take

place on 15 November. Last year, 330 people attended,

including diplomats from 7 countries.

Arkady Arianoff, you are well known by all Belgian

and Luxembourg companies that wish to do

business in Russia. Have you been recognised for

your efforts?

Arkady Arianoff: At a ceremony attended by more than 400

people on 21 March 2017, to mark the fourth anniversary

of the CCBLR Moscow and 300 years from the visit

by Russian Emperor Peter the Great to Belgium, I was

awarded lifelong honorary membership in the Chamber of

Commerce & Industry of the Russian Federation and the

Order of St. Stanislas for services rendered to the Russian

Federation. In 2015, I received an important distinction

for international cooperation from Russian Foreign Affairs

Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Since I started at CCBLR in September 2003, I have

acquired extensive experience on doing business in the

Russian Federation. Since 1993 I have been involved in

the creation of Russian companies for Belgian investors

in Russia. In my opinion, our most important strength

is our network. Thanks to the fact that I speak Russian

and to my many business relations, I have been able to

introduce entrepreneurs in various sectors to the Russian


Although Kurt Demeyere had travelled many times

to the Russian Federation, it was only in 2008 that

the Russian Federation became his most important

centre of interests.

Kurt Demeyere: In 2008, I was already an experienced

tax lawyer with the Brussels office of NautaDutilh, an

international full-service law firm with over 400 lawyers

in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United

Kingdom and the United States. The origins of NautaDutilh

in the Netherlands date back to 1724; in fact, the firm

assisted the City of New Amsterdam (later New York)

with the issuance of bonds to build the first municipal

infrastructure. Our Brussels office is somewhat younger; it

was founded in 1994 and now numbers around 65 lawyers.

I decided to take a semester off to study Russian law and


language at the Lomonossov Moscow State University. When I

returned to Belgium, I joined the board of directors of CCBLR,

where I now serve as a vice-president. As NautaDutilh works

a lot with Russian clients, we decided to establish a Benelux

Russian Desk in order to better serve both our Russian clients

and Benelux clients who wish to do business with the Russian

Federation and former CIS countries.

Our assignments vary, depending on the country. In

Belgium, most questions relate to joint venture agreements,

legal proceedings and specific issues relating to doing

business in the Russian Federation. In Luxembourg, our

Russian clients include both companies and individuals.

Indeed, many Russians have acquired Luxembourg

nationality or have established residency in Luxembourg,

as Luxembourg — like Belgium — is well known for its

favourable tax treatment of IP income. In fact, several of

our Russian clients manage their IP rights in Luxembourg.

In the Netherlands, we mostly work for holding companies

and international groups. We also have a strong arbitration

and finance practice, in which capacity we work for top

Russian companies in all sectors but mainly oil and gas,

IT and FMCG.

As a tax lawyer, can you tell us in a few words

something about the Russian tax system?

Kurt Demeyere: I don’t want to go into detail about

the particularities of the Russian tax system. The most

important thing for foreign investors to keep in mind is

that Russia has established special economic zones with

particular tax regimes (providing for a full exemption from

income tax, VAT and customs duties). In order to attract

foreign business to Russia (mainly technology, machinery,

chemistry and life sciences companies), the “one-stop

shop principle” has been introduced. CCBLR Brussels and

CCBLR Moscow are available to provide assistance. It may

also be useful to know that the personal income tax rate for

Russian residents is 13%.

Since 2008, I have had the pleasure of addressing audiences

at more than 30 legal conferences in the Russian Federation

and Belgium. An event that I particularly enjoy is the


Arkady Arianoff receives Chamber of Commerce award 2017

Arkady Arianoff (President of the Board of Directors CCBLR Moscow and Director CCBLR)

Oleg Prozorov (General Director CCBLR Moscow)

Kurt Demeyere (Vice President CCBLR and Senior Associate NautaDutilh Brussels)

annual International Conference on Tax Case Law of the

Russian Constitutional Court, organised by the Russian tax

journal Nalogoved and Russian law firm Pepeliaev Group.

Next April, I will speak at this conference for the 10th time.

Each time, I learn a lot about Russian tax law and have

interesting conversations with participants.

These gatherings are crucial as they enhance my knowledge

of Russian tax law and legal practice. I have noticed an

increase in the quality of the presentations, discussions and

questions raised by both panel speakers and members of

the public. These conferences bring together people from

diverse backgrounds who would otherwise not hear each

other’s opinions: university professors, lawyers, judges,

in-house counsel, etc. While most Russians working with

international companies can speak English, it is a real asset

to be able to converse with them in their mother tongue.

Finally, I would like to stress the importance of the

Eurasian Economic Union, an economic and customs union

founded in 2015 between Belarus, Kazakhstan and the

Russian Federation, which entered into force on 1 January

2015. In the meantime, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have also

joined. This union can be a genuine instrument to boost


Arkady Arianoff: The January conference about the

Eurasian Economic Union was indeed a huge success. Our

New Year cocktails always attract a lot of people, bringing

together anyone and everyone interested in the Russian

economy and Russian culture. We are pleased by the

attendance, despite recent negative coverage of Russia in

the international press.

What are the sectors where you see the greatest

interest on the part of the Russian Federation?

Kurt Demeyere: The most important sector is still energy.

On 29 May 2017, NautaDutilh hosted the CCBLR

General Assembly. On this occasion, more than 50 people

attended a roundtable and panel discussion on the Year

of Ecology and Environmental Awareness in the Russian

Federation (moderated by me). The discussion focused

on both efforts being made (especially with respect to

technological innovation) and what Western European and

Russian companies can do to contribute to energy efficiency


and the creation of an environmentally friendly business

environment. We were lucky to be able to attract top

speakers, including Mr Christian Cleutinx, former Director-

General of the Euratom Supply Agency and Senior Fellow

at the Clingendael Institute, and high-level representatives

from Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie (CMI), ENGIE,

Eurochem, Fluxys and Gazprom.


Other important sectors are life sciences and agriculture,

in which we see heightened interest on the part of both

our Russian and Belgian contacts and clients.

E-commerce is another important sector in the Russian

economy. Our Dutch colleagues worked on the joint

venture between Uber Technologies Inc. and Yandex,

which involved the consolidation of ridesharing, food

delivery and related logistics businesses in Russia,

Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus and Georgia in a new

company. In addition, Uber has agreed to invest

USD 225 million and Yandex USD 100 million in the

new company, which is valued at USD 3.725 billion on

a post-money basis.

Arkady Arianoff: I would like to stress the importance of

Belgian ports. CCBLR has helped to further successful

cooperation between Russian and Belgian ports. In

September 2012, we invited the Russian deputy transport

minister to visit the ports of Antwerp, Ghent and Ostend,

along with a delegation of 42 people representing the most

important Russian ports and Rosmorport. We have also

organised an economic mission for the ports of Brussels

and Zeebrugge, which resulted in the conclusion of several

large contracts.

What message do you wish to send at the end of

this interview?

Kurt Demeyere: This is not the place to talk about politics.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate

how eager my Belgian and Russian friends and colleagues

are to continue to work together and build a common

future. Unfortunately, people today on both sides are using

too many slogans. This new reality is my greatest concern.

My main goal as CCBLR vice-president is to continue to

convey the message of cooperation and contribute to an

objective, open dialogue. I am convinced that our Russian

partners feel the same.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention an

important upcoming event. Mr Daniel Stevens, the first

vice-president of CCBLR, is planning to organise an

CCBLR Moscow conference, March 2017

exhibition in 2018-19 at the State Historical Museum on

Red Square about Belgian-Russian relationship including

the Belgian investment in imperial Russia. At the turn of

the twentieth century, Belgium was the largest investor

in Russia, with much greater interests than France,

the German Empire or the United Kingdom. Belgian

investments covered a wide range of industries, including

metallurgy, glass production, railways and tramways,

chemistry and machinery.

Arkady Arianoff: We trust that, in the coming year,

business and cultural ties between the Russian Federation

and Belgium and Luxembourg will continue to improve.

Our business contacts on both sides tell me that the

sanctions currently in place harm the business and future

development of Belgian and Luxembourg companies in

Russia, and vice versa. In my opinion, we should give the

Russian Federation the place it deserves by granting it the

status of privileged economic partner of the European

Union. The business world pleads in favour of genuine

efforts by all the parties to overcome the present difficulties

and normalize the economic relations.

Finally, please don’t forget that we’re available to assist you

24/7 via our Brussels and Moscow hotlines!

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Over a span of several years, Russia has taken significant steps

to modernise its regulation of domestic and international

dispute resolution including through amending its arbitration

related legislation and enacting a law on mediation. The goal

is to develop the Russian dispute resolution landscape and

enhance trust in the Russian dispute resolution system.

Arbitration in Russia has been subject to a significant overhaul

with the amendments to the legislation coming into force

on 1 September 2016. Criticised by some, 1 the Russian

arbitration reform has been characterised by others as ‘a huge

step forward making Russia more attractive and huge benefit

for legal market’. 2 The reform aims to stop the practice of

private arbitral institutions established by one of the parties

or affiliated companies, improve the quality of arbitration and

return disputes to Russia. One of the major changes relates to

arbitral institutions that are required to obtain by 1 November

2017 a license from the Russian government to continue their

activity in Russia. It is expected that due to this requirement

the number of arbitral institutions with the seat in Russia will

decrease, while the quality of arbitration will improve.

Another major change introduced by the reform puts an end

to the uncertainty surrounding the issue of arbitrability of

corporate disputes. As a general rule, corporate disputes

become arbitrable, subject to certain exceptions specified

in the amended legislation. Most corporate disputes are to

be arbitrated under specialized corporate arbitration rules

adopted by the eligible arbitral institutions.

As for mediation, although this mechanism has been

developing in Russia since 2004-2005, 3 its legal basis was

established in 2011 when a Federal Law on Alternative Dispute

Resolution Procedure Involving a Mediator (Mediation Procedure)

(No. 193-FZ of 27 July 2010) came into force. Russia became

one of the few countries in the world that has officially

recognized ‘specialist in the field of mediation (mediator)’ as a

profession and introduced respective professional standards. 4

The Center for Promotion of Mediation and Alternative

Dispute Resolution is the first center for Russian-speaking

specialists in the world certified as Qualifying Assessment

Program by the International Mediation Institute (IMI).

Through this certification, the global professional standards

and reliable information about qualified mediators have

become available in Russia.

In the course of the last decade, numerous events have been

organised to popularize and promote mediation and arbitration

as well as foster their development for efficient domestic,

regional and international dispute resolution in Russia. Among

the recently conducted events is the Global Pound Conference

(GPC) that took place in Moscow on 21 June 2017. The GPC

Series 2016-17 is an IMI project that convenes all stakeholders

in dispute resolution at conferences around the world and

aims to generate actionable data on what dispute resolution

users actually need and want, both locally and globally. Other

educational activities include moot courts like the Russian

language Rozenberg moot court on international commercial

arbitration that the Russian Foreign Trade Academy will

organise for the fifth time in 2018. Bringing students up to

speed with the latest legislative developments, the Arbitration

Center at the Institute of Modern Arbitration will conduct

in December 2017 for the first time the Russian language

Mozolina moot court on arbitration of corporate disputes.

Hopefully the legislative changes and educational events

bear fruit and contribute to building a more predictable,

professional and efficient framework for high quality dispute

resolution, thereby, opening a new era for dispute resolution

in Russia.

Dr. Dilyara Nigmatullina

Arbitration and Mediation Consultant

1 See e.g., Diana Filatova, The Russian arbitration reform: further

difficulties? (5 May 2017) at http://www.ciarb.org/news/ciarb-news/


Nata Ghibradze & Alexander Dolgorukow, The Russian

Arbitration Reform – a Road to More Certainty? (25 October 2016) at


2 Mr. Steven Finizio, Partner at Wilmer Hale, speaking at the ICC

National Committee conference ‘Russia as a Place for Dispute

Resolution’ on 7 December 2016.

3 European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Legal

Affairs, Note on Mediation in the Neighbouring Countries: The Case of

Russia (2011), at p. 4.

4 Order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Russia of 15

December 2014 N 1041h registered with the Ministry of Justice of

Russia on 29 December 2014 under N 35478.

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After many years dedicated to the consolidation

of the Uzbek nation-state under the presidency of

Islam Karimov since its independence in 1991, a

new direction is taken by the new Uzbek president

Shavkat Mirziyoyev to accelerate reforms at the

national level, but also to foster cooperation at the

international level.


Uzbekistan is now focusing particularly on Central

Asian cooperation. The new Uzbek president has visited

Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgzstan since his

election in December 2016. Direct flights from Tashkent to

Dushanbe in the neighbouring Tajikistan were also resumed,

as a start to work on mutual trust.

The Uzbek government is at the same time looking

for support and collaboration from all of its partners

including states, international organizations, and NGO’s.

The stakes are high, since this initiative, if successful,

could not only bring regional stability, but also become

a new geopolitical laboratory for Eurasian stability and

peace. A new doctrine could be experimented with

during the development of this new process of regional

rapprochement in the context of a growing multicentric

and interdependent world. It would gradually promote

synergy between the different actors through overlapping

institutional circles (Olympic circles of security) on the

Eurasian continent and at global level to balance different

interests, contain conflicts, promote cooperation, and

achieve security, prosperity and peace.

An International Conference on Security and Sustainable

Development in Central Asia under the auspices of the

United Nations “Central Asia: Shared Past and Common

Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and

Mutual Prosperity”, will be organised on the 9th and 10th

of November 2017 to add some flesh to this new approach

and raise awareness among the international community to

its great geopolitical stakes.

This high profile conference is a direct consequence of the

great ambition of the precedent government who welcomed

high level meetings of international organizations. The

Uzbek government hosted an anniversary session of the

SCO Heads of States Council in Tashkent on 23-24 June 2016

as the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

(SCO) was held by Uzbekistan for 2015-2016, and hosted

the 43rd session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

(OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers, on 18-19 October

2016 in Tashkent, under the motto “Education and

Enlightenment — Path to the Peace and Creativity”.

The idea is to achieve more stability and improve security

in the Central Asian region through regional cooperation in

order to take full advantage of the potential of this region.

Security has to be understood as being a very wide concept

that includes hard security, but also economy, energy,

environmental issues, demography, technology, culture and

identity. The main objective is to transform Central Asia

into a geopolitical hub.

A non-exhaustive list of thematic concerns that are on the

agenda in the context of Central Asian cooperation includes

the following:

The issue of unresolved borders is central and needs to be

addressed between Central Asian states in order to progress

to a more cooperative agenda. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan’s

joint inter-governmental commission met in Dushanbe

in May 2017 to discuss the country’s unresolved borders.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan

concluded in September 2017 with the countries agreeing

on the delineation of about 80% of their common border.

Central Asian states also need to contribute in a more

coherent and collective manner to maintain stability in

Central Asia, in order to prevent a spill-over from external

security threats, mainly from Afghanistan and project

stability in neighbouring regions.

would contribute to regional economic security, but also

future prosperity, reinforcing at the same time prospects for

stability. The Central Asian states have a crucial interest in

being included in the “One Belt and One Road initiative”

launched by China in 2013, since they are landlocked

countries and would benefit from continental wide transport

networks. To take advantage of these plans, Central Asian

states need to unify their interests and positions.

They also have to contain regional geopolitical rivalries

since they face the same problems like international

terrorism, religious extremism, transnational organized

crime and drug trafficking. They therefore need to bolster

initiatives such as the UN Regional Centre for Preventive

Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) created in 2007.

An objective of the Uzbek government and its Central Asian

partners is also to transform its territory into a geopolitical

hub for Eurasian transport, energy and commercial corridors

(map: Uzbekistan — Central Asia: Geopolitical Hub). This

In order to solve the region’s water and energy problems,

Central Asian states also need better cooperation to sign

the conventions on the use of water resources in the Amu

Darya and Syr Darya river basins, and pursue cooperation

regarding the issue of the Aral sea.

What is ultimately needed in the longer term is a “Central

Asian Regional Partnership Treaty”, which is including

the elements and aspects of security, commerce, energy,

environment, scientific research and cultural exchanges to



consolidate the new regional cooperation process. In the

short term, there is dire need for a permanent forum for

discussing these vital issues of Central Asia and would

be representing a prerequisite step to the progress and

development of the region.

To ensure these plans are realised and successful, the

Uzbek government and its regional partners need the

support of international organizations. They will have

to convince them to move from the current competition

between great powers behind the different international

organizations into a cooperative agenda based on a balance

of the different sets of local interests. To achieve future

stability and reduce geopolitical rivalries at Eurasian

and global scale in a multipolar world, it is necessary to

manage and contain the centrifugal forces in the world

with a security architecture fully adapted to this new

emerging multipolar world. A new doctrine of multilateral

cooperation has to be initiated.



The success of Central Asian cooperation is equally

important for the geopolitical interests of Europe. A quick

look at the map (Alliances and Major Zones of Instability in

a Multicentric World) illustrating the alliances in the World

and the major conflicts and potential instability zones

reveals and underlines the striking realities of today’s world.

First of all, the two major stability zones amid a world

drifting towards instability, conflicts and growing

uncertainty are the Euro-Atlantic space covered by NATO

and the Eurasian area covered by the Shanghai Cooperation

organization (SCO). On the margins of these two groupings,

conflicts and security threats can endanger these “Islands

of peace”. The danger of terrorism is already more and

more present in these two zones and it is therefore a crucial

objective to contain these fast growing internal security

threats coming from the crisis zones.

The Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO) is covering

the major part of the Eurasian landmass, and therefore, the

future of the organization is crucial to world stability.

Uzbekistan occupies a very pivotal geographical position in

the middle of Central Asia and Eurasia. Central Asia, and

Uzbekistan in particular, plays a crucial role in maintaining

stability on the Eurasian landmass for different reasons:

Uzbekistan possesses the largest population in Central Asia.

Uzbekistan is also a geopolitical lock to prevent instability

from Afghanistan and Middle East to spread to the whole

of Central Asia, and therefore to Russia and China. This

is also of decisive importance for Europe: if there is no

peace and stability on the Eastern part of Eurasia, there

is no chance to have peace and stability on the Western

part because of the growing interdependences in energy,

commerce, migrations flows, terrorism and criminal activity

(including drug trafficking). The success of the Uzbek

national model as a stability provider is equally important.



There are missing links in the security architecture of the

European, Eurasian and Central Asian spaces that needs

to be fixed in order to avoid a further fragmentation of the

European continent between Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian




Synergy is needed between the various actors to achieve

geopolitical stability on the Eurasian continent. On a longer

term basis, a new Eurasian geopolitical architecture based

on a new doctrine of overlapping circles of international

organizations would be a major factor for developing and

improving Eurasian security (diagram: Overlapping Circles

of World stability and Peace). The diagram illustrates the


need for a new European security treaty with a Eurasian

reach, and a new “Central Asian Partnership and

cooperation treaty” situated in the context of an emerging

global multipolarity.

We also have to assume that an enlargement of Euro-

Atlantic institutions (NATO-EU-OSCE) to the whole

of the Eurasian continent is impossible. Firstly, the

individual EU and NATO member states disagree on

further enlargement. Secondly, it would be impossible for

these Euro-Atlantic institutions to manage the geopolitical

diversity of the Eurasian continent. This new security

architecture is based on the “geographical tightening”

principle in the context of NATO’s and EU’s overstretched

capacities. Geographical proximity would be a central

criterion to build regional alliances in order to foster

stability and prevent any further Eurasian fragmentation.

The role of Uzbekistan and its Central Asian partners is

therefore very important for the making of possible new

and successful emerging security architecture. The Uzbek

presidency of SCO has insisted in the recent past on

further enhancing the status of the SCO as an influential

international structure and expanding its cooperation

with key international organizations. This is fully in-line

with the Uzbek foreign policy doctrine. The Uzbek foreign

policy based on a multivectorial doctrine is concerned with

maintaining balance in all directions. Uzbekistan is willing

to prove it is contributing to stability and to the reduction

of rivalry between the great powers. Uzbekistan is a member

of SCO, is a partner of the NATO Partnership for Peace,

a major actor of the EU Central Asia strategy, a member

of OSCE, CIS and OIC. Uzbekistan therefore has a strong

interest, like its Central Asian partners, in promoting

cooperation and synergies between these organizations.


The idea is to stabilize the overlapping security spaces

from Vancouver to Vladivostok (NATO and OSCE,

USA-EU-Russia), Lisbon to Vladivostok (UE-Russia),

St Petersburg to Peking (OCS), Minsk-Dushanbe (CSTO)

and Central Asian space from around Ashgabat, Astana,

Bishkek, Dushanbe, Tashkent and Dushanbe (new Central

Asia platform).

This netting of institutions resembles the “Olympic

circles”. The described configuration would be adapted

to the emerging multipolar world to maintain a balance

between the different states, alliances and political

and security institutions. This architecture is aimed at

promoting synergies between interleaved organisations


should lead to greater levels of stability. In-between spaces

between these structures would be subject to common

stabilization policies or “non-aggression agreements”.

This new doctrine of “overlapping circles” supposes the

acceptance by international actors of the emergence of

a variety of international organizations whose objectives

are contributing to Eurasian and world stability. The

strengthening of the SCO should, for example, not be

perceived in the West as a geopolitical rival, but a future

partner to manage multipolarity. It is in the long-term

interests of Euro-Atlantic structures, EU, OSCE and

NATO, to be complemented by other international

organizations like Shanghai Cooperation Organization

(SCO), EEU, OTSC, CIS, OIC in order to stabilize the

Eurasian continent.


The Central Asian states are at a very early stage of this

new cooperative and collaborative process, which represents

a significant break from their recent past history of

competition and conflict. This is the very reason they need

support from their partners, since the stakes go far beyond

the borders of Central Asia.

It is time for the European nations to take advantage of

the potentialities of the multipolar world. Western Europe

and Central Asia therefore, have a common interest in

deepening their links through bilateral and multilateral

relations. Innovative thinking regarding a new geopolitical

architecture at Eurasian and global level is a condition

for enlarging their respective margin of manoeuvre and

achieve a better balance of interests through Euro-Asiatic


In a multipolar world where tensions rise in many parts

of the globe, success stories are important and should be

strongly supported and encouraged by European countries.

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann,

Geopolitician, President of Eurocontinent

Karl Holmqvist

Time To Put Your Foot Down

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

The “Time to put your foot down” text originally appeared on a sticker I made concurrent to the Utopia Station exhibition at the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003

With these words came a picture of the sole of a shoe. It wasn’t clear however whether this was a left or a right shoe and also whether this phrase was meant

as ironic or affirmative ... It introduced an element of ambiguity that no doubt is there for this installment when appearing as a stenciled text on the ground of

the cities of Varanasi and Santa Marta ... Who is meant to put their foot down and where!? And, against what? … Could it be one thing only or several things?

… Or, maybe everything haha …





“The idea of HUMANITY and BROTHERHOOD is

a gift from the Slavs to the entire world civilization.”

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937)


SLAVONIC EUROPE (SE) is a European project aiming

at establishing a Slavonic cultural movement at an

international level. It started in autumn 2015 in Brussels

and intends to give subsequently back to the world

civilization what seems to have disappeared in our time:

The contemporaneity of Mind and Emotion which are

the basic pillars of what the Czech Slavonic philosopher,

sociologist and politician Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, whose

80th anniversary of death is commemorated this year,

called Humanity and Brotherhood — mutual respect and

mutual solidarity between human beings on Earth.

These features represent one of the specific characteristics

of the Slavs and the Slavonic culture all over the world.

It is equally close to arts as it is to science and is the driving

force of the SLAVONIC EUROPE movement.

It breaks the first ground in Europe, the continent where

the Slavs have their historico-cultural roots. The name of

the movement covers both the spirit and the place of origin.

At the same time its ambition is to reach out far beyond:

the movement intends to establish an international network

for cultural cooperation amongst Slavs on global level –



Being addressed at around 360 million Slavs around the

world, SLAVONIC EUROPE is — culturally and historically

speaking — a unique initiative. On the European continent it

covers 13 Slavonic nations with approximately 312 million

inhabitants reaching all over Central and Eastern Europe:

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia,

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYR of Macedonia,

Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

By highlighting this extraordinarily rich culture and the

cultural identity of the Slavonic peoples this initiative

constitutes in itself an autonomous value. In times of

rising disintegration and apparent political and social

decomposition within the European Union this project

strives for making its contribution to strengthen European

cohesiveness via the integration of the Slavs — the biggest

ethnic and cultural group in Europe.

Concretely, SLAVONIC EUROPE is focusing on three

main objectives:

1. REINFORCE the links between the 13 Slavonic

countries on a cultural basis in Europe but as well

with the many people of Slavonic origin living in

other parts of the world

2. MAKING the richness of the Slavonic culture

MORE VISIBLE. Showing its abundance and

diversity by visualizing the underlying common roots

at the same time

3. Contribute to the construction of a BRIDGE

between East and West by means of communication

and mediation in our difficult and troubled times.

The SLAVONIC EUROPE movement has explicitly chosen

a bottom-up approach that puts the European citizens again

in the centre and revives by this the old Slavonic idea of

HUMANITY and BROTHERHOOD. It is an alternative

plan to the top-down approach of the Schuman Plan of

the 1950es, focused on states and governments, that still

applies in the European Union.


SLAVONIC EUROPE will be based on one solid pillar

that will form its basis of action and create multiple

synergies: The SLAVONIC HOUSE. It will be the core and

at the same time ‘the face’ of the SLAVONIC EUROPE

movement, the central spot of its implementation open to

all citizens. As the nucleus merging the different aspects of

To: David Chmelik david.chmelik@slavonic-europe.org

oh ja natŸrlich.

the project the SLAVONIC HOUSE will form the beating

hearth of the SE movement. As the place where the three

main objectives mentioned above will be implemented

and where the project will unfold its varied activities the

SLAVONIC HOUSE will provide a home to all Slavs — in

a physical form in a fully integrated architectural structure

in Brussels but also by means of virtual 3D visits on the SE




This parent house will be established and developed in

Brussels being the headquarters of the SE movement which

will have its branches founded successively around the

world: The SLAVONIC HOUSES all over the globe will

form the backbone of the INTERNATIONAL NETWORK


The map shows the scale and geostrategic dimension of

the future International Network for Slavonic



The idea of Slavonic identity and togetherness will only

persist and be a legitimate one, if the Slavs have something

new to give to the world — something which is enriching

and contributes to the world’s progressive positive evolution

towards HUMANITY and BROTHERHOOD. It is in this

broad international context that SLAVONIC EUROPE as

a worldwide cultural movement strives for giving home and

shelter to all Slavs around the world — and adding to the

inner driving force of a better and finer civilization over

the globe.


David CHMELIK is the founder and president of the


Born in 1968 in Kladno/Czechoslovakia, he studied

classical (Latin & ancient Greek) and German philology

and at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,

Germany and mathematical economics at the universities

of Berlin (FU) and Bonn (RFWU), Germany.

From 2005 to 2016 he served as a permanent official at

the European Commission in the Directorate General of

Budget being seconded in the framework of the Czech EU

Presidency in 2008-2009 to the Vice Prime Minister of

the Czech Republic.

and around the world on cultural grounds and, at the

same time, as a contribution to an alternative European

unification attempt based on culture as the connecting

power — a new Slavonic bottom-up approach to societal



Rond-point Schuman 2-4, Levels 5 & 6

1040 Bruxelles, Belgium

T +32 2 403 36 37, www.slavonic-europe.org

Being founder and president of the Belgian-German

Club in Brussels (BGC) in 2011 and of the European

Club Prague (ECP) in 2012, David Chmelik initiated

the SLAVONIC EUROPE movement in Brussels in

autumn 2015 with the explicit objective of fostering

and strengthening the Slavonic togetherness in Europe






The Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan,

has recently appointed a new Representative to

the EU and Belgium — Ambassador Harry Tseng,

an experienced and savvy diplomat with a strong

academic background. Before assuming his post

in Brussels, Ambassador Tseng served as Deputy

Secretary General in President Tsai Ing-wen’s office,

and as Deputy Secretary General in the National

Security Council.

We understand that President Tsai Ing-wen has

brought a lot of changes to Taiwan since she took

office in May last year. What are the major policy

changes that have occurred domestically and

internationally and what is the significance of these


President Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide election victory last

year, winning 56% of votes in a three-way race and leading

the runner-up by more than three million votes. In the

meantime, Madame Tsai’s party, Democratic Progressive

Party (DPP) gained 60 % of seats in the Legislature, while

the main opposition party, the KMT, secured only 31 %.

The people of Taiwan have clearly given President Tsai a

strong mandate to conduct her policies both at home and


By mentioning the changes on an international level, I

take it that you are referring to Taiwan’s relations with

mainland China, or the cross-Strait relations, as Beijing has

suspended official dialogue with Taipei since President Tsai

took office on May 20, 2016, insisting that she must first

accept the so-called ‘1992 Consensus,’ which implies that

Taiwan is part of Beijing’s ‘one China.’


Unlike her predecessor Dr. Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency

(2008-2016), President Tsai has refused to accept the

so-called ‘1992 Consensus’ due to that there is no written

H.E. Dr. Harry H.J. Tseng, Ambassador of the Taipei Representative

Office in the European Union and Belgium, receives Barbara Dietrich.

Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, Taiwan

justification of the formula out of the meeting in 1992. The

only thing we know for sure 25 years on is that there was

indeed a gathering in 1992 in Hong Kong about the subject.

President Tsai has never mentioned the ‘1992 Consensus’

during her presidential campaign, let alone accepting

it after taking presidency. Instead, she stated that the

changing environments in the Asia-Pacific region over the

past years have presented a ‘new situation’ that both sides

of the Taiwan Strait need to jointly face. The two sides

need to jointly respond to a ‘new answer sheet’ and jointly

consider a ‘new model’ conducive to peaceful and stable

cross-Strait interaction. Therefore, the two sides should sit

down and talk about issues of common concern as soon as

possible, without setting any precondition.

This year, Taiwan was unable to participate in

the World Health Assembly (WHA), because of

China’s objection. How is President Tsai Ing-wen

and her administration going to deal with such

obstructions from the Beijing government in

the future?

In my opinion, it is very unfortunate that the WHO

Secretariat, under the pressure from Beijing, refused

to invite Taiwan as an observer to the WHA this year.

From 2009 to 2016, as a non-WHO member, Taiwan

had participated as an observer at the WHA, meeting

representatives and experts from other countries to

exchange best practices and share experiences on issues

that concern the health of everyone in this global village.

We all know that disease heeds no political borders. It

is absurd that Taiwan, a country of 23.5 million people,

with comprehensive and advanced medical and health

system and claiming high-level scientific expertise, is being


WHO is an ideal forum for Beijing to demonstrate its

goodwill to people of Taiwan, yet unfortunately it is not

the case. In addition to our absence from the WHA, we

encountered obstacles in our efforts to participate in all

technical meetings under the WHO framework. Take this

current year for example, since the beginning of 2017 we

have applied to participate in 18 technical meetings, and

clearly due to the pressures from China, only 4 of our

applications were approved.

In Taiwan, we have an advanced and comprehensive

national health system that we are very proud of. Promoting

health is an issue we can make our due contributions. We

will continue to call upon support from the international

community and, at the same time, we are eager to share


Oolong Tea garden at Alishan in Chiayi,Taiwan

© Shutterstock

global responsibilities and offer our experiences by joining

international efforts in humanitarian aid and disease

prevention, among many other things. We believe that as

long as we walk in the path of virtues, we would not truly be

left alone.

However, China should also stop strangling Taiwan’s

international space and forcing the marginalization of

Taiwan in the international community. I believe the leaders

on either side of the Taiwan Straits have the will and

wisdom to address the difficulties.

It is clear that Taiwan and China have different

views on several topics. Do you think that the views

of the two sides will evolve over the years?

President Tsai has reiterated in her National Day address

on 10th October that, in dealing with mainland China, our

goodwill would not change, our promise to keep the status

quo would not change, and that we would not revert to the

old path of confrontation, yet we would surely not submit to

external pressures.

As I mentioned earlier, we hope that Beijing will soon

resume bilateral dialogues with Taipei, and that both sides

can together create a new model to handle cross-Strait

relations. For decades now, the two sides have dealt with

each other and managed their ties basing on an established

model and guidelines. However, in view of new international

situations, we should consider if there is a need to examine

these old practices and mindsets.

What is the content of President Tsai Ing-wen’s

‘New Southbound Policy’?

We call it the New Southbound Policy, because there was an

‘old’ Southbound Policy under former President Lee Teng-hui

around 20 years ago. There are different concerns and

strategies involved in this new policy now, and it focuses

more on people, rather than on markets.

It’s a people-oriented policy, as over the past two decades,

Taiwan has become home to many immigrants from

Southeast Asia, a lot of whom are married to Taiwanese

partners, and with a second generation speaking both

parents’ mother tongues and growing up learning both

parents’ cultures and traditions. These young people have

helped form a natural bridge between Taiwan and several

countries in Southeast Asia, and they could help us better

understand and engage more with this emerging new



Taiwan is a ‘responsible stakeholder’ of the international

community. We will not react in a way that could escalate

tensions or damage the peace and stability in the region.

Also, by providing scholarships and visa-waiver treatment,

our government is trying to encourage more people from

the Southeast Asian countries to come to Taiwan, creating

Beautiful landscape of sea level reflections and people’s silhouette in Gaomei wetlands, Taiwan

© Shutterstock

more and more people-to-people exchanges and dialogues.

With the New Southbound Policy, we hope to develop closer

and stronger relations with the region from the bottom-up,

even though some of the beneficial effects of this policy may

not be immediately visible, we believe we are moving in the

right direction. In fact, we have been seeing enthusiastic

responses from quite a few ASEAN countries. Industrial

and business leaders from Taiwan and southeast Asia are

beginning to reap the benefit of our New Southbound Policy.

Mr. Ambassador, we know that you have been a

career diplomat for most of your life, and this time

you were appointed by President Tsai Ing-wen

to take on the role as Taiwan’s Representative

in the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg. What do

you expect to achieve during your posting here?

Furthermore, how would you like to see Taiwan’s

relations with the EU grow?

Before departing from Taipei in May, I had an audience

with President Tsai to seek her instructions. She talked

about promoting and strengthening trade and economic

relations between Taiwan and the EU, attaching great

importance to a bilateral investment agreement, or the BIA.

The BIA will be important and beneficial for both Taiwan

and the EU. In 2017, the accumulated European investment

in Taiwan reached US$43 billion, making the EU the

largest source of foreign investment in Taiwan, while the

accumulated Taiwanese investment in the EU amounted

to only US$6.7 billion. A BIA will not only motivate more

Taiwanese business to come to invest in Europe, but will

also provide better investment protection for European

business in Taiwan. We hope to start a formal BIA

negotiation with the EU as soon as possible.

However, our relations with the EU are more than just

an economic one. There are common concerns on

security, cyber-security and defense issues. Look at the

confrontations in East Asia, the reckless actions of North

Korea not only threatens South Korea, Japan and the US, it

threatens our civilization. In a world where cyber space has

connected every player, the EU cannot stay outside of the

crisis. If the situation in East Asia gets out of hand, there

will also be serious repercussions for the EU. Therefore, the

EU should pay more attention to, and try to engage more

with the region, and play a more proactive role to encourage

dialogues that help keep the regional peace and stability.

What do I expect to achieve during my posting here?

I want to make as many friends as possible, and I would like

to share my knowledge about Taiwan with my European

counterparts. I hope that more and more European people

will get a better understanding of what’s happening in our

part of the world, and vice versa, I would like to introduce

Europe to more people in Taiwan. We are living in the same

global village. Taiwan is a small country, but there are many

things we can do to contribute, and to continue to be a

worthy member of the international community.




H.E. Dr. Harry H.J. Tseng, Ambassador of the Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium, hosted a reception at the Residence Palace in

Brussels on 10 October, celebrating the 106th Anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan).


season 2017 — 2018

Le Duc d’Albe

Gaetano Donizetti - Giorgio Battistelli

from 17.11.17



Giuseppe Verdi

from 13.12.17



Cherkaoui - Verbruggen

from 21.12.17



Jean-Christophe Maillot

from 20.01.18


Pelléas et Mélisande

Claude Debussy

from 02.02.18



Richard Wagner



Selon désir

Foniadakis - Nijinski - Clug - Lock

from 31.03.18


La clemenza di Tito

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

from 06.05.18


Memento Mori

Cherkaoui - Shechter - Forsythe

from 12.06.18


The Gambler

Sergey Prokofiev

from 13.06.18


Kati Heck, Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp



The Magnificent Tuscan Wines

of Vini Franchetti

In the previous edition of Diplomatic World, we covered the story of

the exquisit Etna wines of Andrea Franchetti, one of Italy’s most fascinating,

poetic and contrarian winemakers. We now invite you to take a closer look at his vinyards of

Tenuta di Trinoro in Val’Orcia (Tuscany).


Andrea Franchetti is one of Italy’s most fascinating winemakers,

bringing his intuitive and poetic worldview to the way he makes his

wines. Located in a remote corner of southeastern Tuscany, Tenuta

di Trinoro specializes in rich, age-worthy red wines made of

Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.

The 200-hectare estate sits in viticultural isolation in the Orcia

Valley near Sarteano, where Tuscany meets Umbria and Lazio.

Owner and winemaker Andrea Franchetti acquired the property

in the 1980s. In the beginning of the 1990s he started planting

his first vines. The most important thing he learned was the role

of the terroir. He saw, in the rough woodland that would become

Trinoro, clay-limestone and gravel soils reminiscent of those in

Saint-Émilion. Only select parcels were suitable for vine-growing,

amid a sea of blue clay, and those he cleared by hand and planted

in the style of the Bordelais: high-density, meter-by-meter plantings,

with cuttings brought over from some of the region’s great estates.

Tight planting, high thinning, very low yields, extreme ripeness,

and concentration of flavor characterize his winemaking style. The

wines are highly perfumed and opulent, at once approachable

and meant to be left to develop in the bottle over time. Placed

under a mountain, Tenuta di Trinoro has a mosaic of soils. The

vines, densely planted, are more than twenty years old and, with

their extended root system, they have become able to render

a distinct taste from every terrain of the estate. 22 hectares are

under vine, planted between 450 and 600 meters on southwestern

facing slopes. Cabernet franc and merlot dominate the plantings,

with small parcels of cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot on the




Viticulture in almost all of Italy is considered a process where every

year a natural bounty is offered because God loves the owner. A

small percentage of wineries see the soil of their property as the

holy key to a unique wine and spend the year doing everything they

can think of to produce the best possible fruit from it.

This year the Franchetti

vinyards of Tenuta di Trinoro

suddenly had frost in May

for three nights. The wine

maker lit wood fires every

twenty meters in the plains;

the thick low smoke freed the

high pressure in the vines.

Compared to all the burned

and bare valley bottom vineyards in Chianti the freeze was very

minor, so the vineyards ended up as tall and green as any year.

The freeze of the spring passed over a land that was already

completely dried out, as from December through the beginning of

August, it has not rained.

‘It has been 45 degrees Celsius, and a copper light has been dancing

in the distance above the clay earth. For the drought as well as for

the freeze, the remedy comes at night. The leaves open their pores

in the darkness. So for 60 days, fifteen people slept during the day

in order to go spraying water on the foliage every night from two to

seven in the morning when the pores are open and the plants can

suck in the water.’

“After this work, the entire estate shows its green vines against the

stunning skies, fields encircled by dark trees and sparkling, golden

light. I walk above it, thinking it looks like a little opera, something

precarious, its setting about to collapse, the stage about to crumble

into dust.” Andrea Franchetti says.

Of all his wines, the flagship Tenuta di Trinoro provides the greatest

insight into Andrea Franchetti’s approach to winemaking. The

proprietary blend of cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon,

and petit verdot grown on soils of limestone, alluvial plain, and

clay changes each year based upon which grapes are the best from

that vintage, wed not to any predetermined recipe, formula, or

even flavor profile. This Super Tuscan wine showcases the distinct

terroir and grapes from this remote estate at the furthest confines

of viticulture in

Tuscany. Franchetti’s

distinct style is

apparent throughout

each wine and each

vintage. Richness and

structure, depth of

flavor and complexity —

these are the hallmarks

of Andrea Franchetti’s





The Antwerp (Brasschaat) based wine store Boutique Barrique

has the honor to distribute the wines of Vini Franchetti

in Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. For more

information you can contact Mr. Steven Hubrecht, owner of

Boutique Barrique.

Bethaniëlei 16, Brasschaat

m. +32 476 27 57 32



www. boutique-barrique.be




We want to create an environment in which the

Congo can grow and develop and in which the

Congolese can gain dignity and live better. By doing

so, we want to create opportunities for everyone, not

only the Congolese. I see opportunities for the rest

of the humanity.

We have to be flexible in order to deal with all

the challenges and changes that lie ahead of us.

How do you feel change will affect the Democratic

Republic of the Congo?

Exactly. Especially for a country like the Congo. Changes

are inevitable, because despite the abundance of natural

resources, the Congo is one of the poorest and least

developed countries in the world today. When going to the

Congo, you will find that the population is basically taken

hostage in its own country. The poverty is very visible on

the street; 85% of the active population is unemployed and

there is no basic infrastructure. People living in Belgium

or in other European countries sometimes don’t see the

importance of some things, but when you live in the Congo,

less than 10% of the population has access to drinking

water, electricity and telecommunication services. With

85% of the population being unemployed, the currency

of the country is completely worthless, to the point that

almost everyone is now using the American dollar instead

of the Congolese franc. Because having Congolese francs,

means having no stability.

the moment. Something must be done and I don’t know

what can be done immediately. I am preparing myself to

participate in the elections via a normal procedure. We’re

not even sure when those elections will take place or if

there will be transparency. This is the situation of today.

The question remains, how can we solve this?

I suppose everything starts with new elections,

as a first step? Do you have any idea what will be

possible, regarding the elections?

Yes. The constitution of the Congo is very clear: it says that

the term of the president is 5 years and renewable one time.

Mr. Kabila has exhausted his last second term in December

of last year, because the elections were not organised on

time. We had a dialogue between the opposition and the


What you have today could be worthless tomorrow and

what you have tomorrow could be worthless in a week.

So, as a means of protection, the Congolese people use

the American dollar. The political situation is so tense,

that insecurity is generalized throughout the country.

Have you heard about the 80 mass graves that have been

discovered in the centre of the Kasai Region where people

were killed and put in those mass graves? Sometimes you

start wondering why those security forces are even there.

You don’t know if they are the killers or the one protecting

the people from being assasinated. So, to make a long

story short, the Congo is in a very difficult situation at

Dr. Noel K. Tshiani Muadiamvita

Bruno Devos, Dr. Noël K. Tshiani Muadiamvita and Barbara Dietrich

presidential majority, facilitated by the catholic bishop.

An agreement was reached which guarantees a one year

extension to the presidential majority to have a transition

of power of one year, and to organize the new elections

in a transparent manner. However, today, it is not clear

we are actually going to have a new president on the 31st

of December 2017. It is almost impossible to organize an

election with the remaining time.

So, the question is, how do we go from here? Again, we

are calling upon the international community to work with

the people of the Congo so we can have elections within

the agreed time frame. However, if that is not the case,

we will be willing to organize a transition after December

31st. A transition means that those who are responsible for

the political blockade, which has prevented the political

elections to be organized, should step aside. This means

that president Kabila and those who are supporting him

and who have been involved in the delayment of the

political process, should step aside so we can have a new

team. We will have to determine who will be a part of this

new team. This team will organize a new transition and,

during the transition period, make sure the elections take

place as soon as possible, without president Kabila and his


Let’s suppose there is a planning and an official

date for the elections. Do you think the elections

will be democratic?

Well, we know what has happened in the past. In the past,

in 2011, elections took place and two men challenged

each other; Mr. Tshisekedi, who passed away not long

ago, and Mr. Kabila. The two got to the final round of

the presidential election. Many people believed that

Mr. Tshisekedi actually won the elections. It was quite

strange; the closer we got to the last days of campaigning,

Mr. Tshisekedi was prevented from having meetings in

Kinshasa. In addition, the ending of the voting period was

not respected everywhere. In some of the provinces, like the

Katanga province, there were claims that not everyone had

voted. They went to South Africa to print additional ballots,

brought them back and allowed people to keep voting until

after the official closing date. Then, it was proclaimed that

president Kabila was the winner. Questions were raised

about the democratic and transparent process.

Based on that experience, I’m afraid that, if we go through

the elections under the same conditions and with the same

people, we might end up having the same results. So, again,

I’m calling on the international community to use all the

leverage they have to help the people of the Congo to have



a transparent process. The place to start is determining

the composition of the National Electoral Independent

Committee, which organizes the elections. We believe that,

today, the elections are not independently organized.

They are affiliated with the presidential majority and

they do things which do not seem to be very credible.

For example, the number of registered voters in some

of the provinces has grown considerably, which raises

suspicions. In the Katanga province, for example, the

number of registered voters this time has increased by 41%

in comparison to 2011. Or, for example, in the Sankuru

province, the number of registered voters in 2017 has

increased by 280% in comparison to 2011. Where are those

people coming from?

In addition, and this is a key aspect, Kinshasa is considered

to be the most populated city of the Congo. Suddenly,

according to the new figures released by the CENI

(Commission électorale nationale indépendante), the

former Katanga province has more people registered than

Kinshasa. We believe that the list of registered voters must

be audited in order for us to trust the figures we have access

to. The question is, can it be done in time? It must be done

early enough, so it doesn’t delay the process even further.

But then again, can we even go to the elections with a list of

registered voters that raises suspicions? Those are the key

issues we need to address.

You will be an independent candidate. How do you

feel about the other candidates?

For the time being, I’m still working for an international

organization and because of that I have not been involved

in any political parties in the Congo. There are a lot of

parties I am happy not to be associated with. Did you know

that the Congo has around 700 political parties? There are

just too many, and it becomes difficult to understand which

party stands for which vision and what the differences

between the parties are. So, as far as I’m concerned as a

technocrat, I have taken the time to write my development

vision for the country in my book The Force of Change. My

development vision is called the Noël Tshiani’s Marshall Plan

for the construction of the Congo, of which I will give you

some more details.

I started by writing the vision and I tried to mobilize the

Congolese people, first to the people who followed the trails

of the diaspora but then also in the Congo, who shared the

same vision. And I believe we have reached a critical mass

of people, not only Congolese intellectuals in the diaspora.

We share the same vision and we believe that this vision

can drastically transform the destiny of the country.

I would like to invite the other competitors, members of

the opposition, of whom I don’t know what their vision is,

to put their development vision also on the table. In that

way, we can discover if we have common ideas and we can

choose the best possible candidate among us who could

become the presidential candidate. We are not there yet, but

for the time being, each of us is acting on our own, speaking

to our own audience.

You mentioned there are around 700 different

political parties. What is the reason for this and

what is the history behind it?

In the past, the Congo was a one-party state under Mobutu.

He had the so-called MPR movement, or the Mouvement

Populaire de la Révolution. Whether you liked it or not,

you were a member of that party. People rebelled against

it and asked for a multi-party system. Mobutu agreed to

this kind of system in 1990. The people didn’t want the

number of parties to be limited to 3, as Mobutu wanted.

The people disagreed and asked for a full multi-party system

and democracy and wanted to be completely free of any

restrictions. Mobutu gave in and let everyone who wanted

to have their own party, have their own party. So, parties

were created on multiple scale. There were some national

parties of course with a national base, but at the same time,

there were a lot of purely family-based parties. You could

create a party with your wife, children, cousins, in-laws and

go to the government to get registered and get permission.

The number of parties started to multiply exponentially

and quickly around 700 parties were created. I personally

don’t know the differences in ideology between those

parties, even the largest ones in the country. I think the

high number of political parties in the country is a problem

rather than a solution. We need to think about reorganizing

the system after the elections.

Let us go back to your independent vision, the Noël

Tshiani’s Marshall Plan. Do you think it would

be possible to come to an agreement with other


Yes, I do believe it is possible. As a matter of fact, I am

involved in discussions with some of them now and they

have heard me present my vision on television, in the

newspapers, in my published book, etc. Everyone has access

to the information and can read about it. Some of the

parties and political leaders have called me. For example,

the late president Tshisekedi loved this vision. I met

him, I gave him my book and I gave him a presentation

of my vision and he told me: “This is what the country

needs. At some point, it will become important for us

to implement this vision, because it’s the best vision

I have heard of since I started my political career”.

It’s very unfortunate that he passed away. I still have

excellent relations with some other parties including

Mr. Tshisekedi’s former party. I believe that, today,

some parties are willing to get together with us to find

a common ground and to determine how we can work

together as we approach the elections.

From experience, we know that it’s usually

about money and power.

Exactly. It’s about money and power and everyone loves

both. But at the same time, as far as I’m concerned,

I have a big vision for the country. I would like to see

the country work out its problems of today and the

only way to do that is for us politicians to set aside our

personal ambitions. Such as, the desire to become rich,

the desire to have power. Instead, we have to think about

the interests of the country and its population. With this

vision, I’m trying to fundamentally transform the fate of

the country and of the population by addressing the issues

that the country is facing. What are these issues? Insecurity

throughout the country, for example. We want to create a

stable nation. Unemployment is an issue. 85% of the active

population is unemployed. We want to create the conditions

for a vibrant economy, which could create opportunities for

everybody. The country is underdeveloped, which means

that the basic infrastructure is not there. In a large country

like the Congo, which has the size of Western Europe, you

will find that the length of paved roads is only about 24.000

kilometers long, which is very limited.

You can not go from the West to the East or from the South

to the North using the road system. You can not travel

through the country using the railroad system, because it is

obsolete or it doesn’t exist. You can not even use air travel

easily, because the airports here are very dangerous since

they are so outdated and the aircrafts are not very safe.

We need to put the Congo back on track by developing a

comprehensive agenda which addresses these issues one by

one. Another issue is the environment for the private sector

development; we cannot attract quality investment today,

because the country is very bureaucratic, the justice system

isn’t functioning, the state only exists by name, etc. There

are many issues within the institutions themselves.

Road and railway network to be built as part of the Noël Tshiani’s Marshall Plan

for the construction of the Congo.

The institutions are just not there. The country seems to

be dependent on individuals, instead of being dependent

on institutions. We need to build those institutions to

strengthen the rule of law. In addition, how good are

the natural resources of the country for us? Before and

after independence, we are following the same model; we

ship all our raw natural resources overseas, transferring

all the jobs overseas and leaving the Congolese people

unemployed. So, we need to change our vision, accelerate

the industrialization of the country for local transformation

of those local resources into finished goods within the

country itself. By doing so, we will first create jobs for our

own people. At the same time, we won’t do all of those

things alone. We will work together with other countries

and the international community and we will attract the

best companies from Belgium, from France, from the U.S.

to invest in the Congo. By doing so, we will not only create

jobs for the Congolese, but also for the Belgians, for the

French, for the Americans, for everybody.

Is it possible in Congo today to make statements

like: I have a dream? Will the person who says it be

credible to the people? And could this person have

the potential to implement it?

Yes, indeed, I have a dream. My dream is very simple:

I want to transform the Congo into a stable, prosperous and

equitable country, able to create opportunities for everyone.

And with everyone, I mean young and old, men and women,



Congolese and foreigners. The Congo has the potential to

make this dream come true, because it is one of the richest

countries in the world. There is so much wealth in the

Congolese ground of which we are not taking advantage.

The Congo has 1100 raw materials and precious metals,

worth approximately 38.000 bn dollars. Today, we barely

use 30 of these 1100 precious metals and raw materials.

There is a lot of materials we could use to improve the

living standards of the people living in the Congo today.

The Congo has 125 million hectares of arable land, which is

good for agriculture. Today, we barely use 5% of this land, so

there is a huge potential to further develop our agriculture

and by doing so, feed everyone in the country, in the rest of

Africa and even export the food. The Congo has a potential

of 135 million hectares of forests. The trees in our forests

have a tremendous impact on the environment in Congo,

and in the rest of the world. We barely use 1% of our forest

land. We have hydroelectric potential, 100.000 megawatt of

hydroelectric power. Today, we barely use 1700 megawatt

and we don’t even have electricity in most of the country.

If we would, for example, exploit the Grand Inga Dam, we

would have enough electricity for the whole of the Congo

and Africa, and we could even export electricity to Western

Europe. The Congo has a potential water reserve of 53% with

good water, which is a 15% share of the water in the world.

My dream is to transform all those natural resources into

wealth, which can benefit the people of the Congo along

with the rest of humanity. It is feasible, if we have peace,

stability and the right men in the right place. It is feasible

if we work out a system with good governors and we start

investing heavily in our human capital, meaning giving

the people a proper education, maintaining their health

and feeding them properly. Then, we must develop good

relations not only with our fellow African countries, but

also with the rest of the world.

You have the potential to be the heart and

the lungs of Africa.

We don’t only have the potential to be the heart of Africa,

we are the heart of Africa. The Congo lies in the centre of

Africa, with an equal distance to North and South. If we

can jump start the economy of the Congo, the rest of Africa

will be jump started. We have the means to do that by

creating a vibrant economy in the centre of Africa.

One thing I want people to really understand about the

implementation of the Noël Tshiani’s Marshall Plan for the

Congo is that we are not only trying to solve the problem

of the Congo. Of course, the wellbeing of the Congo and

the Congolese is my primary responsibility, but we can’t do

this alone. Every opportunity we create for the Congolese

people, is an opportunity for the rest of the world.

For example, we want to develop a road network, a highway

network and a railroad network to link all the provinces in

the country together. We don’t have the technology to do

all of those things by ourselves. We will have to rely on our

relations with private companies in Belgium, in France and

in the United States. By trying to solve the problems of the

Congo, we are at the same time solving part of the problems

in the rest of the world.

What will you do to solve that problem? If we try to

implement this programme in the Congo, we will also call

upon the Belgian government and the Belgian private sector

to give us some workforces. By doing so, we are solving the

unemployment problem both in the Congo and in Belgium.

Same goes for France and for the United States. So, there is

a way of working on the development from which everyone


At an international level, which continents are

most interested in collaborating? Do you have

preferences in this regard or would you say that

some partners are more committed than others?

I have found that there is a great interest in collaborating

with the Congo. The interest comes primarily from the

historically traditional bilateral partners, like Belgium,

France, the U.S. and Canada. But I found that there is also

interest coming from new partners, like Asian countries

such as China, Japan and South Korea. Also from other

African countries and Latin American countries. In my

opinion, the world has become a global village where

people are interconnected. When choosing who to

collaborate with, we are of course drawn to work with our

historically traditional partners. At the same time, I will

stress that there is a place for everyone, for Belgian, French,

American, Canadian and Asian companies. We have to

make sure that we don’t only do the right thing for the

Congolese people, but also treat our partners with dignity

and work transparently, so we can create an equal balance.

Today, we have to fight a lot of wars. Sometimes,

they are real wars. At the moment, the situation

within and around the Congo’s borders is very


Shack village by the Congo river, Democratic Republic of Congo. July 2015

© Shutterstock

Some of the tension within the Congo is related to the

tension around the borders. I believe that one country

cannot concentrate on developing if it is constantly at

war with its neighbour. So, I want to put the past behind

us and start a new relationship with the neighbouring

countries. I would like to create an environment of trust

and a working relationship with all nine neighbours. We

have had our differences, and we are not going to heal

them overnight. But I’m willing to work with every single

country surrounding the Congo to create a security zone

for all of us, so we all feel comfortable and our resources

are not spent on fighting a war. Instead, our resources will

be spent on common development. The Congo will have

to develop, and so will the other countries.

They will have to create opportunities for their people,

just like we do. Then, we can all develop at the same time.

In the context of the Marshall Plan I’m presenting, there

is one component about building the major infrastructure

within the country, like the road network and the railroad

network. When looking at the map we have prepared

for that, you’ll see that you cannot develop those road,

highway and railroad networks to go from one place to

another if they have to suddenly stop at the border. The

networks have to continue in the surrounding countries.

Thus, the impact of the implementation of the Marshall

Plan in the Congo is going to be felt in all surrounding

countries. We have to think about our bilateral relations,

in terms of regional integration, so we are all growing and

not pushing each other down to climb up. This results in

tension between countries and wars in some cases. We

have to work together.

Do you think it is feasible to address all these

issues with the future leading team in the Congo

and the international community? And the

population itself?

I believe we don’t only need a critical mass of people,

but we need to mobilize literally everybody. This is why

I have been spending a lot of time with the diaspora in

Belgium, France, the U.S., South Africa and Canada,

and the people in the Congo. I will be going to places

where there are a lot of Congolese to try to get them

to understand that this vision isn’t mine alone. It’s the

vision for the country. If we will implement it, it will

transform the country for everyone and not only for me.

So. it’s very important to mobilize both Congolese people

in the diaspora and in the Congo. In addition to that, I



believe we have enough natural resources to implement

this massive development strategy. For example, out of

the 87 million Congolese, 8 million live in the diaspora.

These people have had access to a better education, better

expertise, employment in different industries and sectors

of the economy.

They are medical doctors, pharmacists, engineers,

architects, and so on. They are basically our pool of

expertise, waiting for the employment opportunities in

the Congo. So, we are going to rely on mobilizing the

diaspora, who are going to join the people living in the

Congo. Inside the country, we have a very good pool of

workforces. They will make a good team. If we cannot

find the expertise in the internal group or diaspora of

Congolese, we will not be ashamed to call upon the

expertise of foreign countries. We want to make the

Congo a melting pot, just like the United States, bringing

together the best people and using them for development,

by creating opportunities for the Congolese and


When looking at the past, this could be

considered a naive vision.

I will tell you the difference between the past decades

and today. When the Congo became independent from

Belgium, we had one person who was in the first year of

college. Congolese people were not educated. We have

also made tons of mistakes since our independence until

today. The system we had, did not allow the Congolese

to be trained and prepared to lead the country. Today,

thanks to the bilateral relations between the Congo and

foreign countries, people like me who come from the

Congo could get a scholarship from the government to

come and study in Belgium. I went to school in Liège,

in Grenoble, in New York and in Harvard. I acquired

enough knowledge and expertise to be able to think

differently than people in past decades. Today, we have

Congolese that are qualified, ready to be deployed for the

development of the country.

And I am not alone. There are around one million people

like me. I know many people in the United States, in

Canada, in South Africa, in Asia that are ready to be

deployed for the development. We are going to correct

the mistakes we made in the past as we move forward. We

don’t want to look back at the past. It’s important for us

to look to the future and we are ready to take the Congo

to a higher level than the one we are at today.

Also, it’s all planned out. I didn’t just randomly scribble

down this idea in my bedroom. It’s based on practical

experience. After my studies, I spent 35 years working in

an international environment. I worked 10 years with firstclass

commercial and investment banks in Europe. I spent

25 years working on development at the World Bank. Mr.

Abdou Diouf, former president of the Republic of Senegal,

wrote a testimony in my book The Force of Change. He

didn’t just write it out of the blue, he wrote this based

on what we have done to develop his country together.

Senegal is a better place today compared to what it used

to be, partly due to my contribution to their economy.

Mr. Abdou Diouf acknowledged that. If I could do it for

a country like Senegal, why couldn’t I do it for my own

country, the country that has invested so much in me?

I want to give you another example, namely Cape Verde

in the West of Africa. When I helped them design and

implement a development strategy, the gross domestic

product per capita was 170 dollars. Today, 20 years later,

the gross domestic product per capita in Cape Verde is

4500 dollars, which means it has been multiplied by 26 in

20 years. The Congo has more national resources, a larger

population and a bigger country. If I would realize the

same thing as I did in Cape Verde, we will multiply the

GDP per capita in 15 to 20 years by 30 to 50. This means

that we are going to lift up the Congo from the group

of the lower-income countries to the group of mediumincome

countries in 15 years.

I believe it is possible as well. I do, however, feel

there is an incredible sense of urgency, especially

in regards to the explosive internal situation.

I suppose the time to start is now?

Yes, the time to start is now. Someone asked me not

long ago if I should wait for this plan to be implemented

until after the elections, if I win them, or if I should

start implementing them right now with the help and

participation of all my compatriots. The answer is,

because of the urgent need of the country, that we should

start implementing it right now. This means that we will

go through the transition implementing this Marshall

Plan, and after we finish the transition when we have the

democratic institution in place. I’m advocating to split

it up, meaning that we should implement one portion of

the plan today, and another portion of the plan after the

elections. I think we have to identify the people who can

do that during this transition, but also after the transition,

because it is very urgent.

City Center of Kinshasa - the capital of DRC - circa September 2008. UNICEF mission against tetanus.

© shutterstock

Premier Michel recently included a paragraph in

his speech in the United Nations about the Congo

and wanted to address the critical situation.

What is your opinion on the relationship with

Belgium? Do you think we could do better? Of

course there is a shared history between Belgium

and the Congo, but I’m referring to the current


I believe that we have a historical relationship that cannot

be changed. In the Congo, we keep referring to the

Belgians as our “uncles”, so it’s a bit of a family affair. I,

for one, have the advantage of being born in the Congo

and then having had an education in Belgium. I always

feel very comfortable when I come here and I always try

to find the time to go to Liège, which is my home province

here in Belgium. Whenever I go to Liège and visit the

university there, I feel at home. That being said, I have tons

of good Belgian friends and colleagues who I work with

here in Belgium from the ministry of foreign affairs, from

the private sector, banking, etc. I feel very good about the

relationship we have had in the past and I am confident

that we can improve that relationship even further, which

would benefit the people of the Congo and the Belgian


That’s why I keep coming back to the implementation of

this Marshall Plan. We are going to draw on that historical

relationship with Belgium. On the map of the Congo, the

basic infrastructure I’m advocating for is a network of

roads, highways and railroads to link all the provinces of

the country. The railroads don’t even exist yet.

This is a massive reconstruction programme. In

addition to that, we want to build around 400 modern

cities throughout the country, which would need basic

infrastructure, meaning: schools, hospitals, an airport,

administrative offices, and so on. We will build a metro

system in the main cities like Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.

The Congolese don’t have the expertise to build this in

the Congo. Belgium will be the first place where I will

pass by to knock on the door. I will call upon the Belgians

and remind them that we have a common history; if you

help us, you are helping yourself too. So, come work with

us, bring along the private sector and let’s improve the

cooperation and the bilateral relationship. However, in

that process, we have to realize that things have changed:

we must be in the driver’s seat, because we have designed

our development strategy and you are coming to help

us to implement this strategy and talk to others in the

international community to attract more attention to the


Congolese plan and vision. At the same time, we keep our

sovereignty and you keep yours, and we maintain our good


the rule of law and institutions so we are less dependent on

individuals. The second pillar of the strategy is promoting

good governance and the efficient use of public resources.


I know many Belgian people that are related to the

Congo. They always keep going back, it’s like they

have lost their hearts there. Most of these people

also have a historical link with the Congo, and are

now between 50 and 75 years old. I believe it would

be good to use these people who still have the fire

for the Congo in their hearts.

Absolutely, I have also met many people like that. Their

lives are linked to ours. I encourage them to work with us,

so we can have a better Congo, opening doors to them and

to everybody else. In addition to the people who have lost

their hearts in the Congo, I will tell you about a different

type of people I have met in Belgium: young Belgian people

born in the Congo, and who have come back to work in

the public administration and the private sector. It is their

country too and I welcome them as I would welcome

anybody else, from France, from other countries, who

might have a connection with my country. They are good

spokespersons, wherever they are. They will always defend

the cause of the Congo, and they will always want the

Congo to do better than it is doing today.

I read about the different pillars you want to use in

the Marshall Plan. Can you elaborate on that?

When drafting this Marshall Plan, I was concerned about

the current situation in the Congo. Even though we have

all these natural resources I mentioned earlier, we are one

of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.

There is a disconnection between our wealth and our

status today. I believe that, in order to resolve the issues

of unemployment, create development, reduce poverty, we

must have a very clear vision and a very clear strategy.

I am not proposing any cosmetic reforms which would leave

the problem unresolved. I am proposing a 15-year Marshall

Plan, which can fundamentally transform the country in

different sectors. The Marshall Plan is anchored in 10

pillars. These are the following: first, we must promote

peace, security, rule of law and put in place democratic and

functioning institutions. How can we do that?

We must reform the army, police and security services, so

they are protecting the borders and the Congolese citizens

instead of oppressing them. We will set up a major program

to restructure this institution. Then, we will set in place

The Congo, as I have said before, has tons of natural

resources, but today, 85% of the mining revenues don’t go

to the national budget. This means that they go to private

pockets. This means that only 15% goes to the national

budget. We must restructure this governance system so we

can claim all those resources which are lost, and use them

to increase the national budget and so finance development

projects. By doing so, I have determined that we can

increase the budget from 8 billion dollars today to about

72 billion dollars within a foreseeable future of 5 to 6 years.

These extra revenues and resources will be used to finance

development projects. The third pillar of the strategy is

to invest in the human capital, meaning in the Congolese

youth, men and women. How can we do that?

By restructuring the education system so we can train the

people so we have workforces that are well educated and

well trained. By revamping the health care system, we need

to invest in modern hospitals, well-trained doctors and

nurses, so that when we get ill, we don’t have to take the

plane to get medical treatment in Belgium, but instead get

it in our own country where the majority of our people

live. Nowadays, when a public official gets ill, he takes the

plane to Belgium to seek treatment. However, 99% of the

population does not have access to the same facilities. This

must be changed, so that we have a normal functioning

system, accessible to everyone in the country. We need to

have enough well-trained doctors and nurses, so we can

respond to the needs of the population. I will also introduce

something which does not yet exist today: a universal

medical insurance system, meaning that everyone with

access to this system gets a card and when they get ill, they

can go to any doctor in the country with this card and get

medical treatment.

This system will partly be founded by means of contribution

from the private sector, and will, in time, be financed by the

national budget. Within the education system, I intend to

do for the Congolese youth what the Congolese government

has done for me. I became what I am today because of

the scholarship I got from the government. It covered

not only my primary and secondary education, but also

my university until I received my PhD. I am going to give

scholarships to the Congolese youth, so they have access to


Zongo Waterfalls of the Congo River near Kinshasa.

© Shutterstock

Everyone in the Congo, until the age of 17, has to go from

elementary school to high school, free of charge in case

they don’t have the money to study.

Food sufficiency will be realized by developing the

agriculture, fishery and livestock. Then, we can start in the

Congo to produce food for the Congolese and feed them

so they are in good health like anyone else.

The next pillar of the strategy is to put in place a good

environment for the private sector for development,

because I believe that the government cannot do it alone.

We must create a good environment not only to attract the

investment from overseas, but also from the Congolese

diaspora and the Congolese from the Congo. We can

do this by removing the obstacles for private sector

development, making it easier for private companies to

be created and developed within the Congo in a legal,

transparent manner.

is going to be stable and can guarantee the purchasing

power of the population. At the same time, we are going to

restructure the economy and the currency. The currency of

the Congo today is worthless, because 95% of the economy

uses the U.S. dollar. We will restructure the national

currency so that it keeps its value and by doing so, we

are going to raise the revenue and keep it in the country

instead of transferring it overseas. It is also going to allow

the central bank to conceive and implement a credible and

independent monetary policy. We are also going to revamp

the franchise system. Today, we have about 20 commercial

banks in the country which are all owned by foreigners,

such as Lebanese, Pakistani, and so on. I have nothing

against them, but where are the Congolese in this story?

I believe we need a system with Congolese shareholders

and at the same time also banks owned by foreigners who

might have partnerships with the Congolese. In that way,

the franchise system we have would also address the needs

of the local people and the international economy.

The next pillar of the strategy is to put in place a national

financial system, which will include the restructuring of the

central bank, which should become an independent bank

like the Bundesbank, which can conduct an independent

monetary policy and generate a strong currency which

We are going to establish institutions like the deposit

insurance cooperation, which means that when people have

deposits in the bank and the bank goes bankrupt, their

deposits will be covered by an insurance company. These

measures will promote the confidence in the franchise



system and in the banks. Also, we would provide securities

to everybody. I would like to introduce what I call “the

Kinshasa stock exchange”. What is the purpose of this?

The current system allows foreign companies to hold all

of the shares of some major Congolese companies. When

they decide to sell, they sell, for example, to the Chinese.

But how can someone like me, a Congolese shareholder,

buy shares from the companies of my country? By having

the stock exchange, those companies will be listed in the

register of the Kinshasa stock exchange, which means that

any Congolese who wants to become a shareholder can call

his or her broker and buy the shares to participate in the

national wealth. So, these are the reforms in the franchise

system. The next pillar of the strategy is to develop labour

intensive infrastructure, such as roads, highways, railroads,

airports, national parks, schools, public hospitals and so

on. We will build about 400 more cities throughout the


By doing so, we will create jobs for the Congolese. This

is a country where everything is still left to be done, so

it doesn’t make sense that people are unemployed. We

have to create opportunities for the Congolese people to

participate, and if they don’t have the skills, we will bring

people in from outside of the Congo. The next pillar is

to accelerate industrialization. I already mentioned that

this involves our natural resources. We want to create a

system to attract foreign investment to mingle with the

Congolese private sector and we will transform some of

the raw materials into semi-finished and finished goods

in the country itself. By doing so, we will create jobs for

our people but also creating opportunities for those who

are coming to help us. The next pillar is about human

resources. Where will we find them? I already mentioned

we will look for the human resources in the Congo itself, in

the diaspora and if we can’t find the expertise, we will bring

in the international experts and the international private

sector to work with us. Finally, where will we find the

finances for this programme? I have estimated the cost of

this programme at 800 billion dollars over 15 years.

Most of the money will come from fighting corruption,

because the Congo generates revenues, but those revenues

go into private pockets. The place to start is to fight

corruption, to bring those revenues back and put them in

the national budget. By doing so, we will reduce the need

to borrow from outside the country. We will, however, keep

working with the international community, the foreign

investors, the bilateral and multilateral donors.

Out of the total cost of 800 billion dollars, 600 billion dollars

will come from the internally generated revenues, which

would be an average budget of about 45.3 billion dollars per

year. Then, about 3 billion dollars per year will come from

bilateral and multilateral donors, which is the current level I

want to maintain. The final portion will come from the direct

foreign investors, about 75 billion dollars over 15 years. This

means we will have an annual increase of about 3 to 5 billion

dollars a year, because we are going to stabilize the country

and we are going to create a good environment for the private

sector, also from outside the country. So, the summary is:

680 billion dollars coming from internal resources, 45 billion

dollars from bilateral and multilateral donors and 75 billion

dollars from direct foreign investment, making it a total of

800 billion dollars over 15 years.

If you compare that to the potential revenues of the

country, it’s quite limited.

Yes, in that way I’m being very conservative, because I don’t

want to scare off the people. The Congo is going to take off

in a bigger way, because once we have a stable institution

and we have good leadership with a good vision, you will

see that people will come knocking on the Congo’s door

to come and invest. But, in general, we will raise more

revenues; fiscal revenues, mining revenues, from different

sources. The national budget of the Congo will increase

tremendously. To give you an idea: Angola, a neighbouring

country, had a budget of 66 billion dollars in 2015. South

Africa has a budget of 125 billion dollars this year.

It makes no sense that my country, the biggest in Africa

with all the natural resources, has a budget of only 8 billion

dollars. Something is wrong. We are going to restructure the

functioning of the state, of the governance system to make

sure that all the revenues go to the national budget and are

used to develop the country.

Can you be optimistic about the corruption in the


Congolese are not corrupt by birth, nor is any other human

being on this earth. The system has created an environment

in which corruption can exist. The current system goes like

this: if you have a job, you work all day from morning until

evening, 30 days per month, 365 days per year. And at the

end of each month, you get paid 50 dollars, but you’re living

cost is, say, 1000 dollars.

What choice do we have then but to be corrupt? Everyone

knows that when you pay a person very little, you put them

Food market in the outskirts of Kinshasa.

© Shutterstock

Beautiful lake in Democratic Republic of Congo.

© Shutterstock

in a position where they need to find a way of surviving.

I’m going to introduce change in the system which is

going to discourage any kind of corruption. These changes

are the following: I’m going to introduce the minimum

wage system. This means that, when a person works, the

minimum salary that anyone can be paid in any sector will

be 1000 dollars a month, at the least.

This takes into account the cost you have to pay for your

rent, the mortgage, to send your children to school, to get

good health care for your family, and even to save some

money but still being able to live. This nice salary is not

just a bonus. The idea is that, once you get paid well,

you have to work hard for it. If you are caught stealing

or being corrupt, you will be taken to court. We have to

restructure the court system, so that justice is dispensed in

a transparent manner and is the same for everyone.

The people who stole or are corrupt, will be judged and

when found guilty, will go to jail like everyone else. I, even

as head of state, will not intervene to get them out, even if

they are my close associates. Once these people get out of

jail, their names will be published in the official magazine.

They will be known throughout the country as corrupt

people and they and their families will be ashamed of it.

Another repercussion is that these people will never be

able to work in public administration ever again. They also

cannot participate in any events that are sponsored by the

state. So, basically, after they get out of jail they will be

outcasts and an example for all the other people.

This way, they will know I’m serious about it. I’ve never

been corrupt, and I’m going to change the country by

showing everybody that I made it without being corrupt.

We need to educate the people, pay them appropriate

salaries and treat them properly. However, when someone

makes a mistake, the judicial system needs to take care

of him or her. I think that, over time, this will eliminate

corruption in the Congo.

How about gender equality in the Congo?

53% of the Congolese population is female. Today, 30% of

the positions in the public administration is reserved for

women. I think that is problematic. I want to establish a

system in which all men and women are treated equally.

What would help is reserving equal treatment in terms of

education and employment. However, if they are not up to

the level, we need to provide them with additional training.

Scholarships, leadership trainings, and so on. We want all

men and women to be treated equally and to have access to

the same opportunities in the country. Rwanda, for example,

has done something spectacular: women in their parliament

represent almost 60%! I want to give those opportunities to

the Congolese women as well, not as a favor just because they

are women, but because they are equal developing partners.

Is this also accepted by the families?

I think our people are more and more educated and see

things differently than they did in the past. So, the more we

educate our people, the more they become sensitive to the

fate of everyone in the society and the more they will move

away from the traditional values that suggest that women

should remain in their kitchens instead of being at the

discussion table. It doesn’t mean that a women can’t still

go to the kitchen and help out when she’s working. Today,

men and women perform the same kind of tasks at home.

I believe it’s a matter of education and showing the people

that we want the society to change.



Everything you have explained so far makes a lot of

sense. What could be holding us back to make all

of these changes?

As I said, the past is the past. I said that back in 1960 the

people were not prepared to lead the country. And I look

at our four heads of state, for whom I have a great deal of

respect, because they ran the country at different stages

in history.

None of our heads of state had a college education. The

situation today is the consequence of the leadership of

unprepared people. I salute their efforts to get us to where

we are today, but things have changed. There are a lot of

very well-educated Congolese who have a lot of experience

and who have lived in civilized societies, who know how

things are being done throughout the world. I think these

Congolese should be encouraged to return in big numbers

so they cannot only manage the country at top level, but

also change the way the country functions so we can avoid

to make the same mistakes of the past. Congo will never

be the same again. So, the things I say today are logical,

because I’ve had the chance to see how other societies

are organized and are evolving. I would like to go back to

contributing to make the Congo just as good as Europe, the

United States, and so on, but at the same time keeping our

traditional values alive.

Because we don’t just want to mimic what is happening in

other countries. The Western countries have their good

sides, but also their bad sides. We have values which make

us African, and Congolese. I want this to continue, but

at the same time, I want to create a condition in which

everyone can grow within the society and has access to

different opportunities.

Sometimes I find it hard to define the Belgian

identity of today. This might have to do with the

fact that Belgium is a very complex country with

a lot of history. Do you think that the 87 million

Congolese share an identity today?

Of course. There is a very strong Congolese identity, in

part thanks to president Mobutu who has put in a lot of

time and energy to establish the Congolese national pride.

The Congolese feel Congolese in the first place. When I

meet Congolese people, I don’t even need to know where

they are coming from. The fact that they’re Congolese is

enough for me. I never ask where they are from. We are all

first and foremost Congolese. So, the national identity is

there. Having a shared national Congolese identity doesn’t

mean that we all come from the same part of the Congo.

We have tribes, we have provinces, we have ethnicities and

we have 450 ethnic groups. These ethnic groups have their

cultural differences and have a wealth of experience. I think

that this is very positive and contributes to the diversity of

the country. Look at the United States, everyone speaks the

dialect of the state they come from.

There are black Americans, white Americans, Irish

Americans, and so on. But they feel American first. And I

think that, in the Congo, whether you are Muluba, Bakongo,

Mungala or Swahili, without even mentioning the other

smaller groups, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. The

most important thing is that we are all Congolese. The

national identity is there, and we will put in a lot of effort

to strengthen our national identity, so that the image of the

Congo as a country can shine and flourish. In the Marshall

Plan, we do want to promote the cultural identity and the

image of the Congo. We want to make sure that everyone in

the Congo stays the way they are to keep and promote their

cultural identity, without impeding each other. Congolese

music is a very good indicator of cultural identity.

For example, when the Bajuga people sing, everyone knows

they are from the Kasai province. It sounds very nice, all

the Congolese people love it. I’ve been to some wedding

celebrations in the Kivu province, and it’s great to see they

have their own way of dancing, and so on. I would need a

bit of time to learn how to dance with them.

In other words, this is part of what the Congo is and we

need to promote the diversity. We need to make sure that

all ethnic groups are equal, and at the same time make

sure that we keep seeing the bigger picture: we are all


It would be interesting to establish an organization

promoting the Congolese cultural diversity abroad.

There is, after all, a universal language of culture.

Yes, that is very important. It is something that is already

being done, and on which will be focused in the future.

For example, the Congolese music is one of the best in the

world. However, Congolese music is very diverse. People

sing it in Lingala, in Swahili, and so on.

The dances are also all different and can indicate where the

dancers are coming from. We need to package and sell this

cultural wealth on an international scale in order to build

the Congolese image and identity.

Bonobo on a tree branch.

© Shutterstock

We must be present in shows. I brought along a singer to

the conference I attended yesterday, Olivier Tshimanga.

When he sings, people don’t ask where he’s from, they

know he’s Congolese. We have to find a common ground to

promote the image of the country, having the government

assist our citizens in their own field, so the image of

the Congo is improved and not only internally, but also


In Brussels, The Royal Museum for Central Africa

is a first-class centre for scientific research on

Africa. Institutions like RMCA and Bozar are

potential partners for you in the future.

A lot of Congolese history is present in Belgium. I am

more than willing to work with Belgium to try to put

all these cultural aspects at the disposal of everyone in

Belgium, the Congo and the international community.

There are a lot of things which have disappeared from

the Congo which have been brought over to Belgium,

things the Congolese people don’t even know about. By

improving the cultural relations between Belgium and the

Congo, we can work together to give everyone access to

this cultural and historical wealth.

Would you like to add something else which we

haven’t yet covered?

A lot of people wonder if the outside world will support this

massive reconstruction programme I have for the Congo,

because it would take away a lot of things from those who

are benefiting from the system today and give it back to

the Congolese. I want to change that perception. We don’t

try to fight against anyone’s interests. We want to create

an environment in which the Congo can grow and develop

and in which the Congolese can gain dignity and live better.

By doing so, we want to create opportunities for everyone,

not only the Congolese. I see the opportunities for the rest

of the humanity. I see that the economies in the Western

countries are stagnating, because they have developed so

much and so fast.

The growth today is very minimal. We still have a lot

of growing potential, and you have the technology and

expertise. I want to invite the international community,

meaning governments and the private sector to realize

what we want for the Congo. The bond between the Congo

and the countries who have been historically working

close with the Congo, like Belgium and France, can be

strengthened this way. This would improve the lives of so

many people, also in the rest of Africa. Because the plan

goes beyond the Congolese borders. So, let’s work together

in a constructive manner. I believe that, if we do so, we can

stabilize not only the Congo, but the Great Lakes Region

as well. The Congo together with its neighbours, counts

280 million people. Together, we can stabilize the whole

Great Lakes Region through development and the creation

of opportunities for everyone, including the Europeans

with whom, even though they live far, we want to maintain

an excellent relationship.


Kid carrying heavy wood near Kasangulu, outskirts of Kinshasa.

© Shutterstock

What would be the impact of the Marshall Plan

on the environment? What would be the impact on

forests, animals, and so on?

I have had the opportunity to work for the World Bank

around projects with a potential impact on the environment.

I am very careful and sensitive to this topic. In the case of

the Congo, I know that acceleration of industrialization

can mess with the balance. Exploiting the forests, for

example to develop the wood industry, could lead to great

deforestation. Building the roads could also have an impact

on the environment. Any project that will be carried out

in the framework of this Marshall Plan, whether it’s a part

of the industrialization programme or the infrastructure

programme, will need to be evaluated through theoretical

research well in advance, to determine the impact on the

environment. Only projects that don’t have a negative

impact on the environment will be approved and carried

out. If it does have a negative impact, specialists will

propose adjustments to the project in order to mitigate the

impact on the environment. For example, if we are going to

make chairs out of the wood gathered from the Equatorial

forest in the Congo, we need to make sure that the cut down

trees are replaced by 2 or 3 new trees.

population is safe. I notice that in Brussels, for example,

there are barely any trees. We can learn from the ones that

have accelerated the industrialization before us, like the

Belgians. The environment is definitely something we will


I didn’t work out this Marshall Plan overnight. It took a lot

of time. The first article I published on this Marshall Plan

was in 2003. Each year, I have been talking to different

people, Congolese people, people from other nationalities,

and people from different sectors. This programme has

slowly matured and has reached a stage where it’s finished

and ready to be used to rebuild the country.

I am just sad to see that, from 1960 until today, the Congo

has been led without a vision. It’s like building a house

without having a plan about how to build the basement,

the first floor, and so on. The advantage of this plan is that,

at least, we would have a vision and a plan, even though

it might not be perfect. The plan is designed by us and if

all the Congolese work together on it, the outside world

will have no choice but to accompany us. Even if we make

mistakes, it’s still our plan.


The impact on the environment needs to be minimal,

because an accelerated industrialization is worthless if

everyone is dying because there is no more oxygen. So, we

are very careful with that. We need to make sure that the

Bruno Devos & Barbara Dietrich


PhD International Economist, Commercial

Banker, Private Sector Development

Specialist; Author, most recently, of

A Marshall Plan for Reconstruction of

the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Dr. Noël K. Tshiani is a senior international official with

three decades of experience at the World Bank, including

as Head of Mission and Country Manager.

He has worked globally, from Africa and Eastern Europe

to the Caribbean and Asia. Dr. Tshiani previously served

10 years with Citibank NA, Republic National Bank

of New York; and JP Morgan Chase. As a World Bank

expert, he co-chaired in 1997 the Monetary Reform

Commission in Kinshasa, which devised the Congolese

Franc to replace the Zaire currency. In this capacity, he

insisted that the currency bear no effigy of a Head of

State in office.


Dr. Tshiani completed the New Managers Leadership

Program at the Graduate Business School at Harvard

University in Boston-Massachusetts, and holds a

Doctorate in Economics with specialization in Banking

and Finance from Université de Paris IX- Dauphine in

France, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration

(MBA) with concentration in Banking and Financial

Markets from Adelphi University in New York, and a

Master’s Degree in Economics from Université de Liège

in Belgium.


Dr. Tshiani is the author of five books:

Hard times call for special remedies: A Marshall Plan for

Reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

(Les Éditions du Panthéon, Paris, 2016);

The Power of Change: Building a stable, prosperous and

equitable country (Les Éditions du Panthéon, Paris, 2016);

The battle for a credible national currency (De Boeck,

Brussels, December 2012);

Vision for a strong currency (L’Harmattan, Paris, 2008);

Building credible central banks (Palgrave MacMillan,

Hampshire-UK, 2009).


Dr. Tshiani’s vision appears throughout his work:

• In 1997, after co-chairing the currency reform

committee, Tshiani disagreed with the Head of State

over the new senior management of the Central

Bank of the Congo. He predicted that the Congolese

currency would lose value over time due to lack of

the independence from the political leadership and

poor economic policy options. In 2017, his prediction

materialized: one Congolese franc was valued at

US$0.72 in 1998 and is now worthless. Consequently,

dollarization accounts for 95 percent of the country’s

money supply.

• In 2003, Dr. Tshiani launched the idea that the DRC

needed a Marshall Plan to address its structural

problems. He published in 2003-2004 two articles in

the Paris-based Jeune Afrique Magazine: “A Marshall

plan for the DRC” and “Hard times call for special



Luca Vitone

Eppur Si Muove


Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire


The wheel icon is taken from the flag of the Rom and Sinti populations as well as from the anarchic flag. It suggests the idea of libertarian nomadism,

with no borders, which gives voice to our desire for roaming freely in every living space.

hear beauty, see beauty, hide everything else.



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DIPOMATIC WORLD.indd 6 25/09/2017 16:56:21





On the morning of 22 March 2016, Belgium was

confronted with the deadliest acts of terrorism in

its history. Two coordinated suicide bombings at

Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station killed

32 civilians and left hundreds injured.

While the people of Belgium, Europe and the world

were still trying to grasp what had happened, Eurojust’s

National Member for Belgium attended an urgent national

coordination meeting in Brussels to assist the Belgian Federal

Prosecution Office with the cross-border dimension of the

investigation and complex judicial cooperation matters.

The investigation revealed a sophisticated terrorist network,

with links to other Member States, the Paris attacks of 13

November 2015 and other serious crimes and networks

involving arms trafficking and forgery of documents. Once

again it was confirmed that terrorists and perpetrators of

serious organised crimes rarely stop at the borders of one

country, and neither should prosecuting authorities. This is

the raison d’être of Eurojust.


be arrested and transferred to the issuing state. The European

Investigation Order (EIO), introduced in 2017, will allow

French judicial authorities who are tracking terrorists hidden

in Belgium to ask their Belgian counterparts to interrogate

witnesses or conduct house searches on their behalf. Eurojust

stands ready to assist in the facilitation and speeding up the

execution of EIOs.

One of Eurojust’s core beliefs is that it takes a network to

beat criminal and terrorist networks. Therefore, Eurojust

works closely together with other agencies of the European

Union and networks of judicial experts, for example in the

field of terrorism or cybercrime. Eurojust has also established

more than 40 judicial contact points all over the world and

welcomed Liaison Prosecutors from Switzerland, Norway, the

USA and soon Montenegro.

Eurojust is the European Union’s judicial cooperation unit.

Established in 2002, the organisation now covers a territory

of 500 million citizens with 24 different official languages

and 30 different legal regimes. In July 2017, Eurojust moved

to its new, custom made and permanent premises in the

International Zone of The Hague. Under its roof, Eurojust

brings together 28 National Members. They are prosecutors,

judges or police officers of equivalent competence seconded

by each Member State.


Eurojust’s role is to promote and strengthen coordination and

cooperation among national authorities in the fight against

terrorism and serious cross-border crime, by supporting the

Member States in their investigations and prosecutions. For

instance, Eurojust is often called to facilitate and speed up

the execution of European Arrest Warrants (EAW) within the

EU, ensuring that a criminal suspect or sentenced person will

Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust


To bring criminals to justice, there are two issues of

importance: evidence and time. Evidence has to be

concrete, obtained in full respect with the rule of law

and shared in a timely way. Eurojust has several tools to

ensure effective operational support. During coordination

meetings, national authorities agree on a common

prosecution strategy and plan simultaneous investigations

and actions. Coordination meetings are a frequently used

tool: on average, Eurojust organises one coordination

meeting per working day. Since 2010, Eurojust also hosts

coordination centres. They are a central hub for the realtime

exchange of information as well as for coordinating the

joint execution of judicial and law enforcement measures

in different countries (including seizures, arrests, house

searches and witness interviews). Finally, joint investigation

teams (JITs) take operational cooperation to a whole new

level. A JIT is comprised of judicial and police authorities,

set up on the basis of an agreement between two or more

Member States for a specific purpose and limited duration.

The result is one team working for and on behalf of all

concerned national authorities. Just last year, 148 JITs were

supported by Eurojust.

In addition to these operational activities, Eurojust also

contributes to the European Union strategy on internal

security and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. As

a centre of judicial and legal expertise, Eurojust analyses

specific criminal phenomena such as Foreign Terrorist

Fighters and develops guidelines, for example on how to

decide which Member State should prosecute.


Eurojust’s competence covers a wide variety of serious

organised crimes. For the period 2015-2020, terrorism,

cybercrime and trafficking in human beings, including

illegal immigrant smuggling, have been designated as

priorities, in line with the European Agendas on Security

and Migration.

In 2016, Eurojust saw an almost five-fold increase in

the number of requests from Member States to assist in

terrorism cases compared to 2014 (from 14 to 67 cases)

and this trend continues in 2017. Eurojust also plays

an important role in making prosecutors aware of the

challenges and best practice when it comes to bringing

terrorists to justice. For instance, the Terrorism Convictions

Eurojurst building

Monitor provides an overview of terrorism-related

convictions throughout the European Union, demonstrating

what works and what doesn’t.

As society comes to rely more and more on the Internet,

the dangers posed by cybercrime have become very

real threats. Large-scale attacks, such as the Wannacry

ransomware attack of May 2017, are no longer limited

to science fiction novels and Eurojust deals with a great

number of cybercrime cases each year. Needless to say,

prosecuting crimes taking place entirely in a digital world

brings about a whole new set of challenges. How do you

gather electronic evidence when it’s encrypted? And what

framework do you need for cooperating with private parties

such as Google or Facebook?

The migration crisis, and in particular the efforts to

dismantle the organised criminal groups behind smuggling

and trafficking networks, represent another area where

Eurojust’s support is crucial. One such case concerned the

discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants inside an abandoned

truck close to an Austrian motorway in August 2015. The

investigations revealed links to Hungary, Germany and

Bulgaria. Eurojust’s immediate support was requested

in order to ensure an effective prosecution strategy

and guarantee the smooth execution of procedures for

transferring evidence from one Member State to another.


In a complex world with increasing security threats, the

European Union must stand together. The need for unity

as Europeans — across institutions, states and peoples —

has never been so urgent. Eurojust will continue to be the

European Union’s leading partner in bringing criminals to

justice and a key player in ensuring a more secure world.






Kenneth Lasoen, Historian,

Intelligence and Security Researcher

at Ghent University

The terror visited on European cities by supporters

of the so-called Islamic State for the last three years

has seen terrorists bringing the tactics of urbanized

insurgency to Western cities, where they exploit the

openness and mobility of everyday life to perpetrate

attacks that subscribe to the idea of violence for the sake

of violence. The crude and predatory surprise tactics

they adopt randomly target innocent civilians and figures

of state authority such as police officers, in an attempt

to instill daily life with fear and worry and challenge the

traditional state monopoly of violence.

Kenneth Lasoen


Civilization is once again embroiled in a war of nerves

with the forces of barbarism.

France and Belgium have responded to the threat

with military protection since the attacks by Daeshsympathizers

of 2015 and 2016. After having deployed

the Belgian Army in early 2015 to guard high-profile

locations, of which there are many in Brussels, the

government expanded the operation to include more soft

targets in the public space because of the attacks of 22

March 2016 on the national airport and the Maalbeek

metro station in Brussels.

The operation, codenamed VIGILANT GUARDIAN,

is based on a protocol between the Belgian Defense

Ministry and the Interior Ministry that provides for

military assistance to the Federal Police in guarding

sensitive targets. The objective is to prevent, deter and

defeat terror threats or aggression and provide assistance

to the police including consequence management,

by guarding and protecting targets in order to buy

time for the police to intervene. The soldiers have no

authority to act as a police force, but are governed by

rules of conduct and effective rules of engagement.

They are an essential addition to law enforcement since

Daesh seeks to unleash murderous foes with a combatant

mentality on unsuspecting civilians. While the police is

trained in conflict management and restraint towards

disobedient civilians, the military on the other hand is

trained in the escalating use of force against force by a

hostile element. The heavily armed OVG shield platoon

consists out of a mixed team of specialists who each have

their specific role were an incident to occur.

These team members have had extensive military and

medical training since the requirements for homeland

security stemming from this elevated threat level are also

capabilities trained for and perfected during overseas

operations. Battle-hardened Belgian Army infantry units

are well prepared for a counterterrorism mission since

they are also deployed in volatile areas abroad where they

have to deal with insurgents all the time. The infantry

platoons in the Belgian streets and public places are

attuned to complex warfare in crisis situations.

Brussels Airport


They are well trained in basic force protection which

can be extrapolated towards protecting civilians,

and are specialists in searching for dangerous items,

defusing explosives, and mobility, countermobility and

survivability, with the invaluable assistance of canine

units. Extensive medical training has them prepared for

the worst, which was clearly demonstrated when the

soldiers at the national airport saved lives on 22/3 with

their first aid kits. While imbued with restraint they won’t

take nonsense from anyone and are well within their

brief to act forcefully in close range combat and even

lethally if so required. As the sum of their parts, they are

a formidable obstacle to any hostile and the best response

to the strategic advantage of attack the terrorists have.

However, this additional homeland defense requirement

poses challenges for the army. A great deal of issues

involving human and material resources, operational

and organizational constraints, and sustainability,

have risen with this counterterror mission. The sheer

number of soldiers marshalled to comprise the teams

of adequate numbers to protect the sensitive points

on a 24-hour watch posed great challenges, as well as

providing the logistics and a daily supply chain that is

just as complex at home as it is doing so for an operation

abroad. The risk of the drainage of human resources

and valuable experience for which there is no substitute

could seriously impact the effectiveness and credibility

of the Belgian armed forces in terms of manpower and

international commitments.

But there are opportunities as well. Fighting terrorism

abroad and at home are pieces of the same puzzle.

The Belgian Army and police have been doing a lot of

thinking about optimization and rationalization of the

mission to cope with the challenges of defending the

home territory for an indeterminate time with maximum

efficiency and effect. There are many opportunities to

come at a different, creative, approach to the homeland

security mission, that puts the experience and techniques

of the soldiers to maximum effect, and leaves the

operational initiative for the most part with the defender.

A more pragmatic defense plan would also allow a more

efficient commitment of resources so that they and

other means can be put to better use and with greater


With its caliphate on the verge of collapse, Daesh will

continue to attempt having its last convulsions in the

West. Mere vigilance by static protection will not suffice

to safeguard daily life. The current threat and the threat

of tomorrow require a re-engineering of security and

intelligence with reinforced cooperation mechanisms

at the regional and international levels. This is a new

reality that means living with an asymmetric foe, one that

must be stopped by homeland security as an intricate

and specific phase of joint intelligence/police/military

planning; but the planning should go beyond guardposting

and put the soldiers where they want to be: the

front line.

Therefore, rather than addressing a particular threat by

having permanent static protection, strategy should be

recalibrated towards arming society against what the

threat can do with comprehensive, layered defence, while

engaging the threat directly with what we can do to the

threat actors. By innovation and improvisation can the

fight be taken to the terrorists instead of waiting for them

in the trenches. Taking the initiative by offensive and

psychological operations will change the threat-response

dynamic with a role-reversal that will turn those who

torment us into the tormented.






Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG, Vaduz

(www.gisreportsonline.com / www.gisadvisory.com)

With the rise of social media has come a new term: “fake

news” — a term that has even made it into the German

Duden dictionary. Fake news is either invented, factoidbased

or manipulative information intended to mislead

the recipient of the information. But is fake news a new

phenomenon? The answer is no. Fake news is nothing more

than an electronic version of rumour.

Rumour — whether true, almost true or pure lies — exists

from time immemorial. One source of rumour of which

everyone is probably aware, is the so-called “Stammtisch”, a

table men sit around drinking beers, exchanging information

and gossip and discussing local politics.

The later an evening becomes and the more beer is

consumed, the more colourful the rumours become.

In former times, rumour remained at a local or a regional

level. Today, however, with all the social media instruments

available, a lot of rumour is globalized and distorts

information by taking the guise of news or, even worse, facts.

We are indeed living in a time in which individual

perceptions and hypotheses are more important than

facts — a time in which fake news is part and parcel of

everyday life.


There are a number of crises worldwide, most of them due

to shifts in global power. And there are very different types

of news and information that cover these crises. Breaking

news provides information on events, such as the recent

earthquake in Mexico. It is mostly a theme of the electronic

media. Then there is commentary, which are an important

part of the printed media. And then there is gossip, which is

widely spread in electronic, social and print media.

Then there is news that is either wrong or manipulative,

distorts real facts and frequently gives rise to conspiracy

theories. Sometimes, there are also facts that are just not

reported properly; this might be for ideological reasons or

for reasons of avoidance due to political correctness. And

then, there are serious background information which allows

one to understand a situation in its entirety, to realise the

consequences of a situation and which highlight future

scenarios. Such background information from genuine

sources have become a very narrow niche and they are

essential for decision makers in business, politics and

academics in order to avoid misperception and misjudgement.



Fake news supports the tendency to judge based on one’s

own point of view, which narrows the perspective. But, as

mentioned above, some kinds of fake news have always

existed. With the tendency to raise the importance of

individual perceptions, fake news just has a wider, different

reach today. And with modern technological means, it can be

spread instantly across the entire globe.

In 2011, I founded Geopolitical Intelligence Services (GIS).

Driven by my own need for high-quality information,

I decided to establish a system that provides useful, unbiased

information that provides deep insight into relevant topics

and highlights the geopolitical relevance and consequences.

In our understanding, geopolitics translates the lessons

drawn from historical legacy and geographical facts into

Search-by-region option facilitates navigation on GIS-website

© Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG

operational tools. It describes the shifting impact of

dynamics in a multipolar world. It is also realism, beyond

ideologies and preferred conclusions, in foreign policy,

international relations and economics.

Geopolitics in the way we at GIS understand it develops

scenarios and fosters out-of-the-box thinking. We deliver

scenarios based on probabilities. We do not just deliver a

prognosis. We help clients to understand the rationale of

the other side, put themselves in the shoes of their client,

negotiating partner, opponent, etc.

For example, a peace conference on the Syrian conflict was

convened for January 2014. Montreux, Switzerland, was the

venue for the initial peace talks and the drafting of a transition

plan for Syria. These talks were bound to fail, as they began

with the Syrian government and its main political opposition

taking entrenched positions. President Bashar al-Assad’s

government refused to participate in the conference, and

some neighbouring countries were excluded, whereas some

40 participants from different countries (representing quite

unrelated parties) were included. What went wrong?

First, important parties such as Iran where not invited.

Second, in a successful peace conference, there may be no

preconditions, because preconditions mean that at least one

party will continue to fight. Third, the myriad of unrelated

parties that were invited made efficient decision-making

impossible. Finally, there was a misconception that continued

through the Syrian conflict, while the real underlying causes

were never considered. That is, the removal of President

Assad was considered paramount. But shouldn’t the most

important thing have been peace for the people in Syria?

Such unfortunate situations have become common.


So, to make key decisions in politics and business, access to

high-quality, unbiased background information is essential.

GIS’s mission is to remain a privately owned, unbiased

intelligence service that strives for the highest professional

standards, so we can give decision-makers the advice they

need. Hence, the crucial criteria for GIS are:

- Objectivity

- Expertise

- Deep knowledge of background information

- Competency and trustworthiness of sources

- Information based on facts and figures.

One key to GIS’s success is its network of experts. Wellversed

experts from various countries and areas of expertise

work for GIS, and each of them has their own, high-quality

network of people. All of our experts have a proven track

record in politics, economics, energy or security and

defence. On top of that, they have a strong sense for future

developments and how such developments will influence

politics, the economy and society — and they have the ability

to formulate potential scenarios.





Julia Prettl — 29 years old, CEO to

THE COMBINATOR Inc. and Member of the

board to the Prettl family foundation, head of

the Prettl ImmoOffice, lawyer and responsible

optimist — shares some thoughts with us during a

ride on an electric car through the Principality of

Liechtenstein. THE HUS.institute’s CEO and

co-founder, Christopher P. Peterka, interviewed

the young leader for Diplomatic World.

Julia, it’s great to have you here in Liechtenstein.

How are you today?

I’m quite nervous. I don’t like to do pictures and interviews

at all. But, as I like to quote: Do something that scares you

everyday ...

That’s interesting advice. Normally, people don’t

like to be scared. Why are you fond of doing

something scary?

You always get something in return when you challenge

yourself. You grow with it. And I think you don’t move

forward if you don’t get out of your comfort zone and

experience things you’re afraid of.


For your job you spend a lot of time travelling the

world. You are very busy — how do you choose what

to busy yourself with?

I guess you could say that everything I am passionate

about has something to do with helping people, with

transformation for the better and sustainability. But I’m

an entrepreneur and business women thoroughly, so it is

very important to me, to only engage in projects that are

economically sustainable — in other words, the project

has to be profitable and work out by itself without being

subsidized. I believe that in this way you can generate a

bigger impact in the end. If you showcase a business model

of doing good, you can generate a role model others are

more likely to follow and being for-profit forces you to be as

resource-efficient as possible.

Julia Prettl

So, you actively decide what you’re spending time

and energy on by looking for attributes that are

compatible with your moral concept?

I believe it is our responsibility to question our actions

and fully understand that everything we do has an impact

on the world. I think decision makers and individuals in

industrialised countries can easily examine and scan the

institutions or projects in which they invest their money

and time. In doing so, they should ask themselves what

Christopher P. Peterka, Julia Prettl and Barbara Dietrich

their moral codex is — beyond existing cultural or social

conventions. We should all act according to what we

believe in and the best starting point for doing that is to ask

ourselves: What do I believe in? What impact do I wish to

see in the world? You should never think you can’t make a

difference by yourself.

Let’s define this strategy a little more. How do you

check an investment? What do you look for?

Rather than looking at impact reports or certificates,

I look at the people and their mentalities, to see if they are

ambitious entrepreneurs who are driven by values I can

agree on. Because there is a lot of greenwashing happening

as a marketing strategy — not only on numbers. As we say:

only trust the statistics you faked yourself. But of course I’m

doing due diligences and look at details, e.g. checking where

materials come from and whether there is any indicator of

land robbery or seriously unsustainable processes.

If you could change something about the current

economic situation — slaughter a holy cow — what

would it be?

I pick the “law of eternal growth”. Please can anybody

explain to me why nowadays it’s the ultimate goal for

companies to be able to eternally grow — exponentially, of

course, without any sustainability in mind? There is not

one example — neither in nature nor in economic history

— that proofs exponential growth without sustainability to

be a successful, economic model. If companies think they

have to sell more products, they present their marketing

tricks to consumers, suggesting that they consume more to

make them happy. But salaries are not rising fast enough

for all the consumption expected of us, so companies make

their products cheaper and cheaper; they make smaller

margins, so they have to sell even more products to make

the same or better profits. In the end it leads to a vicious

cycle when companies think they have to substitute the

raw materials or expand to countries with less worker

protection regulations, for example. There is no long term

success if you harm the environment, human beings or

animals without consideration of sustainability. We need

to rethink the whole system! The concept of Minimalism,

the circular or sharing economy are good examples of

how mind-sets are already changing. Through these new

digital-enabled models it’s possible to focus more on

sustainability, make margins and grow without sacrificing

on convenience.

The world is changing. When you think of the

Digital Modern Era, as we call these times, what is

the most fascinating thing about it, that comes to

your mind?


I think that Digitization can be the key to a sustainable

future if you don’t only consider digitisation as a

method to optimize production processes. There are

countless great opportunities. For example creating

new value systems through blockchain technology and

smart contracts or enabling access to education and

information — preferably uncensored for everyone. But

this could also lead to problems for our current political

systems. When you think about fake news, for example,

or the new way information is consumed digitally. You

could say that the digitalization of media is one of the

biggest challenges for democracy in this ‘Post Gutenberg

Era‘. People aren’t watching the daily news on TV or

read newspapers but are receiving their news feeds in

echo chambers. Unfortunately a lot of people are more

interested in Pokemon Go than in politics and misuse

their smartphones and social media for entertainment

rather than education. And with this evolution, the line

between entertainment and news gets thinner and thinner.

The question is really, if people will be more educated or

responsible in the future, as public media will have hard

times performing its educational task.

Julia Prettl is looking for entrepreneurs that are driven by social and

sustainable values.


Julia, you’ve been with THE HUS.institute, a

think- and action-tank based here in Vaduz, for one

year now — what’s your story?

Everytime I come to Liechtenstein, I feel like I am

meeting with friends and not like I’m doing my work as

an advisory board member. We share the same values

and even if we don’t have the same opinion on a topic,

we totally tolerate and respect each other and that’s

why I gained new friends so easily within this family of

like-minded people. THE HUS.institute is a platform

that connects people and ideas. It’s a vivid example

of the Medici effect, where you have an intercultural,

interdisciplinary exchange with immediate impact on

everybody involved and I think that’s really important

if you want to transform the world and solve problems.

We have experts on very diverse fields like cleantech,

architecture, energy, and data. Then we’ve got family

offices and multinationals that really make an impact

on the world; they prompt the think-tank be a real

action-tank as they request interventions, not just talk.

And then the third part of the community at THE HUS.

institute are the creatives with whom we can devise

crazy ideas where there were corporate rule sets before.

It’s absolutely necessary to get the outside view and

let whole new ideas arise when it comes to


You recently took up on a new challenge. You

are co-founder and CEO of a company called

“The Combinator Inc” that is the result of your

involvement with THE HUS.institute. Tell us a bit

about this project?

I think that businesses have a huge opportunity to make

a change in the world — e.g. by helping to achieve the 17

Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations

— because they decide how energy is consumed, what raw

material is used, how employees are treated, what products

are offered, etc. It is time to foster the new generation

of holistically sustainable, meaningful, and responsible

corporations that embrace possibilities in the upcoming

“shareconomy” concept and want to be successful in the

long term. With “The Combinator” we do exactly that.

Within this first year as an advisory board member of our

think-tank, THE HUS.institute, I’ve heard about so many

extraordinary people with amazing ideas and expertise

and, when cross-linked and fused, “The Combinator”

will establish outstanding and capable players who set

the new status quo and show that the new era has begun.

I’m convinced that it is the most important goal to find a

purpose and value in life. So it’s wonderful to see how these

people are not only working to make money but to use their

talents to achieve something they believe in.

Talking about status quos: At least in the western

world, organisations are heavily dominated by white

senior men in leadership. What’s your opinion

about diversity? Is that an important issue or is it


I really think that “diversity is key”, as we say in THE HUS.

institute, and when I advise companies I always tell them that

they should diversify and employ people with different ethnic

or educational backgrounds, from different genders and

generations for their own advantage. In general, we should all

stop comparing and start complementing each other. In this

context I really like the Albert Einstein Quote: “Everybody is

a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,

it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

One aspect of diversity is gender. Do you think that

female leadership is in any way different to male


I think there are differences, of course. There are the

common stereotypes that kind of define these differences

and are often true on some level. But when I look at women

in leadership positions I see a lot of very tough women and

that is a reflection of what the economy and C-suite position

levels are like. Women, historically, have had to be much

tougher than their male colleagues to get into leadership

positions. And I think that’s quite sad because women

should vouch for their own leadership style or even personal

characteristics, just like everybody should.


A Think- and Action-Tank based in Liechenstein.

THE HUS.institute is a think tank to explore the

transformation of the old economy into the Digital

Modern era. We critically convoy decision makers

on their way to the necessary shift in perspective

and worldview supporting the digital transformation

towards an economically and ecologically sustainable

present and future.

We consider ourselves a platform, both transdisciplinary

and cross-generational, for family offices, industry

experts, and creatives who like to believe that there

is tremendous potential in the Digital Modern era

beyond fear and greed. At THE HUS.institute we

believe in humanity, open minds, and courage beyond

any limitation of heritage, gender, religion or party

political interest.


The Combinator is a for-profit catalyst for business growth

and impact investment. The Combinator targets a business

mindset that is driven by personality rather than ego,

sustainable engagement rather than exit focus and follows

the 17 SDG by the United Nations. For hand-selected,

innovative and senseful companies it offers access to a

highly diverse and impactful network of families providing

access to distribution, sales, production, operational

mentoring, talent and cash, if necessary. The Combinator

is backed by family offices and a tank of experts for a wide

range of operational expertise pools such as digitalization,

production, distribution, sales etc. to tap into. The

business model offers three alternatives depending on

the intensity of our engagement: equity participation,

revenue share or fixed fees. This cooperation is not about

cashing out, it’s about bringing circular economy and

sustainability one step further.



is an ongoing column by senior media industry expert

Dieter Brockmeyer. From now on he will throw a light on

burning issues of our digitalization driven global societies

from his own perspective. Here is the second one.



The low-black clouds announce a real storm. Artificial

intelligence, robotics, the so-called blockchain technology, which

is intended to turn especially — but not only — the financial

industry upside down, are all characteristic for enormous

uncertainty on the labor market. It used to be the simple work

taken over by machines. It’s been a long time. In the meantime,

the “white collar jobs” have long been in the thread. In Hong

Kong, for example, three years ago, a first company from the

financial sector called Deep Knowledge Ventures, “appointed” a

robot, or, more precisely, a computer algorithm, to the board.

Because of this development many people are anticipating job

cuts of unimaginable extent. In the future, almost everything

could be done by intelligent robots, for most of men nothing

would be left to make a living. Microsoft founder Bill Gates goes

as far as to demand a special tax for every worker replaced by

robots to cover expected social costs. Elon Musk, Tesla founder

and future visionary, believes that the so-called unconditional

basic income for all citizens is indispensable.

This view is, of course, being discussed controversially. In

Switzerland, an initiative to introduce such an unconditional

basic income failed clearly. In Finland, there is a long-term trial

with several thousand participants, with results still outstanding.

Critics doubt the effectiveness of the instrument, not least

because many people would lose their motivation to work

beyond their basic income. However, supporters argue that it

would become easier for people to get involved in matters they

really care about, independent from adequate remuneration,

that most will be denied in the future, anyway. Simply because

paid work will become scarcer in future. Others oppose this

strongly. German liberal party FDP leader Christian Lindner,

for example, compares it to the introduction of the personal

computer. At that time, there was strong fear of major job

losses, but the opposite had happened.

Too much pessimism is not good. In future, there will be new

work areas we cannot imagine today. Old craftsmanship will also

be revived, as is the case with the cautious renaissance

of tailoring, or the surprising run for the old vinyl record.

Speaking of records: In the music industry, the record used

to be the money-maker and concerts were only the means to

promote it. This has changed completely and concerts are

increasingly turned into events. This is what we can already see

today, everything else can be guessed at best. This also includes

the fact that the traditional permanent employment appears

to be in decline. Employees must adapt to flexible project

commitments and self-employment — including all risks — could

be the norm in future.

The transition, however, is likely to be tough for those sorted

out either because they are unfit (or unwilling) to adjust to

new requirements. Nor is the duration of this transition phase

known. The accelerated technical innovation cycles also

accelerate changes elsewhere and overwhelm many. Moreover,

the moment it appears that a wave has just been survived there’s

no time to breathe, because the next wave is — no, not on the

rush, often it is already at its climax.

To deal with this will be the challenge of next years, if not

decades! Models, such as the unconditional basic income will

win supporters — and perhaps they will help to master the


The prerequisite, however, is to face the developments and

accept them in principle. Only then can we positively help

shape them. By all means — the next decades will not be easy.

As always there are winners and losers. We must deal with this.

In fact, if the winners leave the losers out in the rain, then there

will soon be a tsunami, from which also the winners will not

be spared. Perhaps we will return to a phase of social unrest,

as they have accompanied industrialization in the nineteenth

century. But who seriously claims that there’s no learning from






Thursdays from 4 P.M. till 8 P.M.

Day 1: October 26th 2017

Day 2: November 2nd 2017

Day 3: November 9th 2017

Day 4: November 16th 2017

In cooperation with:


Indringingsweg 1 • 1800 Vilvoorde (Brussel) • www.livingtomorrow.com • info@livingtomorrow.com




After bringing out the saloon variant of the new BMW

5 Series at the start of this year, BMW has now also

launched the brand-new Touring version. This lifestyle

estate car combines stunning looks with outstanding

user comfort and innovates with smart driver

assistance systems and advanced digital connectivity.

It’s exactly 25 years since BMW launched a 5 Series estate

variant. This vehicle, which linked the brand’s sporty

aesthetics with a particularly high level of user comfort, has

become a best seller, especially in the European market.

Today, the BMW 5 Series Touring is in its fifth generation,

with a large, modular luggage compartment as a key feature.

Because BMW 5 Series Touring drivers often make intensive

use of the boot space, it has pneumatic rear suspension with

automatic height adjustment. This means that the driving

properties remain unaltered at all times. Even when heavy

objects are being transported, BMW ensures maximum

driving pleasure in all conditions. In addition, for a

supplementary charge the Touring can also be equipped with

variable electronic suspension. The boot has a load capacity

of 570 litres, and if the rear seat is folded down this rises to

a remarkable 1,700 litres. This all-rounder is equipped with

a folding rear seat in three parts (40/20/40), and another

handy feature is that the backrest can now be unlocked by

means of a button in the boot. In addition, BMW provides

an automatic tailgate as a standard feature, and the rear

window opens separately too: this comes in useful for

putting smaller items quickly into the car when parked close

to a wall or another car.




Although the new BMW 5 Series Touring is a true transport

king, driving pleasure still comes first. BMW has developed

a new chassis whose design prioritises sporty driving

pleasure, as you would expect from this brand. Thanks to

the use of extra-lightweight aluminium (e.g. for the tailgate),

the new Touring weighs as much as 100 kg less

than its predecessor. In conjunction with a

better drag coefficient, this weight-loss diet has

both improved performance and reduced fuel

consumption and emissions.


At its launch, the new BMW 5 Series Touring

is available in four engine variants: the BMW

520d Touring (163 or 190 hp, 400 Nm, CO2

emissions between 114 and 124 g/km), the

BMW 530d Touring (265 hp, 620 Nm, CO2

emissions between 124 and 144 g/km), the BMW

530i Touring (252 hp, 350 Nm, CO2 emissions

between 133 and 139 g/km) and the BMW 540i

xDrive Touring (340 hp, 450 Nm, CO2 emissions

between 167 and 172 g/km).

As to the newcomer’s appearance, suffice it to say that it

creates an instant impression of sportiness and looks as

highly trained as a competitive athlete. The designers have

played with muscular surfaces and taut, powerful lines and

created harmonious proportions in profile. The stretched

roof lines and heavily raked D-pillars draw extra attention to

the new Touring’s sporty qualities.


Extra space and added comfort are the key words when it

comes to describing the interior of this new Touring. The

dashboard, which is oriented towards the driver, is lower

than in the previous model and contributes to the sense of

spaciousness. The occupants will certainly appreciate the

additional headroom, shoulder width and legroom, wherever

they are sitting. The rear passengers also enjoy noticeably

more freedom of movement, making the Touring ideal for

long journeys.

Another point not without importance in these hectic

times: thanks to improved acoustic insulation in the

windscreen, the roof lining and the boot space and noisereducing

encapsulation for the engine and transmission, the

sound of silence prevails in this Touring. BMW has done

all it can to maximise the driver’s comfort. Thus there’s

the larger HD control panel for the optional Professional

Navigation System with new, more intuitive controls

thanks to enhanced speech features and now hand gestures.

An optional Head-Up Display with a 70 percent larger

projection surface ensures that the driver can focus on the

road optimally and not get distracted.


The BMW 5 Series Saloon introduced a whole host of

technological innovations that made it one of the most

innovative vehicles in its segment.

The new 5 Series Touring also brings with it a surprisingly

great number of active safety systems and automatic

warnings. These represent a clear step in the direction of

autonomous driving. We’ve singled out the most significant

innovations. Priority Warning draws attention to crossing

traffic and gives visual and acoustic warnings if the driver

fails to give way. Evasion Aid helps avoid unexpected


obstacles. The Steering & Lane Control Assistant function

helps the driver to stay in lane by means of minor steering

adjustments. As you know, increased surveillance make it

ever more important to keep to the speed limit. In the new

BMW 5 Series Touring, thanks to the use of Active Cruise

Control with Stop&Go function, the driver can ask the

system to take the speed limit into account.

New parking systems ensure unprecedented convenience.

Park Assist and Remote Control Parking (forwards parking

of the vehicle without the driver on board, via the BMW

Display Key) are technologies that really do make parking a

lot easier.


The possibilities of BMW Connected, the system that

connects the car to the driver’s smartphone, are also

constantly expanding. For example, the driver can send

destinations from his or her smartphone to the car and

determine the ideal departure time based on real-time

traffic information. In a congestion-prone country like ours,

such an application definitely adds value. Apple CarPlay®,

using wireless iPhone integration, is also available in the

new 5 Series Touring. One particularly cool feature is the

Remote 3D View feature, which allows drivers to display

views of the car’s surroundings on a smartphone.

BMW Group Belux

Diplomatic Sales

Lodderstraat, 16

2880 Bornem – Belgium


+32 (0)3 890 97 02


Olafur Eliasson

Make Yourself Smile Mirror Yourself Be Self-Compassionate

Stencil, paint on wall

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire





Ms. de Margerie, you started your successful

company in 1989, developed a new company identity

in 2016 active in Paris, Florence and Dubai.

What was your first assignment?

As a member of the Taittinger family, a name already

synonymous with prestigious hotels and champagne,

I had the opportunity to put my interior architect bachelor

into practice working for the family owned Concorde

hotel group. Very soon, in 1989 I launched my own

company, previously named SM Design, which specialized

in designing interiors for hotels, casinos and restaurants

in France and abroad. I worked with leading companies

such as LVMH group (Hotel Cheval Blanc in Courchevel,

France), Mandarin Oriental Group, Accor (Sofitel Legend),

Park Hyatt, and private investors for hotels projects and

residences all around the world.

What did you learn from it?

I had the privilege of growing up in the particular

atmosphere of the most beautiful hotels in Paris which

emphasize the utmost importance to traditions, the finest

service and savoir-faire. Those circumstances allowed me to

learn certain codes and experience luxury from the inside.

When I chose to become an interior designer, I recalled

the sense of wonder I had felt so early in life and set out

to recreate it. My goal is to achieve a perfect blend of

tradition, innovation and creativity. I see my work as a

sensual quest for comfort, and the pleasure of the finest

quality in the smallest detail.

Sybille de Margerie


Some interior designers impose their identity on a place,

and in doing so reduce the identity of their client to

basically invisible. My approach is more open. I look for

creative solutions that exactly match my client’s identity

and their global image in the world.

From my point of view, reinventing oneself is the main

challenge in interior design.


Was it a difficult road to success?

Success is what our clients make it, and our references

speak for themselves. That path to excellence is not an easy

one but the most rewarding. The main difficulty our studio

faces is to adapt each project to a specific environment,

to local regulations, and always create new ambiances.

Whether it be a listed building like the Old Cataract, in

Aswan, Egypt, a new hotel development in Morocco,

a boutique hotel like the Norman in Tel-Aviv, a villa in

Moscow, a mountain chalet or resort in Oman.

What would you advice young starters? Especially

young woman creatives and entrepreneurs?

The key philosophy I would suggest to someone aspiring to

become a designer is to show great humbleness and to focus

on the client’s or final customer’s needs.

With a job based on creativity, the entrepreneurial side is

too often laid aside or simply minimized. Parallel to my

training as interior architect, I pursued law graduate studies

at a master level. In dealing with international projects

and managing large staff, I am very thankful to this double

Royal Atlantis Residences Dubai

background. It forged my ability to be committed to results

and of course business oriented. Of course, whether woman

or man … each should be prepared to develop a strong

capacity of work !

Having a studio in Florence, in the heart of Renaissance

architecture, represents a prime and exceptional inspiring

environment. Art exhibitions is another refreshing way of

keeping a creative mind-set.

Do you believe that interior design can enhance

peoples lives? How?

I see my work as a sensual quest for comfort, and the

pleasure of the finest quality in the smallest detail.

Quest for comfort has always been part of our design

philosophy: “Being creative with simplicity — Modernizing

the traditional — Making technology attractive, and colors

elegant — Designing for harmony and comfort”.

Being curious, open-minded, listening to ideas brought by

my team, are other keys.

What’s your favourite artwork and why?

I love Matisse, oriental painters, Anish Kapoor. I appreciate

the audacity of combinations, the marriage of the classic

with the contemporary, the alliance of harmony and

emotion and the purity of lines.

Design cannot compromise comfort.

In my mind, a luxury hotel or residence must spark

emotions; it must elicit what I would call a vibration that

will touch the heart of its guests.

My approach is inspired by the identity of the place, the

location and the local culture. Therefore, each project is

unique. I intend to create a setting that will bring emotions

and has a connection with the local culture.

What’s your favourite personal interior design

project and why?

Cheval Blanc in Courchevel and Mandarin Oriental Paris

are both and equally my favourite works.

Cheval Blanc for the bold vision we developed, creating a

mountain palace, far from the traditional “chalet” designs.

A project, thanks to Bernard Arnault’s confidence, that we

yearly redesign with the same search for innovation and


Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Travelling, as I do most of the year for my projects, is a

great source of inspiration.

Mandarin Oriental Paris for its timeless luxury, and the

fashion and arty influences that inspired the creative



Private Residence in London


Do you collaborate with artists or designers?

Each project represents a fantastic opportunity to close

collaborations with artists, designers and craftsmen. This

approach definitely injects character and charisma to a hotel

or private residence.

We thus imagine and create bespoke designs which give

an unexpected and immaterial dimension to the interiors,

giving priority to local artists or designers. Hence in

Amsterdam, we associated students of the highly recognized

Design Academy of Eindhoven who created unique pieces

for Sofitel Legend — The Grand. Works by the Dutch

Droog Design group have also been incorporated into the

interior design. For Mandarin Oriental Paris I wanted this

luxury hotel to have its own distinctive feel, one which

transpires in its haute-couture style. This was translated

into collaboration with leading names in art and fashion,

such as Ali Mahdavi, Nathalie Decoster, who designed Air,

a sculpture in the Lobby, Ateliers Lesage for their amazing

embroideries; Marcello Lo Guidice, Jean-Baptiste Huynh,

Gérard Roveri, Thierry Bisch. Inside the rooms I picked up

Man Ray, the acclaimed American photographer who made

Paris his home in the 1930s with a reproduction on velvet of

his famed photograph, The Kiss.

In Dubai, for the Royal Atlantis residences, a complex

of 230 luxury apartments, I entrusted five female artists:

Céline Alexandre with her gilded unique textile creations.

Annie Trussart, an embroidery expert. Helen Amy Murray

who hand sculptured textiles and leather. Anne Corbière,

a metal weaver, and Isabelle Poupinel who reinterprets

exquisite porcelain in contemporary lights. Their mastery

of craftsmanship illustrate my motto that luxury is in the

details as well as in the language of texture and colors.

My taste for noble materials, mixed with my sense of

detail led me to develop my own furniture and lighting

collections. And to sign partnerships with French

craftsman Pouenat and Italian tap manufacturer Zucchetti.

What is your dream project?

As architect of a particular art de vivre that blends tradition

and creativity in a characteristically French luxury

I design dreamy palaces, boutique hotels, casinos, spas,

mountain chalets, “hotels particuliers”, resorts, villas,

furniture, lighting, carpets collection … There is still one

achievement that I dream of: to design the interiors of a



Raqs Media Collective

Lost in Search of Time

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

While leaving an unattributed fragment of stenciled graffito on walls in cities from Varanasi to Santa Marta, Raqs Media Collective

admit to a condition that they suspect they share with most people in the world today, of being lost, in search of time.






“Good morning. Thank you for the warm

and beautiful welcome at the “Cederhuis” in

Grimbergen, the Pearl of Brabant. Two sisters, in

the meantime two grown-up sisters who collaborate.

You are known for being the designers of timeless

and characteristic jewelry in Grimbergen. Your

business has expanded significantly throughout the

years with many loyal customers from all over the

country and abroad. What distinguishes you from

other businesses in this sector?”

Krista: “Working from the heart is our biggest asset. It’s the

love for beauty that guides us. Throughout the years, we’ve

developed our very own, distinguishable style”.

Grety: ”We first learned the craft of goldsmiths in a jewelry

workshop. After that, when we were still very young, we started

our own business. We had, however, sworn to never start our

own business. We’re daughters of confectioners and we’ve seen

our parents working their fingers to the bone, day and night.”


Krista: ”Well, I guess you can’t deny what’s in your blood

(laughs). We’re chasing our passion. Collaborating with my

sister is the best decision I’ve ever made. We’ve been working

together for 29 years and we’ve added three motivated

collaborators to our team.”

“When I look at your jewelry, I see a lot of creative

and special jewels. You probably have a very diverse

clientele: some customers drop by without really

knowing what they want, while other customers

are looking for a rather meaningful creation with

a personal story behind it. How do you guide your


Grety: “You fulfill the desire of your customer. As a result, we

take the time to discover this desire. The customers can pick

a jewel from our large collection in which they can recognize

themselves. We don’t have a permanent collection, we only

make unique pieces. That’s what is so special about our work.”

Krista: “We also really enjoy creating a jewel tailored to one

specific customer. We listen to their story: who they are, what

kind of jewel or stone they’re after. People often drop by

when they have something to celebrate, like a marriage or a

wedding anniversary.”

“I gathered that customers also come by with one

of the most personal requests: they want to have the

ashes of a deceased person incorporated in a jewel.”

Krista: “In that perspective, the jewel, in which the ashes

of a deceased person is incorporated, is different. It is a

comforting jewel. When the customers come to pick it up,

it’s usually an emotional moment. The jewel heals the person,

as it were, and gives people extra strength to move on and

continue their mourning process. We see some kind of

transformation happening in the customer.”

Grety: “We see the same thing when people come by

after a broken marriage: they ask us to transform their

old engagement ring or wedding ring into something new,

because they’re entering a completely new phase in life.

We then transform the jewel into a totally different, positive

piece of jewelry.”

“You radiate tremendous tranquility, it’s a

feeling I get when I walk into the store. There’s

an atmosphere of peace and spiritual thinking,

something you undoubtly pass on to the creation of

your jewelry. Have you got any dreams about how

things will look like for you in a couple of years?”

Grety: “We do still have a lot of dreams and we still want to

do many things.”

Krista: “When I hear you ask us that question, I’m thinking:

I’m not living for later. Now is much more important to me.

That’s why I love being occupied by my work, because

I work very much in the present and I lose myself in the

joy of creation. I absolutely love sitting at my workbench,

designing and creating. Those are wonderful moments. When

I feel connected to my source and I’m able to work with that,

I feel amazing. The final result is, to a certain extent, always a

bit of a surprise.”

Grety: “When I create, I usually follow the source material,

a specific stone or pearl. It could, for example, look like the

body of a dancer, and so I’ll incorporate that in a jewel that

will have something dance-like. Sometimes a stone inspires

a certain movement, nature itself … sometimes something

completely different.”

Krista: “When we’re discussing what a personal jewel should

turn out to be with a customer, we stick to the certain

agreements we made about the design. The jewel should be a

perfect fit for the customer.”

“It’s very important that the customers feel

comfortable around the person who creates

something for them.”

Grety: “Yes, absolutely. We can really sense what someone

wants. We listen to their request, base ourselves on their

desire or their personality. We incorporate that in the

material. It’s a connection between the customer, ourselves

and the material.”

Krista: “We’re always looking for beauty and authenticity. Our

desire for perfection results in the fact that we’re extremely

demanding when it comes to the quality of our precious

stones and pearls. We prefer using a small stone of the best

quality to using a big, imposing fake stone. In our quest for

special stones, we’ve traveled the world. The world has got

more to offer than only plastic and perishable things, like

nobel and precious materials that contain beautiful energy.

For example, gold and precious stones, of which you feel the

energy when you wear it. You carry it with you and it goes

wherever you go. That’s what I find wonderful about our art.”



“Can you already tell us something more about your

next exhibition?”

Grety: “Our exhibition will take place here in the Cederhous

from 4 until 19 November. The theme is a bit of a surprise…

Well, all right … This year, we’ll work around the theme

“flavour”. Our second big passion is eating (laughs). We’ve

reduced the primary flavours to the essence, like salt, sour,

bitter and sweet.”

Krista: “First, I painted, which is something I often do. This

time, I had a taste of a spoonful of “fleur de sel”, or salt

blossom, to discover what it would do to me. What shapes

and colours do I experience? I’ll work with that. I usually

work through painting, because it’s a medium through which

I can rather directly express myself.”

Grety: “We took our designs to Studio Berengo in Murano.

There we created a kind of magnifying glass with the glass

blowers. Some time ago, we were wondering why jewels

aren’t often exhibited in museums. We do see them in

exhibitions of ancient art, but modern, beautiful jewelry is

rarely displayed in museums. Maybe the jewels are too small?

It’s not easy to fill up an entire space with a piece of jewelry.

That’s why we started thinking about magnifying glasses, or

big magnifiers. We made a magnifying glass with colours to

represent the flavours. Behind it, we present the jewels, so

they are magnified and deformed. That way, it becomes a bit

of a sculpture.”

Krista: “When you wear the jewel, the sculpture needs to be

on its own. When you go to bed at night, and want to let the

jewel rest, you can place it with the sculpture so it becomes a

part of something bigger.”

“Do you have any idea of what you still want to

achieve with your business and your jewelry?”

Krista: “I’d personally like to create even more from my

tranquility. I’d also like to create more extreme, intense

jewelry. I’ve got bigger designs that haven’t been brought

to life yetand complex drawings that wouldn’t fit in a small

piece of jewelry. The question is, however, if this piece of

jewelry would be still wearable.”

Grety: “It’s always about finding a balance between creating

something crazy yet wearable. The jewel needs to be

comfortable. Then you’re in a twilightzone between the jewel

and the sculpture. We do find that exciting, so why not.”

Krista: “We like doing what we do and we want to keep

doing fun, crazy things. Like working with glass in Murano,

for example. Discovering other media, exploring the

possibilities. To us, that’s awesome.”

“Your enthousiasm is inspiring. Thank you for this

lovely chat and for the enlightening encounter.”

Het Cederhuis, Krista & Grety Vandevelde

Brusselsesteenweg 152 - 1850 Grimbergen

Nico Dockx

Everything, Everything, Everything Is Memory

(from a whispering conversation Giuseppe Ungaretti, 1997- …)

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire


La peau du ciel

éveille des oasis

au nomade d’amour

Versa, 20 mai 1916

from Giuseppe Ungaretti, Vie d’un homme, Poésie 1914-1970, Éditions de Minuit, Gallimard 1973



I watch the tree outside my window. Covered by the

fluorescent light of the streetlamp, its leaves seem to

be floating in mid-air. The rest of it, the long, strong

branches, the trunk of the tree, are swallowed by

damp October darkness.


Our society is a great tangled and interwoven web. Human

connections span across borders, even continents, and the

meanings of closeness and experience become increasingly

complex. We can reach people across any distance by simply

tapping a screen. There is an unconceivable multitude

of stimuli in the forms of entertainment, education or

recreation at our immediate disposal. We have built cities

where every second street corner offers an opportunity for

caffeination. Conversations in various languages resound

on the escalators of shopping centers. Weekday mornings

see waves of formally dressed people leaving their homes.

Deep into the night traffic-lights conduct a tango between

pedestrians and drivers as windows flush with flickering

lights shining from our television sets. So totally have we

surrounded ourselves with constructions planned and built

by people that one can call themselves lucky if their window

offers a view on a tree.

The little car that is our own life easily gets accustomed

to high speeds and uninterrupted traffic. Arriving in a

populated area after having driven on a highway feels like

having to slow down to a crawl when in fact the speedometer

is still showing relatively high numbers. This speed-blindness

translates to many other areas of perception. A response

that comes slightly late, an internet connection that has a

delay or our favorite bread that got sold out. They all feel like

obstructions to the natural order of things. We have made a

pact for efficiency and overall easy access to very specialized

goods. As we serve this system through our specific area of

expertise, we expect it to serve us back.

Just recently I watched a live broadcast of a performance

of the Metropolitan Opera house in a movie theater in

Helsinki. Thousands of people all over the world watching

the same realtime event. As the curtain rose on a mystically

glowing stage, depicting an ancient forest I felt kinship

with my fellow audience members. All of us listening to

transfixing ethereal music, the sopranos voice floating

through space, light as silk. Annoyance was apparent as due

to a solar storm in the North American hemisphere, the

transmission was partly breaking off. How accustomed we

are to the wondrously complex technology that brings far

places to us without us having to spend the time we would

actually need to cross the distance. Just like a hummingbird

flaps its wings up to 70 times per second and thus perceives

time through the viewpoint of that speed, we have managed

to significantly expand our possibilities of just how much we

can do in a certain timeframe compared to past generations.

We know time intimately, have divided it into units, wait for

a specific time to strike before doing certain things. It is our

companion and our challenger, sometimes swooping us off

our feet, other times pressing us, squeezing us tightly. We

feel it, always, yet we don’t know how to explain it. Sand

floating in the hourglass, church bells at night. Based on

our clocks, our way of moving from the shop to our car, the

fact that a candle will steadily decrease in size as it burns,

we could describe time as a thing that persistently moves

forward. Yet modern physics and philosophy suggest, each

in their own science-specific fashion, that time is not linear,

not a set entity but something that exists in relation to other

parameters. We could well be riding on a specific wave of

time, our senses unable to perceive and grasp the vast ocean

this wave is part of. This might just be a blessing. We can

certainly draw a lot of knowledge and understanding from

past events and history. Simultaneously however our past

can stir us into certain not-always-positive patterns, where

a memory can prevent us from giving the present the credit

it deserves. Were we to have a picture of the future similarly

affecting our thoughts and actions, we might completely lose

any sense of self and power in a stream of events, triggers

and consequences.

While we are speeding through our time searching for stories

to tell and hear, building some and destroying others, nature,

which we continue to force out of our way, speaks a powerful

Photo: Emmi Pennanen

language of its own. Whirlwinds or the movements of lava

underneath tectonic plates certainly bring instant change to

our world as we have known it until then, but mostly nature

acts in a slower arc, persisting through its patience. Trees

bear proof of the profound sculpting potential and power

of perseverance. They grow not only up but also deep down

into the earth, their roots building a web of interaction and

exchange of resources below the surface. Loyal servants to

the seasons, a tree will let the weathers strip its branches

bare of leaves just to grow new ones after the winter has

rattled its exposed core. The oldest individual trees on

earth are proven to have lived well before the beginning of

Western civilization. Circling the sun for several millennia

they have witnessed, empires rise and fall, a myriad of

constellations of human activity. A curious trait shared

between all these ancient trees is their location in areas

with the harshest possible growing conditions. Scientists

believe that particularly this ability, to grow and survive on

extremely challenging, even hostile terms, might well have

granted these trees the possibility to reach exceptional age.

They defy time itself through overcoming the challenges set

by their world.

I watch the tree outside my window. Covered by the

fluorescent light of the streetlamp, its leaves seem to be

floating in mid-air. The rest of it, the long, strong branches,

the trunk of the tree, are swallowed by damp October

darkness. It is a mystical sight. Floating leaves trembling

ever so slightly in a light breeze. Against all the concrete

structures around it, the tree seems like a remnant of

another world. Whereas everything else I look at was built

by external forces, through means outside the constructions

themselves, this tree grew over time, all by itself. There was

no way to speed up the process, no real means to control the

outcome. As I float through my days, surfing the wavelengths

and pathways of this big city that is constantly changing, the

big tree outside my window is my landmark, my touchstone.

A reminder that parallel to my reality bursting with countless

sources of instant satisfaction or immediate distress, there

exist other, slow but persistent truths as well.

Emmi Pennanen is a professional ballet dancer and studies

mathematics at the University of Helsinki. She is guest writer

for Diplomatic World starting June 2017.





Jaguar Land Rover Asse is a true family company

that was founded more than 50 years ago. In all

those years they have grown to become the biggest

dealership within the Benelux. And the future

is looking bright! With a completely renovated

showroom and some new products like the Range

Rover Velar and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, the family

Van Vaerenbergh–Heymans is determined to stay

on top of the Belgian market.

“In January 2017 we’ve completed a total modernization

of our showroom. One of the main aspects of the new

showroom was to maintain the personal contact with

our clients. We really value the connection with our

customers and want them not to worry about anything,

going from the moment they step foot in our showroom

to the first and also last time their car needs service.

Our team of 45 employees is dedicated to give clients

the service they deserve”, says General Manager

Ivo Van Vaerenbergh.


“One of our biggest strengths is that we can offer a

complete service to our clients. Everything happens under

the same roof. We have a spacious work- and body shop

that are equipped with the latest technologies”, says Ivo

Van Vaerenbergh. Jaguar Land Rover Asse has an own

carwash and offers a home-delivery service. They pick up

your car at home or work and once it’s finished they bring

it back. That way you can save a lot of travelling time.

Besides our service, we are known for our wide range

of new stock cars. That way we can offer and show our

clients the different color and accessories possibilities.

This definitely makes the difference between Jaguar Land

Rover Asse and other JLR dealerships. Our motto is “If

you can’t find the Jaguar or Land Rover of your dreams

at Jaguar Land Rover Asse, you’re not going to find it

anywhere”. We are well known for our special color

combinations and well-equipped vehicles.


The showroom has recently been modernized with a new

interior, extra offices and a barista bar. But the biggest

change takes place at the ground floor. This spacious area

has been transformed into a full black delivery area. “In the

past we delivered new cars in our showroom but this doesn’t

match with our vision of maintaining personal contact

with our clients. Therefore we have designed three different

experience boxes, which are foreseen of 360° mirrors so

that you can watch your vehicle from any angle”, says Ivo

Van Vaerenbergh. Very impressive! To make sure that you

know your car inside out, a product expert gives you a full

explanation about the car and all its must-haves. Which

comes in very handy because of all the technology that’s

in the car.


Jaguar Land Rover Asse doesn’t only sell new cars, even if you

are looking for a second-hand car you are at the right address.

With the Jaguar Land Rover Approved label, your vehicle is

prepared to the highest standards. To ensure it leaves a Jaguar

Land Rover dealership in immaculate condition, a seven point

customer promise is in place. Every Jaguar or Land Rover

has had a multi-point inspection that covers 165 mechanical,

electrical and safety checks. Above that you always receive a

2 year warranty and 24 months of roadside assistance. This

gives you an absolute peace of mind and guarantees your

vehicle delivers the most composed and capable drive possible.


In September we have launched the All-New Range Rover

Velar. A new model that is positioned in between the famous

Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport. The Velar is

called the Avant-Garde Range Rover because it takes things

even further. A streamlined and powerful design but on the

other hand very elegant. The Range Rover Velar has it all! The

same is true inside the Velar’s beautifully appointed cabin,

where a brand-new infotainment interface, Touch Pro Duo,

takes up residence in the center stack. The Intel-quad-core

based system features twin 10” touchscreen TFT displays.

Everything to help you and your passengers arrive relaxed.

From effortless, crisp acceleration to improved efficiencies

and lower CO2 emissions, every engine that powers the

Range Rover Velar has been optimized. The new lightweight

aluminum 4-cylinder and powerful V6 engines delivers a

responsive drive with the vehicle’s automatic transmission

producing rapid shifting together with exhilarating

acceleration and performance. The New Range Rover Velar

starts at €57.300 and is ready to take over the city. Make

sure to book your test drive at our dealership or website


Not only the Land Rover family will be expanding, the

same counts for Jaguar. Jaguar Asse is ready to make an

introduction with the new XF Sportbrake, which will be

released the 19th of October 2017. XF Sportbrake builds

on the success of Jaguar’s most award-winning car ever!

Possessing an unrivalled combination of style and substance,

it delivers an utterly seductive blend of design, dynamics and

refinement to create a car that offers both excitement and

efficiency. All enhanced by state-of-the-art technologies that

keep you safe, connected and entertained.

Thanks to Jaguar’s lightweight aluminum architecture,

XF Sportbrake is more efficient, offers lower running costs,

and reduces emissions to as low as 104g/km*. On the move,

the lightweight front double wishbone and rear integral link

suspension systems deliver supreme levels of ride comfort and

handling. XF is a destination of bespoke choice and luxury.

A Place where premium materials are elegantly crafted into a

design that delivers pure, all-encompassing comfort. Wherever

you’re sitting, XF’s contemporary design, abundant natural

light, and exquisite craftsmanship combine to create an

atmosphere of relaxed refinement. Explore the range of XF

Sportbrake in our showroom and we happily help you further.







When visiting Yona Friedman in his ‘cave’ in Paris

in September 2017, I am mesmerized — not only by

his apartment as an archive and small museum —

but especially by Yona’s look, posture and

determination. It is love at first glance.


On a daily basis the legendary architect and thinker invites

friends, academics, members from the art world or partners

in thoughts in his home and private space. Yona connects

with the good listener on a one-to-one basis, he connects via

his iPad with the world. A porcelain figure on first touch, who

changes into a vast and passionate advocate for strategies that

address our leaders.

Utopia is very far away. Yona Friedman, aged 94, is as

contemporary as ever; with concrete ideas — put into

strategies — that cover today but especially reach out to our

future, the future of billions of people around our globe, our

village as he still calls it. His ideas are rooted in both his

personal history and diaspora but also rooted in a universal

language, that merges humanism and the collective spirit

with the willpower and flexibility of the individual. For 45

minutes Yona Friedman builds up a well thought monologue.

I am honoured to share it with Diplomatic World and its


“The change in mainstream media has been the main factor

for big media centres and publishers producing less and less

written text on paper. As a result I have to count on smaller

and niche oriented publishers to share my vision and stories

from publishing and readers’ point of view.

As an architect and thinker, I dare to propose in my

concepts that “It’s not about the plan, but all about the


I prefer to start from the premise that strategies are open

minded, and plans are made to be executed following

predefined parameters.

When I talk about the topics that I will share with you today,

I never present a plan, only a strategy.


On a global scale we have the situation that cities are growing

and sometimes exploding. Cities — but even countries —

are not adapted neither prepared to receive the flux of

immigration that challenges our societies today. We lack

structures but often an open-mindedness to answer to this

situation. This shift and continuous moving of people from

one continent to the other, in between countries, creates a

new situation of, especially, urban growth.

On a personal and governmental level, panic surrounds us and

a multitude of questions arise about the consequences what

will happen with all the immigrants arriving here. We are

definitely not prepared for this kind of growth. And I dare to

say we have no urban strategies to cope with this situation of

explosive growth.

We have to create a strategy that recognizes the situation

and addresses the crucial problems of this changing urban


Both problem and solution are anchored in how we envision

and organize the conditions of employment.

There is an historical background in this scheme. Urban

planning has always been influenced and determined by the

central idea of proximity. People used to concentrate in a city

for a number of reasons, but this urban proximity has been

evolving, slowly but straightforward. The last 20 to 30 years

these slow changes have turned into brutal changes.

Security and connectivity in parallel with economic and

social factors brought people together within the city walls.

Urban planning has been defined from the beginning by

the security factor. The city wall defined the borders of

this concentration of inhabitants, taking care of security

Yona Friedman Photos by Daniel Hernández-Salazar © 2017

and reducing the complexity of creating protection. During

history city walls proved its significance and use until the

Siege of Paris (1870-1871) by the Prussians. After WWI and

WWII this concept changed dramatically. In the 20th century

proximity and concentration became even dangerous, which

was proven by the terrible weakness and vulnerability of cities

during both WW I & II. Today terrorism also stresses the

vulnerable position of the high density city and its population.

During the industrial age another main factor determined

urban planning, linked to basic needs, creating the scale for

‘networks’ of electricity and water.

The second change was slower. Proximity in cities used

to be a guarantee for nearness, answering to the necessity

of social contact. This social component has shifted

completely in the 21st century. The disruptive evolution of

private communication and the original purpose of public

spaces where people could coincide — coexist — and meet

evolved dramatically.

The evolution in the use of electronic devices and digital

communication has lead this change in a disruptive way.

Telephone and its infrastructure were the main network

to cross distances and bring people together via voice.

The last 20 years phones have found a new space in our

pockets, constantly on the move, without needing the

traditional network and infrastructure anymore. The devices

we use today are instrumentally operated by batteries.

The technology in batteries is still evolving. Soon,

household electrical devices will also operate mainly via

battery and be digitally controlled, and the evolution in

LED technology will reduce another basic need for powerful

networks, substituting these step by step.

For the use of clean water, networks are well constructed

but still vulnerable in many regions. With simple

techniques the quantity of needed water for cities could

be mastered much more efficient, apart from the need for

drinking water, that you can buy easily at large scale in the


Elements that originated density and proximity are not

per se the defining factors for urban planning in 2017 and

beyond. Today people want more space, more nature. The

further development of sophisticated technologies could

prevail the ecological challenges — climate change — and

will have an impact on our ecosystems and create less


Yona Friedman, Bonne année 1965, Mimeographic printing, 27 x 21 cm, Courtesy de l’artiste et Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris


condensed cities. For example, Urban Heat Islands radiate

more heat than rural or suburban surfaces and landscapes,

so urban growth is not necessary the right strategy.

It is time to envision how to reduce the strategies on the

permanent growth of cities. Let’s think out loud on some

possibilities and draw some sketches:

1. Cities should not grow anymore. I look at the old

continent — Europe — and regard it as one city (in the

1960s Yona Friedman was already connecting 120

cities in his project Villes d’Europe/Métropole Europe).

The distance in time between suburban Paris and the

city centre is comparable to the time distance between

Brussels and Paris. In the 1950s and 1960s when I

proposed this idea people were laughing and mocking

but today with the fast trains and the ‘cheap flight’

networks, the process of itineraries has changed. I look

at the fast train system as a metro/subway system which

connects cities. In Japan when I travel from Tokyo to

Osaka I take the fast train — Shinkansen — that arrives

and leaves every 9 minutes. This fast network, at subway

frequency, with variable pricing is a possibility to develop

further. When a larger number of people would use this

existing infrastructure, the economies of scale to support

the large investments are there and should at the end

benefit public and social purpose but also economics. In

Pasadena, a very green and pleasant city, circulation still

works. Traffic jams are concentrated in the freeways, but

I am convinced we should address these challenges with

a well-developed network of fast trains.

2. (Un)Employment can both stimulate or blow up cities.

Employment patterns are changing radically, from job

definition point of view but also from human point

of view. Looking at this situation from a traditional

perspective, white collar jobs are influenced by the use of

internet, computers and electronic devices. It is possible

to diminish work space in offices or ultimately abandon

them, because white collar people can work at home

and technology facilitates this evolution rapidly. Living

in Paris, aged 94 and not very mobile anymore, I am

connected to different parts of the world 24/7 and able to

work and connect in an efficient way. The opportunity is

to give people better housing, and step away of the idea

of better and more office space. I propose to add 10%

more workspace in our homes to facilitate this change

in job related behaviour. Meanwhile factories will be

working differently tomorrow. In the case of 3D printing

— together with artificial intelligence one of the most

crucial new technologies that will influence our future —

you can imagine a blue collar employee, to control the

3D production process as an operator, from his home


Yona Friedman, La jeune fille qui voyageait avec les gazelles, from the series « Films d’animation », 1961

B/W animated film, sound, 21’, Ed. 1/5 + AP, Courtesy of the artist, Cneai & Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris

3. In the short term future, main employment opportunities

and growth are related to person-to-person services. Even

in traditional labour environments, people working in

garage workshops — after sales services and maintenance

— are creating a higher number of jobs than in traditional

car factories. What we will never be able to computerise

or robotize completely is personal care and service.

We should invest and create a maximum in this type of

employment opportunities. From repair jobs to babysitter

to healthcare to personal care. This alternating type

of employment doesn’t need to coincide with the high

density and flux to cities. It can be organized anywhere.

People could benefit form a better service also in rural

or smaller suburban areas, because often in larger cities

supply and demand are disproportionate.

To conclude I would like to propose urban dispersion

instead of urban growth.

On first sight it might add to the complexity but being an

architect, when I have created my vision and manifest on

mobile architecture, I also meant that architecture should

be completely customised and not planned and that the

individual person or family could transform his housing and

living premises and that it was not the primordial task of the

architect. It used to be the praxis of older times but also of

my daily life.

It is a strategy in architecture that people can push their

own space and borders. Imagine in this kind of urban

dispersion program farming and agriculture become a city

trade, which is a logical step. Small vegetables and fruits are

grown in your garden, individualised. In this case garden

service becomes also a personal service, another type of

employment created.

In general I am not speaking about rich or poor countries

or cities because the relative proportions are often similar

— of course absolute amounts show huge differences. In

the poorest countries you are poor recalculated towards

international currencies and standards, but locally the

situation is not the same. For example in India a peasant

would have a servant, and still today in poor countries

agriculture and farming are still important industries,

creating value.

After all these images and impressions on a revised urban

strategy I would like to anticipate and comment on the

obstacles. Surprisingly or not I say these obstacles are

related to our basic ideas of banking in which real estate

plays a very important part in the structures of the financial

system. If we propose a change in the real estate situation,

we must also anticipate and be clever enough to follow an

alternative pattern in our banking procedures towards real


Yona Friedman Photos by Daniel Hernández-Salazar © 2017


estate. There should be no reason that financial concepts

are rigid and not adaptable. From a different angle ‘Mobile

banking and mobile architecture’ should find a common

path in their future operations.

The Strategy Process is a step-by-step process; we effectuate

one step, than another, we move on, but in reality the line of

these steps can alter in the process. Urban growth reducing

is a strategy, but detailed plans are not sufficient and would

not work. Improvisation is essential and an important factor

which cannot be planned. Architecture as a discipline

should also change. It should touch the borders of the art

world, sociology, politics, science and the development of

technology. But above all it should be open for experimental


Back to the strategy perspective. The strategy view includes

to look for possibilities for real and pragmatic solutions,

without formal predictions. Predictions start from statistics,

average figures, but I believe there is no such thing as an

average person. People can be influenced, but at the end

always decide for themselves.

We have to accept and understand that this urban strategy

is not imposed by some legislating body. Societies are

self-built, values and customs too. The self-building and

reactive human process should be entangled in the strategic

approach. To build a city is not constructing a fixed object,

it is an ongoing process of organic growth … and you cannot

master and plan processes. You revise constantly old and

new attitudes. This is not a political choice; it is a policy

and politics have to follow this logic. Our daily democracy is

not a political one, it is ruled by our daily behaviour in our

lives and close environment. When you walk in the street,

you apply a direct form of democracy. You can decide

to say hello or in contrast to avoid contact. There are no

pre-established rules to guide ourselves, either the preestablished

rules became so much institutionalized that we

don’t question them anymore.

For years my partner in daily life and practice was Balkis, a

dog, and Balkis didn’t plan ahead, but reacted permanently

according to its changing environment and circumstances.

The dog was flexible and reacted immediately, very direct,

towards its changing environment. In parallel, history is not

always about the ‘greater histories’. History on a daily basis

is the accumulation of the small events in our real life. The

historian always sees what he wants to see in a self-imposed

way, which is often far from reality.

These issues I present, are not a proposal but are meant as an

incitation. As an individual I cannot bring or offer solutions.

I would like people to think and reflect on what I say. Present

architecture is overplanned. Present economy is overplanned.

Present politics too. We need less planning. Improvisation

is part of my strategy. Balkis made decisions, and even the

final and crucial decisions in wars by armies on the battlefield

are decided by individual decisions, guided by the moment,

influenced by ratio or emotions, close to both genius or failure.

At the end, I want to avoid the one idea that guides and

steers the collective mass. I am pro the individual and our

personal capacity to improvise in life and make our own

decisions. Life, as in a non-aggressive game, taking into

account the idea of coherence in our society.”

“Are you optimistic Yona ? In 1944 I was taken prisoner and

brought to the concentration camps, today I am 94 and we

have this conversation where I can share my thoughts on a

strategy for urban growth and dispersion. If I would have

been imprisoned in 1943, I would not be here.”

Bruno Devos

Bruno Devos would like to thank Yona Friedman, Nico

Dockx, Jean-Baptiste Decavèle for this experience and Daniel

Hernández-Salazar for the portrait photograpy. Thank you

Jérôme Poggi and Sara Alonso Gómez at Galerie Jérôme

Poggi for elaborating biography and images.




Mobile Architecture. Yona Friedman

MAXXI — Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo,

Rome (IT)

June 23 — October 29, 2017

Biennal Art Encounters, Romania

September 30–November 5, 2017

Projet pour un Musée sans bâtiment

On Site — Avenue Winston Churchill

Galerie Jérôme Poggi at FIAC 2017, Paris (FR)

Films d’animation

Curated section « Referentes”

Galerie Jérôme Poggi at ARTBO 2017, Bogota (CO)

Yona Friedman, Projet pour un musée sans bâtiment, 2017, On Site - FIAC

Photo Barbara Dietrich


In partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de

Rochechouart and the Cneai in Pantin; together with

the kind support of Philippe Chiambaretta architect and

Ars Ultima - Stein & Guillot Art Foundation, the Galerie

Jérôme Poggi, one of the leading galleries from the new

generation in Paris, presents a monumental Iconostase

by Yona FRIEDMAN, which will be built between the

Petit and Grand Palais, at Winston Churchill Avenue.

Developed since the 1960’s, these modular architectures,

or “Space Chains”, can be developed infinitely, according

to a flexible protocol of construction and improvisation.

After London, where the Serpentine Gallery invited

Yona Friedman in 2016 to build a Summer House,

today located in front of Windsor Castle; and Venice,

where he built a Mountain during the last Biennale

of Architecture; it is in Paris — his adopted city since

1957 — that Yona Friedman will build this Project for a

Museum without building, ephemeral and cooperative

architecture, made up of thousands of houla houps.






Yona Friedman (born in 1923) is a Hungarian-born French


He first studied architecture at the University of Technology

and Economics in Budapest, then at the Technion of

Haïfa, Israël, where he worked as an architect from 1949

to 1957. Since his early projects on housing, he tried

to step away from the responsibility for designing the

projects by delegating it to their future inhabitants, a

procedure he calls “self-planning”. In 1953, in response

to postwar demographic problems and the challenges of

the reconstruction period, he started to conceive spatial

structures on stilts based on mobile architecture’s principles

(1958): 1) to touch the ground in a minimum area; 2) to be

demountable and movable; 3) to be transformable at will by


These structures with indeterminate characteristics enable

him to develop the principles of the spatial city (Ville

Spatiale) a highly innovative urban organization based

on a nomadic way of life. Yona Friedman says about the

indeterminacy of his structures: “The building is mobile in

the sense that any mode of use by the user or a group must

be possible or practicable.”

Yona Friedman is also the author of numerous books

(including comics and didactic books for Unesco), among

them Realisable Utopias, a book in which he exposes his

main lines of thinking and architectural production.

His publications and teaching have had a notable influence

on many architects from the seventies to the present

day, especially those who have worked on projects of an

experimental nature, such as Archigram, transforming

together buildings and lifestyles related thereto.

But Yona Friedman has also been appreciated for many years

in the field of contemporary art for the multitude of project

drawings, all kind of representations in plan, in section or in

elevation, but also for his models marked by special artistic

touches (forms of intent, circulation, projection ratios,

sculptural and volumetric qualities, etc.) and an aesthetic of

remarkable mobility.

At the International Congress of Modern Architecture

(CIAM) in 1956, he questioned the postulates of modernist

architecture, which led him to co-found the Mobile

Architecture Study Group (GEAM), in 1958, and then in 1965

the International Group of Prospective Architecture (GIAP).

Yona Friedman has achieved very few buildings, including the

Bergson High School in Angers in 1979, a real “self-planning”

experience developed together with the education staff; as well

as the Museum of Simple Technology in Madras, India, in

1987, made from local materials such as bamboo.

Pages 106 ‒ 111

Slide show of Yona Friedman,

photogravure Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, 2017

Page 105, Yona Friedman

Projet pour un musée sans bâtiment, 2017, On Site - FIAC

© Christophe Brachet, Courtesy of the artist,

Cneai & Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris


















The title of Michaël Borremans’ sixth solo exhibition at

Zeno X makes reference to dance as a metaphor for the

painter’s practice and to the different positions that the

medium can adopt with regard to society’s current pulse.

The inherent ambiguity immediately sets the tone for the

substantive character of the themes on display. The works

demonstrate a sense of playfulness, eagerness and virtuosity.

At the same time, Borremans’ recent work has a dark side.

The monochrome backgrounds provide little explanation

about the situations in which the peculiar characters find

themselves. A particular atmosphere in which time and

space seem indeterminate incites viewers to reflect on the

overall meaning. ‘Sixteen Dances’ is composed of three

themes and also occupies the gallery’s back room, furnished

as a study.

‘Fire from the Sun’, one of the themes, depicts naked

toddlers and young children who seem to have ended up in a

strange ritual. It is unclear whether they have been smeared

with paint or blood, but there is an unmistakable hint of

cannibalism. The works combine horror and innocence in

the shape of children. ‘Fire from the Sun’ refers to natural

primal forces but also to human urges and humanity’s

animal nature.

A second series shows athletic black men whose faces are

completely covered. The artist asked young hip-hoppers to

dance to what for them is unconventional music: 1950s rock

‘n’ roll. The gold chains and sagging trousers hint at their

identity but at the same time give the scene an absurd and

anachronistic feel. In addition, the titles also refer to the

language and slang of the world of hip-hop: ‘Fugazy’, ‘On the

Grind’, ‘Buggin’ or ‘Phat’.

The last group of works features figures in shiny, close-fitting

suits. As in the earlier series, ‘Black Mould’ (2015), in which

characters are dressed in black garments, there is something

oppressive and threatening about this series. The fact that

they are entirely covered and therefore dressed anonymously

heightens the feeling of theatricality and artificiality; they

come across as extras in a disturbingly bare setting.

The artist’s tendency to work more regularly in series comes

from his longing to go deeper. At the same time, a cinematic

continuum is suggested from which random stills are made.

However, it remains unclear to viewers whether there really

is a narrative structure in which one work follows on from

the other.

The ambiguous and strained atmosphere enveloping the

works refers to the widespread feeling of disorientation that

permeates our current age and society. This approach can

seem highly contemporary but is in fact an age-old theme in

the field of art history. Borremans here likes to refer to Goya,

Bosch and Bruegel. He questions human nature and takes a

close look at the current conception of humanity. ‘Sixteen

Dances’ ushers the unsettling state of the world into the

gallery but sends the visitor back out with an intense feeling

which has already been indirectly permeated by dance.

His retrospective ‘As sweet as it gets’ travelled in 2014-2015

from Bozar in Brussels to the Tel Aviv Museum of

Contemporary Art and the Dallas Museum of Art. The

exhibition ‘Eating the Beard’ opened at the Kunstnernes

Hus in Oslo before being shown at Kunstverein Stuttgart,

Kunsthalle Budapest and Kunsthalle Helsinki. Michaël

Borremans has also had solo exhibitions at CAC Malaga, the

Hara Museum in Tokyo, MCA Denver, Kestner Gesellschaft

in Hannover, De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam,

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Parasol Unit in London,

S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel,

Kunsthalle Bremerhaven and many more.

In 2018 Borremans will take part in the Biennale of Sydney

and will provide the inaugural show of David Zwirner

Hong Kong.






“Fire from the Sun”

oil on canvas, 2017

174,0 x 220,0 cm

photographer: Peter Cox

courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Pages 112 - 113

“On the Grind”

oil on canvas, 2017

27,0 x 35,6 cm

photographer: Peter Cox

courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Pages 114 - 115


oil on canvas, 2017

280,0 x 205,0 cm

photographer: Peter Cox

courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Page 116


Michaël Borremans’ Sixteen Dances at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

© Zeno X Gallery

Michaël Borremans’ Sixteen Dances at Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

© Zeno X Gallery

For more than 35 years Zeno X has developed a long term

strategy to become the most important gallery in Belgium.

In its relation with the artists of the gallery, institutional

partnerships and worldwide collectors, the gallery is a benchmark

in the art market. Both gallery and the artists have grown

together, following a parallel parcours and sharing success.


“In 1981 Frank Demaegd and his wife opened Zeno X

Gallery and started showing the work of architects

such as John Körmeling and Rem Koolhaas. Later on the

gallery began to work with artists such as Anne-Mie

Van Kerckhoven and Patrick Van Caeckenbergh. With

them Zeno X became the subject of international

discussion. In 1988 Raoul De Keyser showed for the first

time at the gallery and in 1990 Luc Tuymans was

presented. Marlene Dumas joined in 1991 and Mark

Manders first solo show in Antwerp took place at

Zeno X Gallery in 1994. More storage place was needed

and in 1996 a small factory was bought in Borgerhout.

Transformed into storage and exhibition space Zeno X

Storage opened its doors in 2002.

The storage has been renovated and enlarged. Since

April 2013 the former gallery space closed and the new

space has been inaugurated with a group exhibition.

Recently Zeno X has started working with Grace

Schwindt, Susan Hartnett, Pietro Roccasava,

Mircea Suciu, Marina Rheingantz and N. Dash.

More than 35 years have passed now in which we

have put together more than 190 exhibitions and

have attended more than 90 art fairs.”

Zeno X Gallery

Godtsstraat 15

2140 Antwerp Borgerhout, Belgium






When artist Nico Dockx was invited to make a presentation

in Delire Gallery in Brussels in the spring of 2015, the

owner of this gallery — Sébastien Delire was proposed

to close his white cube gallery. This thought-provoking

question resulted in a complete withdrawal of the galleryowner

at a moment in his life when he was questioning

La Galerie Imaginaire creates a provocative and futureoriented

approach, although LGI goes back in time

by creating coinciding art experiences, presenting its

presentations outside the regular institutional circuit and

bringing it close to the people. The audience is in direct and

hazardous contact with the artworks; the artworks are given


and balancing the contemporary art world, the commercial

gallery system and its art fairs, the powerful influence of

galleries, directing and controlling museum shows and most

importantly about the relationship between gallery and

artist and their respective freedoms in practice.

In partnership with Nico Dockx, Sébastien Delire

created La Galerie Imaginaire (LGI) as a potential model

transcending the white space of the contemporary art

gallery and bringing art into a context of social inclusion

and participation, while creating new possible spaces in

close dialogue with the artists invited and involved in

long-term projects, or even using the sea and the wind

(Marseille August-September 2016, Avec le Vent ..., Un

Voyage en Mer Méditerranée — initiated and curated by Nico

Dockx) as imaginative tools for exhibiting art. In 2017

Sébastien and Nico started working in the streets and quays

of historical cities as Varanasi (or Benares, India), Santa

Marta (Colombia) and Athens (Spring 2018) as interactive

presentation spaces.

into the hands of local biotopes and economies which will

decide organically if the works will last for a day, a week,

or even beyond years. The spiritual and poetic experience

is not ‘imaginaire’ at all. It is for real, in hand and its

discrete and intimate presence will interact with the local

communities, and questions both on an experimental level

of how art is perceived and welcomed in our global village.

Randomness is not so random, poetry is visualized, art goes

beyond mere politics. According to Sébastien, who advises

us that we shouldn’t define any limitations on the approach

LGI proposes us or the artists. “All thoughts are limitations.

If you want to see poetry in these stencils, you will observe

and read poetry. For myself it is about contemplating

without judging, sometimes even just observing. In this

project nothing belongs to me or Nico. We invited the

artists via mail and in consequence we received the

proposals. Every proposal has a different thought, enclosing

them in a unique vision, which is not the reality. We let it be

and happen.”

“Do you know the word Shoshin? Shoshin is a Japanese

term meaning ‘Beginner’s Spirit’, used in Zen Buddhism

but also in martial arts (Budo). It is an attitude of humility,

that the practitioner must keep throughout his path, while

making progress, whatever level he/she reaches.” According

to Zen master Shunryu Suzuki: “In the mind of the beginner

doesn’t exist yet the thought, ‘I have reached something’. All

egocentric thoughts limit our vast minds. When we do not

have the idea of realization, not the idea of ourselves, we are

real beginners. Then we can actually learn something. [...] It

is not necessary to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even

if you read a lot of books about Zen, you have to read every

sentence with a fresh mind. You should not say ‘I know

what Zen is’, or ‘I have attained enlightenment’. It is also

the true secret of the [martial] arts: always be a beginner.”

Diplomatic World 54 is invaded by 10 artists/10 images of

(art) interventions as stencils on walls or banners, produced

in collaboration with local partners in Varanasi and Santa

Marta. We look at these as true ‘beginners’, and gratefully

we embrace the generosity of the artists, Sébastien Delire,

Nico Dockx and the local communities.

All photos with Courtesy of La Galerie Imaginaire, 2017

Luca Vitone

Eppur Si Muove

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

The wheel icon is taken from the flag of the Rom and Sinti populations as well as from the anarchic flag. It suggests the idea of libertarian nomadism,

with no borders, which gives voice to our desire for roaming freely in every living space.




Technological progress seems to promise a more

fulfilling life. We want to be hyperconnected with

everybody, everything at all times. On the other

hand we feel sometimes confused by such

an overwhelming amount of connectivity,

data and sensorial input. Welcome to

the post-digital twenty-first century.


De Wilde’s artwork is clearly inspired by Rodin’s iconic

sculpture that portrays a nude male figure in deep

contemplation. De Wilde wondered: “How would a twentyfirst

century ‘Hyperthinker’ look, feel and think like? And,

what is the nature of the radical shift that hyperconnectivity

impose on the human condition?

What happens if our hyperconnectivity disappears, and feel

afloat in a void just like Rodin’s Thinker sculpture?”

De Wilde’s ‘Hyperthinker’, according to philosopher

Ms. Nicole Dewandre (JRC) hovers between the traditional

view of thinking as a solipsistic activity and thinking as a

relational activity (ref. Hannah Arendt).

Moreover, the Hyperthinker not only makes wifi networks

(500MHz-2,6GHz) in the vicinity of the artwork

audible and visual, it also randomly blocks or jams the

aforementioned (visible as light flickering in the antennas

and sculpture).

This subversive act forces us to reflect upon our

hyperconnected lives and the fear of being disconnected

and/or hyperconnected (and losing control).

The statute’s missing leg refers to Rodin’s Cleveland

‘Thinker’ that lost its leg during a terrorist attack (1970),

and the intentional destruction of cultural heritage (ISIL,

Daesh). Are such actions limited to the physical and

globalised world or can they also be digital De Wilde


The general shape of the sculpture is intentionally hovering

between form and void, growth and decay, networked and

disconnected, male and female. We are standing exactly at

this crossroad, in deep contemplation, together with the


Which direction will we, and Europe, go from here in an

increasingly globalised, hyperconnected and automated



Frederik De Wilde (BE–1975) works at the interstice

of art, science and technology. Frederik studied fine

arts, media arts and philosophy. The conceptual crux

of his artistic praxis are the notions of the inaudible,

intangible and invisible. An excellent example is the

conceptualisation, and creation, of the Blackest-Black art

made in collaboration with American universities and

NASA. The project received the Ars Electronica Next

Idea Award and the Best European Collaboration Award

between an artist and scientist, extensively covered

(e.g. Huffington Post, Creators Project, TED).

In 2019 De Wilde brings the Blackest-Black art to

the Moon in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon

(www.moonarts.org/about/team), NASA, AstroRobotic

and Space-X. De Wilde is finalist of ‘Giant Steps’ which

aims to bring an artist to the Moon supported by x-prize

lab MIT. De Wilde is a finalist of the ZKM app art award

with ‘Coremites,’ and uses often data as a source for

his creations (e.g. data visualisations, sonifications).

De Wilde is a laureate and member of the Royal

Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

De Wilde collaborated with the KIT micro- and collective

robotics lab in Karlsruhe, the University of Leuven

(Prometheus, division of Skeletal Tissue Engineering),

Hasselt University (I-BioStat, X-Lab), UGent (Textile

Department), Wyoming University (Computer Science),

ESTEC, and many other universities and organisations

worldwide. De Wilde exhibited at ZKM, Ars Electronica,

Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, BOZAR, amongst many

others. Frederik was a guest professor at the Artscience

Interfaculty in The Hague, and Transmedia Brussels.

De Wilde’s extended praxis includes creative- and

innovation consultancy, micro-entrepreneurship,

interdisciplinary research, software development

(AR, VR, Data Visualisation, etc.). Frederik is currently

preparing a residency at the MOODY Center

For The Arts in Houston and the Max Planck Institute.

De Wilde realised his first short film ‘Joy Palace,’

supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund in 2017,

produced by Potemkino, Bekke Films, Radiator Sales

and supported by The Fridge.

De Wilde is currently represented by White Circle Agency

(www.whitecircle.xyz) and Sedition (www.seditionart.com).




After graduation from the Hochschule für Bildende

Künste Dresden in 1953, Adler was active in

and experimented with applied art, mostly in

connection with architecture, and would often use

concrete, ceramic materials and metals, but it was

neither because of his faithfulness to constructivist

principles or out of choice. He did so out of

necessity resulting from the political situation in his

country where free artists were liable to prosecution

the way they had been in the Nazi period.

That he embarked on experiments with geometric art in

1957, earlier than any of his friends, was firstly because of

an irresistible inner incentive, and secondly because his

financial resources and the little bit of free time he had

after work permitted him to. It may be that his work as a

lecturer at the Architectural Department of the Technical

University in Dresden in 1955-61 acted as an inspiration, as

some think. But there are good grounds for believing that his

innate predilections, suppressed cumulated and released at an

opportune time, were the main cause. When he worked on his

first abstract geometric system collages, art of this kind was

received in the GDR with no lesser hostility than five or ten

years earlier. Adler had no reason to think that the situation

was likely to change and his works would one day leave the

studio and find their way to exhibition rooms. In spite of it, he

continued his pursuit for over twenty years, all by himself, with

no support from critics and the artistic milieu (except a narrow

circle of friends), and isolated from modern trends in world

art. He embarked on his path, developed his concepts and

finally defined his premises and goals. That was long before he

had first officially presented his works in exhibition salons.

series. At an introductory stage of his research, his works had

a rhythmical and decorative quality. Though it has remained

typical of his work to this day, it is no longer the main trait, in

any case not deliberately so.


When Karl-Heinz Adler first tried his hand at abstract art

in 1957, he was a mature artist. It may be attributed to his

relatively late debut as an independent artist at the age of

thirty. The term maturity does not refer to the individual works

but his consciousness and the choice of artistic path. From

the very beginning, his geometric works have been built on the

system principle, and often, especially later on, in the form of

Karl-Heinz Adler, Serielle Lineaturen — Phasenverschiebung

symmetrisch, 1992, Zeichnung, Graphit auf Karton, 59 x 42 cm

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin,

Photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin

Adler works in series because the idea of art he has adopted

includes the immanent time factor, and also because

he is interested in the changing relations of forms and

transformations of compositions in which he analyses various

arrangements of the geometric form he has chosen. At first,

he used squares, then semicircles and circles, later triangles

and rectangles. The composition model he has employed

the most frequently is the transformation of geometric

figures through the centre or axis of symmetry. In some

compositions there is one axis, in others there are two. In

his experiments, he employed the effect of mirror reflection

or multiplication. To enhance the dynamism, he would

sometimes locate the axis along the diagonal.

From the very beginning of his work, space has been a

problem of primary importance. Even in the early 1960s,

he started to employ forms suggesting space. In his watercolour

collages, he arrived at an impression of space thanks

to the accumulation of apparently transparent forms placed

in succession from the foremost plane inwards. The more

forms he superimposed, the more intense the colour and

the darker the value. Besides showing the consistency of his

analytical experiments and the pureness of the visual effect,

the series anticipated the later ambiguity of formal solutions

and messages. This is evident in his series of drawings of

1967-68 titled Serielle Lineaturen. The exceedingly delicate

lines indicate the direction of the propagation of rays

creating an illusion of space in areas of intensifying and

decreasing tension. The series has both an emotional and

associative effect. In the 1970s, Adler continued analyses and

experiments combining linear solutions leading to an illusion

of space with the flat forms of circles or dispassionate squares

entangled in a network of lines converging at a distance, on

the horizon. Conducting parallel experiments with colour

in his series of water-colour collages, in addition to illusive

painterly effects, he would sometimes employ literally

transparent matter: layers of foil glued one upon another.

In the early 1980s, he combined collage technique with

serigraphy, resulting in images reminiscent of graphs of

mathematicals functions and suggesting depth, in which they

harked back to Naum Gabo’s and Antoine Pevsner’s sculptures

and Luigi Veronesi’s drawings. The series executed in the

1980s were a continuation of those from 1967-68 though

more comprehensive and more vigorous than the former. The

drawings in pencil on white area, differing in composition,

evoke various associations. No objects are represented. The

series analyse the structure of lines but primarily the problems

of space. Another issue tackled in these series of drawings,

Karl-Heinz Adler, Serielle Lineaturen — Phasenverschiebung

symmetrisch, 1992, Zeichnung, Graphit auf Karton, 59 x 42 cm

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin,

Photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin

almost as important, is light. His colour scheme is usually

limited, toned down. Though on the whole he leans towards

monochromy, some of his paintings of the late 1980s reveal

his longing for post-impressionist aesthetics manifesting itself

in the more intense colours and vibrant surfaces. Adler’s first

professor at the art school Walther Löbering sought to engraft

this kind of aesthetics on him.

Like the first collages of the 1960s and all his works in

general, his drawings of the second half of the 1980s,

increasingly mature from the viewpoint of concept and

workmanship, are executed in series. Precedents in the

past are easy to trace. A hundred years ago, Claude Monet,

while painting the Rouen cathedral, mounted canvases on

his easel at welldefined intervals of time in order to render

its appearance changing under the influence of the colour

of light and the inclination of the sunrays. Jan Dibbets

photographed the route of a sunray across his studio all

day at regular intervals. Sol LeWitt investigated into the

superimposition of several simple patterns of lines running in

various directions. Josef Albers and Johannes Itten worked

on systems of colour transformations and Roman Opalka

employs a numerical system, in which the unit of progression

is one. One percent of white is added to the grey background


of the successive paintings inscribed in white. In most

cases, the important thing is not the system adopted by the

individual artist but what it reveals when it is used, a broader

intellectual context, most often existential.

The system adopted by Karl-Heinz Adler is his method of

expression on issues going beyond the purely visual. His

series of static drawings feature motion and document the

course of the ongoing processes. In each series, we may

trace the shift of the centres of composition or spatial vortex

towards the most distant points in the background. We also

sense in these drawings the pulsation of light and darkness.

More and more competent technically, and visual beautiful,

Adler’s drawings are pure, subtle like a breath and full of

musical harmony. They are light, airy and brilliant. They

have something magic and misty about them. This may be

so because their space is so abstract that it does not evoke

associations with anything tangible. It seems a section of

the cosmic space. His series of drawings illustrate processes

of growth and decay, nearness and distance, polarisation

and unification, opening and closing. This is how opposing

values, transforming from each other or identical values,

transforming from one extreme to the other are encoded.

It seems a manifestation in universal visual language of the

nondualism principle (Advaita), continuous motion and

anxiety, known from Hindu philosophy.

Bozena Kowalska


Karl-Heinz Adler (born in 1927 in Remtengrün) studied

at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste West-Berlin in

the class of Arthur Degner and at the Kunstakademie

Dresden in the classes of Wilhelm Rudolph and Hans

Grundig. Adler is known as a major and independent

representative of constructive-concrete art that deals

with structures that are composed of repeating elements.

He took part in noumerous national and international

Solo exhibitions, for example at Albertinum Dresden,

at the Kassák and Kiscelli Museum in Budapest, at

Museum für Angewandte Kunst Gera, at the Museum

Modern Art Hünfeld, at Folkwang Museum Essen, at the

Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and the Malmö Konsthall.


Bozena Kowalska, born in Warschau, is an art historian,

art theoretician and curator. She studied art history at

the University of Warschau and received her PhD in


From 1974 to 1983 she had a lectureship at the Academy

of Art, Warschau, from 1991 to 1992 at the Academy

of Art, Lodz and 1989 she was a Visiting Professor at

the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Nürnberg. From

1972 to 2001 she was the manager of the “Galerie 72”

in Kreismuseum Chelm. She has a lot of curatorial

projects and published numerous essays with the focus

on Constructive-Concrete Art.


Karl-Heinz Adler

Schichtung von transparenten und nichttransparenten Dreiecken und

Punkten, 1980

Handdruck, Collage, Folie, farbige Papiere, Grafit auf Karton

63 x 63 cm

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

Photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin


Galerie EIGEN + ART represents established and young

artists working in a wide range of media such as film/

video, photography, installation, painting and sculpture

including conceptual art and performance in both

locations: Leipzig and Berlin. The gallery’s program

is dedicated to all fields of contemporary art. Galerie

EIGEN + ART was founded on April the 10th 1983. Karl-

Heinz Adler is represented by the gallery since 2016.

Galerie EIGEN + ART is represented at numerous

national and international fairs: Art Basel Hong Kong,

Frieze New York, Art Cologne, Art Basel, Frieze

London, Fiac Paris, Art Basel Miami.


Pratchaya Phinthong

Reality Ripple

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

Reality Ripple, 2017

Wood, vinyl, cctv

Site-specific installation / 24 hours live streaming

I have been driving past an empty, free-standing medium-sized billboard that is being swallowed, day by day, by a creeper.

The billboard is made from the reverse side of another, used sign, with multiple triangular holes, cut into it to provide stability against the wind,

through which the creeper is now propagating. It is clearly a common mock-up, a replica of a real billboard which would disappear as soon as there is new

content to replace it. The stencil is made from these triangular holes which in fact become images produced in the maintenance of an absence of content,

rather than being assigned a subject for the sake of it — not telling a story but rather asking what story should be told. Despite the acute tensions in Thai

society today, the political desires and cravings of certain groups also generate these moments of suspension and inertia.

The silences imposed arbitrarily by the ruling powers compound the society’s frustration and depression.



The Kunstmuseum Bochum is situated at the heart

of Germany’s Ruhrgebiet, a region that is still today

primarily associated with coal and heavy industries.

Little is it known that in the Ruhrgebiet there is a

unique and dense network of art museums with art

collections ranging the 20th and 21st centuries.

Around 1900, the collector Karl Ernst Osthaus pursued

a mission to give the people of the simmering industrial

regions cultural identity by accumulating a collection of

contemporary and non-european works of art and cultural

goods. Following this intention, he bought works by

van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir and Kandinsky and founded the

“Kunsthalle für das Volk”, a museum for the public, today the

Folkwang Museum in Essen. His example was followed, and

is still followed today, by politicians and private citizens in

multiple other cities throughout the Ruhrgebiet.


The Kunstmuseum Bochum is kept in this tradition. Under

municipal ownership, it considers itself an art space for

the public. Its philosophy is to be rooted in its city and its

community, while acting on a national and international level

— with growing success. The building, designed by the Danish

architecture duo Bo and Wohlert in 1983, offers visitors

ideal premises and conditions to communicate about and

through art. Children, young adults, families, seniors, people

with disabilities, art buffs or the art-curious of all different

backgrounds, they all meet here to witness art, talk about

art and be artistically active. We have an open discussion

with our visitors about the principle functions of a museum:

collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and communicating art.

Decidedly, during times in which communities are forced

to make decisions under restricting financial conditions,

questions about the importance of art collections in the

community need to be answered. A very illustrative example

is the private collection of Reydan Weiss.

Reydan Weiss is a ‘collector between worlds’. Born in

Istanbul and raised in Jordan and Jerusalem, she came to

Germany for her studies and today lives in New Zealand,

Germany and Turkey. Her acquisitions show a strong

personal relationship to art, a strong interest in topical

questions and an ever expanding eye for, at times, headstrong

Bernard Frize

pieces by young, as well as established artists. Sculpture and

painting meet photography, ceramics or video installation.

Cindy Sherman and Gerhard Richter are placed aside

new pieces from Cuba, Chile, Australia, or Asia. “For me,

collecting art is being open for the new, staying curious, and

valuing change,” says Weiss. Her collection expresses her

love for art discovery. Her joy and risks are not only reflected

in the individual pieces, but also in the formation of her

exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bochum.

The management of the Kunstmuseum Bochum, together

with Dr. Anne Marie Bonnet, professor at the institute of art

history at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, opened

the curation process to a young team of students. They were

to interrogate and question Reydan Weiss’ collection in light

Mohau Modisakeng

of the new Bochumer exhibit. The exhibit doing identity

wants to give focus to the dialogical and open strategies of

individual and communal identity shaping. Does the portrait

truly depict our “I” or can it only just depict what we in

hindsight consider our own identity? Does an “I” live within

us, or does it moreover live at the intersections of the “We”,

for example, in the things we surround ourselves with, in our

clothes, or the rooms and furniture of our home? The current

migration and refugee dynamics show that doing identity, or

navigating an identity in a community, is difficult and can be

nearly impossible facing war and destruction.

The Kunsthaus Bochum is exhibiting the Reydan Weiss

collection starting the 25th of November 2017 — for the

first time in North Rhine-Westfalia and for the first time in

such an extensive scope. Where could the question of doing

identity be better examined than in a region that has for over

one hundred years been shaped by migration and its process

of finding identity? Doing identity is an example of how Karl

Ernst Osthaus’ idea remains current today.

Dr. Hans Günter Golinski, Director

© Charles Fréger, Wilder Mann — Cerbul din Corlata 2010-2011




It is said that art collectors are passionate,

confident, proud, independent, but also obsessive,

compulsive and a bit crazy. 1 To some extent all

of these traits apply to Reydan Weiss. In the

last twenty years she has built up an astonishing

collection of international contemporary art.

How did Reydan Weiss manage to assemble a collection of

this quality? From the very beginning she was not interested

in following one artistic style or individual. On the whole

she focused on young artists — “young” in the widest sense,

as reflected in the artistic content of the individual work,

not necessarily in the artist’s age. And she loves art: the

material value of the work is not important to her; she does

not distinguish between a very expensive picture and a small

piece that was found by chance. She is guided exclusively by

her personal taste.

Thus her own artistic position has crystallized out of the

process of collecting works based on her convictions. Her

objects and works reveal something of herself, something

she carries within herself, something of her own feelings

and sentiments. The source of these feelings can be found

in Reydan Weiss’s vita. She was born in Istanbul, grew up in

Jordan, went to school in Jerusalem and came to Germany

as a young woman. From here she has been continually

propelled out into the world. She fell in love with

New Zealand, where she founded the Elephant Hill Estate

Winery with her husband Roger in the wine-growing area

Hawkes Bay.

As one can see, there are many important places in her life

between cultures.

belongs. If asked today where she feels at home, she simply

answers “everywhere and nowhere”.

As an individual who has lived and lives in so many

countries, she feels that communication between cultures

is of the utmost importance. In this context art can provide

a medium for exchange. It is effective beyond country

borders and brings together people from all over the

world. International exchange leads to a valuable learning

process, not only for artists or museum people but also for

collectors: they learn to appreciate another perspective,

a new way of thinking and questioning, but in a universal

language that everyone can understand. This provides

Reydan Weiss with the impetus to collect and also subtly

determines her choice of works.

Based on her experience, it is impossible to assimilate

a culture entirely. As a result she feels that her home is

“everywhere and nowhere”. At an early age she learned that

“at home” is an ambiguous term and that wherever she lives

a significant part of her life is elsewhere.

“Home” is an emotional place — a place where one truly


1 According to Honoré de Balzac, they are the most passionate people in

the world.

Reydan Weiss

Anselm Kiefer







Pancreatic cancer occurs when a malignant tumour

forms in the pancreas. There are two main types of

pancreatic cancer:

The cure for Pancreatic cancer

might very well be on the verge of discovery


Pancreatic cancer occurs when a

malignant tumour forms in the pancreas.

Exocrine tumours

These make up the vast majority of all pancreatic cancers



90%) and






the cells






the ducts in

the pancreas which carry digestive juices into the intestine.


Endocrine tumours

Exocrine tumours

These are known as neuroendocrine tumours, and are

These make up the vast majority of

much less common. These tumours sometimes make

all pancreatic cancers (around 90%) and

hormones such as insulin, and glucagon, to control

blood sugar. Often referred to as either PETs or islet

cell tumours, the pancreas they are very which rare, making carry up just 2-5% of

pancreatic digestive tumours juices into the intestine.

What causes Endocrine pancreatic tumours cancer?

The causes These of pancreatic are known cancer as are neuroendocrine

not known. However,

there are tumours, some risk factors and are that much make developing less common.

pancreatic These cancer tumours more likely: sometimes make

• Cigarette Smoking – There is a direct relationship

between the amount you smoke and the risk of

pancreatic cancer.

• Age – The risk of developing pancreatic cancer

very rare, making up just 2-5% of

increases with age.

pancreatic tumours

• Chronic Pancreatitis – Long-term inflammation of the




causes pancreatic

has been linked


to pancreatic

cancer. The causes of pancreatic cancer are not

• Diabetes known. – a number However, of reports there suggest are that some diabetics risk

have an factors increased that risk make of developing pancreatic pancreatic cancer.

• Obesity cancer – Recent more studies likely: show that the risk is higher in

people Cigarette who obese Smoking (Body Mass – There Index is < a 30). direct Obese

women relationship who carry their between weight on their amount stomach you area



be at an



the risk of






come from the cells that line the ducts in

hormones such as insulin, and glucagon, to

control blood sugar. Often referred to as

either PETs or islet cell tumours, they are

Age – The risk of developing pancreatic

cancer increases with age.

Chronic Pancreatitis – Long-term

inflammation of the pancreas

(pancreatitis) has been linked to pancreatic


Diabetes –a number of reports suggest

that diabetics have an increased risk of

developing pancreatic cancer.

Obesity – Recent studies show that the

risk is higher in people who are obese

• http://www.pancreaticcancereurope.eu/

• https://pancreaticcanceraction.org/

• https://eng.sheba.co.il/international_patients

• https://www.tal-center.org/?lang=en

• http://www.europacolon.com/pancreaticcancer.


• http://www.e-gezondheid.be/hoe-is-pancreaskanker-teherkennen/2/actueel/610

A rare but deadly cancer

The pancreas is a vital organ that makes

A RARE insulin BUT and DEADLY other hormones, CANCER which aid in

a number of processes important for good

The pancreas is a vital organ that makes insulin and other

health. While it accounts for only 2% of

hormones, which aid in a number of processes, important

cancers diagnosed in the United States

for good health. While it accounts for only 2% of cancers

each year, pancreatic cancer is the 3rd

diagnosed in the United States each year, pancreatic cancer

most common cause of cancer-related

is the 3rd most common cause of cancer-related deaths in

deaths in the country. It often does not

the country. It often does not cause symptoms in the early

cause symptoms in the early stages,

stages, making it challenging to detect and diagnose.

making it challenging to detect and


Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a daunting

challenge, but we’re taking a bold and unbiased approach

to develop




blood test for




disease. By



is a

abnormal daunting blood-based challenge, cancer but markers, we’re called taking biomarkers, a

our intent bold and is to detect unbiased the cancer approach before it’s to symptomatic. develop a

We believe blood such test a for blood this test disease. will lead to By significant identifying

improvements abnormal in blood-based survival and can cancer be broadly markers, used outside

the walls called of MD biomarkers, Anderson. our intent is to detect

the cancer before it’s symptomatic. We

believe such a blood test will lead to

significant PANCREATIC improvements CANCER RESEARCH in survival and

can RECEIVES be broadly LESS used THAN outside 2% OF the ALL walls THE of


Pancreatic cancer research

receives less than 2% of all

Painless jaundice (yellow skin/eyes, dark urine,

itching). This is related to bile duct obstruction

Weight loss which is significant and unexplained

Abdominal pain which is new-onset and

Classic pancreatic cancer symptoms can include:

significant. Pain in the upper abdomen that

radiates to the back which is new, significant and

persistent that is relieved by leaning forward. Pain

• Painless jaundice (yellow skin/eyes, dark urine, itching).

This is related to bile duct obstruction;

• Weight loss which is significant and unexplained;

• Abdominal

when eating;

pain which is new-onset and significant. Pain in

the upper abdomen that radiates to the back which is new,

significant and persistent that is relieved by leaning forward;

with weight gain;

• Pain when eating;

• Diabetes which is new-onset and not associated with

weight discomfort gain; not responding to prescribed

• Vague indigestion (dyspepsia) or abdominal discomfort not

responding vomiting; to prescribed medication;

• Loss of appetite;

• Nausea and vomiting;

stools that are often pale and smell foul)

• Change in bowel movements;

• Steatorrhea (fatty stools that are often pale and smell foul).

Diabetes which is new-onset and not associated

Vague indigestion (dyspepsia) or abdominal

medication; Loss of appetite; Nausea and

Not everyone will have all of these symptoms.

For example, those who have a tumour in the body or tail

of the pancreas are unlikely to have painless jaundice.

All of these symptoms can have other causes, and there

is not yet a reliable and easy test for pancreatic cancer.

Having one or more of the symptoms does not mean you

have pancreatic cancer. Still if you have 2 or more of these

symptoms, it is important to have them checked by a

doctor so that the cause can be found and treated if needed

the major research funders are

wakening up to the fact that

pancreatic cancer remains

chronically underfunded. However,

there is a lot more we need to do

There is also a glimmer of hope that the major

research funders are wakening up to the fact

that pancreatic cancer remains chronically

underfunded. However, there is a lot more we

need to do and I am determined that over the

next 5-10 years Pancreatic we get five-year Action survival UK rates

to at least double digits if not better.

– Ali Stunt, Pancreatic Action UK

and I am determined that over the

next 5-10 years we get five-year

survival rates to at least double

digits if not better. – Ali Stunt,

Pancreatic Cancer has the


Change in bowel movements; Steatorrhea (fatty PANCREATIC CANCER HAS THE


Not everyone will have all of these symptoms. MAJOR CANCERS

For example, those who have a tumour in the

body or tail of the pancreas are unlikely to have

painless jaundice. All of these symptoms can have

other causes, and there is not yet a reliable and

to talk to the people it takes all the time to

easy test for pancreatic cancer. Having one or

more of the symptoms does not mean you have

pancreatic cancer. Still if you have 2 or more of

– Vitor Neves, EuropaColon Portugal

these symptoms, it is important to have them

checked by a doctor so that the cause can be

found and treated if needed

In Portugal the primary care has

such little time to talk to the

people it takes all the time to

write the prescription and to put

everything in the computer while

the doctors should talk to the

people and find out what are the

symptoms – Vitor Neves,

EuropaColon Portugal

In Portugal the primary care has such little time

write the prescription and to put everything in

the computer while the doctors should talk to

the people and find out what are the symptoms





Ask your public officials to support more government funding of

pancreatic cancer research. #WPCD or #worldpancreaticcancerday



There is also a glimmer of hope that the major research funders are wakening up to the

fact that pancreatic PANCREATIC cancer remains CANCER chronically underfunded. HAS THE LOWEST

However, there is a lot

more we need to do and I am determined that over the next 5-10 years we get five-year


survival rates to at least double digits if not better. – Ali Stunt, Pancreatic Action

UKPancreatic Cancer has the LOWEST SURVIVAL RATE of all major cancers


By 2030 pancreatic cancer is set to be the 2nd leading

PANCREATIC cause of death CANCER by cancer DECLARATION

if no action is taken. This

By 2030 pancreatic cancer is set to be the 2nd leading

DECLARATION by the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform on

cause of death by cancer if no action is taken. This

Pancreatic Cancer outlines what action is needed to halt this

DCLARATION by the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform on

violent and deadly disease, with Philippe De Backer MEP,

Pancreatic Cancer outlines what action is needed to halt

this Françoise violent Grossetête and deadly MEP, disease. Philippe Juvin MEP, Daciana

Philippe Sârbu MEP De Backer – “The EU MEP has Françoise a central role Grossetête to play in MEP, the fight

Philippe against Pancreatic Juvin MEP, cancer: Daciana it is Sârbu time for MEP EU The institutions EU has a

central and Member role to States play to in support the fight European against citizens Pancreatic affected cancer:

it by is pancreatic time for EU cancer institutions and trigger and real Member change in States research, to

support diagnosis European and care.” citizens affected by pancreatic cancer




are real

key targets





research, diagnosis and care

There are 5 key targets by 2020

1. Launch education and awareness campaigns in all Member

Launch education and awareness campaigns in all

States. Raise awareness in the general population through

Members States. Raise awareness in the general

population active promotion through active of awareness promotion campaigns of awareness and increase

campaigns political and awareness increase on political pancreatic awareness cancer in order on to

pancreatic trigger political cancer in leadership order to and trigger action political in this disease. leadership

and 2. Develop action in specific this disease plans to tackle pancreatic cancer and

Develop integrate specific pancreatic plans cancer to tackle in the pancreatic broader Member cancer State and

integrate cancer pancreatic control policies. cancer Include in the Pancreatic broader cancer Member in

State cancer cancer control control policies policies at EU Include and national Pancreatic level, more cancer

in cancer control policies at EU and national level, more

specifically in rare cancer initiatives and develop national

specifically in rare cancer initiatives and develop

pancreatic cancer plans with measurable action plans,

national pancreatic cancer plans with measurable action

ensuring comprehensive standards of diagnosis and care

plans, ensuring comprehensive standards of diagnosis

and across care across Europe. Europe awareness on pancreatic cancer

in 3. order Improve to trigger early diagnosis by launching national campaigns

Improve towards early healthcare diagnosis and by patients. launching Increase national awareness of

campaigns pancreatic towards cancer healthcare towards the scientific and patients. and patient Increase

awareness communities of pancreatic to enable cancer earlier diagnosis toward sthe and develop scientific

and pancreatic patient communities cancer training to programs enable earlier for treating diagnosis and

develop pancreatic cancer training programs for treating

physicians about symptoms and risk factors to improve

physician about symptoms and risk factors to improve

earlier diagnosis.

earlier diagnosis

4. Implement efficient data collection and pancreatic cancer

Improve data collection on surgery and treatment of

pancreatic registries. cancer Improve patients, data collection supporting on surgery physicians and and

researchers treatment ti of better pancreatic understand cancer patients, the disease supporting and

leverage physicians EU-wide and initiatives researchers such to better as the understand European the

Network disease of and Cancer leverage Registries EU-wide to initiatives, support and such work as the

towards European the development Network of Cancer of pancreatic Registries, cancer to support registries the

in Europe development of national registries.

Increase 5. Increase the the number number of of pan-European pan-European and and national national

pancreatic cancer research projects by increasing

pancreatic cancer research projects. Increase allocation

allocation of funds for the research into pancreatic

of funds for the research into pancreatic cancer in order

cancer to improve early diagnosis and enable patients to


to improve





and early






their disease

to receive


By 2030 pancreatic cancer is set to be the 2nd leading

cause of death by cancer if no action is taken. This

DCLARATION by the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform on

Pancreatic Cancer outlines what action is needed to halt

this violent and deadly disease.

Philippe De Backer MEP Françoise Grossetête MEP,

Philippe Juvin MEP, Daciana Sârbu MEP The EU has a

central role to play in the fight against Pancreatic cancer:

it is time for EU institutions and Member States to

support European citizens affected by pancreatic cancer

and trigger real change in research, diagnosis and care

The onset Philippe of De the Backer study that led to this

Declaration came from a number of

patient advocacy groups and created a

treatment at an early stage of their disease and create

movement of cooperation between the

funding streams within Horizon 2020 to support research

Member States. All the directives are

on pancreatic cancer.

guidelines, what makes it difficult to

reprimand Member States for not

The onset of the study that led to this Declaration came

obliging. What we hear in conferences

from a number of patient advocacy groups and created

with other EU patient advocate groups




that some




in the



the Member States.






far behind

are guidelines,

in the application

what makes it difficult to

reprimand of EU guidelines. Member Some States have for not no obliging. What we hear

screening conferences programs, from other some EU even patient don’t advocacy groups is

that have some access countries to the necessary are far behind medication in the EU. Some have

no to heal screening a patient programs, with cancer. some even During don’t a have access to

the recent necessary meeting medication the High-Level to treat Group a patient with cancer.

focused on more cooperation amongst

A the recent Member meeting States. of the The High-Level European Group Union focused on

more will reach cooperation out to countries amongst the experiencing Member States. The

European difficulties Union implementing will reach best out to practices countries experiencing

difficulties in hospitals. implementing Patients should best practices be able to in hospitals.

Patients get the best should of be care able no to matter get the in best which of care no matter in

which European European Member Member State State they they are. are. Some Some countries

also countries experience also experience difficulties purchasing difficulties medications.

All purchasing Member medications. States should All get Member access to and arrange

reimbursement States should get for acces the necessary to and arrange medication. The

High-Level reimbursment Group for is the looking necessary into a European Fund for

reimbursement medication. The on Hijgh-Level a European Group level. is

looking into the possibility of founding a

European Fund for reimbursement on a

European level.

Foto Philippe De Backer

The onset of the study that led to this

Declaration came from a number of




One of the reasons pancreatic cancer is so difficult to treat

is because it does not produce symptoms until after it has

spread. The goal is to develop an inexpensive noninvasive

test that can be done in any town and any office. “To that

end we are looking for blood-based biomarkers, substances

that can be reliably and consistently measured to indicate

that a specific process is occurring in the body” says

Moon Shot co-leader Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S.

The key for a simple pancreatic screening will be to figure out

which marker or markers to follow; to find the biomarkers

that will indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer. Right

now researchers have not identified those markers.

The things the researchers at MD Anderson Pancreatic

Cancer Mon Shot are looking at include

• Proteins made by cells to see if there is a specific protein

that reliably occurs when pancreatic cancer is present

• Antibodies that indicate pancreas cancer is being battled

- Mutant DNA from tumor cells

- Abnormal metabolites which indicate that pancreatic

cancer is active

The highlight of our visit to SHEBA Medical Center

was the appointment with Talia Golan, MD Medical

Director, Early Phase Clinical Trials Program and Medical

Oncologist at Gastrointestinal Unit, Chaim Sheba Medical

Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel and her patient Yoav Hadas,

pancreatic cancer advocate.

In the beginning he said he did not like to talk about his

disease, he did not want to jinx it but after a few questions

we did not even dare breathe. His story was so from the

heart, so spiritual that we were all convinced that he

himself did — and is still doing most of the work towards

healing. Time after time he stressed a few golden truths.

Listen to your gut feeling. If it does not feel right or if

you do not fully understand what is going on or going to

happen, ask additional questions again and again. If you

don’t get satisfactory answers, ask for a second, third …

opinion. The fact that you trust your physician will

improve your healing. You will be free of worries when

you have full confidence in the treatment.

Don’t rely solely on medical treatments, chemotherapy nor

radiotherapy. You need something more, mostly to soothe

the soul. Think of additional alternative therapies like

acupuncture or acupressure; sound, light or music therapy;

reiki, yoga, tai chi, anything that will ease your mind.
















groundbreaking research. This advanced

technology enables the in vitro growth of

patients' cancer and immune system cells,

making it possible to examine their

response to anti-cancerous herbs and

provide truly personalized medicine; while

expanding the Tal Center treatment

experience and knowledge-base.

development of innovative protocols.

The center is located within the oncology

treatment system at Tel Hashomer

Hospital and works in cooperation with

the oncology department and research


Together we can change the cancer

treatment culture around the world


On December 26, 2009, we said goodbye to our beloved

daughter Tal, who was studying Chinese medicine and

alternative medicine. Tal left us when only 26 years old,

after a tenacious struggle against cancer.

Our lives without Tal found a new meaning when we

made the decision to start working towards achieving a


by combining conventional medicine with research-proven

natural medicine and supplemental medicine that augments

and intensifies conventional medical treatment.

TAL Center operates through two parallel channels:

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES to examine the efficacy of herbal

plants and products from nature on the activity of cancer

cells and the immune system and which are applied in

oncology departments in Israel and around the world.


Medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, guided imagery,

hypnosis, yoga, meditation, reflexology, workshops, group

support and more.

At the TAL Center we hope to bring a breakthrough in

treatment of therapy for coping with cancer through the

development of innovative protocols. The center is located

within the oncology treatment system at Tel Hashomer

Hospital and works in cooperation with the oncology

department and research laboratories.

Together we can change the cancer treatment culture

around the world.


Working closely with oncologists, the Tal Center has begun

the process of ‘translating’ the wisdom of Chinese medicine

into Western practices, and conducts pioneering, global

clinical research in a diverse range of fields, including

oncology nutrition, botanical formulas, homeopathy and

immunotherapy. The Tal Center’s uniqueness lies in its

ability to conduct in depth scientific research, mainly

as a result of the exceptional partnership the center has

established with the Sheba Medical Center — Tel Hashomer.

Foto Yair in het labo met het kruidenbord

[Grab your reader’s attention with a great

achter hem

quote from the document or use this space to

emphasize Foto zopas a doorgestuurd

key point. To place this text box

anywhere on the page, just drag it.]

On December 26, 2009, we said goodbye

to our beloved daughter Tal, who was

The Sheba Oncology Center, the studying largest Chinese in medicine Israel, and has

alternative medicine. Tal left us when

provided the Tal Center with a only state-of-the-art 26 years old, after a tenacious laboratory

struggle against cancer.

to support its groundbreaking research. This advanced

Our lives without Tal found a new

technology enables the in vitro meaning growth when of we patients’ made the decision cancer to

start working towards achieving a

and immune system cells, making breakthrough it possible in CANCER to RESEARCH examine and

TREATMENT by combining conventional

their response to anti-cancerous medicine herbs with and research-proven provide natural truly

medicine supplemental medicine

personalized medicine; while expanding the Tal Center

that augments and intensifies

treatment experience and knowledge-base.

conventional medical treatment

Tekst van dit artikel heb ik gisteren aan Yair

gegeven om na te lezen. Nog niets gehoord

Working closely with oncologists, the Tal

Center has begun the process of

'translating' the wisdom of Chinese

medicine into western practices, and

conducts pioneering, global clinical

research in a diverse range of fields,

including oncology nutrition, botanical

formulas, homeopathy and

immunotherapy. The Tal Center's

uniqueness lies in its ability to conduct in

depth scientific research, mainly as a result

of the exceptional partnership the center

has established with the Sheba Medical

Center - Tel Hashomer. The Sheba

Oncology Center, the largest in Israel, has

provided the Tal Center with a state-ofthe-art

laboratory to support its

groundbreaking research. This advanced

technology enables the in vitro growth of

patients' cancer and immune system cells,

making it possible to examine their

response to anti-cancerous herbs and

provide truly personalized medicine; while

expanding the Tal Center treatment

experience and knowledge-base.

TAL Center operates through two parralle



efficacy of herbal plants and products

from nature on the activity of cancer cells

and the immune system and which are

applied in oncology departments in Israel

and around the world


Chinese Medicine, naturopathy,

homeopathy, guided imagery, hypnosis,

yoga, meditation, reflexology,

workshops, group support and more.

At the TAL Center we hope to bring a

breakthrough n treatment of therapy for

coping with cancer through the

development of innovative protocols.

The center is located within the oncology

treatment system at Tel Hashomer

Hospital and works in cooperation with

the oncology department and research


Together we can change the cancer

treatment culture around the world




Vitor Neves is founder and CEO of EuropaColon

Portugal, an associate of EuropaColon UK and

dynamic fighter with his advocacy group against

colon cancer. His organization is also the first one

EuropaColon Portugal is a division of EuropaColon and about pancreatic



take on






against pancreatic



We can


well. “The way to find the disease early is to

the first to combine awareness and prevention of colon create a difference create by catching awareness, this provide disease much early”. information

cancer with pancreatic cancer campaigns.

In Portugal there as are possible 8.000 so cases people of can colorectal identify the cancer symptoms

and consult their primary care doctor as early as

As a very dynamic patient organization their work

cases per year with a 5-year survival rate. The survival


is twofold: raising awareness about prevention Europacolon and Portugal is rate a division for the of 1.000 “If pancreatic you have 2 or cancer more symptoms patients or today 2 or more is 3 to

spread the word that early detection is very important.

Europacolon and the first

4 months.

to combine risk factors, contact your primary care doctor. We

awareness and prevention of colon must also create awareness and provide the

Europacolon Portugal has a very active and professional

cancer with pancreatic cancer

necessary information about pancreatic cancer to

helpline. People can either address the nurses campaigns or

“If the patients are the not primary in the doctors. first We stages can of create pancreatic a difference

As a very active patient organization by catching this disease early”.

volunteers in the hospitals or call in. Their questions will cancer, it is a question of months. We know patients

their work is twofold: raising

In Portugal there are 8.000 cases of colorectal

be answered by the staff within the day and when awareness needed about prevention with and a 5, 6-year survival. cancer cases Look per year at Ali, with this a 5-year August survival she rate. is

they will be forwarded to medical professionals spread the word that early a 10-year detection survival The patient, survival but rate what for the all 1.000 these pancreatic people cancer have

is very important. Europacolon

patients today is 3 to 4 months.

in common is early detection. There is no other way to

Portugal has a very active and

“If the patients are not in the first stages of


solve the problem pancreatic at this time. cancer, Primary it is a question care doctors of months. have We

professional helpline. People can

know patients with a 5, 6-year survival, look at Ali,

either address the nurses to or know the symptoms and think more about the possible

this August she is a 10-year survival patient, but

Vitor Neves is founder and CEO of EuropaColon volunteers in the hospitals diagnose or call in. of pancreatic what all cancer. these people Doctors have in should common get is more early

Their questions will be answered by

Portugal, an associate of EuropaColon UK and dynamic time to talk to people, detection. find There out is what no other way family to solve history the

the staff within the day and when problem at this time. Primary care doctors have

fighter with his advocacy group against colon needed cancer. they will be forwarded is the to symptoms. know The the communication symptoms and think between more about the the

His organization is also the first one to take on medical the fight professionals doctors and the possible patient diagnose is so important!” of pancreatic cancer. Doctors

should get more time to talk to people, find out

against pancreatic cancer as well. “The way to Groepsfoto find the _ REEDS OPGESTUURD< what the family history is or the symptoms. The

disease early is to create awareness, provide as much Research is looking communication for genetic between reasons the and doctors starting and the

information as possible so people can identify the

to find patterns that patient can is so tell important!” us by analysis Research if people is looking for

genetic reasons and starting to find patterns that

symptoms and consult their primary care doctor as early will become pancreatic can tell us cancer by analysis patients if people but will it is become going

as possible.”

much too slow. “In pancreatic Portugal cancer there patients is little but research, it is going much not

too slow. “In Portugal there is little research, not

“If you have 2 or more symptoms or 2 or more risk

enough. We hope that in the next year research will get

enough. We hope that in the next year research

factors, contact your primary care doctor. We must also more funding, not will only get more for detection funding, not and only treatment for detection of and

create awareness and provide the necessary information pancreatic cancer treatment but for of the pancreatic general cancer health but of for people.” the

general health of people.”



Since August 2007, I have been diagnosed and treated for

pancreatic cancer, founded the charity Pancreatic Cancer

Action, seen both my boys finish school with excellent results,

seen one of my boys graduate from university and law school

and embark on a new career as a lawyer in the City of London

Since August 2007, I have been diagnosed and

and the other complete a successful first year at university.

treated for pancreatic cancer, founded the

charity Pancreatic Cancer Action, seen both

Statistically though, I should be my dead boys by finish now. school A sobering with excellent results,

thought. But I know that I am seen very lucky one of indeed. my boys graduate from university

and law school and embark on a new career

as a lawyer in the City of London and the

While initially I asked myself and those around me “why

other complete a successful first year at

me?” when I was diagnosed, it university. is difficult not to ask the same

question about why it is me and Statistically not other, though, very deserving I should be dead by now.

people, who is surviving pancreatic A sobering cancer. thought. But I know that I am very

lucky indeed.

While initially I asked myself and those

There is also a glimmer of hope that the major

I have got to know many of these people over the years and it There is also a glimmer of hope that the major research

around me “why me?” when I was diagnosed, research funders are wakening up to the fact

still saddens me to think they are it is no difficult longer not with to us. ask the same question funders are wakening that pancreatic up to the cancer fact that remains pancreatic chronically cancer

I can’t dwell on that too much, about but I do why know it is that me and it was not other, very remains chronically underfunded. underfunded. However, However, there there is a lot is more a lot we

my early diagnosis, in time for deserving surgery then people, followed who by is surviving pancreatic more we need


to do









am determined

that over

that over



chemotherapy and chemo radiotherapy cancer. I that have gave got me to know the many of these next 5-10 years we get five-year survival rates

next 5-10 years we get five-year survival rates to at least

people over the years and it still saddens me to at least double digits if not better.

opportunity to survive. Sadly, it is still the case 10 years later double digits if not better.

to think they are no longer with us.

I will continue to campaign and promote

that only 10% of patients are diagnosed I can’t dwell in time on that for surgery too much, to but I do I will know continue earlier to campaign diagnosis and of promote pancreatic earlier cancer diagnosis through

be an option — currently the only that potential it was my we early have diagnosis, for a cure. in time of for pancreatic cancer my charity through Pancreatic my charity Cancer Pancreatic Action. Through

surgery then followed by chemotherapy Cancer and Action.



work on









Board of


A lot has happened in the world chemo in 10 radiotherapy years, but not that a gave me the

Europe and the Steering Group of the World

Pancreatic Cancer Europe and the Steering Group of the

opportunity to survive. Sadly, it is still the case Pancreatic Cancer Coalition I am helping

great deal for pancreatic cancer outcomes We are though, World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition I am helping spread

10 years later that only 10% of patients are spread these vital messages beyond the

beginning to see greater levels diagnosed of public awareness in time for of surgery the to be an these option vital messages shores beyond of the UK. the shores of the UK.

disease thanks in main to the high – currently impact the campaigns only potential we have So, for while a I didn’t So, want while this I didn’t disease want in this the disease first place, in the first

Pancreatic Cancer Action has cure. run, and we are starting to see I will be celebrating



I will


be celebrating





family and

a slight shift in five-year survival A lot — however has happened only by in one the or world in 10 friends. years, milestone with family and friends. I am

I am grateful to still be here and in good health —

but not a great deal for pancreatic cancer grateful to still be here and in good health –

two per cent.

here’s to another 10!

outcomes We are though, beginning to see here’s to another Teamfoto 10! Pancreatic action

greater levels of public awareness of the

disease thanks in main to the high impact

campaigns Pancreatic Cancer Action has run,

and we are starting to see a slight shift in fiveyear

survival – however only by one or two

per cent





Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer was born

together with the State of Israel in 1948, and

today boasts an all-encompassing medical city that

produces Israel’s modern-day medical miracles.

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer exemplifies the best of

Israeli innovation. Israel’s leading hospital is at the forefront of

medical treatments, patient care, research and education that

are transforming lives across the Middle East and the world.


Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer is a tertiary referral

hospital that proudly serves as the largest medical center in

the Middle East. As a university teaching hospital affiliated

with The Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University,

we welcome people from all over the world indiscriminately.

Prof. Yitshak Kreiss Haiti humanitarian mission



One heartbeat at a time

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer’s exceptional

physicians are committed to providing vital medical care

to people within and beyond Israel’s borders, and rapidly

mobilize expert medical teams to provide rescue and

emergency medical services to victims of human disasters

and terrorist attacks around the world.

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer also welcomes

patients from nations that lack diplomatic ties with Israel.

Beyond Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer’s active

global humanitarian successes, including international

elief, medical training and medical project management in

dozens of countries, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer

runs on-campus humanitarian projects such as The Safra

International Congenital Heart Disease Project, which

brings children to our facility for specialized heart surgery.



and endocrinology institutions, IVF services, maternal-fetal

medicine and an infertility division.

The Diagnostic Imaging Division includes a masterful

imaging center, along with a national school for M.R.I.

technicians that also trains physicians and technicians in

imaging for other hospitals.

The Laboratory Division is comprised of all known

laboratories in medicine, including a high number of

research laboratories, especially in the field of



Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer houses both Israel’s

largest acute care hospital and its national rehabilitation

hospital; we are the only medical center in Israel that

combines these two critical components of healthcare on

one campus creating a seamless continuum of care. This

unique combination is also rare globally, and does not yet

exist in the U.S.


The Division of Internal Medicine includes cardiology,

oncology, bone marrow transplants, neurology, dermatology,

and all other institutions related to medical diseases.

The Children’s Hospital includes a special rehabilitation

department for children up to 16 years of age, a large

hemato-oncology department, an eating disorder

department, a special institute for children with rare genetic

diseases, and all related institutions in Pediatrics, including

a Child Development Center, and a kindergarten for autistic


The Division of Surgery includes open heart surgery and

neurosurgery, in addition to all regular surgical departments.

The Gynecology and Maternity Center is coveted for its

premier newborn department specializing in the care of

premature babies, and also boasts highly impressive genetic

As Israel’s national center of rehabilitation, we offer

expert long-term and life-long treatment and rehabilitation

programs in areas including orthopedics, neurology,

respiratory, psychiatry, geriatric and trauma. We proudly

hold the national responsibility for the long-term treatment

and care of the most difficult and complex cases in Israel,

such as injured soldiers and terror victims.

Through our pioneering role as a global leader in

rehabilitation technologies, our world-renowned specialized

laboratories and centers develop innovative technologies

in rehabilitation medicine. Among the innovative medical

technologies pioneered at the Rehabilitation Hospital are:

the Virtual Reality Training Facility, the Computerized

Motion Analysis Laboratory, and the Isokinetic


The Rehabilitation Center is highly sought after by patients

seeking treatments involving orthopedics, neurology,

respiratory, psychiatry, geriatric, trauma and spinal cord


The Psychiatry Center is home to Israel’s only department

for adults with eating disorders, and includes a special

section for severe psychiatric patients, and patients suffering

from PTSD.

The Geriatric Center offers extraordinary and compassionate

care for elderly patients with varying needs such as dialysis,

post-stroke treatment, orthopedics and more.



A global pioneer in medical innovation and education, Sheba

Medical Center, Tel Hashomer is internationally renowned as

a medical-scientific research powerhouse.


in medical care and research together with leadership.

Our remarkable, visionary staff is determined to produce

the next generation of unmatched medical leaders ready to

anticipate and address the challenges of tomorrow.

This unparalleled motivation is supported by Sheba

Medical Center, Tel Hashomer’s status as one of only two

medical centers in Israel that holds the U.S. Department

of Health Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) designation —

a classification that makes Sheba Medical Center,

Tel Hashomer eligible for U.S. federal research grants

involving human clinical trials.




MSR Cardiology internal

Our sought-after scientists and clinicians work in synergy

with Israeli and international bio-tech and medical industries

to develop and test new life-saving medical technologies and


Our state-of-the-art facility and premier physicians offer

unparalleled compassion coupled with the most advanced

medical services and biotechnological and clinical products

to 1 million+ patients annually.

We provide a hospital environment where clinical treatment

and medical research are closely intertwined in proximity to

the patient, for the direct benefit of the patient.

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer established MSR, the

world leader in Simulation-Based Medical Education (SBME)

and patient safety training.

• Cancer, including hematology

• Oncology

• Cardiovascular diseases

• Rehabilitation

• Obstetrics, gynecology and genetics

• Pediatrics

• Extensive surgery services: neurological, pediatric, heart

and maxillofacial

• Gastroenterology and liver diseases




• Extensive oncological research

• Human stem cell research and regenerative medicine

• Genetics, onco-genetics and fertility

• Diabetes and metabolic diseases

As Israel’s exclusive national medical simulation center, MSR

employs advanced simulation-based training modalities that

enable healthcare professionals to effectively improve their

clinical and communication skills. MSR trains physicians,

nurses and paramedics from Israel to prepare them for urgent

disaster and critical incident response. MSR also collaborates

with simulation centers around the world.


Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer is home to the Talpiot

Medical Leadership Program, which was founded to ensure

the continuity of educating Israel’s future medical leaders.

We employ Israel’s top physicians, who combine excellence


• Neuroscience for adults and children

• Autoimmune diseases

• Gynecological and surgical oncology

• Cardiovascular diseases

• Intestinal Bacteria – Microbiome

Israel’s exclusive leader in healthcare and health policy,

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer embraces its national

responsibility to fully assist and support Israel’s other

hospitals and medical facilities, especially in peripherallysituated


We are currently establishing the radiotherapy center in

Tsfat, cardiology center in Tiberias, and rehabilitation

hospital at Aleh in the Negev. Sheba Medical Center,

Tel Hashomer is home to most of Israel’s national health


• National Center for Medical Simulation

• Main Rehabilitation Hospital including

• Terror Victims and IDF Wounded

• National Burns Center

• National Center for Cystic Fibrosis

• National Center for Glaucoma

• National Center for Health Policy and Epidemiology

• National Center for Hemophilia

• National Center for Newborn Screening

• National Center for Spinal Cord Injuries

• National Center for Tay Sachs

• National Virology Laboratory

Professor Yitshak Kreiss, Director General Sheba Medical Center


Israel’s #1 hospital, and one of the most sophisticated

medical facilities worldwide, saves more lives, discovers new

cures, and educates the next generation of physicians and

medical researchers.

Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer is the only debt-free

medical center in Israel.


Main Hospital Building





Brussels Creative is a platform for the Brussels

based Creative and Cultural ecosystem gathering

citizens, political leaders, researchers and business

people helping our Region towards more cross-over

innovation and new socio-economical initiatives

having an impact on our daily lives.

In monthly meetings it is actively promoting diversity and

organizing serendipity. Both ingredients are crucial to foster

cross-over innovation in Brussels Region but those meetings

are also important to build bridges, friendship and trust

amongst change agents.

“Disruptive and innovative ideas thrive within a strong

supportive framework and team. The biggest challenge in a

multi-cultural and multi-professional society is to find a

song, to which we can all sing along.

It is categorization, competition and judgement which

can keep big visions of necessary eco-systems forever in a

theoretical realm.

Our way out there as women in innovation is to activate

the built in curiosity and solidarity in our genes and move

away from individual competitiveness and towards empathic

collaboration with diversity and inclusion as generators for

a greater and powerful future.

Transdisciplinarity celebrates the individual skillset of

each team member with different professional expertise

and background as much as it does achieve an impressive

common strength, which increases and accelerates

innovative energy.

My goal is to fertilize a ground for our future global society

where it is no longer my skin colour, my height, my body

weight, my haircut, my gender, my nationality or my status

which makes a difference, but my urge to create and actively

participate in innovation together with a support system

of likeminded beings. This plants the seed for personal

evolution and constructive societal participation.

Brussels as capital of the European Union should take a

leading role in creating a smart and diversity supporting city

and eco-systems with sustainable approaches.“





Alain Heureux and Martine-Nicole Rojina at Brussels Creative Meeting

for Woman and Innovation at BOZAR LAB in September 2017

In September Women and Innovation were at the centre

of attention inviting a large community to gather, inspire,

Brussels Creative Meeting for Woman and Innovation at BOZAR LAB in September 2017

reflect, talk and exchange along with a visit and presentation

of the freshly opened BOZAR LAB and a tour through the

exhibition TENDENCIES, which aims to place emphasis

on works which question scientific and technological

innovations as much as they incorporate them. It wants

to open up the field of reflection relating to these links

and highlight structural analogies between the creators

of distinct and complementary fields. For this second

edition, it unveils and promotes the work of six emerging or

established female artists who probe innovative protocols

and paradigms in the domains of artistic, scientific and

technological creation.

focusing on transdisciplinarity and innovation at the

nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS. STARTS

unites renowned art & research institutions and innovative

industries to jointly work on innovative projects where

artists, scientists and engineers work together on radically

different solutions.






Through a program of lectures, debates and workshops the

BOZAR LAB would like to stimulate more interactions

between artists, policy makers, researchers and citizens.

This must lead to new visions & ideas for the future and

critical approaches on contemporary scientific, societal

and cultural developments. This program — in close

collaboration with BOZAR AGORA — will involve many

universities and research departments in Belgium and


The European Union has recognized the urgency of finding

hybrid solutions with the launch of the STARTS Program

She is Head of the Hellenic Delegation for the Progressive

Alliance of S&D, Chair Scientific Foresight Unit #STOA,

Chair EU-NATO Delegation.

Who are you and what are your core values on

which your personality is built?

The core values, which are guiding my choices as a person

and as a politician, have been truth & speaking out, creativity

(even a bit out of the box) and empathy (caring). Curiosity

about what truth is, being creative in what I am doing and

feeling empathetic towards people, have been my driving

forces to enter politics since I was a teenager. Heraclitus


concluded that: “Your values become your destiny” and

I tend to agree with that quote. It has been my character that

led me in politics and not politics changed me.

in politics, women in leadership positions are keen to

be inclusive and more compassionate when dealing with

political issues of utmost importance.

What advice would you give to your younger self

at the beginning of your career?

As the first child and the oldest sister, I feel that I have

been very conscious, with a sense of accountability and

respecting the balances of my surroundings. I guess that

reflected also on my career decisions. I rarely regret,

I could only remind to my younger self and any young

person to enjoy more the benefits of that certain age,

when the mistakes are more easily pardoned and the

consequences are more easily corrected. (And as much as

you try to have free time, tomorrow will not be less busy ...

so I would advice me to make more time to spend with

family and friends). Still, I believe that as soon as we shape

a vision about how we would like our future to be and work

hard for this, life will allow us to have options and the power

of decision.

Do you recognize a strength or unique “function”

in the European Parliament, which stands out

because of being a female leader?

The European Parliament stands out as one of the most

“gender equal” parliaments in the world. More than

one third of its 751 Members are women and there are

countries like Sweden, Finland and Croatia, which have

more female MEPs than men in their delegations. Many

of the Committees of the European Parliament are

chaired by women and I have also been elected to chair

the Parliament’s delegation for the relations with NATO

parliamentary assembly but also the first woman chair of

Science and Technology Committee. From my experience

Furthermore, I would say that in general women are

more empathetic towards minority issues and are more

determined to stand up against discrimination.

How do you think innovation is and will be

positively influenced by a higher contribution

of women?

A study on entrepreneurship has found that start-ups led by

women tend to perform better (First round capital report,

2015). High technology firms that have at least one woman

as co-founder have more chances to survive and be highly

profitable. All these data are more and more accurate and

proven in real life. I read recently in an article that the main

reason behind all this is that women are found to be more

resilient to setbacks and persevere in the face of adverse

outcomes and this is something I can confirm from my

personal experience.

What categories/labels/prejudices in society would

you like to overcome considering innovation?

Prejudices are pre-existing categories of ideas usually

regarding situations and experiences we haven’t experienced

personally. In that sense innovation cannot thrive in a

mind-set full of prejudices. It can however, help in the


I would like to see more trust in the younger generations

and women. I feel blessed and grateful for the trust of

the voters, since my first attempt in politics, however

I see that this is an exception, at least in most countries

or corporations. Innovation provides concepts and means

where inspiration is fundamental and the powerful elements,

not the gender, the age or the nationality. For example,

the pilot project of EIT that was implemented in Greece,

during summer, the “Coding Girls”, it has been an amazing

experience with a very strong content: to give to girls the

tools of creating code and this in the future could be their

path to professional independence, working from anywhere,

for anyone they choose. This is innovation.


Eva A. Kaili in the European Parliament

It would be irresponsible not to mention also the power of

innovation in providing means to integrating vulnerable

groups and refugees. Innovation is the most democratic

field of action nowadays, where strong minds compete, not

strong prejudices. Rilke phrased it nicely …

Eva A. Kaili in the European Parliament

”That is the only courage that is demanded of us: to have

courage for the most strange, the most singular and the

most inexplicable that we may encounter”. And may I dare

to add … “and if not us, then someone else may do it for us,

despite our resistance ...”, referring to the innovators and

to those politicians who are ready to push the boundaries

and take the blame! Honestly, by the work being done in

the European Parliament, I stay optimistic and I realize it

may take time, but we win small battles against intellectual

blindness and intolerance. I feel we are doing better,

every day.

Why do you consider a female eco- and supportsystem

worth implementing?

In the heart of the society stands the woman, a truth

that is scientifically proven. Women create “systems” of

relationships and dynamics around them that have impact

to every small element and detail of society’s progress. The

confidence and well being of women, create a chain-reaction

that affects everybody. This is a wisdom that ancient

matriarchic societies had discovered, but for complex

reasons, this wisdom was abolished.

The example of the Scandinavian countries is a modern

model of provenance and supporting systems for females.

Many people, even women themselves were against support

schemes and measures, such as quotas in electoral lists or

governing organizations and companies, but the experience

shows that they are necessary, at least until they become

a norm in the societies. Nowadays we see that in those

countries, female support systems have produced great

results. In Icelandic parliament for example almost 50% of

the MPs are female. Attitudes change to the better.

Recently, science observed that a female brain is

way more active than a male brain ... what do you

think is processed differently and creates that extra


Well, it is maybe the circular pace of female body structure

that creates these dynamics of excessive brightness and

efficiency! It is in the genetic code of a female to survive

and protect, to invent and move on, progress. Empathy is a

more familiar to women characteristic and this is a natural

enhancement of intelligence. But seriously, these scientific

results have to be communicated to the public with facts

and figures!

Looking at a future full of challenges on an

environmental, political and societal level, how do

you think women and innovation can change it to

the better?

Innovation and prosperity cannot be achieved by leaving

women — half of the world population — behind. More

women are needed in academia and scientific research as


Martine-Nicole Rojina, Peter Friess, Jasna Rok and Eva A. Kaili at the STARTS exhibition at the NET FUTURES 2017 conference

in Brussels

well as in politics, but let’s just not neglect that cooperation

with men and acceptance as equally competent are of

utmost importance. We shouldn’t focus in improving

the participation of women only in percentages, but

also in qualitative facts. Women, with the unique vision,

personality attributes and most importantly, by working and

cooperating with men, we can find solutions to all those

challenges. We need respect and equality in order to thrive.

direction and I try to get involved and speak publicly about


Interview and contribution by Martine-Nicole Rojina


How can you personally contribute to make

it better?

In my capacity as an elected representative of men and

women of my country, I am putting all my efforts to

represent the best way I can the interests of society, guided

by my core values mentioned before.

Working collectively with citizens and my colleagues in the

European Parliament, and with an open mind, is the best

way I can contribute to tackle the future challenges.


I am amazed by the extent and the depth recent

developments on innovation have reached. I try through

my work and during my personal time to communicate and

raise awareness on the impact that current developments of

innovation will have in our lives, our personal choices our

children’s future. I try to support initiatives that share this

Antonio Caro

Mata Maiz

Stencil, paint on wall

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire




It is time to bridge the cultures, to reintegrate the

insights of the Arts with the discovery of science.

Europe has other thought-leading examples such

as CERN. The EU begins to support the field but

must do more. In Brussels, one striking example is

emerging right now: how NATO have reached out to

art as a privileged partner to the core business of the

organisation. This article explains how.



The handover from Belgium to NATO of the new NATO

Headquarters in Brussels in 2017 offers the opportunity

to develop an innovative art policy in the public sector.

NATO established an International Staff Art Committee to

coordinate art contributions from NATO member countries

to the new NATO HQ in December 2014. The notion of art

at NATO HQ is not new. The launch of an art programme

was foreseen in the past in the context of the move to the

new NATO HQ at Porte Dauphine in Paris. The move to

the new NATO HQ in Brussels presented the opportunity

to re-consider this idea. A comprehensive inventory of the

artworks displayed and stored in the current NATO HQ was

conducted in April 2015. Immediately afterwards, a private

art consultant was appointed to develop a framework to

manage art and artefacts in the new HQ. The framework

was approved by NATO member countries in April 2016.


The objective of this report is to recognize and explain the

innovative art policy developed by NATO, in the context of

the transition to the NATO HQ.

The approved framework sets criteria for future art donations

and loans from NATO member countries. These criteria

follow four work streams and two themes, in order to

provide overall coherence.

The work streams take into consideration the decision of

NATO countries to preserve and transfer the existing art

collection to the new NATO HQ and the desire expressed

by several nations to contribute new artefacts in the future.



• NATO Arts Heritage Project: a permanent display

in the visitors’ area of the new premises to exhibit a

selection from the current NATO HQ art collection.

Digital displays will provide information about the

individual artefacts and their relevance as a historic

donation to NATO.

• Commemorative Project: permanent displays of

artefacts that commemorate a significant event in

the donating member country’s history with NATO.

The artefact will be enhanced by an information

tool, accessible to visitors, which will constitute

the platform to discover, through innovative digital

systems, historic information about the artefact and

its relevance to NATO.

• Interactive Media and Fine Arts Project: a

rotational project including both interactive

and real-time art and artefacts reflecting NATO

activities and fine arts. A permanent digital support

structure will be the platform for presenting the

interactive art and artefacts produced on a regular


• Performance Arts Project: a rotational project that

will celebrate the cultural diversity of the Alliance

by offering areas of the new NATO Headquarters as

the stage for concerts and performances, as well as

the opportunity to connect to cultural events from

NATO member countries remotely.

Unveiling of the German and US donations to NATO

The proposed work streams serve the purpose of supporting

member countries in defining a possible contribution to the

new NATO Headquarters, and in making decisions on the

previously donated artefacts. Each member country can join

any number of work streams.

The work streams have been developed around two

themes: history and dialogue. The Arts Heritage and

Commemorative projects focus on the historic aspect, the

relevance of a key event for a member country in NATO

history. The Interactive Media and Fine Arts and the

Performance Arts Projects focus on dialogue. Multi-layered

cultural exchange through art will support dialogue and

consultation which are at the heart of NATO’s mission.

Dialogue will start within the member country by engaging

national art institutions that will donate, lend or commission

new artefacts and/or recommending visiting artists (e.g.

museums, foundations, art academies, artistic collectives).

NATO, through the Art Committee, will accept

contributions from Nations that fit into one of the work

streams, and will be responsible to recommend a suitable

location for each donation to be displayed.

The case of NATO in art policy development is remarkable

for several reasons. On one hand, it develops an innovative

framework, on the other, it reinforces the importance of

the consultation process through mutual cultural exchange.

This is crucial for a public institution that builds trust,

enhances security and prevents conflicts via dialogue and

consultation. Interactive art and digital tools in this context

enhance NATO’s effort to fulfil its mission.

Name: CAM (XX-XXI), “Committee on women in the NATO forces,

25th anniversary, 1976-2001”

Author: Unknown

Origin: Presented to NATO’s Military Committee and its International

Military Staff from the Chair’s Nation 2000-2001

The Netherlands

The article is contributed, with the permission

of the NATO authorities by a key leader in the project,

Luis Miguel Girao (Artshare) and Martine-Nicole Rojina





When you think of innovation, you think

of Living Tomorrow. The Brussels marketing

and demonstration platform that

for more than 20 years has been working

on innovation could not be absent from

the renowned DLD Innovation Festival.

Its management, along with its partners,

embarked on an economic mission to the

“start-up city”, Tel Aviv.



The region between Tel Aviv and the port city of Haifa

has rightfully been called Silicon Wadi. A comparison

with its American counterpart is not wide of the

mark. All major American tech companies, such as

Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Facebook, Google, etc. are

concentrated in that area. Many of them even have

a substantial R&D department there. What is more,

nowhere in the world are there as many start-ups per

resident as in Israel: more than 7000 in the past ten

years alone! That is quite a bit more than in Japan, the

UK or Canada.

The entrepreneurial spirit is truly part of the fabric.

And the results are impressive. Some of the largest

tech companies in the world had their beginnings in

Tel Aviv: the website designer Wix, the GPS app Waze

and Viber, the counterpart to Skype.

Israeli policy has thus succeeded in retaining all that

talent, as a result of which Tel Aviv and its surroundings

have become the innovation hub. Meanwhile,

Chinese investors with venture capital have also found

there way here. The decision by Living Tomorrow to

head over there with its start-up partners Forganiser

and ApicBase is thus hardly surprising. At the DLD

Innovation Festival, they were given the chance to discover

potential business opportunities, make contacts

and exchange knowledge with Israeli companies.


In the areas of FoodTech and CleanTech, there is a

good deal of know-how to be found in Tel Aviv. Living

Tomorrow CEO Joachim De Vos followed the Clean-

Tech path with visits to the world-renowned Rambam

Health Care Campus and the leading Technion university,

among others.

E-health, digitization, advanced technologies in the

areas of recycling, etc., are each items on which Living

Tomorrow is also working.

COO Patrick Aertsen, for his part, drew the FoodTech

card. Innovation in the food sector are crucial in order

to give our restaurant and catering sector a boost. Living

Tomorrow start-ups Forganiser and ApicBase are

fine examples of this, in fact. Forganiser has developed

an effective software tool for the employment of flex

workers. ApicBase, a start-up in food photography, has

developed a camera with which chefs can, in a matter

of seconds, photograph their creations, save them and

share them on social media.

Such companies are showing that they are the future,

and Living Tomorrow wants to support them in their





Living Tomorrow in Brussels is a symbol

of innovative entrepreneurship. The

complex itself offers an inspiring setting

for organizing meetings, press conferences,

events and seminars. The future-oriented

image will be a welcome extra!

Living Tomorrow is now launching a

brand-new meeting concept: the Meet-




Are you driving along the Brussels Ring and decide at

the last minute to meet up with a colleague. Or do you

have a bit of time left before your next appointment

and want to get some work done in a pleasant setting?

Do you want to set up a brief meeting but don’t

want to rent expensive premises for half a day? In that

case, the Meet-Inn offers the solution! The Meet-Inn

is designed to be a flexible meeting space which you

can use without reservation. The concept is made up

of meeting boxes, American Diner nooks, comfortable

seating areas, etc. for smaller meetings. Guests

purchase a Meet-Inn Card with credits from reception

and can check in and out whenever they wish. Ideal,

in other words, for a quick meeting ‘on the road’. A

drinks buffet and snacks are included in the price.

The excellent location right next to the Brussels Ring

and the ample parking are much valued assets in the

extended Brussels area.




If you would like to combine your visit to the Meet-

Inn with a lunch or dinner, then you are most welcome

to The Bistronomy. The gastronomic restaurant is

located in the Living Tomorrow buildings, and is open

to the public every day. Top chef Marc Clément mans

the stove himself, pampering you with his refined

gastronomy with a nod to the future. In fine weather,

you can enjoy the tastefully decorated terrace. For the

restaurant, reservations are recommended.


Drivers of electric cars can recharge their car during

their meeting or meal at the SolarFast Charging Station.

The station fits with the total concept of electric

driving that has been realized at Living Tomorrow.

See you in the future at Living Tomorrow.

Living Tomorrow

Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde.

Tel.: 02 263 01 33




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Through my Renaissance studies, I discovered

that Erasmus and Thomas More were the first

thinkers to spread together the idea of parliamentary

democracy as the best political system for all states

in Europe.


Most explicitly through Utopia, the book they conceived

jointly, and that Erasmus had found inspiration for

these ideas which he handed over to More, in the Duchy

of Brabant with Brussels as one of its four capitals.

Representatives of these capitals held veto powers in the

Duchy’s representative assembly, the Estates of Brabant,

and in Brussels the craft guilds’ masters whose apprentices

were organized in precursors of trade unions and able to

steer the policies of their masters, were involved in political

affairs and government of the city. On the Brabantine

constitution named the ‘Joyous Entry’, providing the Estates

of Brabant with the constitutional right to depose the

Duke of Brabant and assign a new one, the Estates-General

with representatives of several Low Countries based in

the Act of ‘Verlatinghe’ of 1581 legally the Dutch Revolt

and the deposing of Philip II as ruler of the Burgundian

Netherlands: an event generally respected as a first broad

manifestation of representative/parliamentary democracy.

The political institution of the Dutch Republic of Northern

Netherlands was further developed on this constitutional

heritage, influencing throughout the seventeenth century

culturally and politically the country across the Channel:

England, where the over celebrated Magna Carta had given

the right to only 23 barons to oppose a king who did not

please them, to occupy his castles and resist him militarily,

and where the real start of parliamentary democracy

happened in 1688 with the Glorious Revolution allowing

Dutch William of Orange, until then stadtholder of the

Republic of the United Netherlands, to cross the Channel

with a fleet and court and to become only by grace of the

English parliament the new English king William III. For

these reasons I proposed to consider the Joyous Entry of

Brabant the Conception Act of parliamentary democracy.

And not only parliamentary democracy, but also religious

tolerance and freedom of belief and expression, social

care reconciled with market economy, collective defense,

double identities inside a double layered state, peaceful

coexistence of neighboring states with a supranational

organizational entity, are European values of which the

origins can be traced back in the Low Countries of the late

Middle Ages and Renaissance, defended by the Christian

humanists — in close contact with these Low Countries —

for the first time on a truly European scale. At the heart of

the Low Countries was the Duchy of Brabant with indeed

Brussels (today’s capital of Europe), Antwerp, Leuven

and ‘s Hertogenbosch as its four capitals. The present

successors of the Burgundian Low Countries, the Benelux

countries (also institutionally formed as union in 1944),

played a leading and mediating role in the start and further

development of the European project and integration:

did their political frontrunners in those and later years

remember their national history classes?

In 2014 a broad search for a ‘New Narrative for Europe’

was launched as an official EU Project. In October 2015

European Symbols was published, the first Latin manual

for all students in Europe for which I had been invited to

write the Belgian contribution, and for which I assisted the

editors in advocating and arranging introductory notes by

leading officials of the European institutions who pointed

in these notes to the importance of our cultural heritage for

the success of the European project. In the same month

I had offered the European Commission my services and the

rhetorical force of my research in the upcoming campaign

to keep the UK, with a history loving public, inside the EU:

PM David Cameron had however the European institutions

not allowed to campaign openly in the UK against a Brexit.

In the weeks before the referendum, the Magna Carta

was indeed used as an efficient, but historically incorrect

argument, by the Brexiteers. In 2016 the European Project

for a ‘New Narrative for Europe’ was relaunched. On 8th

June 2016, two weeks before the Brexit vote, the European

External Action Service and the European Commission

released jointly a ‘joint communication’ on cultural

diplomacy in which culture is described as the ‘hidden gem

of European foreign policy’.

In his first large interview for 8 European newspapers, 21st

June 2017, President Emmanuel Macron expressed his

intention as newly elected president to lead ‘a European

Renaissance’. On 7th September 2017, President Macron

elaborated this plan in a speech on the Pnyx in Athens,

pleading to refound the European Union through culture

and an increased attention for the origins of European

democracy and sovereignty and to refind there the Soul of

Europe. In a famous speech for the European Parliament

in Strasburg, Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel tried in 2007

also to find and formulate the Soul of Europe, focusing

on liberty and diversity and recognizing in these values

the basic principle of tolerance: one of the best known

Erasmian ideals. In her accepting speech after receiving

a joint honorary doctorate in January 2017 from both

the universities of Leuven and Ghent, she celebrated

expressively Erasmus of Rotterdam. First and former

permanent President of the European Council, Herman

Van Rompuy, stated on 21st September 2017 in an interview

with Euractiv that the European Union needs in his view

the formulation of a framework for the concrete goals of the

Union itself, the articulation of its over-all project for which

‘storytelling is needed’.

As such Framework for Europe, I would like to offer

and propose here the Erasmian ideals and an updated

articulation and confirmation of the Christian humanist

principles from which the most European societies turned

tragically away already shortly after these ideas’ first

brightest cultural appearances, blocking the European

countries in deadlock and military self-destruction

for centuries: a baroque chaos and war of by excesses

and lack of internal reform provoked reformation and

counter-reformation led to the over orderly structuring

of neoclassicism, leading to an over passionate rule of

suppressed emotions with romanticism and nationalism,

ending in the horrors of the twentieth century. Therefore

I propose as the over-all framework for the European

Union, the realization of an actualized version of Erasmus’

program for Europe, the dual realization of Erasmian

Republic(s): the antipode of what Europe would have been

if it had stayed under Nazi dominion and suppression.

References to Erasmus and More are also welcome in a

time when ‘sweeping Henry VIII powers’ are again gaining

power in other countries and will also prevent extremist

and populist parties to claim or monopolize the rhetoric

strength of (misrepresented) history and crucial historical

figures, as positive arguments are the ideal complement to

negative warnings related to the world wars: AfD intended

to name its civic organization the ‘Desiderius-Erasmus-

Stiftung’ and should not be able to connect personally and

philosophically with the cultural figurehead of Europe, the

EU is entitled by sense and spirit to make this personal,

philosophical connection.

From 2007-2013, the European Project renEU had already

tried to connect the basic European values and foundations

with achievements of Italian, French, Polish, Portuguese

and Spanish Renaissance and to start in this way ‘a new

Renaissance’ in Europe. This project stayed however

too much touristic and anecdotal and lacked actualized

connections to the present day political and institutional

working of the EU and knowledge of the newly made

discoveries about the political thought of Erasmus and

Thomas More and the significance of the related political

culture in the Low Countries during the Renaissance.

The Nazis bombarded the entire historical center of

Rotterdam and thus also the birth house of Erasmus, not

for direct military purposes but to force the Netherlands

to capitulate under the threat of an imminent series of

similar complete destructions of historical city centers: a

ruthless and horribly successful tactic. In the bombarded

city center of Rotterdam, the 1622 statue of Erasmus

had survived the bombings and was brought to a nearby

museum where it was hidden during the entire war, after

which it was placed again at the center of a public square.

For similar reasons, I would like to propose to place a statue

of Erasmus on the Place Royale in Brussels, instead of the

present statue of Godfried of Bouillon, one of the leaders

of the first crusade that conquered Jeruzalem and murdered

the Jews, Muslims and Christians living there. Under the

pavements of this square are the foundations of the Palace

of the Coudenberg, where Erasmus gave a Latin oratory in

honor to Philip the Fair, published later as Erasmus’ first

important political work, the Panegyricus, in which he urged

Philip, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant, to respect the Joyous

Entry of Brabant. The Brussels Avenue between the European

Quarter at Place Schuman and the Parc du Cinquantenaire

with a Triumphal Arch as the stone representation of a joyous

entry into the city of Brussels through a large symbolized city

gate, is named Joyous Entry Avenue.



Presently, the headquarters of the European Commission

are located in the Berlaymont building referring by name

to a convent that stood there previously, financed by the

Berlaymont family of which a prominent member (the

father-in-law of the lady founding the convent), Charles de

Berlaymont, was at the start of the Dutch Revolt a councilor

of the governor of the Low Countries, Margareta of Parma.

When she received a delegation of noblemen with a list

of legitimized concerns and complaints related to the

disrespect of Spanish king Philip II for the Netherlandish

political and religious cultures of representative democracy

and religious tolerance, this councilor Charles de

Berlaymont advised the governor Margareta of Parma to

‘not be afraid’ and to ignore their complaints and requests,

because these men ‘were only beggars’: ‘N’ayez pas peur,

Madame: ce ne sont que des Gueux’. Therefore I propose to

change the name of the headquarters from Berlaymont into


In a connected way, the participants in the most popular

and successful EU Programs, Erasmus and Erasmus+

Programs, can become a real corps of cultural-diplomatic

actors, following the example of the European Solidarity

Corps, by making during their program a small but effective

practical contribution to the illustration and dissemination

of the Erasmian values as core values of the European

Union, all reaching small parts of a wider European public

in all member states. As the ‘Renaissance Society of

America’ canceled in the latest years the European Union

as the biannual location of its yearly big conference, an

interdisciplinary/multiprofessional ‘European Renaissance

Forum’ (ERF) can bring yearly actors together, operating

in the field of European, Cultural and Renaissance

studies: high school teachers, students, artists, politicians,

journalists, diplomats, officials of cultural houses, museums

and historical sites, librarians, scholars and academics.

Further research on Erasmus’ Republic of Letters with both

humanists and political actors from almost every European

country and not only active for literary but also for worldly

political projects, as a proto-union trying to defend

and realize collectively their common ideals through a

transnational network with far going implications for

respective European countries, has still to be done and

I propose to undertake and coordinate this research in the

coming years.

Next to this research, I intend to update the program

of Erasmus and defend this framework for Europe, this

narrative or binding story, this soul of Europe, also widely

publicly throughout Europe as a public intellectual with a

presentation of the European Union as an Erasmian Union,

the opposite realization of a Nazi Third Reich where twisted

philosophies of Nietzsche, widely spread in Germany of that

time, gave wings to the plans and ambitions of an even more

twisted man with strong rhetorical skills.

And in this cultural-diplomatic context, it is completely

coherent to support a process by which the next President

of the European Commission will be elected by a majority

of the members of the newly elected European Parliament

in 2019. In 2014 it was a major realization of the first

permanent President of the European Council, Herman

Van Rompuy (who named himself also ‘a Brabantine’,

reacting on the first results of my research I sent him as a

student, next to best wishes at the start of his first term as

European president) to reconcile the European Council

of that time having still a legal saying in the choice of the

EU Commission President by a qualified majority vote as

provided in the Lisbon Treaty, with the election process

of ‘spitzenkandidaten’ developed at the core of European

Parliament; and so to make possible the first manifestation

of parliamentary democracy ever on the European

level, between the European Parliament and European


I plead for the continuation of this political system at the

core of these two depended institutions — about which

the European Council will again have to decide with the

Summit planned by President Juncker in Hermannstadt

or Sibiu in Romania, one day after the official date of

Brexit, on 30th March 2019 — next to the existence of a

different president of the European Council appointed by

the European Council also by qualified majority vote, as

also for Erasmus and his circle of Christian humanists,

Europe meant both an intergovernmental and supranational

responsibility and solidarity.



Further reading:

M. Vermeir, ‘Erasmus’ Joyous Entry into political culture’ in

Glatz, Peter and Thiel, Andreas, European Symbols: United

in Diversity, Euroclassica & Amici Linguae Latinae, 2015

M. Vermeir, Brabantia, decoding the main characters of

Utopia’, Moreana, Vol. 49, 187-188, p. 151-181

M. Vermeir, The Prince of Utopia, Thomas More’s Utopia

and the Low Countries, Morus — Utopia e Renascimento,

v. 11, n. 2 (2016)

Rirkrit Tiravanija

Untitled 2017 (here there is no why)

Stencil, paint on wall

Varanasi, India, 2017

Santa Marta, Colombia, 2017

Courtesy of the artist, LGI

Photograph: Sébastien Delire

The phrase of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s stencil is borrowed from an anecdote from Primo Levi’s famous memoir of Auschwitz, Survival in Auschwitz.

Levi, a young prisoner in Auschwitz suffering from thirst, noticed an icicle through his cell window but when he sought to grab it

a Nazi guard knocked it out of his hand. “Warum?” (“Why?”), asked Levi. “Hier ist kein warum” (“Here there is no why”),

answered the guard in a phrase that became symbolic of the Holocaust’s careening away from rationality itself.








Jan Cornelis, Cultural Attaché CIDIC, Professor Emeritus at VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

I met Sami Azar for the first time on March 18th 2016.

At that time, I was Vice-Rector, International Policy,

at VUB and Sami, a Syrian refugee, responded to a

vacancy announcement at VUB.

The profile for the vacancy was “administrative

support of the International Relations and

Mobility Office — IRMO”.

During the interview, my interest was immediately raised

when Sami Azar mentioned that — as a non-religious Syrian

— he had founded his own private school which he had

served as the director.

Sami (2017): “I remember the interview for the VUB

vacancy very well. I was talking about refugees and how

I could help them, but Jan started asking me about my

school in Syria. I went back in my memory … to my

school and my students and I linked the answers to all the

interview questions to this nice experience.”

Sami (2017): “I was very honest but I felt myself sinking,

and I could not say any word without mentioning my

school”. Although Sami made every error you can make in

a job interview, it was his passion for his school that saved

him. He got the job and after a short period of supporting

the events organized by IRMO, Jacqueline gave up on her

administrative support, and the team started a marvelous

adventure, coordinated by Sami Azar: “Arabic language

classes for children aged 6 to 15, in neighbourhoods in

Brussels with high concentrations of Arab populations, and

decoupled from mosques and religion”.


I remember that Jacqueline Couder (Director of IRMO)

brought us back to reality. Jacqueline (2016): “It’s good

that you told us about yourself, your skills and your school,

but you did not tell us how you would manage the job to

meet the vacancy profile”. Sami took the printed version of

the vacancy’s profile and started reading, very slowly: … to

welcome people … to organize events … to support language

round tables and open up VUB to Southern Mediterranean

countries … Sami Azar: “As a school director, I had to

welcome the parents … at my school, I organized parties for

my students … language tables yes, but like in my school in

Modern Standard Arabic .”

Universities are increasingly embedded in societal

innovation, knowledge transfer and community services

and they are ideal places for out-of-the-box thinking. Which

other type of organization would consider Arabic language

courses as a primary tool for better integration in Brussels?

Jacqueline Couder: “Children learn French, English and

Dutch at School, and parents are sending them to the

mosques to learn Arabic. We consider our Arabic language

offer as a tool for cultural identity building, accelerating

integration, counteracting risks of radicalization, fostering

critical thinking, providing employment for refugee teachers,

and serving as part of an urban living lab supporting our

esearch in sociology, criminology, linguistics, urban studies,

… a perfect match with VUB’s credo of open-mindedness

and commitment to community services in Brussels.”

Indeed, the university operates in perfect symbiosis with the

city of Brussels. The on-campus diversity of nationalities

(129 countries) reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the

city. Some courses and major events are voluntarily

organised off-campus in the city centre. Also for the Arabic

language courses, we consider that proximity to the main

concentrations of Arab people in Brussels is needed.

Three different locations were selected, minimizing the

transport burden for parents and students and, thanks to

our collaboration with Scholengroep Brussel, we were able

to ensure a professional environment for implementing this

proximity objective. Jacky Goris (Director of Scholengroep

Brussel): “Education, as conceived by the Flemish

Community in Brussels, aims to keep Muslim children out

of the radical Koranic schools through organised Arabic

language lessons that provide an alternative to the language

courses currently followed by many children in small

Koranic schools where they are immersed in strict Islamic

rules”. VUB prefers a more cautious formulation: “We offer

Arabic language courses, decoupled from religion, and the

facts and figures prove that this is a unique niche in Brussels

with an enormous demand.”

course, religion and Islam can be discussed in the school, as

these are part of our cultural heritage and today’s daily life,

The university setting yielded immediate high credibility and trust, even without active

but the





because of the


neutrality of




learning platform


and its



objective of learning about Arabic and European culture in the native tongue, but also because

independent of religious beliefs”.

of the monitoring by academics of the content, didactic methods and learning outcomes. The

success of the school’s success is illustrated by the student numbers: 2016-2017, 164 students

(83 boys and 81 girls) from different origins (see pie chart) and in 2017-2018, 250 students (133

boys and 117 girls), although whereby the number should have been had to be limited to 200

Quality due to Assurance insufficient financial is constraintsresources. a unique selling point of our Arabic

language courses and we’re developing a Quality Assurance

handbook. VUB developed the curriculum in collaboration

with experts in Arabic linguistics. Sami Azar: “One of the

teachers, an Iraqi refugee, has a PhD in Arabic literature.

Also, the other teachers are highly qualified refugees

Also, parent’s’ testimonials are indicateing that there is a high demand for Arabic language

from Iraq





of religion


(see enclosure


1). A question One


of them


coming from a

Moroccan mother caught was catching my attention, “Can you teach some basic religion in your

class, just something about good moralities?”. I asked Sami about this and he replied it. Sami

as well as speaking and writing the language fluently, are

Azar: “Of course, religion and Islam can be discussed in the school, as these are it is part of our

cultural heritage and today’s daily life, but the courses themselves should be are strictly neutral

important but also playful learning, such as Arabic songs

and independent of religious beliefs”.

and games, Quality Assurance is part is a unique of the selling curriculum.” point proposition of our For Arabic example, language courses and we’re

developing a Quality Assurance handbook is under construction. VUB developed the curriculum

now in collaboration with some experts course in Arabic linguistics. books Sami that Azar: will “One of be the illustrated

teachers, an Iraqi

refugee, has a PhD in Arabic literature. Also, the other teachers are highly qualified refugees

with cartoons.

from Iraq and Syria. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, as well as speaking and writing the

language fluently, are important but also playful learning, such as Arabic songs and games, isare

part of the curriculum.” For example, we’re now developing some cCourse books that are under

construction, they will be illustrated withby cartoons.

The university setting yielded immediate high credibility and

trust, even without active advertisement, mainly because

of the neutrality of the learning platform and its primary

objective of learning about Arab and European culture in

the native tongue, but also because of the monitoring by

academics of the content, didactic methods and learning

y setting yielded immediate high credibility and trust, even without active

t, mainly because outcomes. of the neutrality The school’s of the learning success platform is illustrated and its by primary the student

arning about Arabic numbers: and European 2016-2017, culture in 164 the students native tongue, (83 boys but also and because 81 girls)

ring by academics from of the different content, didactic origins methods (see pie and chart) learning and outcomes. in 2017-2018, The

e school’s success is illustrated by the student numbers: 2016-2017, 164 students

250 students (133 boys and 117 girls), although the

81 girls) from different origins (see pie chart) and in 2017-2018, 250 students (133

girls), although whereby number the should number have should been have limited been had to 200 to be due limited to financial to 200

cient financial constraintsresources.


Also, parents’ testimonials

indicate that there is a high

demand for Arabic language

courses independent of

religion (see enclosure 1).

A question from a Moroccan

s’ testimonials are mother indicateing caught that there my attention, is a high demand “Can you for teach Arabic some language

endent of religion basic (see enclosure religion in 1). your A question class, just One something of them coming about from good a

ther caught was catching my attention, “Can you teach some basic religion in your

moralities?” asked Sami about this and he replied : “Of

ething about good moralities?”. I asked Sami about this and he replied it. Sami

rse, religion and Islam can be discussed in the school, as these are it is part of our

ge and today’s daily life, but the courses themselves should be are strictly neutral

ent of religious beliefs”.

ance is a unique selling point proposition of our Arabic language courses and we’re

Laura and her brother Toni; Sami and his sister Sara –

Laura and her brother Toni; Sami and his sister Sara – designed by Norbert Van Yperzeele

designed by Norbert Van Yperzeele

An extra benefit, corroborated by scientific research, is that stimulation of multi-lingual

language skills among children at a young age improves communication skills and social

inclusion, while and knowledge of different cultures and intercultural interaction leads to

greater more respect and tolerance.

An extra benefit, corroborated by scientific research, is

that stimulation of multi-lingual language skills among

children at a young age improves communication skills

and social inclusion, while knowledge of different cultures

intention to follow Dutch or French language courses.

and intercultural interaction lead to greater respect and

The target public is composed of three main categories:


The expected societal outcomes also include also an improved communication within the family,

especially with parents and grandparents, the creation of a community of children (and parents)

where all topics can be discussed, children who that are critical and open-minded, more easiery

return to their home countriesy if needed/wanted (e.g. for refugees), employment of refugee

teachers which helpsing them to keep their market value and increase their employability.

While waiting to pick up their children after the classes, several parents expressed their

- the children of newcomers (e.g. refugees) who which usually have an underdeveloped mother

tongue. They cannot express themselves well, they talk at home about their emotional

experiences and have elementary conversations about the daily activities in Arabic. At school,

The another expected language is used. societal But also in outcomes Dutch or French also they are include handicapped improved

with respect to the

other pupils. Some of them start mixing up languages and a lot of children start using Dutch

communication words in Arabic dialogues. within Their Arabic the is not family, rich enough especially any more. Older with children parents can perhaps

speak fluent Arabic but have issues with reading or writing, since they are immersed in the

and language grandparents, of the school. the creation of a community of children


- the children


from Moroccan






Arabic origin.








is the second

largest community after the French one in the Brussels Capital Region. Theose children can

who speak are Arabic, critical although their and accent open-minded, is different from standard easier Arabic. return There is to a need their for them

to learn how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic fluently.

home countries if needed/wanted (e.g. for refugees),

- the children from mixed background, or interested in to learning Arabic. A recent initiative was

launched taken by the French speaking secondary school (typical student age: 12-18 years) in



of refugee

- a commune


in the Brussels


Capital Region


- where:





their market value and increase their employability. While

waiting to pick up their children after the classes, several

parents expressed their intention to follow Dutch or French

language courses.



The target public is composed of three main categories:

- the children of newcomers (e.g. refugees) who usually have

an underdeveloped mother tongue. They cannot express

themselves well, they talk at home about their emotional

experiences and have elementary conversations about

daily activities in Arabic. At school, another language is

used. But also in Dutch or French they are handicapped

with respect to the other pupils. Some of them start

mixing up languages and a lot of children start using

Dutch words in Arabic dialogues. Their Arabic is not

rich enough anymore. Older children can perhaps speak

fluent Arabic but have issues with reading or writing,

since they are immersed in the language of the school.

- the children from Moroccan origin or Arab origin. The

Moroccan population is the second largest community

after the French one in the Brussels Capital Region.

The children can speak Arabic, although their accent is

different from standard Arabic. There is a need for them

to learn how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic


- the children from mixed background, or interested in

learning Arabic. A recent initiative was launched by the

French speaking secondary school (typical student age:

12-18 years) in Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe — a commune

in the Brussels Capital Region — where Arabic language

courses will start in September 2017. The director:

“After French, Dutch and English, Arabic is the fourth

language in Belgium. In Brussels, almost 350.000

inhabitants can be connected to the Arabic language

family.” If these types of initiatives are multiplied, there

will be a much greater possibility for our current target

age category (6-15 years) to continue with Arabic language

courses in secondary education (12-18 years) and later on

at the university.

Dividing the children into a reasonable number of age

categories, and taking account of their existing language

skills, is one of the most difficult and important tasks of

the Arabic language teaching project. For the current pilot

phase of the project, the number of categories was fixed at

four per location. Currently the frequency of the courses

for the children is 4 hours/week on Saturdays or Sundays.

The participation fee is kept low to ensure that there are no

financial thresholds hampering the access — 80 euros/year.

As you have understood, I am very enthusiastic about

the objectives of the Arabic language courses as sketched

above, but I have a serious concern … the sustainability. As

it is now, the teachers are volunteers, and the cost of the

project is covered by unspent funds of past projects. The

operational costs of the Arabic language project do not

fit directly in the classical government funding channels,

whether those of the Ministry of Education (it does not

fit in Higher Education because of the age category of the

children, and in Brussels only Dutch, German and French

lessons for foreigners are supported), or in the budget

of the Brussels Capital Region (which primarily focuses

on short term priorities), or in the budgets of classical

investment funds (there is no direct financial return on

investment). The classical non-profit organisations have

confined their interventions to a priori limited niches

to ensure tangible impact and visibility of their actions.

Therefore, the viability of the Arabic language project is

inevitably dependent on a sustainable mix of private and

public funding. I am convinced that once the financial mill

starts turning, both will mutually reinforce each other —

see Enclosure 2

Chances of success of new university initiatives that are

not deeply rooted in the university’s DNA are minimal.

Through its objectives of identity recovery and societal

integration, the Arabic language project, as well as the

Student-Refugee Programme, fit perfectly into the strong

commitment of VUB to create societal impact. Moreover,

multilingual education is key in VUB’s vision statement. A

survey among our current students showed that 80% of the

521 respondents would like to follow a minor in Arabic in

the official curriculum and 85% would also be interested in

an extra-curricular course.

This is the story of an Arabic language teaching project.

It is running now, but still under construction, and some

of the outcomes are at the stage of hypotheses that remain

to be verified. For many, it is quite a controversial project,

since the first thing that usually comes to mind when

people hear about the project is that the children should

be embedded in Dutch or French language. But they are

embedded, five days a week already. This project has aims

that reach beyond Arabic language acquisition, but for

which this language is the basis. The project fully fits in

the era of cosmopolitan nomads, large-scale migration

and vulnerable refugees who have crossed their nation’s

frontiers. Sami Azar, whom I encountered for the first time

some two years ago, has become a ‘school director’ again.

I am sure he will make a new generation of children happy

and better prepared for the global world we live in.



• This is what I was looking for… an Arabic course

without religion (Lebanese father).

• Before I enrolled my child online, I wanted to come to

get a direct confirmation from you that no Sheikh will

come and give my child a religious speech (Iraqi mother)

– Note: “Sheikh” is the name of the Muslim priest.

• Can you teach some basic religion in your class,

just something about good moralities? (Moroccan


• My child went for four years to a Quranic school

to learn Arabic, but I can see that after one year in

your school he improved his Arabic more than in the

previous four years (Moroccan mother).

• This is what I want, I want my child to be able to read

Arabic by himself, not to recite some verses from the

Quran by heart without understanding (Moroccan


• Can you teach Arabic eight hours per week instead of

four hours? (Moroccan mother).

• Four hours per week are not enough to learn Arabic.

Can I enroll my child in two of your centres to bring

my child more in contact with standard Arabic? (Iraqi


• This is the first time I see my children so happy after

their Arabic lessons, and that they really want to learn

Arabic. I tried several Quranic schools before and I

always faced the same problem. The teachers there

hit the children if they made a mistake when reciting

a verse by heart or for any other small mistakes

(Moroccan mother).

• The teachers in the previous Arabic school could not

speak Arabic very well, so how can they teach Arabic?

(Lebanese father).

• My children can speak Arabic fluently because we

speak Arabic at home. I want them to know how to

read and write, but the teacher in the Quranic school

speaks a Moroccan dialect, so my children cannot

communicate with her in Arabic (Palestinian father).

• It always depends on the teacher. Although the books

of our Quranic school seem moderately radical, some

teachers there give the children very radical ideas, and

that was why I took my children out of that Quranic

school, even before you started your project, although

I am a teacher there myself (Egyptian father).


Needed: Innovative approaches to tackle radicalization …

Money raised for the Arabic Language Courses by VUB

will change lives!

Do you wish to strengthen respect and tolerance in

our society and ensure integration for newcomers and

refugees? VUB started its unique Arabic Language

teaching project together with the community. We know

how to run the project, … you can make it sustainable

through your financial support.

The most urgent priority at this moment is the payment

of the teachers who are still working as volunteers.

We will keep you informed about the project’s progress.

Donations of 40 euros and above are tax deductible.

Please mention “GIFT4-Arabic language courses for

children” in your bank transfer to account

BE51 0013 6779 3562 of the VUB Foundation.







The entertainment plays out in iconic locations

in capital cities and in beautiful Riviera destinations.

Known as the “Formula 1” of equestrian sport, the

Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions

League are famous not just for delivering guaranteed toplevel

sport for fans, but for a vibrant and chic social scene

and fine hospitality.


At the heart of this international show jumping circuit are

horses. But not just any horses. LGCT and GCL attract the

superstars of the sport. These uber equine athletes, worth

millions of euros, deliver ever greater levels of competition

each season. And, needless to say, horse welfare is at the

heart of everything with the best facilities in the sport to

ensure top-level care.

And now the sport is booming around the world with

record-breaking prize money, a growing fan following, more

media attention and more countries competing on the

LGCT and GCL circuit.

The Tour, established in 2006 by Dutch Olympic gold

medallist Jan Tops, features individual competition at

the highest level. Top-ranked riders and horses compete

over 1.60m fences in a variety of arenas to determine the

ultimate champion. All season rider and horse combinations

jump in a variety of small and large arenas on sand and

on grass surfaces by day and by night. The coveted crown

can only be won by true all-rounders who perform with

consistency through the season.

Two years ago Global Champions League was launched

by Jan Tops and US businessman and philanthropist

Frank McCourt, introducing an innovative and modern

new team format to show jumping. For the first time in

the sport’s history, leading riders from different countries

could join forces in turbo-charged team combinations.

The new formula has seen formidable pairings such as

Marco Kutscher (GER) and Ludger Beerbaum (GER) for

the Cannes Stars team and Scott Brash (GBR) and Kent

Farrington (USA) riding for Georgina Bloomberg’s Miami

Glory team. Georgina believes that the GCL will bring

another dimension to the sport and the future is bright for

those involved: “When we first heard about the team concept

it was something that was very intriguing to me and something

that I believed in — it’s going to be great for the sport of show


Global Champions League is also heralding a new era in

record prize money in show jumping as the sport enjoys

growth around the world. Next year there will be an overall

prize fund of €35 million and a thrilling new playoff event

in December with big winnings up for grabs. Adding to

the excite