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For Diplomatic world the 4 th industrial revolution opens

perspectives for the new Eurasia continent, that extends

from North Sea to Pacific Ocean; where peoples and

cultures in the 3 major political jurisdictions the Eurasian

Economic Union, the EU and China live in peace and

harmony and develop numerous synergies between each

other. Through the 4 th industrial revolution a meeting point

between the East (inspired by communist and Confucian

thinking) and the West (socially corrected market

economy) can be created. This will open new windows of

opportunities to work out new visions for the promotion

of growth; within a broadly supported social model and an

environmentally sound platform: a new model for the future

of humanity.

Diplomatic World is unique and unrivaled.

One Belt One Road or China’s new silk roads can

create a global interconnected free economic trade and

manufacturing space and a new network for the sharing

economies of tomorrow !










of Kyrgyzstan

66 H.E.










of the Republic

of Moldova






Former Belgian

Prime Minister

and Minister of

Foreign Affairs



Consul General

of the Syrian Arab

Republic to the

50 78




The Chaim Sheba

Medical Center

Bellevue Palace Berlin



President Emeritus

of the

European Council













of China

to the

European Union



Deputy Speaker

of the

Federation Council









of Austria


















of Sri Lanka




Magic of Pedagogy










IN 2020 ?




fears and

132 156
















Moon Jae-in a

dreamer and

builder of Peace

94 136 158


in the Peninsula?













in ornamental mural

paintings of Bulgarian

renaissance houses

from XVIII century





Lieve Van Stappen


























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While the European Union attempts to manage the

Brexit crisis and Eurosceptic and nationalist forces

raise their heads in certain EU countries, reinforced

cooperations between members of the EU desiring

to go forward in their project of solidarity are more

indispensable than ever.

To give a new impetus to the European project, the Benelux

has an enviable pedigree, its foundations having been laid

well before those of the EU. Indeed, it was in London

in 1944 that Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg

decided to form a Customs Union, which became an

Economic Union with the Benelux Treaty of 1958.

The Benelux celebrated its 60 th birthday last June 5 th

in Brussels in the presence of the three Heads of State:

the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, King Willem-

Alexander of the Netherlands and King Philippe of

Belgium. This illustrious milestone gave the opportunity to

measure how this alliance had stimulated the construction

of the European Union, and to conclude that it still had

a beautiful future ahead of it: "Ever greener and younger


liberty and solidarity in our continent’s history: "Noblesse

Oblige". It is in this context of reviving the Benelux

cooperation that I would like to share some thoughts on the

link between the Benelux and the European project, under

the title of "Benelux, the good light of the North".

These reflections will focus on three themes: the new

paradigms at the origin of the European project, the

pioneering role of the Benelux within this project and,

finally, what enabled the Benelux to play this role, its







This role as pioneer and laboratory of Europe is recognised

by article 350 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the

European Union, which allows the Benelux to derogate from

certain European rules, provided that the Benelux is more

advanced in the cooperation and integration in its project

and that the derogation is essential for the implementation

of the cross-border project.

Consequently, the Benelux Union enjoys a unique position

within the European Union: this is a privilege but also a

responsibility towards the most remarkable project of peace,

- A redefinition of what should constitute peace

- The transition from nationalism to patriotism

The word peace comes from the Latin “pax”, sharing a

common root with the word “pacta”. For the Romans,

peace proceeded from a pact, an agreement, a legal, formal

and univocal convention sometimes imposed by force

(pax romana). This rule, intended to make life in common

possible, is translated into laws that justice will enforce.

The adage "Pacta servanda sunt" highlights the imperative

character of the rule of law.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Philippe of Belgium and the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

European culture being the heritage of both Greco-Roman

and Judeo-Christian traditions, the idea of peace also

comes from the Semitic root "Shalom" (SLM) drawn from

the Hebrew verb "lehashlim" which means to complete,

fulfill, reconcile. This verb implies anintersubjective,

dynamic action of personnel engagement, of mutual

recognition (symbol) and even of hospitality. Peace is based

on the recognition that we need others to fulfill ourselves.

This peace is founded on a completeness that also evokes

the sweet alliance of lovers and the fecundity of their


This dynamic conception of peace is thus based on a shared

project, an active engagement, a respectful recognition and

even a desire of the other, in his salutary otherness, his

irreducible difference. The symbolics of peace, its hospitality

are based on a shared conception of mankind, of a mutual

recognition of everyone’s singularity, source of a natural law.

The face of the other breaks the mirror of narcissism.




We therefore see how the two spiritual traditions of

Europe enrich our understanding of what peace should be:

the rational approach commands that the rules of life in

common be clearly set forth, unequivocal in terms of rights

and obligations, but this formal peace cannot last without

its relational counterpart, i.e. a desire for mutual respect, a

recognition of my need of the other expressed in hospitality

and personal engagement.

These two approaches, rational and relational, are each

indispensable and complementary for advancing towards an

enduring and productive peace.

Such was the inspiration of the Founding Fathers of Europe,

who were also able to ban nationalism and — to quote

Robert Schuman — "free borders of their pernicious

character"; i.e. rid Europe from nationalism to the benefit

of a renewed European patriotism.

Indeed, nationalism, with Nazism as its most tragic

avatar, illustrates the confusion of rational and

relational discourses. Nationalism amounts to giving

an objective character to a subjective and perfectly

legitimate discourse, that of patriotism: the patriotic

sentiment is a legitimate pride based on love, that of

relatives, of ancestors and of what they bequeathed to us,

patriotism is simultaneously subjective, singular (Ubi bene,

ibi patria) and shared, without exclusivity. It is not an

impersonal or rational discourse and it does not enter into

competition with that of another person (each one loves


King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Philippe of Belgium and the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

his relatives and admires this sentiment in others; as the fifth

commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue recalls: "Honour

your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the

land that the Lord your God is giving you." What a beautiful

summary of patriotism, linking gratitude and country !

On the contrary, nationalism, which is a expression

of political narcissism, maintains a rational and thus

opposable discourse (therefore open to polemics)

based on exclusivity and allegedly superior qualities, all

possibly substantiated by pseudo-scientific argumentation.

Nationalism often has as an economic corollary:

protectionism or even autarchy; the project of autarchy is

to refuse to depend on others and, on a strategic level, to

prepare for war.

in 1948, Economic Union in 1958) in order to arrive at

politics (Benelux Union in 2008). The Fathers of Europe

would follow precisely the same path beginning with the

CECA and the Common Market.

As a consequence of these paradigm changes, Europe, cured of

nationalism, can no longer become an empire; its vocation is to

be a house, not a fortress. In ancient Greek, a house is called

Oikos, from which derive the terms economy and ecology. This

root evokes a project of hospitality, where resources are placed

at the service of a humanist and welcoming society. A market

economy, but not a market society.





Thus, trade, if it is equitable, can be a factor of peace

because, by exchanging with others, I recognise their

utility, their talents; I need them (lehashlim). The theory

of comparative advantage, as explained by the British

economist David Ricardo in the early 19 th century, justified

and inspired England's policy of free trade.

It is because they understood this pacifying role of trade

(“le doux commerce” according to Montesquieu: l'effet

naturel du commerce est de porter à la paix (Montesquieu,

De l'esprit des lois, 1758)) that the founders of the Benelux

started out from economics (Benelux Customs Union

The project of a free trade zone and customs

union was negotiated during World War II by the Belgian,

Dutch and Luxembourg governments in exile. It was based

on a vision of complementarity, of solidarity between the

states of Europe. While Europe was again being torn apart

by the claws of exacerbated nationalism, the three Ministers

of Foreign Affairs Spaak, van Kleffens and Bech, compelled

their finance and agriculture experts to focus on the long

term and to surpass the logic of zero-sum games and old

rivalries. The project of a Benelux Custom Union was

launched in 1944 and came into being in 1948.




Starting from economics, (Treaty of Benelux Economic

Union in 1958) to arrive at politics, the new treaty of Benelux

Union was signed in 2008, to enter into force on 1 January

2012, providing for intensified cross border cooperation

between the three countries in the following fields:

· Internal market and Economy

· Security and Society

· Digitalization and Durability as two core-binding factors

Let us recall a few figures: with 28.5 million inhabitants

(5.6%) and an average GDP of 36,000 €/year (7.9%), the

Benelux is the 5 th largest European economic power. It

must be stressed that the complementarity between the

three countries is not static, we are not dealing with puzzle

pieces that fit together perfectly, but rather with projects for

creating cross-border value chains, based on comparative

advantage. This complementarity is also open: the Benelux

cooperates intensively for now 10 years with the Land

Nordrhein Westfalen and more and more with the French

regions of Hauts de France and Grand Est.

Benelux has thus been the pioneer of "an ever-closer union

among the peoples of Europe", to cite the preamble of the

Treaty of Rome. From the very start the Benelux defended

this position in the face of protectionist or nationalist

temptations; at Schengen in 1985, the Benelux signed with

France and Germany an agreement that would gradually

be extended to virtually all of Europe, permitting the

free movement of persons and thus reinforcing European

citizenship and patriotism.



That of transcending zero-sum games; this is also called

creativity, imagination, the rejection of sterile rivalries, as

attested by the prosperity and the rich artistic heritage of

the 17 provinces. Our tradition is innovation.

Tolerance, with a tradition of political asylum:

multilingualism encourages empathy; tolerance must not be

passive, but rather an attitude of respect towards the others


Pragmatism: no cults of personality or fanatical nationalism;

humanity (and humor) takes precedence over ideology.

Patience: in these regions where nature is not overly

Thomas Antoine

generous, nothing is built but in the long term; let us for

example admire how the Dutch reclaimed their country

from the sea!

Trade, as the fair exchange between goods and people;

the XVII Provinces were free traders, following England's

example and Montesquieu’s thought.

A profound determination: "One need not to hope in order

to undertake, nor to succeed in order to persevere". The

motto of William de Nassau reflects the mentality of the

peoples of the Benelux.

These virtues are at the service of a peaceful ideal, of

a prudent yet determined humanism, and they express

themselves via a culture of dialogue. This lays the field for

an intense cross border cooperation.

Traditionally, there has been no nationalism in the Benelux,

but instead loyal patriotisms, which sometimes take a

regional form.

Today, the Benelux, in a difficult European context, is

working on concrete projects for combating Euroscepticism

and hostility to the EU, of which Brexit is one regrettable

illustration. In this challenging period, the Benelux must

preserve its relevance by remaining true to its vocation.

Nomen est omen, each name bears a destiny, "Benelux" can

evoke a "good light", this gentle light of the North so highly

valued by artists, because it illuminates without blinding; it

leads us to the mystery of the human, as do the paintings

of Rembrandt or Vermeer.

In conclusion, I hope that the Benelux, conscious of

its humanist heritage and its responsibilities, will continue

to illuminate the path for Europe.

Thomas Antoine

Secretary General of the Benelux Union









The Benelux Union is celebrating its 60 th anniversary, at

the same moment the ‘Foundation BeNeLux-University'

(in Dutch: ‘BeNeLux-Universitair Centrum’ or ‘B.U.C.’)

celebrates its 30 th anniversary. In the Foundation’s coat of

arms — next to its name and the description of ‘BeNeLux

Study Center’ — a representation can be found of ‘Psyche’

and of the ‘Book of Wisdom’, with earthly and heavenly

blue colors according to its artistic design. This is also

referring to the harmony between mind, feelings and

emotions necessary in all human life and work.

This coat of arms also contains the words Scientiae et

Artibus: ‘For Science and Arts’. Diplomatic World sat

together with Professor Dr. Anton van der Geld, Founder

and President of the Foundation BeNeLux-University, and

invited him to tell us the story of his crucial Foundation.

“I have always had a deep interest in Belgium, as I

originate from and am still living in the South of the

Netherlands, around ’s-Hertogenbosch. I studied at the

Universities of Utrecht, Tilburg and Leuven, completing

three studies.

So I have always had a deep interest in the Benelux

cooperation and then the idea rose to give it a special

impulse by founding an independent institute to promote

cultural, educational and scientific collaboration. Several

contacts and conversations contributed to my idea of

a university center. I discussed with the first Minister-

President of Flanders (after the first Belgian state reform)

Dr. Gaston Geens, who I knew well, and with Brussels

‘Secretary of State’ Dr. Vic Anciaux, who was also a

medical professional. In the Netherlands I often discussed

my ideas with Professor Piet Steenkamp, President of

the Senate, and with the Dutch Ambassador to the USA,

residing in Washington DC. And this was the beginning of

the Foundation BeNeLux-University for education, science,

culture and humanity in Europe. And with these advisers

the Foundation was safe.


In the eighties I was appointed at the University of

Leuven. I have always been deeply interested in the

cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands, and

automatically also Luxembourg. I also participated in a

few culture and art societies. In Leuven this involvement

became only stronger. During these years I also met the

eminent Professor Mark Eyskens, still Minister of Foreign

Affairs around that time. We were both professor with a

special status, being only one day a week at the University

of Leuven, and there we further strengthened our

acquaintance by a continuous collaboration and


Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld

Ambassador H.E. Chris Hoornaert (B), Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld, Ambassador H.E. Maryem van den Heuvel (NL), Prins Charles Adrien de Merode,

Ambassador H.E. Jean-Marc Hoscheit (Lux).

Also my wife, Cily Nouwens was very collaborative in this

process and active inside the Foundation. In addition, our

three children, Pieter, Lucienne and Christian, have been

active as volunteers for the Foundation from the start and

still are actively participating on a voluntary basis. My son

Pieter, a dentist and psychologist, is my intended successor

as President of the Board of the Foundation.

After the death of Cily we have founded and named

a foundation in remembrance of her: the ‘Foundation

Cily van der Geld-Nouwens Fund’ advancing the (re)

humanization of society (in Dutch: ‘Stichting Cily van

der Geld-Nouwens Fonds’). Further information on this

foundation can be found on the website of the Foundation

BeNeLux-University (note of Diplomatic World: the

website is stated at the end of the Professor’s statement).

Thus we intended to give a special and concrete impulse to

the cooperation and friendship between the three Benelux

countries: not just doing something, but establishing a

content and focusing on a practical contribution. Two

pillars were therefore established. The first pillar was

social-cultural and focused on humanity: we planned

to organize meetings and symposia, in order to bring

different societies from the three countries together. The

second pillar was educational and academic: we planned

to target specific groups in the Benelux: the group of

medical professionals, the group of police and juridical

professionals and the group of management administrators,

teachers and policy advisors. Our related intention and

goal was to provide these groups of professionals in

Foundation BeNeLux-University with complementary,

common trainings and educations and promotion of


So we created three Course Locations: we started at the

University of Antwerp, the University of Eindhoven and the

University — still a Center at that time — of Luxembourg.

The most remarkable aspect of our trainings was bringing

together, in correspondence with the subject of the training,

the specialists on this specific subject from the Netherlands

and Belgium in a study group. They received education

and formation on a specific subject, part-time during one

or more years. In this way we created rapprochement and

cooperation in the Benelux through the collaboration of

these groups of professionals in a specific field.

These courses worked indeed very well in our view: we

organized even Master courses. In the course rooms

professionals from Belgium and the Netherlands were sitting

next to each other. So we created Benelux cooperation and

friendship amongst these professionals as a sustainable


approchement at the basis. It is remarkable how regularly

and how intensively former course participants have found

in this way the path towards more professional cooperation

and also friendship in the Benelux countries.

Our efforts in the Benelux did not go unnoticed. Contacts

also arose with the Royal Families of Belgium and the

Netherlands. At the official visit of the incoming Crown

Prince Filip, the Governor of North Brabant, Mr. Frank

Houben, asked me to give a speech to Prince Filip on the

occasion of his acceptance of the title of new Duke of


In 2006, Princess Astrid of Belgium presented together

with me the ‘BeNeLux-Europe Prize’ (In Dutch: BeNeLux-

Europa Prijs) to Honorary Ministers Jacques Santer and

Bernard Bot. In 2005 I presented the ‘BeNeLux-Europe

Prize’ to Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven, member of

the Dutch Royal Family, together with our Counselor

the Belgian Prince Charles-Louis de Merode. Prof. Pieter

van Vollenhoven also joined our Foundation as a Patron,

followed a few years later by Princess Lea of ​Belgium as

Patroness. Count Herman Van Rompuy is also Patron of

the Foundation BeNeLux-University.

Awarding the ‘BeNeLux-Europe Prize’ has undeniably

become an important event. The Prize is awarded to

persons or institutions that have performed exceptionally

well for Benelux cooperation and Benelux friendship. This

year we presented the Prize in the City Hall of Eindhoven

to the Belgian Ambassador H.E. Chris Hoornaert, the

Dutch Ambassador H.E. Maryem van den Heuvel and the

Luxembourg Ambassador H.E. Jean-Marc Hoscheit.

Previous recipients of this Prize were amongst others

Jean-Claude Juncker, Herman Van Rompuy, Pieter

van Vollenhoven, Jan Peter Balkenende, Guy Verhofstadt,

Willem van Eekelen, Marianne Thyssen, Maria van der

Hoeven, Lydie Polfer, Neelie Kroes, Herman De Croo,

Frits Korthals Altes, Viviane Reding, Bernard Wientjes,

Piet Hein Donner, Kris Peeters, Frans Timmermans.

In the City Hall of Eindhoven Dutch and Belgian Justice

and Police professionals received this year also their

postgraduate certificate of our Foundation BeNeLux Study

Center. During an entire year they followed the same

courses and worked closely together in the course rooms.

And then you see what the final results are, then you see

the output. These courses had truly great consequences in



Former Premiers Mark Eyskens (B) and Jan Peter Balkenende (NL) within the B.U.C.

Senator Andre Postema, Minister of State Mark Eyskens, Barbara Dietrich, CEO Diplomatic World, Consul Monique De Decker-Deprez,

Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld, Former Premier Jan Peter Balkenende, Ambassador H.E. Chris Hoornaert (B), Prins Charles Adrien de Merode,

Ambassador H.E. Jean-Marc Hoscheit (Lux).

When we just started, there was actually little direct

and personal contact between the Police and Justice

professionals from the Netherlands and those from Belgium.

I can still remember the time when the Attorney General of

Antwerp had almost no personal contact with the Attorney

General in ’s-Hertogenbosch. In this perspective, we have

been collaborative. In recent years smooth cooperation

between the Police and Justice professionals in the

Netherlands and in Belgium is perceived as normal, but at

the beginning of the Foundation BeNeLux-University this

was not always the case.

Let us go back to the beginning of our Foundation: the

organization and teaching of Post-graduate and Master

classes. We have organized many Master courses, according

to the Anglo-Saxon system, in collaboration with several

American and British Universities, until the moment the

Universities in the Benelux picked up these Master’s Degree

programs after the Bologna Declaration. We therefore

decided to focus on other forms of Post-graduate education

and on a few practice-based chairs.

We were able to make many people enthusiastic, also

Minister of State Mark Eyskens, Prince Charles-Louis

de Merode, former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and

other prominent persons. The Foundation has also evolved in

a very personal way, because it has no external funding.

We are (working) independent, self-supporting and partly pro

deo. We only receive humble revenues from the courses, and

we are keeping these course fees intentionally low. It is more

important to bring various professionals together to help

them advance in their area of expertise than to make profit.

We were also able to establish in the Foundation BeNeLux-

University Center a pleasant and work friendly context, in

which at a certain time more than seventy professors from

the Benelux were welcomed. They come regularly to us for

teaching a specific course and are enjoying the absence of

possible tensions and the presence of a more democratic


They all chose for a collegial community with the President

of the Foundation as team leader. From there I have always

been confronted with a kind of difficulty: I am not only

the President of the Board of the Foundation, but also in a

way the Rector. The affiliated professors and participants

expressed the wish to combine these functions. This makes

it possible for them to have a personal and direct line with

the Foundation. This combination of two functions creates

a heavy workload.



Our Foundation has various activities in the three countries,

which have also evolved over the years. In this way the

accents have been shifted over time. The creation and

installation of a special Chair for ‘Society and Culture’ in

the Benelux countries played an important role in this.

I founded this Chair in 1994 and offered it to the Benelux

Parliament, meeting in the ‘Ridderzaal’ (Knights Hall) in

The Hague. It is a partnership between our Foundation and

the Benelux Parliament. Minister of State Mark Eyskens is

the main titular. The chair is installed separately in the three

countries, likewise in Luxembourg during the ceremony

there in 1995.

Since many years, courses for doctors are being held

in Luxembourg to specialize further in the fields of

Gerontology and Alzheimer. Therefore a special agreement

has been concluded between the Luxembourg Government

and our Foundation. In Luxembourg, we were allowed to

play a constructive role, helping the Center to evolve into a

full-scale University, with the assistance of the University

of Trier.

We organized a beautiful event at this occasion, in the

presence of the Government of Luxembourg and with a

large media attention. At this occasion we awarded also

the distinction of the BeNeLux-Europe Prize to the Prime

Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the

Minister of Education, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, and the

Minister of Social Security, Marie-Josée Jacobs. These

courses in Luxembourg are still running. We have, as

previously said, an agreement with the Luxembourg State,

with two Ministers: they organize the administration and

the finances, which is for us welcome, because we don’t

have a large staff. In Belgium and the Netherlands we have

been focusing on the fields of Police, Justice and Public

Administration, over the past years.

In Belgium, there was till recently a course on

psychotherapy, for the further training of doctors and

psychologists. There is also a Chair for ‘Man and Labor’.

After a short interruption, I am for the Foundation strongly

active again in the fields of ‘people, labor and sustainability’.

We still have many ideas and plans. There is also the Chair

for ‘Army and Society’.

Our Chairs are strongly focusing on the practice. Therefore

we are describing these Chairs also as practice chairs, in

contrast to the universities with the capacities to start large

and fundamental researches. This is not possible for us:

as a study center, we are focusing on the research and the

development of the practice, of professional fields.

In practice, many professionals and supervisors scarcely

come to the human aspects. How to act in the light of

human dignity, is the central question. Precisely in this time,

this is an important aspect. The ‘B.U.C.’ offers trainings

and education to 'people counselors' who work in various

locations in the Benelux. ‘People counseling’ (coaching) is

a separate course in which good communication plays an

essential role. This course combines applied humanities,

cultural knowledge and human values.

Modern techniques and science lift our society to an even

higher level: the intervention in life becomes reality and

the 'makeable' man comes into view. That sounds maybe

nice, but are we on the way to a reality in which man can

sometimes no longer recognize himself? There is a growing

need for attention for the human aspect in work and

development, in life and in death. It is an appreciation for

diversity in civilizations.

There we intend to make a considerable contribution

to the well-being of the society in the Benelux, through

‘imaginative power and renewal’ quoting the motto of

the Foundation BeNeLux-University or ‘B.U.C.’ and

my personal motto also. The ‘B.U.C.’ has four pillars:

permanent education is the first pillar, helping to educate

people personally and in a continuous way. The other

three pillars are related to a certain inspiration from out

of which we can achieve this education: science, culture

and humanity. We intend to distinguish ourselves by the

inspiration coming from these three pillars, in order to

influence society and people positively and take the best

decision about our actions and aspirations.

Working from this idea a truly imaginative power can be

built up, which allows us to achieve renewal in many fields.

The society is rapidly changing and there are various new

problems. Now it is the challenge to focus our attention on

these changes and problems and find humane solutions.

We have to renew society in many fields. And therefore

we need imaginative power that will bring the necessary

renewal leading to even stronger imaginative power in

practice: both are needed and are inseparably connected in

my view. This philosophy is at the heart of the Foundation


Monique De Decker-Deprez, Barbara Dietrich and Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld

The Foundation’s mission is about the human values of

humanity, well-being, love and happiness, giving priority to

cultural optimism. In this context, several inspiring books

have been published by Prof. Anton van der Geld: 'Your life

is yours', 'Balance in our life', 'Your lifestyle from heart and

soul'. At the moment he is working on his 10 th book about

'Inspiration and the Art of Living'. Health, well-being and

happiness in life are of utmost importance to everyone.

Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld received three Royal Honors

in the Benelux in recognition of his meritorious services:

Great Officer in the Leopold Order (Belgium), Knight in

the Dutch Lion (the Netherlands) and Commander in the

Oak Crown (Luxembourg).

The non-profit organization ‘BeNeLux-Universitair

Centrum’ (‘B.U.C.’) or ‘Foundation BeNeLux-University’

was established in 1988. The Foundation intends to help

improving the quality of society in the Benelux, in the

perspective of the European integration.

The Foundation is independent, self-supporting and

idealistic in nature and creates through its institutions a

framework for cooperation in the Benelux, reflected also

in its organization.

Founding President is Prof. Dr. Anton van der Geld;

Special Counsels to the Foundation are the Ambassador

of Belgium H.E. Chris Hoornaert, the Ambassador of

Luxembourg H.E. Jean-Marc Hoscheit, Minister of State

Mark Eyskens, Prince Charles-Louis de Merode and

Minister of State Jaime Saleh.

Coordinator of the College of Laureates is former Dutch

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Lord Protectors

are Count Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of

the European Council, and Prof. Pieter van Vollenhoven,

Member of the Dutch Royal family.

Lady Protector is H.R.H. Princess Lea of Belgium.

President of the ‘BeNeLux Europe Circle’ is Minister

of State Prof. Mark Eyskens for Belgium and former

Minister Dr. Willem van Eekelen for the Netherlands;

Vice President of the Circle for the Netherlands is

Henk Morsink, Honorary Adjutant-General to the

King of the Netherlands, and for Belgium Honorary

Consul of Sri Lanka Monique De Decker-Deprez.










In fact the 60th birthday of BENELUX could be fake news.

Actually the BENELUX is much older. The idea of creating

a bond started already at the end of the Second World War

in London when the three governments of Belgium, the

Netherlands and Luxemburg, were in exile in London and

realized that a new form of cooperation and an intense

relationship starting from an economic and commercial

union would be necessary to protect the interests of the

three countries. But also financially it could be a tool to

coordinate the fluctuations of the rates of exchange of

the involved currencies. These ideas were in a later phase

implemented in European treaties and today we could state

that the BENELUX started as an experimental lab for the

later integration of the European Union. The BENELUX

was an incubator for what later happened. The most

important treaty related to the BENELUX celebrated its

60th anniversary a few weeks ago in Brussels.



During this period European Summits were organised

with only 12 member states: it was in the years just before

and after the Cold War. Ministers knew each other in a

very intimate way: we phoned each other in a direct way,

before smartphones existed and we met on a regular basis

face-to-face, formally but also informal. Sometimes in

beautiful castles and other enclosed environments where

confidentiality was the rule. These first confidential meetings

were called the gimmick meetings, always following the

Chatham House Rule, where the presence of the participants

was not disclosed. Journalists were far away. We succeeded

in breakthrough compromises that were at the end essential

for the future development of the European Union.


As far as the BENELUX University Center (B.U.C.) is

concerned: this is a rather old idea. It stems from the

Netherlands and was created by Professor van der Geld

who is a very dynamic man. He is in fact a psychologist and

involved in coaching people and organizations. His idea was

to have the BENELUX idea imbedded in university circles,

to make professors of the three countries disperse their

ideas to students of the other countries. I have an important

chair in the B.U.C. and from time to time I am invited in the

Netherlands, Belgium or in Luxembourg to explain the state

and activities of the BENELUX. When I was a minister —

I have been active in different Belgian governments for 16

years — I was always impressed by the coherence and the

creativity of the BENELUX.

Mark Eyskens

Barbara Dietrich and Mark Eyskens

In my career I have known several Presidents of the

European Commission, but the most creative, impressive and

daring one was Jacques Delors. He was President during 10

years. He just had one handicap: his English was not good,

so he kept speaking French, which was still a dominating

language in diplomatic Europe. Arriving at meetings he

was always carrying a small notebook in his pocket. While

opening it he said: ‘Last night I couldn’t sleep very well

but I came up with an idea’, proposing either a solution

for a problem, or new initiatives, starting the discussion. I

remember a crucial meeting on the Treaty of Maastricht in

Ireland, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We were completely

blocked by the attitude of the British, Margaret Thatcher

and her Minister of Foreign Affairs Douglas Hurt being

absolutely opposed to the transfer of political sovereignty

to the ‘bureaucrats in Brussels’. Jacques Delors said: ‘When

I was a young student I got a lecture on the social doctrine

of the Catholic Church.’ When he was young, Delors had

been a syndicate militant in the Christian Union, studying

the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and a crucial

concept in that doctrine is subsidiarity. For the Catholics it

related to the Catholic school system. The Catholics wanted

to protect their schools and declared that ‘Schools have

to be independent, totally autonomous, except when they

are unable to realize things by themselves: at that moment

government could intervene’. This concept limited the

intervention of the government.

Can we perhaps apply the concept of subsidiarity to Europe?

Nations continue to do what they can do, but as soon as

they can’t — because we are becoming more and more

interdependent — then they call on a higher level: and that

will be the European Commission, the European Council

or the European Institutions. Ms Thatcher replied she

would consider this. And after a break in the negotiation

process she said: ‘I can live with that’. The concept of

subsidiarity became part of the Treaty of Maastricht and a

key to the solution. Great Britain remained in the European

boat although their interpretation of subsidiarity was a

different from ours. For us subsidiarity meant that as

many competences as possible should be transferred to a

higher level. For the British it was the contrary: to keep the

maximum of competences at the lower level of the national

states. Today all this is questioned and perhaps over with the




I believe that more than ever the BENELUX should play

the role of a lab of ideas and a broker of compromises as it

was the case in the past. Given the present situation, which

is extremely difficult, I think the three BENELUX countries

could try to build a solid bridge between the two most

important countries in the Union: France and Germany. The

relation between the two major players depends often upon

the electoral success in both countries. The government of

Ms Merkel is weakened today. The BENELUX has a proven

record to propose solutions.

Yesterday morning I had a meeting with Manfred Weber,

president of the Group of the EPP in the European

Parliament. And he explained the intricacies of the

European attitude of the different political parties in

Germany. And we had the same problems in the

BENELUX: in the Netherlands the Christian Democrats

are less European minded than we are in Belgium and

in Flanders. But this could be also a kind of enrichment

by comparing our positions and trying to find a common

denominator. So we have several problems in Europe today

starting with a lack of leadership. The time of Adenauer

and Robert Schuman is the past. But I am convinced that

French and German leaders supported by the ideas of the

BENELUX, could propose something intelligent resulting

in a new model of coherence and consensus within the

European Union.

The migration problem is an extremely complex problem.

We have to face three categories of immigration. First the

war refugees: they have to be protected by article 3 of the

European Treaty of Human Rights and they can get asylum

when they fulfill well defined conditions. We have to share

this responsibility. The number of asylum seekers has

decreased in a spectacular way: in two years it has decreased

by more than 40% which we should be able to control.

Secondly we are confronted with the economic refugees.

How to make the difference between an economic and a

political refugee? What about ethics and morality? When

you are starving in your country why not immigrate to our

wealthy nations? In parallel politicians should explain to the

public that the European demography is going down in a

rapid way, particularly in Germany.

At the end of this century, we will be confronted in Europe

with a demographic deficit of minus 50 million people due

to the phenomenon of the aging of the population — which

is a very expensive burden because of health services —

and the lack of young people. The youth are needed for

the labor market and to balance our social security. Birth

rates in Europe have fallen down, so we need young people

coming from outside Europe and organize this influx. We

need a selective policy of immigration, capable to integrate,

responding to vacant jobs on the labor market.

Without the demagogy of populism. The BENELUX could

play a moderating role by practicing political pedagogy,

explaining to the population what the situation is and what

the long term problems are.


I remember that Foreign Ministers of Eastern European

countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and even

Hungary would interrogate me: ‘How does the BENELUX

work? Could we do the same in the Eastern part of Europe?’

In result the VISEGRAD countries were founded similar to


Secondly, the enormous challenge of immigration could

completely destabilize the European Union if each country

is applying its own measures in order to protect its own

borders which leads to a negative disruption of the European

Union. In the BENELUX we have an extensive experience

of migration. After WWII Belgium attracted a lot of Italians

and Turks, as miners. The Italians moved in general to

Wallonia and the Turks to the Province of Limburg. Recently

during the Turkish elections many of these very well

integrated Turks in Limburg were voting for Erdogan, but

also for the opposition, which led to campaign fights in the

streets of Hasselt and other villages in Limburg.

The problem of a democracy is that democracies function

on a short term basis with elections every four to five years.

On the other hand long term problems have an horizon

of 20/25 years. Take the climate: we urgently have to take

measures in order to reduce the warming of the planet for

the next decades. In general voters vote for the short term.

And politicians want to be re-elected. We have dysfunctions

of democracy due to the friction or conflict between short

term and long term problems and solutions, the revolution

of digitalization and the fact that everyone is active and

online all the time. We are evolving towards a formula of

government led by a permanent opinion poll. All political

parties test public opinion every day. When a measure

is unpopular it is bound not to happen and in a way this

weakens democracy. I hear the stories and I read in writings

that strong regimes with authoritarian governments and

leaders are more and more appreciated. In Italy, some are

calling back the figure of ‘Il Duce’ Mussolini. President Putin

has also many sympathies.

Mark Eyskens

I have already proposed to modify our voting system. I am a

great defender of the Belgian obligatory voting system. Take

for instance the case of Donald Trump in the United States:

he has been elected by 26% of the potential American voters

because 48% didn’t show up. The Brexit was only approved

by 36% of the potential British voters because 30% didn’t

go and cast their vote. So these are minorities, overrunning

and overturning completely the economic mechanism and

political situation. We are obliged to go and vote as in

Greece and Luxembourg.

Secondly, we only have one vote: one man or woman, one

vote. In many countries you have many political parties,

which results in a great volatility on the political market

and a big and intense competition between parties. And

people change. In the past 20/30 years children voted

like their parents for the same political parties. But that

situation has changed. In Brussels, for federal elections you

have approximately 13 different parties with hundreds of

candidates and thousands of focus points in their electoral

programs. But you have only one vote to decide.

At the end you vote for one party and when that party steps

in the government with at least two or three other parties we

create a coalition government with four parties. This means

the party you voted for, can only realize a smaller part of

its program, which could frustrate the voter. The party

cannot apply entirely what they promised because they are

in a government with other parties. I am in favor of what I

call ‘point voting’. Don’t give one vote to each voter, but for

instance ten or twenty votes. And he could spread his votes

like he or she wants for different candidates and different

parties.The voter, by spreading his votes, is constructing

the coalition and weakening the power of the presidents

of political parties. I received a lot of criticism and one of

the major criticisms was that technically this would be very

difficult to organize. But in times of computerization and

digitalization, I think that this should be feasible. We have to

(re-)think this election case over and the BENELUX could

become a lab to propose an improved alternative of our




During Cold War, we lived in a bipolar world with two

blocks. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold

War without using arms was almost a miracle in history.

Thanks to courageous leaders as Gorbachev, Mitterand,

Thatcher and George Bush Sr. After 1989 the world became

multipolar with fewer large countries: the United States,

China, Japan, the European Union and Russia dominating

the field. Today there is disorder and chaos in international



relations where alliances are changing according to the

topic of the day, One could speak about an ‘a-polar’ world,

without a significant polarity. Due to the presidency of

Donald Trump and his behaviour the United States are

politically weakened. They are no longer taken seriously.

Whereas China is making an enormous effort, although

they have some economic problems and although — once

you travel through China and you go into the villages — it

is still a bit of a developing country. But in cities welfare

is increasing and in parallel the development of digital

industries is widespread. This will have an economic impact

on other continents and industries. The car industry in

Europe, particularly the German car industry, has been

strongly hit by Dieselgate scandal that will cost a fortune.

Volkswagen has to pay one billion euro. Meanwhile the

technological and market shift from gas engines to electrical

cars is happening today. The Chinese have decided to ban

all their gasoil driven cars by the latest in 2030 and replace

them by electrical cars. They are now already manufacturing

electrical cars for export to Europe at an extremely

reasonable price: 15 000 euro for a fully electronical car.

This will become a deadly competition for the European car


The Belt and Road Initiative is another major Chinese

project, rebuilding the Silk Road of the Middle Ages, and

bridging China to Europe. In this context China has already

acquired big stakes in the harbour of Piraeus/Athens and is

building a railway from Peking and Shanghai to Europe with

a huge impact on costs. Costs will decrease and be lower

than maritime costs. The train connection will go to the sea

ports of Northern Europe: Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg,

Rostov, Gdansk, increasing competition. We are living in a

disruptive world and looking at the global map, Europe is

a small peninsula hanging on the Eurasian continent up to

Siberia and Vladivostok.

With Russia we have to be more constructive. We should

also have the moral courage to imagine if we were in the

same situation as the Russians after the end of the Cold

War: the explosion of the Soviet Union and the implosion

of Communism. Russia lost their ideology and lost 12

republics, evolving from provinces in the Soviet Union to

independent countries. For me the annexation of the Crimea

is a footnote and knowing that the Crimea was given to

Ukraine when it was still a province of the Soviet Union

under Khrushchev. The referendum in the Crimea gave a

majority of 95% in favor of the annexation by Russia. I don’t

believe that sanctions are efficient and are not worthwhile.

The Russians and President Putin today and all his

predecessors, beginning with Gorbachev have a history of

feeling cheated by the Western countries, the United States

and Europe. In 1989-1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall,

the Western Ministers, obtained from Gorbachev that he

accepted the reunification of both Germanies, becoming

a full member of the European Union. The Americans

added that Germany should also become a member of

NATO. For Gorbachev this was a bridge too far. "We are

now dismantling the Warsaw Pact. You should do the

same with NATO and you should at least neutralize a

reunified Germany within NATO: so no American basis, no

nuclear weapons on the territory of the big Germany". The

European countries were divided. But Bush Sr said: ‘No, that

is impossible, that we cannot accept.’ Helmut Kohl took also

a very strong position: 'If the price for the reunification of

my country is that my country should become neutral, then

I refuse reunification.' President Bush and his Minister of

Foreign Affairs Jimmy Baker, a very intelligent man, would

solve the situation with Gorbachev face-to-face proposing

a re-election scheme with Gorbachev, at that moment the

first elected President of Russia. By influencing the supply

and demand and subsequently the market prices of oil in

collaboration with the oil producing countries in the Middle

East, which also had a parallel impact on the Russian gas

prices. Enabling Russia to create income by augmenting

gas prices, Gorbachev would be able to invest, increase

employment rates, build new companies, and finally be

re-elected. In this scheme unified Germany would become

a full member of NATO again.The first months the oil

prices remained stable and on a rising level. But as from

the fourth month oil prices started to decrease and even

collapsing within six months going against Gorbachev’s

naive reasoning. At that moment confidence in the Western

partners was shattered and anti-American feelings were

nurtured. It is difficult for Russia to trust Americans. That

lack of trust was handed over from Gorbachev to Jeltsin and

finally to Putin. I think that Germany and France, together

with the BENELUX, should improve our contact again to

improve our relationship and build trust.

The new French President Macron has created the basis for

a renewed relationship with President Putin. Our Belgian

Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has been in the Kremlin

recently (March 2018) and was treated with great respect.

These are positive signs but it should result in an outcome


Barbara Dietrich

Wallpaper, detail, watercolor

© Lieve Van Stappen









The World is changing. In which direction are we

evolving and what do you think is the right way



First of all, before I answer your questions, we have to

make an analysis of the world as it is now, before we can

speak about where we are heading for. If there are two

words that characterize the current period, these words

are uncertainty and anxiety. And not only in Western

Europe: you have the same feelings all over the world. This

feeling is much more present now than it was one year

and a half ago, because the continuous discourse of the

American President contributed heavily to this renewed

and accentuated feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. But it

already existed before. What are the main reasons for this


The first and most actual reason, are the events that are

happening around trade and the so-called trade war.

Without going into detail, the measures that are taken

now do not have a great impact on international trade.

Only 1.5% of GDP for the upcoming ten years. You have

to relate this number to the 10% growth the economy will

have in the upcoming ten years. It is not marginal but you

really have to relativize. There is an impact on investment

because investment depends on a climate of trust: certainty

or uncertainty. Today uncertainty rules.

Most people are worried and concerned. Some are

anticipating a worsening of trade measures. But until

now, the harm done is not that big. In the thirties when

there was also a trade war, exports decreased with almost

60% in just a few years’ time. Now the pace of growth is

slowing down, but this doesn’t mean we experience an

overall decrease of world trade, but it affects the feeling of


A second point that creates uncertainty is the migration

crisis. Migration is part of globalization. I will share with

you some perspectives. The absolute number of migration

coming via Turkey, via Libya and from the Mediterranean

as a whole to Europe, is one quarter of what it was two

years ago. So the fear of a massive inflow of migrants is

not followed by the statistical figures. We created ‘Fortress

Europe’ whether you like it or not. Europe is protecting

its borders much more effectively than a few years ago,

apart from the humanitarian side of all these measures we

took. But in perception migration is considered by many

of our citizens all over Europe as the main topic. It is also

high on the political agenda in every member country

and considered a threat to our civilization, our culture,

our social security, our jobs… Rightly or wrongly. But this

sustains a huge factor of uncertainty. The answer that

European countries give to it, is precisely protecting much

more effectively the external borders. Same situation in

the United States, where its main symbol is the wall built

between the United States and Mexico, not just built by

President Trump, but also by his predecessors. Migration

is all over the Western World, in the European Union

and the United States, a major topic. Uncertainty. Again

the answer is what we called a few years ago ‘Fortress


Herman Van Rompuy

A third factor of uncertainty is populism. We have to

look at this phenomenon in a very lucid way, seeing all

the aspects. Populism is changing the political landscape,

is creating huge tensions in society: what we call

polarization, going even to racism and installing enemy

thinking. Populism is creating deep cleaves in our society.

But is it a danger for Europe? Yes and no. In Italy, after

one week with the new government, the Italians said: ‘We

will not leave the European Union, we will not leave the

Eurozone.’ Madame Le Pen, after her major defeat in the

French elections, said: ‘We can realize our program within

the European Union.’ When you look at the governmental

agreement in Austria, the European chapter is still quite

a traditional European chapter, which doesn’t mean it is

strongly pro-European. But it is mainstream European

and not creating worries on the European Project. After

Brexit there is a change in populism. While the public

opinion is more in favor of EU membership than before

Brexit. People don’t want to add instability to an already

unstable world. The support for EU membership increased

dramatically after Brexit. And even so populists want to

remain popular. So they weigh all this, that is why they are

not challenging the European Project as such and the Euro

Area in particular.

Does that mean that populism is no danger? No. Because

governing such a divided society is much more difficult

than when we keep consensus around key values in our

society. We have to keep that in mind. There is one

particular aspect that is not often emphasized: populism

is on the right side of the political spectrum as far as

migration, identity and culture is concerned (what we

called social-cultural factors), but is on the left on socialeconomic

matters. Because a populist party doesn’t

want to become unpopular in cutting social benefits or

decreasing wages or pensions. In general they are against

austerity, against fiscal consolidation. At the end, they

make our economies less competitive on the global scale.

Looking at populism from different angels remains a

reflection of uncertainty and anxiety and is a worry

for other parties and countries because it is creating

political volatility and political instability and makes the

European Union and member states much more difficult

to manage.



Another threat for the upcoming years is the high level

of private and public debt. I often say that a financial

crisis is bound to happen. We don’t know when and we

don’t know how. But the overall level of debt of 225%,

public and private debt speaking in global terms, is so

high that the situation is threatening, not tomorrow and

not the day after tomorrow but in medium or long term

perspective. Wolfgang Schäuble, when he left his office

as Minister of Finance in Germany, mentioned this as

his main concern for the upcoming decades. We know

the consequences of a financial crisis in the aftermath of

the 2008 crisis. Maybe it will not even be in my lifetime,

but we have to be very careful and vigilant. Because the

public and private debt level is not only high but it has

increased since 2008 with 12% of GDP, especially in

China and the United States. In Europe, we conducted

the policy of austerity and control in many countries

in comparison with China and the US. In China, some

action has been taken but it is a factor of uncertainty.

Geopolitical rivalry also plays a role. Not between Russia

and the United States. With all respect to the great

country that Russia is, but today they represent 3% of

the world economy, the United States 15%, and China

even more, when we make the comparison in what we

technically call ‘Purchasing Power Parity’. When you

make a comparison between the Russian and the Chinese

economy, it is almost a factor from one to six. When

I speak about geopolitical rivalry, economically and

politically speaking, it is between the USA and China.

But the question is: is there really that kind of rivalry?

Because our Chinese Friend tends to underestimate the

domestic factors that are inspiring or motivating the

policies of President Trump. President Trump’s first

concern is domestic, his first concern is to show to his

core voters that he is defending the United States in the

world. That is why he is taking action against China, and

also against the European Union.

Unfortunately, the United States have not many friends

anymore in the world making life even difficult to their

closest allies: Canada, Japan and the European Union.

Even if we consider the main motivation of the United

States, of its new administration, related to domestic

goals, it still is perceived as a rivalry between two main

players. And in the Western World, the feeling is created

that in this rivalry not only the United States but the

Western World are on the losing side. The balance of

power is shifting, more in the direction of Asia than in

the direction of the Atlantic. This leads in ‘Good Old

Europe’ to questioning, ‘Where are we heading for?’,

‘What is our future?’ and ‘What is the place of the

European Union in all this?’

One of the answers to all these issues, trade, migration,

geopolitics, is not less Europe but even more European

cooperation and integration. And that is one of the

paradoxes: at the moment when the European Project is

challenged, when so-called Eurosceptical or Euronegative

parties are on the rise, at that very moment a clear

analysis of the situation shows that to give the right

answer to all those challenges — and I ‘forgot’ in a way

to speak about cyber-security, terrorism, etc. — you can’t

solve those problems anymore on the national level.

When we lived through the trade war between the United

States and the European Union, it was not Macron or

Merkel who concluded an agreement with the United

States, it was the European Commission. This is one of

the great evolutions: the European Institutions showed

their relevance.

I was recently in China during the European Union-China

Summit, and the conclusions were really surprising:

on the Chinese side they promised to reinstall a level

playing field for our traders and for our investors because

there were problems and discriminations. We also made

gestures, so the conclusions were rightly balanced. But

they dealt with the problem together with the European

leaders, the President of the European Council and the

President of the European Commission. China also

notices how important the EU Institutions are in such

a period of uncertainty. So one of the answers is more

European integration and cooperation.

We have recent examples, simply to emphasize and

to underline what I just said. Even the new Italian

government is asking for more banking union, and asking

for more solidarity in the migration issues. Viktor Orban

was meeting Salvini, but they have on migration totally

different opinions. They agree on protecting the external

borders, but everybody is agreeing on this. We don’t

need Orban or Salvini to agree on this. But the divisive

issue between Italy and Hungary is solidarity. The Italian

populists are asking for more Europe. And I am not

telling this for the sake of the argument because it is

based on facts and on declarations.

On defence for instance, we are making huge progress.

After the declarations of President Trump, after the

annexation of the Crimea, confronted with the unstable

situation in the Middle East, European countries

concluded: ‘We have to do more to defend ourselves.’ And

Merkel said: ‘We have to take our fate into our own hands.’

And that is why we set up this ‘Permanent Structured

Cooperation’, what we call ‘PESCO’. 25 countries

are participating. We thought only a few of them would

participate and on a number of very concrete projects. We

are far from a European army but it is about convergence

in many military domains: on purchases of devices, on the

repartition of the roles between armies, on research and

development with aid of the European Commission…

The complex situation is requesting more European

cooperation in the midst of rising Euroscepticism. A

paradox. My advice is not to start a crusade for more

Europe, because then you will have all kinds of reactions.

But we should move on to work on a very concrete basis of

different topics, going in one direction: more cooperation

and integration.

I believe as well that this is what we need. We have

to look to each other, to have empathy with each

other and see what we can do together and how we

can help each other. Here in Brussels, Belgium and

Europe, we are strong. Europe stands for Peace.

We should be proud that we have Europe and we

must be pro-European. And we can be patriotic but

not too much: we must find the right balance.

In the same line of reasoning, we have to show the

European citizens that Europe is not only needed but

that Europe can also protect better against threats, real

threats or perceived threats: unemployment, unstable

jobs, mass illegal migration, terrorism, climate change,

all kinds of dumping and even threats on our borders —

especially important for Central and Eastern European

countries. We have to protect people better. Of course

also cooperation of member states is needed for this, but

without Europe it will not work, without more European

cooperation and in some domains more European

integration it will not work.

Herman Van Rompuy


The scale of problems is becoming too global and too

international. But then we have to perform, we have to

deliver. People need to feel that they are much better

protected by Europe. We are doing a lot, in all those

domains. I can give you for each domain a kind of

summary of all that we did. But the problem is that it is

at this stage not convincing enough. Because the crises

of the Eurozone and the refugees were so traumatic for

many people. You could have lost all your savings in the

banking crisis and in the Eurozone crisis. Imagine that

there was an implosion of the banking system.


Imagine that the Euro would have collapsed. This was

at certain moments a real threat, not only dramatic but

also traumatic. The same occurred with the refugee

crisis: at a certain moment we had the perspective that

not only 1.5 million people could come to Europe, but

several millions. And people were showing solidarity in

the beginning of the refugee crisis but there are limits

to our solidarity. And the perspective that millions

would come was too much for almost all people. So we

showed our generosity and solidarity but at a certain

moment, we considered that there are limits to that kind

of feeling. This created in both the Eurozone crisis and

refugee crisis, such traumas in public opinion that even

if we show today results in all the domains I mentioned,

these are considered not enough and not sufficiently

convincing. It is up to us politicians to work very hard

to convince people even more, because the argument of

peace is a major argument for our generation but it is not

enough for the younger generation.

I want to come back to Great Britain. In United Kingdom

the younger generation voted overwhelmingly in favour

of ‘Remain’. The youth should have gone to the ballot

boxes. Too many stayed at home. The older generation in

England — not in Wales, not in Scotland, not in Northern

Ireland and not in London — voted against membership of

the European Union. And precisely that older generation

has known the war. And the young generation that didn’t

know the war, voted in favour.

So our younger generation — independent from the

argument of war and peace — are pro-European: and

that is for me, in all the problems we have, an element

of hope. Peace lost its attraction on the continent for

younger people as an argument for Europe. But they see

that their colleagues in Britain, British youngsters, found

other reasons to believe in the European cause.

Barbara Dietrich and Herman Van Rompuy

They lost the referendum for now, with a very small

margin: 48% against 52%. And if there is tomorrow a

new referendum, the final result of a referendum could

be just the opposite. What happened in Brexit is very

sad and disappointing. It is a political amputation of the

European Union. In 2060 the United Kingdom will be

the most populated country in Europe, having the most

inhabitants and leaving Germany and France behind,

especially Germany that will lose a lot of its population.

But younger people want to stay. This is the very first

time that the older generation took away the future of a

younger generation. We were always told that we have

to work for our children and grandchildren. But in this

case the older generation is working against the will and

interests of the younger generation. It is quite surprising

and even astonishing.

Barbara Dietrich and Maarten Vermeir

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On 18 and 19 October, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang joined

other leaders of ASEM members for the 12 th ASEM Summit

in Brussels. The theme of this summit “Global Partners

for Global Challenges” is highly relevant. In this age of

multiple challenges, China is committed to working with

other countries in Asia and Europe to send a strong signal

of upholding multilateralism and to forge a robust ASEM


Asia and Europe are the cradles of Oriental and Western

civilizations. Both have witnessed the splendid episodes of

world history and human progress. More than two thousand

years ago, Asia and Europe were connected by the ancient

Silk Road, which led to mutual learning, exchanges and

interactions. Twenty-two years ago, ASEM was born in the

broader context of globalization. Over time, the mechanism

has grown into an important platform for Asia and Europe

to engage with each other for greater mutual understanding

and cooperation.

Asia and Europe need to build stronger consensus. Since

its inception, ASEM has weathered through some major

challenges, like the 9/11 attacks and the global financial

crisis, testifying to its great resilience and the unwavering

commitment to cooperation. As anti-globalization and

protectionist sentiments threaten to come back, our world

is mired in a greater sense of instability and uncertainty. It

is more important than ever for ASEM members to come

together, think in long terms, and take coordinated actions

to resist unilateralism and uphold multilateralism.


ASEM stands for the spirit of multilateralism and openness,

and the commitment to seek dialogue and partnership

rather than confrontation and alliance. For years, ASEM

members have endeavored to advance trade and investment

liberalization and facilitation, promote sustainable

development, build an open world economy, and bring

forward global governance reform. Despite great cultural

differences, ASEM members have drawn strength from

such diversity and bring their citizens closer to each other

through dialogue and communication. ASEM’s success

sheds light on a simple yet powerful message: openness leads

to progress, and cooperation benefits all. Protectionism leads

nowhere, and zero-sum game dooms to fail.

H.E. Zhang Ming Ambassador of China to the European Union and

Barbara Dietrich

Asia and Europe need to unleash greater potential. Many

Asian and European countries have increased input in

connectivity and made good progress. China has put

forward the Belt and Road Initiative, and the EU has

released a strategy for connecting Europe and Asia.

To increase Eurasian connectivity, apart from bilateral

partnerships, ASEM as a multilateral mechanism has a

crucial role to play as well. We need to strive for early

harvests in such priority areas as trade and investment

facilitation, sustainable development, digital economy, and

people-to-people exchanges. We could also explore more

opportunities in such future-oriented areas as clean energy,

ecological protection, smart technology and urbanization.

respect for such differences. For this to happen, cultural

exchanges and communication are critically important.

Thanks to the widespread use of information technology,

people-to-people exchanges could be much more diverse,

engaging and convenient than before. We must act together

to ensure that our cooperation is always of the people, by

the people and for the people.

At the upcoming summit, China stands ready to join

hands with other ASEM members to add to the sense of

togetherness and the spirit of partnership, and make a

positive contribution to more substantial cooperations

between Asia and Europe.

Asia and Europe need to harness the strength of people.

The 53 ASEM members vary from one another due to

different historical and national conditions. Yet, the longterm

development of ASEM would not be possible without

(The author is Ambassador Extraordinary and

Plenipotentiary and Head of Mission of the People’s

Republic of China to the European Union.)












I have taken up my duties as Austrian Ambassador for

the Kingdom of Belgium and NATO in January this year.

The second half of 2018 was already marked as the time

for Austria’s EU-council presidency. Thus it was clear that

Europe and the European Union will play a considerable

part of my duties, although the council work itself will be

dealt by the Permanent Representation and its officials from

all parts of the Austrian administration.

For Austria, this presidency will be the third one, after 1998

and 2006, and it is certainly not comparable to the previous

presidencies. Not only has the institutional framework

changed after the Treaty of Lisbon, with a president of the

European Council and High Representative for Foreign

and Security Policy, but also because Europe finds itself in

a very challenging international environment. Within the

European Union, we see serious discussions among member

states. The migration crisis and, before that, the financial

and economic crisis, have left their marks, and we have

to deal — for the first time in the history of the European

integration process — with a member state that wants to

leave the EU.

As a medium sized EU-member state, we have to raise all

forces within the administration to accomplish our tasks.

So far, Austria chaired more than 500 preparatory meetings

in Brussels, Luxemburg and Strasbourg and has already

hosted roughly half of all the meetings planned in Austria.

In total, there will be more than 200 meetings in Austria.

In Salzburg the Heads of States and Governments met

on 18/19 September, more than ten informal Meetings of

Ministers have already taken place or will be due soon.

From the start it was clear that we will have certainly

a much more challenging semester than during our

previous presidencies. As we are faced with a demanding

environment for the Council Presidency with Brexit, the

start of the negotiations for the next Multiannual Financial

Framework, which entails the future focus and priorities

of the EU, geo-political developments and unfortunately

also internal discussions — it was clear that we have to

communicate to our citizens that the EU also delivers on its

promises. The motto of the Austrian presidency, “A Europe

that protects”, relates to all three priorities.

Security and the fight against illegal migration, securing

prosperity and competitiveness through digitalization, and

stability in the European neighbourhood, with a clear EU

perspective for the countries of South Eastern Europe.

At the same time it is tantamount to secure the unity of

the EU. The EU-council presidency puts Austria in the

spotlight, both here in Brussels and in the rest of Europe. At

the same time, citizens in Austria become more aware of the

EU, be it through the topics that Austria has to deal with

as presidency, or through the many high level meetings that

Austria hosts in different parts of the country.

This half year also provides an occasion to put Austria in

the spotlight here in Brussels. Known for its cultural life

and its cultural events, Austria will be represented by very

interesting and high profile cultural events here in Brussels.

To name just a few: a big exhibition on the influence of

the painter Gustav Klimt on contemporary artists all over

Europe, titled “Beyond Klimt”, will be shown at the Bozar

until the end of January 2019. Renowned orchestras,

notably the Wiener Philharmoniker, but also our leading

orchestra for contemporary music, the Klangforum, as well

as the Wiener Symphoniker give concerts, complemented by

a variety of cultural events in Brussels, covering literature,

Barbara Dietrich and H.E. Elisabeth Kornfeind

theatre, visual arts and dance. The Austrian Cultural Forum

Brussels has come up with an interesting program, which

we hope will create interest and inspiration. It helps that EU

institutions have declared 2018 as the Year of the European

Cultural Heritage. There could be no better motto for us to

show that a political idea and vision needs the emotional

conviction that culture, and cultural exchange can give.

The focus of Austrian government policy lies on European

cooperation, in foreign policy but also in advancing the

common market. Located in the center of the continent,

Austria has a long tradition as a bridge builder between

East and West — a tradition we are very much aware of until

today. Austria has a strong regional structure and — the

nine provinces, the “Bundesländer”, play an active role in

European affairs and contribute to a better understanding of

the EU on a regional and local level. In this respect, there

are some parallels with Belgium, and its strong regions,

cities and communities.

Being ambassador to Belgium is a very satisfying job,

as there are so many positive ties which can be further

developed. Not only do we share a common history, for

example under Empress Maria Theresia, whose 300 th

birthday was celebrated in Austria last year, and who has

founded important institutions especially in education,

science, arts and culture . The structure of our economies

is comparable — relying on small and medium-sized

enterprises — and we have strong economic ties. The trade

and services volume has reached about 5,6 billion €, and

more than 570,000 Belgians visited Austria last year.

There is a vibrant cultural exchange as well. Last year,

a large exhibition in Vienna was dedicated to Peter Paul

Rubens, and. on Oct 1st, a major exhibition on Peter

Breughel the Elder, on the occasion of his 450 th anniversary

of his death, will be opened at the Kunsthistorisches

Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) by His Majesty King

Philippe and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.

Both exhibitions underline the role of these outstanding

painters as truly European artists, and the European

cultural heritage.

Let me conclude by expressing my hope that the Austrian

presidency can contribute that the European Union

will emerge stronger and well prepared for the current

challenges. On the bilateral level, increased cooperation

between Austria and Belgium will benefit the people of

our countries, and contribute to stability and prosperity in


Interview with Barbara Dietrich, CEO Diplomatic World





Sri Lanka’s strategic location is its key asset.

On the South Western coast, it is located in very

close proximity to the world’s busiest sea-lane in

the Indian Ocean connecting maritime traffic from

Europe, Africa and Asia.

On the Northern coast, it is only a dozen kilometers

away from the vast Indian subcontinent. At its Southern

extremity, there is no landmass in a straight line all the

way up to the South Pole. Thus from ancient times to the

present day, Sri Lanka has been the meeting point and

entreport between East West trade.

Today with the economic rise of China, India and East

Asia, Sri Lanka is a direct beneficiary in multiple ways.

Our close and friendly ties with all our neighbours are a

great fillip. It has already become a transshipment hub with

two major ports. Its tourism industry is benefitting from

the rising economic prosperity of the people of Asia. With

a highly educated population, the country is fast becoming

a knowledge hub and an attractive place for BPO and

financial services. We now have two international airports,

which are facilitating the country to become an important

regional transit hub.

stable and functioning democracy with historical ties to

many European countries, we share common ideals and

work together at the international level to promote these

values. We have a very fruitful cooperation with the EU

on issues like migration, where many of our people, who

sought refuge here decades ago, are now returning to Sri

Lanka in significant numbers. Europe remains a popular

destination for many of our students for higher education

and so we continue to promote academic exchanges between

our universities. As Sri Lanka also has a unique and diverse

culture, our music, dance and cuisine are actively promoted

to strengthen the synergies.

Renewable energy is on the worldwide priority

list related to the sustainability of our globe and

climate change. How do you see the evolution in

Sri Lanka’s strategy and challenges related to this


As Ambassador of Sri Lanka, what are

the main focus points for you today in

Brussels-Bilateral agreements, Economic

Diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy and Education?


The European Union is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner.

The EU GSP+ facility has given us duty free access for

over 7000 products to the EU market and our exports to

the EU are significantly increasing. At the same time, it is

diversifying. My focus continues to be to promote trade

and investment as well as tourism. Sri Lanka’s significant

peace and stability as a tourist and investor friendly

destination has helped in this process. At the political

level our endeavour has been to broaden and intensify our

dialogue with the European Union on many issues. As a

Juan Torrents President FEMOZA The World Free & Special Economic

Zones Federation, H.E. E. Rodney M. Perera Ambassador of Sri Lanka,

Barbara Dietrich CEO Diplomatic World, Monique De Decker-Deprez

Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka

Aerial view of Colombo, Sri Lanka modern buildings with coastal promenade area.

© Shutterstock

Whilst our main source of power generation is hydro

powder, coal and petroleum are the two main commercial

energy supply sub-sectors in Sri Lanka. Biomass is also

emerging as significant form of commercial energy.

The government continues to increase the capacity of

renewable energy generation in the country, with a view

to enhancing sustainability in the energy sector. The

construction of Uma Oya, Moragahakanda and Broadlands

hydropower plants are in progress adding more power to the

national grid by 2019.

Small-scale hydropower, biomass including dendro power,

biogas and waste, solar and wind power are replacing

dependency of fossil fuel for power generation. In addition,

other NRE resources such as wave energy and ocean

thermal energy are also being explored. The Ministry

of Power and Renewable Energy has launched a new

community based power generation project titled 'Soorya

BalaSangramaya' (Battle for Solar Energy) in collaboration

with Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA),

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Lanka Electricity

Company (Private) Limited (LECO) to promote the

setting up of small solar power plants on the rooftops

of households, religious places, hotels, commercial

establishments and industries. It is expected to add 200 MW

of solar electricity to the national grid by 2020 and 1000

MW by 2025 through this intervention. Under this program,

the consumers will have options to generate and use

electricity in their premises. In case of electricity in excess

of their requirements, they can sell that to the national

grid or bank it for later use. According to the electricity

usage the customer can select a preferred option from the

following three schemes: Net Metering, Net Accounting and

Micro Solar Power Producer.

‘RiviBalaSavi’ loan scheme was introduced in 2017 to

provide concessionary loans to households through the

banking sector to setup rooftop solar power PV panels.

A project has been initiated to convert public sector

buildings to solar rooftop power producers. Under this

project, 10KW and 20KW solar rooftop systems were

provided free for 13 schools, 77 hospitals and four

government institutions.

‘RiviAruna’ project commenced in 2017 to convert religious

premises to rooftop solar power projects by providing solar

panels free to selected religious places. Accordingly, 135

solar systems have been installed in religious places.


e shared by us all. In what way will your country

take part in this initiative and what are the main

opportunities for Sri Lanka?

Elephant in Sigiriya lion rock fortress, Sri Lanka.

© Shutterstock

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is rooted in

the ancient Silk Road. It focuses on the Asian,

Arabian and European continents, but is also

open to all other countries. All countries, from

Asia, Arabia, Europe, or the Americas, can be

international cooperation partners of the Belt and

Road Initiative. The pursuit of this initiative is

based on extensive consultation and its benefits will

Sri Lanka is a major player in the BRI as it was a major

component of the ancient Silk Road. BRI offers a ‘winwin”

and sustainable development opportunity for us. The

Chinese-built Hambantota Port, which is at mid-point in

the shipping route from Asia to Europe is one of the major

BRI initiatives. The Government and the Sri Lanka Ports

Authority entered into a concession agreement to further

develop the Hambantota port with the aim of developing

the country as a maritime hub. Given the fiscal constraints,

the government needs to further encourage private sector

participation in economic infrastructure development,

especially for the efficient operation of transportation,

telecommunication and port services, while ensuring the

quality of such infrastructure and healthy competition

among private sector participants. The Colombo Financial

City is another BRI initiative, which is under construction

just outside the Port of Colombo. It will become a major

hub for financial services, investment and also serve as a

conference and business meeting venue.


Nine Arches Bridge from above, Sri Lanka

© Shutterstock

Silhouettes of the traditional fishermen at the sunset near Galle in Sri Lanka.

© Shutterstock

We are similarly developing our airports and highways to

increase connectivity that will enhance trade economic

development of all regions of the country.

On a parallel track, we are negotiating Free Trade

Agreements with other countries. A FTA with Singapore

was concluded earlier this year and several others are under


business interactions and regular travel between their

home country and adopted country. I believe that common

ground has to be rooted in shared values. This is the only

way trust can be built for a healthy relationship. Already

many Europeans have demonstrated a significant interest in

Buddhism as a way of life that is compatible with European

culture. These are significant strengths that can be built

upon and where the Diaspora can enrich European societies.

We see the BRI initiative as a significant opportunity for

Sri Lanka’s economic development.

The diversity in Europe today, defined by a

continuous Diaspora for millennia, is dying to find

a common cultural ground for the European Union.

With everything mentioned above, could you create

and propose a cultural framework that nurtures this

longing for connection in between Europe and

Sri Lanka?

If you have other topics (tourism) that you would

like to address to our readers, do not hesitate to

elaborate these.

Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination for European

tourists because of the diversity of Sri Lanka’s multitude of

attractions: from the best beaches to the cool mountains,

the historical cities with eight UNESCO World Heritage

Sites, excellent safari parks and rainforests with the high

diversity of fauna and flora.

We definitely want our Diaspora community to integrate

into their adopted countries whilst continuing to enrich

Europe with Sri Lankan culture. I believe the cultural

framework has already been set in place by the Diaspora

communities themselves through cultural exchanges,

Sri Lanka is particularly popular with European tourists and

each year the arrivals continue to increase with many repeat


Barbara Dietrich





Kyrgyz Republic has a rich history in the

Old Silk Roads, but most of that history is

still a secret for Europeans

What is your country doing to disclose these hidden

secrets to the West? Manas Kumbez, Tash-Rabat

caravanserai (IX th century) Burana Tower, Mount

Suleiman, Uzgen architectural complex,

Shah-Fazil mausoleum these are really treasures

to be discovered by the Europeans — how can we

promote these new touristic destinations? Is there

need for more investments in the tourist industry —

what are the opportunities?

Kyrgyzstan indeed has a rich historical past associated with

the Great Silk Road. The customs and culture of the Kyrgyz

people have absorbed the culture of different nations, and

there are also a lot of borrowings in the national language of

the Kyrgyz people.

You are absolutely right that such objects as Tash-Rabat,

Burana Tower, Manas Kumbez, Shakh Fazil Mausoleum

and others are the historical heritage of Kyrgyzstan of those

times and that these treasures were closed to Europeans

for various reasons. Being part of the Soviet Union and

the iron curtain between the countries of the West and the

USSR played big role in it. After the collapse of the Soviet

Union and obtaining independence, Kyrgyzstan started to

make active attempts to open up to the world the hidden

treasures, both historical and natural.

In 2012 Kyrgyzstan adopted the Law, according to which

country unilaterally established visa-free regime for citizens

of 45 countries, including most European countries to come

for a short stay up to two month without getting visa and

simplified visa regime for citizens of 67 countries, which

allows to easily obtain a longer period visa.

In recent years Kyrgyzstan introduced and launched the

“Electronic visa system”, that allowed people from all

over the world, to apply for Kyrgyz visa and get it within 3

business days, without need to find and go to embassy or

consulate, and adopted the provision, according to which

citizens of most countries were exempted from registration

procedures on mutual basis for up to 90 days.

Regarding assistance in promoting tourism and investment,

I want to note that the development of tourism in general

needs a range of activities and the Kyrgyz Republic certainly

needs the development of tourism management and tourism

infrastructure. Kyrgyzstan, having historical cultural values

and a natural landscape that is attractive for tourists, is still

learning how to show and present it. At the same time, the

It is important to say that Kyrgyzstan is primarily interested

in the development of tourism and makes maximum

efforts to promote it by creating comfortable conditions

for tourists, creating a favorable visa environment in the

country for EU citizens, improving infrastructure, and

working to open direct flights between the Kyrgyz Republic

and EU countries.


H.E. Asein Isaev Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan with Barbara Dietrich

Aerial view over rooftops and mosque in Osh city, Kyrgyzstan

© Shutterstock

tourism sector in the Kyrgyz Republic is a direction with a

high “giveback”, given the rising number of coming tourists.

At the same time, the country has a huge potential, which

is confirmed by the fact that the flow of foreign tourists

is increasing markedly, as in other much more developed

countries that have all the conditions for this.

Kyrgyzstan is constantly working on improving the legal

environment for entrepreneurs involved in the organization

of tourism services and it is also important to state that

great attention is paid to the rule of law.

Currently, a large number of travel companies, including

European ones, operate in the country. For example,

according to official data of the National Statistics

Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Netherlands is the

leader in Foreign Direct Investments in the field of tourism,

whose share in 2017 was more than 60%.

An important international event in popularizing the culture

and history of Kyrgyzstan are the World Nomad Games.

This year, the Nomad Games were held for the third time,

having received great fame in the world. The WNG allowed

to reach a wider public from the EU, which now plans to

visit Kyrgyzstan in the future and learn more about its

history and attractions.

In addition, the Kyrgyz Republic annually participates in

various fairs and exhibitions dedicated to tourism. There is

an extensive advertising campaign through the media, the

work of diplomatic missions and consular offices.

Kyrgyz Republic occupied a very strategic

geographical position on the ancient trade routes,

and was embracing the cultural achievements of

East and West. Your country was the bridge that

connected the East and the West. Three branches of

the ancient caravan — 7000 km — route had passed

through the territory of Kyrgyzstan, namely, the

Pamir-Alai, south and north, which runs through

Tien-Shan and Pamir high mountain passes. Does

your country now also plays a new role in the new

Silk Roads that China is promoting through its One

Belt One Road policy? What are the main projects

to give your country a regional role — leaving behind

its isolation as a landlocked country? Can you

document your country’s new Silk Road plans.

Yes, the current territory of Kyrgyzstan served as the main

bridge on the giant trade route connecting the East and

West. Located on the Great Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan was the

crossroad of trade and cultural traditions between China,



Iran, India, the Arabian Sea and the Western world.

I have to say that the Great Silk Road never stopped

to function as the connection bridge between East and

West, because trading always remained between Western

and Eastern countries and some routes are still used in

Kyrgyzstan as highways.

As before, Kyrgyzstan maintains trade and economic

relations with neighboring countries through its territorial

location. Kyrgyzstan occupies an advantageous geographical

position. Our country is a part of the Great Silk Road, and

in a new format it is a road to economic prosperity for all

who take part in its development.

There are projects such as TRACECA that are aimed at

strengthening economic relations, trade and transport

communication in the regions of the Black Sea basin, South

Caucasus and Central Asia, which is also considered as the

modern Great Silk Road.

The BRI project, initiated by China, is certainly of great

interest, since China opens up direct trade with the EU

countries. China considers Kyrgyzstan as its important

strategic partner and, with the entry of the Kyrgyz Republic

to the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, China has the

opportunity to discover the markets of all the countries

participating in the EAEU. This situation clearly shows a

trend associated with economic integration. The regional

role of our country is to provide territory for the transit

of goods from China to other countries, where the main

interest is territorial. Also the Central Asian region itself has

a huge export potential and currently there are good positive

integrational processes going in the region that will possible

lead to development of production and export to the markets

along the Great Silk Road. I want to say that it is a good

opportunity to strengthen internal ties in the region.

Important projects for Kyrgyzstan have been and are

being implemented. The construction of an alternative

North-South road is underway, over a hundreds of roads

in the capital are being repaired, as many other industrial

and infrastructural projects. With the revival of the Silk

Road, the amount of such objects and construction sites

in Kyrgyzstan will grow. This is a chance not only to raise

our own economy, but to embark on a path of sustainable

development for decades ahead

Your country has still large development potential

in terms of renewable energy — especially

hydropower electricity. How will your government

promote this sector?

Since Kyrgyzstan is a country capable of producing

electricity at lower cost, the hydropower issue is a priority

for the country. The Kyrgyz Republic is committed

to maintaining the ecological environment and thus

hydropower, being one of the most environmentally friendly

and safe ways to produce electricity will remain relevant.

I can provide some official statistical data on the

hydropower potential of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The total hydropower potential of the Kygryz Republic is

142.5 billion kWh and the percentage of the used potential

is only 10%.

Only on the Naryn river can be built 8 cascades of

hydropower stations and the total installed capacity of

prospective cascades is 6450 MW.

As it can be seen from the mass media, the presence of

foreign companies is increasing interested in supplying

equipment, as well as creating conditions for the

construction of hydroelectric power stations.

The state promotes the sector by giving it the priority

status, as well by creating favorable conditions for foreign

investment and the involvment of the world community to

environmental safety issues. Kyrgyzstan is also a regular

participant in various international conferences related to

the safe production of electricity.

What is your governments main statement and

strategy to promote Foreign Direct Investment

(FDI) — what sectors and how can foreign

companies mitigate risks; amongst others political


Kyrgyzstan is the land of boundless opportunities with

rich natural resources and great potential. Only for 27

years of independence, Kyrgyzstan managed to achieve the

democratization of social and political life, liberalization

of doing business conditions, foreign trade activities,

membership in international organizations and unions.

Kyrgyzstan has provided to the entrepreneurs freedom of

trade, opened up the opportunities for the development of

production and access to international markets, as well as to

its internal market. Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan has advantages

in terms of investment attractiveness on a number of

factors, as implementation of a program of market reforms

and macroeconomic stabilization, it actively works on the

privatization of telecommunications, energy and transport

sectors, full-fledged free trade regime, free money exchange

system and unrestricted movement of capital, liberal

investment regime, where all sectors of economy are open to


Mining, manufacturing, tourism and processing industry

sectors are more attractive for investments. There are numerous

large mining and processing enterprises operating in the Kyrgyz

Republic. In the meantime, according to international experts,

with a relatively small area and good geological exploration,

mineral resource potential is used poorly.

Thus, under the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic, foreign

investors enjoy the national treatment applied to individuals

and legal entities of the country. Legislation provides

for a broad scope of rights and guarantees to foreign

investors, including guarantees of export and repatriation

of investment, property, and information out of the Kyrgyz

Republic, guarantees of protection against investment

expropriation and coverage of losses incurred by investors,

guarantees of income use and freedom of monetary

transactions, and others.

Since investments are a major prerequisite for economic

development in the Kyrgyz Republic, investment legislation

of the country is quite liberal.

The Constitution is the basic and paramount law to which

all other laws must conform, including the laws directly

or indirectly regulating investment in the Kyrgyz Republic

such as the “Law on Licensing”, the “Law on Joint-Stock

Companies”, the “Law on Mining”, the “Law on Free

Economic Zones in the Kyrgyz Republic”, the Tax Code,

the Land Code, the Customs Code, the Civil Code, the

“Law on Public-Private Partnership in KR”. Nonetheless,

the principal law governing investment is the “Law on

Investment in Kyrgyz Republic”.

Subject to its legislation, the Kyrgyz Republic provides the

following guarantees to foreign investors:

• national treatment of business activities, equal

investment rights of domestic and foreign investors, no

intervention into the business activities of investors,

protection and restitution of infringed rights of

investors in accordance with the legislation of the

Kyrgyz Republic

• export or repatriation of profit gained on investment,

proceeds of investment activities in the Kyrgyz

Republic, property, and information, out of the

Kyrgyz Republic

• protection against expropriation (nationalization,

requisition, or other equivalent measures, including

Yurts in Kyrgyzstan

© Shutterstock


action or omission on the part of authorized

government bodies of the Kyrgyz Republic that has

resulted in seizure of investor’s funds or investor’s

deprivation of the possibility to use the results of

their investment). In exceptional cases involving

public interest, investments may be expropriated with

concurrent state guarantees of appropriate coverage of

damage incurred by the investor

• the investor’s right to freely use the income derived

from their activities in the Kyrgyz Republic

• the freedom to invest in any form into objects and

activities not prohibited by the legislation of the Kyrgyz

Republic, including the activities subject to licensing

• freedom of monetary transactions (free conversion of

currency, unbound and unrestricted money transfers;

should provisions restricting money transfers in foreign

currency be introduced into the legislation of the

Kyrgyz Republic, these provisions will not apply to

foreign investors, with the exception of cases where

investors engage in illegitimate activities (such as money


• free access to open-source information

• the right to: establish legal entities of any organizational

and legal form provided by the legislation of the Kyrgyz

Republic; open branches and representative offices

within the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic; select any

organizational and managerial structure for the business

entities, unless a different structure is explicitly required

by law for the given organizational and legal form of a

business entity; acquire property (with the exception

of land plots), shares, other securities, including

governmental securities; participate in privatization of

state property, establish associations and other unions; hire

local and foreign employees subject to legislation of the

Kyrgyz Republic; and engage in other investment activities

not prohibited by legislation in the Kyrgyz Republic

• recognition by public authorities and officials of the

Kyrgyz Republic of all intellectual property rights of

foreign investors

• in the event of amendments to the Law of the KR

on Investments, or the tax legislation of the Kyrgyz

Republic or the nontax payments legislation, the

investor and the investee who meet the statutory

requirements have the right, during 10 years from the

date of signing the stabilization agreement, to choose

such conditions as may be most favorable to them for

paying taxes including value added tax but excluding

other indirect taxes, and nontax payments (except fees

and charges for public services) in the manner provided

by the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic. The procedure and

conditions for applying stabilization regime to tax and

nontax legal relationships are established by the laws of

the Kyrgyz Republic

• other guarantees specifically provided in bilateral and

multilateral international treaties on the promotion and

protection of investment, to which the Kyrgyz Republic

is a party.

The World Bank states that the Kyrgyz Republic

will need to diversify its economy. However only

7 percent of the land area is arable, the rest

consisting of glaciers, mountains and pastureland

or steppe that support livestock grazing. Further

the country’s natural resources — comprising

minerals, mainly gold, and water for hydropower

generation — are also limited. What sectors are

priority sectors for your government?

Yes, to realize the full growth potential the economic

activities of the country need to be diversified. But I have

to point that Kyrgyzstan’s vast natural resource reserves

are used poorly at the moment. The hydropower potential

of the country is used only for 10%, and less than 5% of

significant potential for many types of natural minerals is

being developed currently. So there is a good perspective in

this direction for many years ahead.


Musicians play local traditional instruments, in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

© Shutterstock

But as I said, the economic activities have to be diversified

and currently along with tourism, the priority sectors in the

economy are the agriculture, mining and light industry, the

service sector, as well electric power industry. Kyrgyzstan

has a huge potential in the sector of transport and

infrastructure, as the Kyrgyz Republic is striving to attain

Golden eagle trainer holds his eagle during eagle hunter games in Issuk Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

© Shutterstock

the status of an international transport hub. It is important

to note that all sectors of the economy of the Kyrgyz

Republic have potential and are open for investments.

Yes, that is true that most of the country consists of mountains,

glaciers and pastureland. But in the modern changing world,

where present advances in all sectors of economy give vast

opportunities, our country has needed resources and potential

for sustainable development. Kyrgyzstan is working on building

an open and transparent state, raising life standard of citizens,

as well as improving the business environment in the country

through digital transformation. The ambitious project called

“Taza Koom” (Pure community) is aimed at promoting its

digital economy as a new engine of growth — ranging from

digitizing the delivery of public services to broadening

connectivity to promoting digital entrepreneurship.

The location advantages, which include low labour and

electricity costs, abundant hydropower resources, good

weather conditions for agriculture, attractive landscapes

for tourism and overall competitive taxation and trade

preferences and of course the human resources are

preconditions for vast opportunities for foreign investments

and sustainable economic growth.

More than 10 percent of the Kyrgyz population are

migrant workers, mostly in Russia. Do you see this

as a sustainable income for your economy and what

is Government policy regarding this?

Yes, that is right that the money transfers of our fellow

citizens who work abroad is a crucial part of the country’s

gross domestic product.

As foreign trade policy is based on market liberalization,

issues related to labor migration are the planned

development of our foreign trade — trade in services. The

role of the government in creating migration policy is

closely tied to the historical and cultural aspects, current

integration processes within the EAEU. The entry of

the Kyrgyz Republic into the EAEU constituted the

institutional base of the current migration policy of the

Kygryz Republic, which is expressed in the cancellation of

the work permits and other related documents. Accordingly,

such favored conditions within the framework of economic

integration have a positive effect on the stability of the state

income from labor migrants.

Barbara Dietrich








I was recently accredited as Ambassador to Belgium and

Luxembourg and my aim is to maintain and develop as

much as possible the relations with these countries at all

levels and at the same time — to make Moldova better

known in the area. My country is independent since

1991. With a rich history tracing back to ancient times,

the Republic of Moldova is home to traditions, culture,

diverse, authentic tasty food, natural products, generous and

welcoming people.

On the territory of the Republic of Moldova one can find

a special concentration of historical and archeological

monuments which have a cultural and historical value not

only at the national level, but also in the general context of

human European values. For those never visiting Moldova,

it is a country of colours, with hot summers, cold snowy

winters, colourful springs and flavoured autumns.

of Moldova, one can fully enjoy everything we have to offer.

And you know an important detail? Moldova is amongst the

countries with fastest speed of mobile internet in the world.

The Republic of Moldova has a rich cultural heritage

which may be of great interest to tourists, approximately

140 cultural heritage sites may be included in the tourist

circuit. The earliest visible remains of the built heritage are

Geto-Dacian sites and Roman fortifications. The remains

of medieval fortresses, archaeological complexes such as

Orheiul Vechi, cave monasteries, nobles’ mansions and

peasant houses offer a diversity of visitor attractions.

Chișinău, the capital city, features a good number of

cultural heritage monuments, fine examples of Domestic

architecture from the 19 th and 20 th centuries.

Relatively small, the Republic of Moldova is at the

crossroads of routes that shaped modern Europe, creating

the perfect balance between geoghraphical and cultural

East and West. Home to a population of 3,5 million

people, Moldova is a harmonious place for diverse cultures,

being the area settled by many people throughout history,

resulting in a rich mix of cultural, religious, architectural,

and culinary traditions.


What is so special about Moldova? It’s undeniable the

people! You will find them genuine, friendly and warm,

especially when going to the countryside.

If you are thinking about safety, Moldova is a safe country

to travel an is an ideal place for tourists who want to

have a short escape from the typical European cities and


considering that it doesn’t take long to travel to every corner

H.E. Lilian Darii

© Embassy of Moldova

© Anatolie Poiata


Did you know that Moldova has two of the biggest wineries

in the world? The cellars of the "Milestii Mici" Winery were

registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest

wine collection in the world, with a collection of 1.5 million

bottles. The bottles are stored in 55 km of underground

galleries. The first bottle was stored in 1968, and new vintages

are added each year.

The Wine cellars of "Cricova" Wine Company are known

worldwide due to its huge labyrinths, exceeding 120 km in


Over the centuries Moldova has gained rich traditions of

growing grapes and wine production. If you look on the

map, Moldova is shaped as a bunch of grapes situated

between Ukraine and Romania, in the Black Sea basin,

where the vine originates.

The country has a fragmented relief, with low hills, sunny

plateaus and plains, crossed by a lot of streams which flow

into the two big rivers, Prut and Dniester. Moldova has

112 thousand hectares of vineyard and 3 historical wine

regions: Valul lui Traian, Stefan Voda and Codru. There are

142 wineries in the Republic of Moldova, of which 23 have

facilities to receive visitors. Here tourists can experience and

learn about the complex production processes. It is amazing

to enter in those underground cellars looking actually like

towns (!), with a length of more than 100 km with wine

storage facilities, wine processing factories, production

processes of sparkling wine, red, white, rose wines, divin,

heres, etc. To celebrate Moldova's rich winemaking

traditions, which date back to the 15 th century, each year,

© Anatolie Poiata

during the first weekend in October at the end of the grape


Wine Festival

© Anatolie Poiata


harvest, in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau, takes place the

wine festival, officially named "National Wine Day".




The Republic of Moldova has 87 museums with rich

collections of art. The folklore has a strong basis of

Dacian-Latin origin and its customs are specifically defined

by means of music and dance, oral poetry and prose,

mythology, rites, popular theatre. There are over 880 folk

music groups in the Republic of Moldova, 22 theatres.

Carpets are considered works of art in Moldova,

representing an expression of national creativity and

identity. The carpet weaving technique from Romania

and Moldova is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural

Heritage starting December 1 st , 2016.

I am very proud to say that the tradition of "Mărțișor"

is of particular significance in Moldova. "Mărţişor" is

called the March month, but it is also a symbolic object

representing two threads of wool — one white and the

other red, twisted together, tied as a talisman to the neck,

hands or to the coat of people. "Mărţişor" is being made

on the eve of the feast, and on the 1 st of March they are

offered as a gift, with wishes of health and happiness.

The "Mărţişor" feast is an example of cultural vivacity of

a long-standing tradition. The symbol of the "Mărţişor"

is made every spring, worn until the first messengers of

spring — the flowering trees or the first storks. "Mărţişor"

symbol is a part of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

of humanity.


Moldovans widely celebrate traditional music and dance.

There are hundreds of songs following the tempo of

traditional dances such as "hora" and "sîrba". Dances

are typically performed in a circle with the dancers

holding hands or linking arms while dancing in a counter

clockwise direction.

Renowned National Academic Ensemble of Folk Dance

"Joc" is the oldest folk dance ensemble of Moldova,

created in Chișinău in August 1945.

© Anatolie Poiata

Over the years, the ensemble of dances has participated

in more than seven thousand concerts and international

festivals, being awarded several medals and diplomas,

among them the 1 st place at the 4 th World Festival of

Youth and Students of 1953.


and cultural European space. At the same time, Moldovan

market is opening even more for European partners and

vice versa. In this regard, for us, as a diplomatic mission

abroad it is of utmost significance to built connections

amongst people from Moldova and EU countries as well

as to make Moldovan products known on the European


Aiming at the membership of the EU and identifiying itself

with European values, the Republic of Moldova is on a way

of gradualy and surely advancing on a path of ambitious

reforms in line with its national objective of European


To this end, we have a very important roadmap in the form

of the provisions set out in the Association Agreement

with the EU (signed in 2014). This important cooperation

mechanism with the EU provides the Republic of Moldova

with needed instruments on the path of advancing with

ambitious set of reforms aimed at transformation and

modernization of the country.

It is important to note that due to successful armonization

of legislation and as a result of the implemented reforms,

the Republic of Moldova gets closer to political, economic

We value the special relation we have established with

EU as a whole and individually EU member states on the

political, social, cultural and economic dimension.

As an indicator of the signifcance of partnership with

the EU, we can mention that in the beginning of the

implementation of the Association agreement, EU become

the most important economic partner of Moldova. 68,5% of

the exports are directed to the EU countries and 51% of the

imports are generated by the EU member states (data for

January-June 2018).

Following a determined path of European integration, the

Government of the Republic of Moldova looks and works

towards a future in the family of the European Union.

Sharing the history and European values, Moldova is aiming

at a future aligned with its European partners and friends.



Home to fertile and rich soil, the Republic of Moldova is

well known for its tasty agricultural products as well as

wine production. Strategic geographical positioning of the

Republic of Moldova, transforms the country into a bridge

between East and West. In the Global Location Trends

Report 2017 Moldova ranks number six in the world in

terms of the number of jobs created in relation to the

population, reaching the newest destination for emerging


The Republic of Moldova meets incredible conditions for

doing business. Still an unknown place for investments

and growing a business, Moldova offers a competitive

environment. To capitalize on its strategic geographical

position, over the last few years, the Government of the

Republic of Moldova has stepped up its regional integration

efforts, promoting an open economic policy. Thus, the

legal framework has been strengthened, several laws on

the regulation of foreign trade, competition, protection of

industrial property rights, etc. have been adopted.

According to the "Doing Business 2018" report, Moldova

is positioned 44 th out of 190 analyzed economies. We have

succeeded in significantly increasing starting a business,

protecting minority investors and registering property. At

the same time, we have good results in the field of paying

taxes (heading 32) and cross-border trade (heading 35).



The Republic of Moldova has signed free trade

agreements with the EU, CIS and Turkey (in force since

1 November 2016) and is a member of the Central

Free Trade Agreement CEFTA (since 2007) and World

Trade Organization (WTO), which allows the companies

operating in Moldova to access almost 1 billion potential


Moldova has signed bilateral trade-economic cooperation

agreements with 30 countries, bilateral agreements on

mutual promotion and protection of investments — with 44

countries, bilateral agreements to avoid double taxation and

prevent tax evasion — with 49 countries.

At the moment, Moldova is in an active process of

negotiations on the signing of the Free Trade Agreement

with the People's Republic of China.

It is important to mention that the legislative provisions

adopted by Moldovan authorities are in line with the

international legal framework, especially with those of

the European Union. This process will continue, as the

harmonization of legislation is the key to success in

implementing DCFTA commitments. Signed and ratified,

the agreement involves liberalizing trade in goods and

services, free movement of labor, lower taxes, reduction of

technical and non-tariff barriers, abolition of quantitative

restrictions and harmonization of Moldovan legislation

with the EU.


In April 2016, the National Strategy for Investment

Attraction and Export Promotion for the period 2016-2020

was approved and seven priority economic sectors were set

up at national level: the information and communication

sector, manufacture of machinery and equipment

(automotive), administrative and support service activities,

manufacture of machinery and parts, manufacture of

textiles, clothing and footwear, electrical equipment and

food and agriculture. The existence of major investment

projects and the expected flow of new strategic investments

contributed to the Government taking additional actions

to protect investors. In this context, the Council for the

promotion of projects of national importance, chaired

by the Prime Minister, was created. The main aim of

the Council is to ensure the beneficial realization in the

Republic of Moldova of investment projects of national

importance, which influence the country's economy and

ensure a stable social and economic development of



The Republic of Moldova has one of the most competitive

tax systems in the region. From this perspective, there are

49 operational tax treaties on avoiding double taxation

with other jurisdictions. The general Corporate Income

Tax rate is 12%, Value Added Tax is 20% and Social

Security Contributions of 23%. It should be noted that

corporate tax may be reduced by half or more if a company

is resident in the Free Economic Zone. There are other

incentives for businesses worth mentioning: there is no

minimum capital requirement at the start of the business;

incentives for IT employment — partial exemption from

income tax and reduced social contribution; employers will

not pay taxes on the amounts spent on food, transportation

and employee training; companies importing raw materials

receive a holiday for VAT and customs duty if they

subsequently export the final product within 180 days.



One of the attractive features of the Republic of Moldova’s

economy are the opportunities for the foreign investors

offered by the Free Economic Zones, Industrial Parks and

IT Parks — which are an innovation for the Republic of

Moldova. Free Economic Zones are parts of the customs

territory of the Republic of Moldova, economically

separated, strictly delimited on their entire perimeter, which

allow certain types of preferential business activities for

domestic and foreign companies. Currently, Moldova has 7

Free Economic Zones, being allocated proportionally in the

north, central and southern parts of the country.

At the same time, the Republic of Moldova also has the

Giurgiulesti International Free Port (the southern region),

as well as the Free International Airport "Marculesti"

(Floresti, the northern region), both of which have legal

status almost similar to the free economic zones.

The FEZ are known for the facilities they offer: the income

tax imposed on residents' incomes is paid 50% of the rate

established in the Republic of Moldova; companies are

exempt from income tax for 3 years if they invest

$ 1 million and are exempt for 5 years if they invest

$ 5 million; goods imported into/exported from free

economic zones are: exempt from import and export duties

(customs duties); are exempt from excise duty; a zero rate

of value added tax is applied. An important aspect is that

the delivery of the goods to the free economic zones in

the other parts of the customs territory of the Republic of

Moldova are treated as exports.


Another industrial platform offering a series of opportunities

is the Industrial Park — a relatively new tool for Moldova,

created in 2011. 10 projects have been launched for the

creation and development of industrial parks in the northern,

central and southern parts of the country: "Tracom" in

Chisinau city, "Bionergagro" in Drochia city, "Cimislia" in

Cimislia city, "Raut" in Bălţi city, "CAAN" in Străşeni city,

"Edineţ" in Edineţ city, "Cavi Triveneta Divelopment" in

Străşeni city, "Comrat" in Comrat city, "Durlesti" in Durleşti

city, and "Cahul" in Cahul city. It is worth mentioning the

Moldova IT park concept which represents an attractive

environment for IT businesses — a consolidated single tax

of 7% for residents. The IT Park provides an organizational

platform with a set of innovative mechanisms and incentives

for the IT industry, as well as a predictable and motivating

regulatory framework to facilitate IT business management.

The first IT Park "Tekwill" established in Chisinau, comprises

100 resident companies with a turnover of over 1 billion lei.

This mechanism has laid the foundation for a competitive IT

industry in our country creating prerequisites for emigrated

professionals and companies to return to the country

producing jobs with competitive salaries. At the moment,

there is envisaged a launching of 2 other IT Parks, in the

northern and southern regions of the country.



As important instruments that contribute to attract foreign

investments and promote the exports of our country

© Anatolie Poiata


Moldovan authorities are focusing on economic diplomacy

and trade missions abroad. Currently, the Republic of

Moldova has 11 Trade Offices established in Russia,

Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Switzerland, Belgium,

Poland, Germany, Italy and Turkey.



© Anatolie Poiata


The Government of the Republic of Moldova is building

on the efforts to create better conditions for business

development by setting out as objectives 1) Improvement

of the country’s road infrastructure, including road

reparations/constructions; 2) Implementation of the

DCFTA; signing the Free trade agreement (FTA) with

China and FTA with EFTA (Norway, Switzerland,

Liechtenstein, Iceland); 3) Strengthening the country’s

energy security — Ungheni gas pipeline — Chisinau;

Security of power supply / diversification of supply

sources; Energy efficiency and use of renewable energy

sources; 4) Bringing investments — IT parks, IT industry

development; promoting tourism and economic diplomacy;

5) Conducting regulatory reforms; 6) Improving

communications systems — access to network; 112

operationalization; Universal postal services.

Moldovan Government is also advancing in creating

attractive business conditions, being achieved thanks to the

implementation of reforms in entrepreneurship activity.

Among the most important is the Regulatory Reform

2016-2017, which aims to optimize permissive acts and

to implement the One Stop Shop solutions.

Revision and optimization of permissive acts will

contribute to the "Business: With Clear Rules"

objective of the Moldova 2020 National Development

Strategy. Another priority is the launch of the One Stop

Shop for the management and release of permissive

acts, assuming the full functionality of the information

system and the issuing of at least 30% of the total

number of permissive documents in 2018 based on the

one-stop shop.

Another important reform is the Reform of the state

control of the entrepreneurial activity, which provides:

Optimization of the number of institutions with

control functions to 13 control bodies (under

Government), and 5 independent regulators.

Procedural reform involving minimum documents,

maximum transparency and rights for entrepreneurs.

The digitization of the control processes, which

provides for the establishment of the State Register

of Single Controls, transparency and predictability of

the inspector's actions. Another important component

of the reform of entrepreneurial activity is the

simplification of the financial and statistical reporting

process by developing and launching a unique reporting

platform at the State Tax Inspectorate, the National

Social Insurance House, the National Insurance

Company in Medicine and the National Bureau of

Statistics. It is also about setting up a Single Report.



An interesting fact is that the Government of the

Republic of Moldova approved the Regulation on

Obtaining of Citizenship through Investment (Golden

Visa Package), which regulates the minimum value and

the way of contributing to the Public Investment Fund

for Sustainable Development and Investment in one

of the strategic development areas of the Republic of

Moldova. Citizenship of the Republic of Moldova may

be granted, upon request, to a foreign citizen or stateless

person who knows and complies with the provisions

of the Constitution, has good economic and financial

reputation, presents no danger or risk to public order and

state security, pays contributions to the Public Investment

Fund sustainable development or has made investments in

strategic development areas for 60 months.





For those who have never visited Moldova I warmly extend

this invitation to start the journey of discovery! At the

same time, those who already had the opportunity to visit

Moldova, we will be glad to welcome you again in the future !


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Issam El-Debs has been living in the Philippines

for the past 40 years and the number of Syrian

nationals living in the Philippines is estimated at

8000, mostly engaged in investment opportunities or

manufacturing businesses, and well-settled.


Apart from the economic migration a lot of Syrian students

are doing their master degrees or following medicine,

dentistry and engineering degrees in the best Philippine


As a Syrian I wish to express my personal points of view on

the present situation in my country.

Syrians feel thankful to Russia for its assistance to the

Syrian Arab Army in its war against extremist terrorism,

going into a direct confrontation against armed terrorist

groups in the country and liberate territories in control

by terrorist groups. I strongly believe Syria and Russia

share the same goal of combatting global terrorism that

is supported by the extremist Wahhabi ideology, which

represents a danger to both our countries.

Issam-El-Debs (4 th from left) came to the 12 th FICAC World Congress of

Honorary Consuls — Belgian Senat Brussels © Diplomatic World

There is always hope for peace in Syria and the region if we

start by eliminating the extremist terrorist ideology that is

spreading with the help of other stakeholders in our region,

internally and externally. These are the short term goals to

resolve the current crisis. But in parallel we need to achieve

peace throughout the Syrian region.

All parties have a role to play and raise efforts that could

lead to peace in Syria and the region. This might cause

a breakthrough in thinking and acting, far away from

old traditional views and against favouring criminals or

terrorists and their sponsors.

Syria has to prepare several reconstruction plans, and

many laws have been passed to prepare for this eventual

reconstruction phase. The priority for participating in the

reconstruction of Syria will be given to partner countries

who have stood with Syria throughout this long crisis:

Russia, Iran, China, as well as countries like India and

Malaysia. The Syrian government has repeated that those

who left their homes because of the actions of the terrorists

are invited to come back to safe areas that have been

liberated by the Syrian Arab Army. The government will

do everything it can to provide the necessary means to live,

secure a safe environment and create security. We will need

Syrians to come back in this next phase to participate in

the reconstruction of their country. Our children who have

suffered but lived through this conflict and finally survived,

will have the joined responsibility to rebuild this country

step by step into a better Syria. This is the challenge we face

and we need to prepare our youth for this.

“ The school’s culture is warm

and inclusive, with a focus

on learning and growing.

Children settle in quickly

and are very happy.”

Claire who chose BSB Primary

School for her daughter




To find out why, visit







The Second Eurasian Women's Forum took place

in St Petersburg from 19 to 21 September 2018.

The core events on its business programme were held

in the Tavricheskiy Palace and the Parliamentary

Centre, with individual meetings organised in the

Universe of Water Museum Complex.

The Forum was organised by the Federation Council and

the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of

the Commonwealth of Independent States with the support

of a number of ministries and government agencies. The

Forum enjoyed the support of the Roscongress Foundation.

The highlight of the event was the plenary session entitled

‘Women for Global Security and Sustainable

Development,’ featuring an address by the President of

the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The head of the

Russian state welcomed Forum organisers and guests.


© Roscongress Foundation

© Roscongress Foundation

He noted that the reach of the Forum extended beyond

the scope of this continent. “There are many excellent

historical examples of women assuming responsibility

for important decisions that shaped the fate of entire

states and nations. In today's complex, rapidly changing

world, women are energetically and successfully proving

themselves in a variety of industries and playing an

increasingly important role in strengthening peace

and security and resolving critical socio-economic and

humanitarian problems, which is absolutely natural for a

woman,” the Russian President emphasized.

According to him, the world and its states will only benefit

from a surplus of women's success stories.

The Second Eurasian Women's Forum brought together

approximately 2000 politicians, entrepreneurs, scientists

and public figures from 110 countries. Business sessions,

panel discussions, business dialogues, thematic business

breakfasts, expert and strategic sessions were held as part

of the business programme. Discussions took place in

three thematic areas: ‘Women for Global Security and

Sustainable Development,’ ‘Promoting a Female Agenda:

International Cooperation’ and ‘Global Initiatives in

Women’s Interests and New Opportunities.’

Forum participants focused particularly on special sessions

organised by the United Nations Industrial Development

Organization (UNIDO), UNESCO, the World Bank, the

Women 20 sessions, the BRICS Women's Business Club,

the APEC seminar and the presentation of a report by

the World Health Organization. Successful cross-border

business dialogues and thematic business breakfasts were

held. Meetings between the business communities of

Russia, France, Germany, India and China took place as

part of the Women’s Forum. The Forum programme was

further enhanced by the ‘Made in Russia: Exports Created

by Women’ exhibition of projects spearheaded by female

exporters, presentations of success stories, a volunteer

marathon and a colourful presentation of collections by

Russian female designers.

Summing up the event, Speaker of the Federation Council

Valentina Matvienko stressed that “the Forum had

managed to work out measures to further expand the

role of women in politics, the economy and the public

service. We have got a common agenda, an understanding

of existing problems, ways to solve them, and most

importantly, a desire to work together,” the Speaker of the

Federation Council said.


According to her, the Forum’s goals were outlined in an

outcome document that would be sent to heads of state,

government, parliament, to the United Nations and other

international organizations.

The Forum is held every three years in St Petersburg on an

ongoing basis. As part of the outcome document adopted

at the Second Eurasian Women's Forum, it has been

proposed that the next Forum be held in 2021 with the

status of Global Women's Forum.


© Diplomatic World

© Diplomatic World

© Diplomatic World

© Diplomatic World

© Diplomatic World


© Diplomatic World

© Diplomatic World






Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the

Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Galina

Karelova held a briefing on the starting day of the

Second Eurasian Women’s Forum.

She answered questions from the media about the event

and stressed that a large number of significant projects were

created and implemented in the period between the first and

second forums.

the Media in Shaping the Modern Image of Women’s

Leadership: Information for Peace and Sustainable


Galina Karelova devoted special attention to the Global Rus

Trade global e-commerce platform. She stressed that such

projects involving consolidation and coordination create

new opportunities for business development and help female

entrepreneurs to find useful contacts and attain a new level

in their work.

Another important initiative was the creation of the

Eurasian Women’s Community internet portal. Karelova

pointed out that the project was developed after the First

Eurasian Women’s Forum. During that Forum, Speaker

of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko gave

instructions to create a register of women’s non-profit

organizations operating in Russia. Such a register was

formed on the Eurasian Women’s Community internet


The website has evolved and is now a platform that

contains women’s success stories and materials about

projects that aim to support women’s initiatives.

The team of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Information Agency is involved in covering the Second


Karelova said it is no coincidence that one of the event’s


platforms will be devoted to the theme ‘The Role of

Galina Karelova

© eawfpress.ru

© Barbara Dietrich

The senator said she is convinced that the positive image of

Russia overall in the eyes of foreign leaders of the women’s

movement largely consists of impressions of the women

living in the country, their desire for constructive dialogue,

and the search for ways to peacefully settle differences.

In addition, there will be more discussion platforms as

well as new interactive formats. A number of international

agreements will be signed during the second forum.

In particular, Karelova highlighted the Forum’s youth


During the briefing, Karelova also spoke about how the

Second Eurasian Women’s Forum differs from the first

one. This year, she said, the event will be attended by

representatives of more than 120 countries compared with

delegations from 80 countries in 2015.

Answering a question from the media, Karelova said that a

document would be adopted following the Second Eurasian

Women’s Forum to highlight the most important focuses

and determine priorities for coming years.

© eawfpress.ru








Chair of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation,

Your Excellencies,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor to be here with you today, in the

presence of so many inspiring women who have contributed

to great causes both in their countries and globally.

Even though we are gathered today in this important event

to talk about empowerment of women. I see many women

here who have been instrumental in empowering the


I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank

Her Excellency Madam Valentina Matviyenko for her great

leadership in advancing women empowerment throughout

the world, and for organizing this exceptionally important

forum and hosting us in magnificent St Petersburg in

this great nation that was the first in the world in 1783

to appoint a woman as Director of a National Science

Academy (more than 100 years ahead of everyone else).

This is a nation that truly values and reveres the

contributions of its women. The great poet Nikolay

Nekrasov paid tribute to the courage of Russian women,

by a saying of women:



“Women can stop a galloping horse and enter a burning hut”.

Indeed, throughout history women have had the courage

to step up and do what is necessary to safeguard our world.

And what better way to safeguard our world than to work for

peace and prosperity. In fact, when it comes to negotiating

peace, the evidence is overwhelming:

studies show that when women are involved in peace

negotiations, the resulting agreement is 64% more likely

to succeed and 35% more likely to last at least 15 years.

When women lead the fight against extremism in their

communities, it is more likely that conflicts will be resolved

without violence.

This is because women bridge divides and build dialog and

trust. Women look at peace more holistically and understand

its connection to development and prosperity for all!

Peace is not an agreement — it is a culture. Women

understand this very well, because it is Women who build

cultures of peace, and it is women who are the centrifugal

force that maintains peace.

Building and sustaining such a culture requires women who

lead as mothers; women who lead as sisters; and women

who lead in every facet of life by doing the things that

only women can do exceptionally well — change the world

through tolerance and moderation.

Indeed, women leaders contribute immensely to building

the right culture for peace and development, but it is

the combination of women and men working together,

combining their talents and efforts that accomplishes what

neither can accomplish separately.

As a women leader in my country, the United Arab

Emirates, I am proud of our strategic and lifelong

partnerships with men. To me, peace is like a graceful eagle

that needs both of its two wings; women and men, to soar

high in the sky to reach its destination.

Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi with President Vladimir Putin

Since the birth of my country in 1971, the mother of

our nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak,

President of the General Women’s Union, paved the

way for UAE women to participate in all life aspects

especially the political process and women’s accession to

the Federal National Council. For decades, Her Highness

has been a champion for women empowerment. As a

direct consequence to Her Highness’ leadership, a real

transformation has occurred: today in the UAE we have

transformed from women empowerment to empowering the

community by women.

In 2016, the UAE in cooperation with the IPU was proud to

host the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament.

The Summit concluded with the Abu Dhabi Declaration

that underscores the role of women leaders and women

members of society in overcoming the grand challenges of

our time and of the future.

In fact the Abu Dhabi Declaration is compatible with the

Second Eurasian Women's Forum Declaration. They hold

the same aspirations that we need to work hand in hand to

achieve them.

The UAE is home to a myriad of cultures and many

religions, people coming from more than 200 nationalities

from all over the world are living together in peace and

harmony. Although it is located in a troubled region of the

world, yet it is ranked number 2 in the world in safety and

security by the World Economic Forum and Abu Dhabi,

the capital of the UAE is ranked the safest city in the world

among 338 cities of the world. Peace is inherent in our

culture and sustainable development is one of our core

principles for a prosperous society.

Ladies and gentlemen

When we worship the almighty we are engaging in a private

relationship with him. The way we pray or the language

we use is context. The substance is our internal spiritual

link. But when we engage with each other, what governs us

are the principals of human interaction: Peace, Mercy and



Peace and prosperity have a common enemy, extremism.

It leads to violence and terror.

Tolerance is the antidote to radicalization. Antidote to

populism and antidote to terrorism. Terrorism has no

religion, My religion, Islam,… is about peace. Islam means

peace. There is no such thing as radical Islam. The vast

majority of Muslims around the world abhor terrorism

and radical thought. We refuse to allow a small deranged

minority to highjack our peaceful religion, or any other

religion, and we ask our friends in the international media

not to associate these terrorists in any way with a religion of

peace, the religion of Islam.

The fight against violent extremism is a shared responsibility

for all of us. To win this fight, we all must pitch in, and

work for peace together. To that end, the IPU-UN High-

Level Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Violent

Extremism (HLAG) recently put forward a program that

promotes international parliamentary cooperation so that

we can join forces and counter terrorism more effectively

especially when it comes to legislations.

disease and inventing revolutionary technologies that have

changed the world. This disease called terrorism has many

faces: poverty, ignorance, bigotry and intolerance. We

can beat this disease but only through a comprehensive


We must eradicate the ideologies behind it. This will require

empowering our youth with a culture of tolerance and

moderation, providing them with a secured social and economic

stability, and engaging them more in shaping their future.

Our societies need to be empowered with the right cultural

attitude that is based on respect for human rights and

responsibility for humanity and there is no one better

equipped than women to empower societies towards a

cultural change that will potentially avert the great risks we

are facing.

Our planet will be at peace only when all of us truly win

together. Women has always been the agents of change and

transformation across ages. Women are not any more in

need of power, We are the source of power, so lets change

the world through the greatest power of all,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The soft power.

Our generation must be as visionary and innovative in the

fight on terrorism as we have been innovative in fighting

Thank you



Speaker of the Federal National Council (UAE)

Her Excellency Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi was

elected Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC)

on November 2015, becoming the first woman to preside

over a parliament in the Arab world. Earlier, she made

history as the first female member of the FNC in 2006,

the first woman to become its Deputy Speaker in 2011

and the first woman to chair an FNC meeting in 2013.

Prior to her election as Speaker of FNC, she held the

position of Director General at the Abu Dhabi Education

Council (ADEC). Under her leadership, ADEC won two

awards from the government of Abu Dhabi for excellence

in government performance — for Best Knowledge

Management and for Best Improvement in Performance.

Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Amal Al

Qubaisi has overseen several institutions in various

key capacities. As an active member of the Abu Dhabi

Executive Council, she was the first woman on the

Council’s Executive Committee as well as Chair of its

Social Development Committee. In addition, Dr. Al

Qubaisi sits on the board of key institutions, such as the

Family Development Foundation and the Environment

Agency — Abu Dhabi. Her Excellency also serves a jury

panelist for the Zayed Future Energy Prize. HE has also

served for several years as a board member of Zayed


For several years, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi has been

representing the UAE at noted global forums and

conferences, and has carried out official international

assignments, mostly related to activities of the UNESCO

World Heritage Center, United Nations and Inter-

Parliamentary Union (IPU).

A passionate campaigner for social and humanitarian

causes including women’s rights, Dr. Amal was the first

UAE woman member of the IPU and representative

of the Arab Group in the Coordinating Committee of

Women Parliamentarians. She has also been active on

IPU’s Governing Council and Third Standing Committee

on Democracy and Human Rights.

In 2000, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi earned her Ph.D. in

Architectural Engineering with Honours from the

UK and holds the world’s only doctoral degree on the

conservation of the UAE’s architectural heritage. With

18 years of professional academic experience, she

has served as faculty for six years at the Architectural

Engineering Department at UAE’s College of

Engineering. To her credit, she has received a number

of honorary degrees from educational institutions

worldwide, such as University of Sheffield, UK, and

L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University in Astana,

Kazakhstan and Dublin City University in Ireland.

Dr. Amal has published and written a number of

research papers and studies that have drawn international

recognition. Her work covers subjects as wide-ranging

as the conservation of the UAE’s cultural and historical

heritage, national identity, women-related issues such

as motherhood and childhood, demographics and

political development, political participation and women


Among the many accolades Dr. Amal has received over

the years is the UAE Pioneers Award 2014, presented to

her by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al

Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE

and Ruler of Dubai, for being the first Emirati woman

elected to the Federal National Council.

Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme

Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has also

conferred on her the Federation Personality Award for

her political achievements at the national and local level.

Some of her other distinctions include the 2008 Middle

East Excellence Award of Women Leadership, the Abu

Dhabi Award 2008, the Abu Dhabi Medal of Honor

in 2009, and a special recognition in 2007 from Her

Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the

Nation, for being the first woman member of the UAE

Federal National Council. Awarded the Excellence award

for the best Speaker in the Arab world 2018.

Finally yet importantly nominated for the Asian Business

Leadership Forum (ABLF) Series ABLF Award 2018

November, which is considered as one of highest

accolades, which recognizes leadership influence that

reaches beyond community, country and region. The

ABLF recognized Dr. Amal as one of the most defining

influencers of our time.





Projects transforming

the world


Marina Volynkina is the Rector of the Institute for the

Humanities and IT (IGUMO), Head of the Eurasian

Women's Community, Head of the all-Russian web-portal

Global Talents. In addition, she is a Doctor of Juridical

Science and a mother of three children.

However, children should be in the first place here,

as Marina Volynkina has many more than three of

them. Whole life, all ideas and initiatives of this active,

purposeful, forward-thinking, and self-confident woman

relate to education and social projects. She is always

open to communication and full of inner warmth. Her

lifestyle presupposes setting global tasks, moving towards

success, and summing up every day’s results with sincere


Since the beginning of her career, Marina Volynkina

has been extremely hardworking. She was promoted

from a legal adviser to a chief of a legal service in the

baking industry and then worked as a lawyer. For more

than 15 years, clients trusted Ms. Volynkina to resolve

labour disputes, family conflicts, and problems related to

household and inheritance. 15 years ago, after becoming

the Rector of IGUMO, Marina set a task before her

educational institution: IGUMO students must become

real professionals upon their graduation. How was that

possible? The only way to achieve that was combining

studies with specialised practical training.

“Today the notion of ‘authorial school’ is known by

many educationalists. However, there is no ‘authorial

higher education institution’ yet. In fact, IGUMO is a

unique educational institution. It actively develops many

authorial educational technologies. The scientists have

proved that knowledge becomes outdated quicker today.

It is important to both provide students with theoretical

knowledge and teach them to build communication,

independently find, select, and digest information and

apply it in everyday life. Innovative institute-based

projects are aimed at developing such qualities and

skills”, said Marina Volynkina.

The project of the Faculties of Design and Photography

titled Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) resulted

in an IGUMO-based contemporary art exhibition. It

features artists and architects from different countries.

Global Talents project is a free internet platform of

supplementary education for schoolchildren from all

regions of Russia. Thanks to it, school students take part

in contests, exchange knowledge, and find like-minders.

By now, the web-portal unites over 25 thousand users.

IGUMO students and lecturers organise events and

supervise contests. In 2014, the President of Russia

Vladimir Putin supported Global Talents project.

The project contributes to bringing up the students’

high responsibility, true values, and sound spiritual


“When my students and I understood that the need to

do good became essential, that it was both pleasant

and useful, we decided to take on a new project. This

is how the Eurasian Women’s Community news agency


The EWC is the only independent social mass media

of federal coverage founded on the basis of a higher

education institution. It is aimed at promoting socially

responsible journalism. All its publications are positive

and motivating. The EWC avoids ‘gutter press’ behaviour

and criminal incidents. Our journalists, translators,

and photographers form the image of modern Russian

women and demonstrate the new role of women in the

world transformation including women-creators, women-

Second Eurasian Women's Forum in St Petersburg

© eawfpress.ru

leaders, women-entrepreneurs, and women as public

figures. The EWC shares about talents, personal traits

and life attitudes of women often neglected by media


According to Marina Volynkina, the news agency

team had an important task to break old stereotypes

concerning the image of women, remedy the lack of

positive information about women’s achievements in

media, and prevent equating any women’s activity with

radical feminism. The website is full of women’s success

stories for readers to understand that positive journalism

not only has the right to exist but also must support the

information balance in society, allowing people to believe

in a brighter future.

By 2018, the EWC published over 1000 original articles

and had over 1.5 million online visitors. It has its official

English version. Location coverage of our readers is

more than 100 countries. 38% of readers are from

Russia, 25% — from Europe, 23% — from Asia, 14% —

from the USA. But Marina Volynkina does not stop on

the attained.

“Initially our task was to change the image of Russian

women. Today, one of our global goals is to share about

women worldwide, motivate them to fulfil their potential,

prevent war threats, make children happy, keep their

families together, and make our world a better place. In

IGUMO, we teach students to use the ability of media

to influence worldviews and feelings of people in order

to breed humanistic thought forms. As a result, we make

people free of stereotypes, mutual mistrust, and aggression

and direct them to mutual understanding, support,

constructive dialogue for the sake of their individual and

social stability in general.”

Negative content in Russia’s media can harm people’s

mind and spirit. That is why, as the moderator of an

open debate on the role of women in positive media at

the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, Ms. Volynkina

touched upon the balance of negative and positive

content. Information consumed by people may be

compared to food: it can give energy or cause intoxication.

“People’s apathy or aggression is the reaction of what

their brains were fed by newspapers and TV”, said

Tatyana Chernigovskaya, well-known neuroscientist

and psycholinguist. Elena Makarova, Editor-in-Chief of


Second Eurasian Women's Forum in St Petersburg

© eawfpress.ru

Geometry of Destiny Magazine, called on journalists to

responsibly approach what they write and foresee what

effect their information may cause.

Marina Volynkina and her institute have become a

compass that guides people around. They teach how to

love what you do and inspire people.


Minimising the amount of toxic information will free

space for healthy and inspiring content. Opponents

of socially responsible journalism believe that media

are business and negative news are sold better. Larisa

Rudakova, President of MediaLine Publishing House,

believes that the growth of corporate media broadcasting

mostly positive news is a good counterargument.

Most readers of social, corporate, and news media are

women able to smooth things over. Women’s leadership

in media will give the world a positive impulse. Barbara

Dietrich, Editor-in-Chief of the DIPLOMATIC WORLD

Magazine, believes that the future of journalism goes hand

in hand with constructive international diplomacy.

The EWC team provided coverage of the Second EWF.

Marina Volynkina believes that now her students have

mastered the new journalism. The Rector applies

acquiring knowledge through mind and heart to the

education system in IGUMO. One may say that

For Marina Volynkina, the notions of ‘woman’, ‘spirit’,

‘child’, ‘creativity’, and ‘education’ are closely interrelated.

IGUMO Faculties constantly cooperate.

“As a leader, I adhere to the concept of doing good.

So I teach all our students. I have always wanted to do

something special to benefit not only myself but people

around, to attract their interest, and surprise them.

My Candidate’s and Doctor’s theses were dedicated to

innovations. All my life is about innovations and constant

search for ideas!”

Marina Volynkina believes that progressiveness and energy

of teachers, their personal desire to improve the world are

essential in upbringing the new generation. Her students

are thirsty for knowledge. Isn’t it the manifestation of a

real talent?

Text by Tina Stankevich

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov

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As Ambassador of Sri Lanka, what are today the

most important focus points and priorities for you

in Paris?

Maybe I can start answering this question with a strategic

point of view first. Sri Lanka is a neutral country in the

world of geopolitics. We basically stay neutral because

we are friends with Pakistan, we are friends with India,

we are friends with China, we are friends with Russia,

we are friends with America, we are friends with the EU.

And also, Asia has grown during the last 9 years. Nobody

can actually know how big the growth of Asia is. For

example, every year about hundred million people climb

out of poverty to a middle status. So the last 9 years, nine

hundred millions came out of poverty. It is a huge, huge

growth. And all this happened without great declarations

that we were going to create hundreds of millions new

jobs. It just happened.

And Sri Lanka is also part of this Asian phenomena. We

also have tripled our GDP in the last 8 years. We have also

added 30 000 hotel rooms, and another 60 000 unofficial

hotel rooms. If you go out of Colombo, people with the

means have built a nice, clean room with air conditioning

and a nice, clean bath room. So they rent this out from

their home, like a bed and breakfast. We have 60 000

rooms like that throughout Sri Lanka. All this happened

in the last 8/9 years and Sri Lanka is a very small country.

Asia has known a gigantic growth, and this is also the case

for Sri Lanka: we are importing more cars than ever. We

are becoming the next big city in Asia. In other words:

you have Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and the

next big city is Colombo. So this is how the whole world

is positioning it. That is why China is building a whole

new financial city in Colombo like in Dubai: 500 acers of

land in the Ocean, right next to Colombo. It is going to

be a new city. And Sri Lanka also is redesigning Colombo

City because Colombo is an old city: during the British

colonial days Colombo was a very small area. But the

city has overgrown with about 3 more million people all

around it. So we are expanding the Colombo metropolitan

region and we are developing with a new metro system,

new shopping malls, new schools and entertainment and

zoning it with the high tech for manufacturing outside

the city now. And the Parliament moved to outside

Colombo City, to another region. So this whole region is

encompassed in this new modern ‘Colombo Megapolis

Program’. And to build under this program proper

facilities and infrastructure for the next hundred years, we

are going to need at least 90 billion dollars. So that means

we are going to build a new train system and underground

train system, transport hubs, shopping malls, hospitals,

more highways, more parks, more education centers,

universities. Such constructions are going along with a

considerable economic growth.

But as you know, Sri Lanka is a very pretty island.

Everybody expect Sri Lanka to be a Paradise. I give you

just a few numbers and you will understand. Because

Sri Lanka is an island and the ocean is around, we have

dolphins and whales as wildlife in the ocean, right next

to Sri Lanka coast. And then we have elephants in the

middle of the country. So this is one of the few places

where you have all the big mammals in one place. And

the migratory birds, they come in the Winter from all

over the world to the north of Sri Lanka where they make

nests and new babies and in the Summer they fly back to

Europe. This is a first migration. The same happens with

the butterflies. There are 300 different types of butterflies

and 150 different types of fruit growing in Sri Lanka. So

it is like a Paradise. It was a natural Paradise long time

ago. But now with the plastics and the new buildings all

over, people need to structure properly, zone and manage

it properly and regulate properly. So that is why we are

implementing this new, modern Colombo Megapolis

Program. In this way Sri Lanka will stay cleaner.

President Macron and H.E. Buddhi Athauda

Sri Lanka has also one of the oldest government rules

about taking care of the environment. About 2000 years

ago, the Sri Lankan King declared to the people that the

land and the trees and the rivers don’t belong to humans

and that humans are only custodians of these things. So

you only should use what you want and leave the rest for

the future. So we are raised with the idea, very strong in

our culture and DNA, that we always want to be clean to

the world. Keep it clean, don’t pollute it. So only the last

20/30 years, things got really dirty now: we have a lot of

plastic and chemicals and fertilizers. All these chemicals

are destroying our atmosphere and the environment, also

with a huge impact coming from automobiles imported

in Sri Lanka. With the industrious revolution in Europe,

there were in Germany at a certain time no fish in the

rivers. Now they have cleaned it and fish are back in the

river. Before this happens to Sri Lanka, we are trying to

make it the right way.

Sri Lanka’s agenda is set from my point of view as

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France, Spain, Portugal,

Monaco and Andorra with Plenipotentiary powers on

the one side, from a bilateral relations point of view,

and on the other side as Ambassador to UNESCO. I am

appointed to a lot of multilateral agencies like UNESCO

and I am also on the Board of UNESCO. Recently, I

got elected to be in the global committee for intangible

cultural heritage. This is very dear to a country like ours.

Intangible culture is something people don’t think of but

these are dying sometimes in some cultures. They are

going away, so it is nice to register these things and keep

it safe or at least take inventory. One day people would

know these manners or habits, way of living, practices,

entertainment, games, etc. Many things you can do under

the intangible culture heritage. Medicine practice could

also be cultural. We are meeting again in that committee

in a couple of months. Like all the cultural heritage

sites recognized by UNESCO all around the world, the

intangible culture is the next big thing coming up.

I am giving you this background before I tell you what we

are trying to do with France as Ambassador. With this

growth and with this impact, Sri Lanka wants serious

and deep relations with all blocks of geopolitical players.

For example, here we have the EU as one group. Then

you have China as one group, India as another group,

America as another group, in Asia you cannot of course

forget Japan. When we do things, we share our projects.

For example, maintaining transparency and accountability

which we organized in the country after a difficult period



in Sri Lanka. The city subway system we are developing

in Sri Lanka is another example. Then we have a port,

we have an airport, we have oil tanks. There are different

economic clusters with new strategic partners. For

example, we have given our port to China and we have

given our petroleum bunker system and an airport to

India. China is now also engaged in building that new city

for us.

Now, what is missing in this picture is Europe’s role in

Asia. Asia has known such strong growth, but Europe or

America has not yet benefited from this growth. They are

so cautious and risk-averse that most of their companies

didn’t go to Asia and enjoyed the growth. Asian brands

came for Asia and then also came to Europe and America.

But you don’t find Apple buildings or many other brands

in Asia. Something is missing in this formula where

Europe is Europe and then America is over there, but Asia

is growing. But now suddenly people have realized that we

should join Asia and enjoy the growth and have a better,

integrated relationship.

This is why I am also pursuing a deeper relationship

with the countries given to me. We are also strategically

planning to give some of our projects to Europe, especially

France, Portugal and Spain, Monaco and Andorra. I can

only talk about the countries to which I am appointed as

Ambassador of Sri Lanka. I cannot talk about the work

of my colleague ambassadors of Sri Lanka. So we are

allocating strategically some projects to France, Spain,

Portugal, Monaco. And the good thing is: they also want

to be a part of Asia. When I speak to President Macron I

can see — and also from his speeches I noticed — that he

wants to be part of Asia’s growth. And that will benefit

France and Asia.

France has great technologies. Some other countries

have branded themselves as engineering partners, but

France has everything. People underestimate this: they

have aerospace engineering groups, high-tech agriculture

and various other highly developed technologies. End of

the day, in agriculture the productivity per acer return

is very important. Countries like the Netherlands,

France, Spain are very big in agriculture. We are working

with them because our target is to increase agriculture

productivity by 1700 % in the years to come. We can get

there by changing a few habits we have. We see that out

of this 100 billion opportunities we have in Sri Lanka, at

least 5 billion should be given to my region. That is 5%

and 5 billion worth of projects. France is a very big deal

and for everybody 5 billion is a very big deal. We have a

reason to work well together. We have reason to deepen

our friendship because the modern world is all about

economic diplomacy.

I was specially elected as Ambassador to France because

France and Sri Lanka have had more focus on culture all

this time, but not in an economic way. It is very poorly

done. But France is a center for fashion, center for

perfumes and center for top brand clothing and Sri Lanka

is also one of the biggest players in these fields. We are in

the top ten for garment industry. We have the world’s best

gem stones. The world’s best blue sapphire comes from Sri

Lanka. And the best cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka: no

country has that cinnamon. That is why some countries

came to colonize Sri Lanka because of this specific plant.

And when you use real cinnamon, it has not the bad

effects of other, somehow similar plants. So the perfume

industry, garment and fashion industries, gem stones are

important in Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea is even distributed

worldwide. We are also into gloves manufacturing,

especially rubber gloves manufacturing.

And it is not only gloves we make out of rubber because

we have a lot of rubber plantations. Recently we focused

in IT. The most of the world stock markets — nobody

knows this — run on Sri Lanka software: London and

New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, Chicago Board of

Trade and 17 other countries run their stock market with

our software. The London Stock Exchange bought one of

these software companies and they moved headquarters to

New York and Boston. But these are run by Sri Lankans.

And most of the travel related software behind the scenes

is still run by Sri Lankans. So we are a unique country

from that point of view. These are the sectors that we

are targeting for the world: IT, gem stones, garment and

fashion industry and of course tourism.

We are going to build a beautiful country. Indians and

Pakistanis and Bangladeshis can take a one hour flight to

Sri Lanka and have the best honeymoon or best vacation,

a 2 billion people market, right next to us. This is why

China is investing in Sri Lanka: we are going to be the

next big thing. Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok,

Colombo. And at this stage our real estate is still cheap

right now. So Sri Lanka is one of the best places to put

money down now because if China finished building the

city, prices will rise. I don’t speak about the coming three

months, but about a perspective of 5 years. And the real

estate market is all about buying low and selling high, like

the stock exchange market. When it becomes expensive it

is too late to buy. So it is now particularly interesting for

the real estate market to buy hotels and office buildings

because tourism in Sri Lanka has increased with 500 %

over the last 8 years. We had about 450 000 tourists and

now we are framing that we might get 2.5 million tourists.

That brings us smoothly to our second question.

What is the position of Sri Lanka towards the

New Silk Road between Europe and China,

towards the Belt and Road Initiative?

Prince Albert of Monaco and H.E. Buddhi Athauda

Just a few years ago, all the top business magazines and

popular magazines all over Europe and America were

writing: ‘China is building a New Silk Road.’ When I

meet top business people in France, they react more

positively about the Belt and Road Initiative and if they

see that China has done already the background check of

a business or industry in the context of the Belt and Road

Initiative, then they have confidence about this company

or sector. So it is great. All this time it looked bad, now

suddenly they are complementing us. I am glad we have

taken a closer position to China as a trading partner. And

all the ships that come from China, pass Sri Lanka before

they come to Europe. So Sri Lanka is going to be a huge

shipping port in the coming years. Now 30 000 ships pass

through Sri Lanka. Therefore Sri Lanka has a role to play

in taking care of the Indian Ocean, to make and keep

the Indian Ocean clean and safe. We don’t want ships to

dump oil in the Ocean, we don’t want ships to throw their

trash in the Ocean. So it is a process of strengthening

our coast guard and I like France and the EU to help us

in building a really good coast guard network with an

emergency communication and control center, with a

Prince Albert of Monaco and H.E. Buddhi Athauda



proper radar. So we could send our ships and rescue for

emergencies. If there are oil spills we can take care of it.

If there are people sinking, committing piracy or being

victim of piracy, we can take care of it. If there is damage

on a ship, we can go and help them. We are in the process

of building a great coast guard and I think to maintain

our independence we need countries like India and many

other great countries, to help us build this coast guard.

What do you think about the evolutions in

Renewable Energy and the world-wide fight

against Climate Change?

I think that the world should know that the renewable

energy industry is a very important aspect of the UN

Climate Agreement of Paris. Globally almost every

country has agreed to reduce the pollution and emission.

I won’t repeat all the details here, that would take us too

long. Out of that, renewable energy is a very important

component and that should be a 3 to 4 trillion dollar

global economic impact with the change towards

renewable energy. With that we are going to create a lot of

jobs. We are going to get a huge amount of pollution out

of our way. And we can make energy so much cheaper.

Research on this topic has shown that three components

are very inefficient in this world now: funding the energy,

the regulatory framework — globally we don’t have a

standard regulatory framework — and technology. If

financers investing in energy in different countries have a

same standard set of regulations or regulatory framework,

investors can operate in Africa, Asia, South America or

Europe much more easily. Right now there are so many

unknown facts in investment, that this is where the magic

is now. So I am advocating to the world: let us build a

standard platform for a regulatory framework where we

can cut down the costs. The same thing for financing.

And if we can have more efficiency in technology to the

right market, at the right place, at the right occasion, you

can also reduce costs. So if we can bring efficiency in

these three categories, we believe that we can reduce the

cost of a power plant about 40 % or more. That is a huge

amount. So that is my global concept for you. Regarding

Sri Lanka, we have a royal decree of 2000 years old about

how we should save our environment and look after the

world. We are only the custodians. With this cultural

attitude and related policy culture, we have all the right

thinking and frameworks for building further our beautiful

island as explained above. We are also part of the Paris

Agreement. We are definitely making our effort to build

renewable energy power plants as much as we can now.

At one time we had a lot of hydro but this has limitations,

and therefore we are now focusing on solar and wind.

What are your ideas on a common, cultural

ground or framework for which the European

Union is dying to formulate and to find there the

necessary support in the present context?

I think the way to look at culture is not to unite culture

but to appreciate each culture separately, because then you

really taste it. When you have two kinds of different cake:

a carrot cake and a strawberry cake. You don’t mix the two

cakes together. If you do that, you are ruining the whole

thing. The same with cheese cake and apple pie. You eat

your cheese cake separately: so fantastic! Then you ate

your apple pie separately, like that. These cultures are so

beautiful and so rich, I would not mix it at all. You should

keep it so preciously.

Actually, people who get to travel around the world, they

have a different mentality than people who are uneducated

and don’t get to travel. And most of the trouble in the

world are caused by this uneducated group because they

can be brainwashed and for some person’s interest they

can be manipulated. I wish everybody could go around

the world an spend a few years in different cultures. How

rich you become! I have travelled all over the world and

it is amazing to see the difference in mentality when you

have not been exposed to another culture. This cultural

question is important. UNESCO has a big role to play and

I think with the Asian growth UNESCO has not kept up

with the size and capacity. As modern Ambassadors we

are pushing UNESCO to a new ground and a new level of

expansion and new level of mission. We also just have a

new Secretary-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, who

is also a French lady: she herself is a symbol of different

cultures, she has mixed French and North-African origin.

We have to think as Google, as Apple, as I-Phone. When

you think of a larger, faster growth in an always bigger

world, UNESCO is becoming smaller and smaller: almost

insignificant. I am very embarrassed to tell you and you

can quote me on this: Harvard University has a 179 billion

dollar saving account — they can live on interest — and

poor, little UNESCO has 500 million dollar every year

and they are worrying about how to make the pay-roll.

It is a shame. 190 countries are members and Harvard

University doesn’t have any country member, only the

student’s tuition is paid and they manage to raise funding.

So UNESCO has lost the way of fund raising but they

have such a respected brand name. I think we are going

to reintroduce UNESCO in a much more focused way

and UNESCO is going to be a part of the world because

UNESCO is the symbol and the leader, the catalyst and

the vision for education, culture and science. Three main

subjects. In fact there should be three UNESCO’s. It

became a bit confusing when Communication went out,

but we are leaders in these three fields.

As part of this big next step for UNESCO, we are not

only going to train the students to learn a trade. They

should also be taught about how to live in society, how

to respect women, how to raise a confident child. We are

going to take them away from that bad broken family cycle.

This broken family phenomena is probably the biggest

problem in the world I think, because other problems we

can give a proper solution. The Broken Family has many

reasons: sometimes the father doesn’t know how to talk

to kids, sometimes he is a hot tempered person getting

mad and beating up the children or the wife in front of

the children or the sisters in front of their brothers, with

as consequence that these young men later in life don’t

respect women. There is a big problem if the children

don’t experience the love, kindness, mindfulness and

compassion. It is almost a Buddhist thing. At these ages,

children learn always something from their parents. I

am spearheading therefore a very strong push to that.

I am going to set up a model school very soon. Global

companies are joining me to support this initiative. So we

are very excited and we have all the components in place

in UNESCO. Now we are going to build the first one very


Indeed. From all sides comes also the question

for a geopolitically rightly thinking diplomatic

platform, a think tank considering respectfully

and sustainably the needs of the others, a think

tank not only occupied with the rights of people

but also with their duties. Humans have rights

and also duties.

In the near future, H.E. Buddhi Athauda and Diplomatic

World are going to cooperate and join forces in order

to present such ideas on Values, the Breakdown of the

Broken Family and Common Cultural Ground through

book publications and a lectures tour around Europe and

the World, raising funding for these common projects;

they will join forces in order to advocate the creation for

a think tank to support, defend and disseminate further

these ideas.

The 39 th session of UNESCO’s General Conference

elected Audrey Azoulay as Director-General of UNESCO,

succeeding Irina Bokova. She took office on 15 November

for a four-year term.

A graduate of France’s Ecole Nationale d’Administration

and of the Paris Institut d’Etudes Politiques, she holds a

diploma in Business Administration from the University of

Lancaster (UK).

Having worked in the sector of culture since the start

of her professional career, Audrey Azoulay has notably

focused on the funding of French public broadcasting and

on the reform and modernization of France’s film support

system. She has also served the European Commission

providing her expertise on issues concerning culture and



Barbara Dietrich and Maarten Vermeir



Enjoy a unique eating experience

Distinctive dishes made with innovative techniques

Innovative culinary concepts by topchef Marc Clément

Various works of art by renowned artists are integrated symbiotically

Easily accessible large parking lot

Innovative gastronomy

You will be cooked for by top chef Marc Clément, who has certainly earned

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techniques based on Marc’s latest passion.

The Bistronomy team serves affordable gastronomic delights in the form of

fresh, distinctive creations that will surprise even the most refined palates.

In short, gastronomy with a nod to the future.

Opening times

Open from Monday to Saturday (from 6 pm on Saturday).

Monday & Tuesday from 6 pm by reservation for groups of

20 people or more.

Sunday closed.

Info & reservations


02 263 01 31

Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde

Topchef Marc Clément





Innovation is not an empty buzzword. On the contrary, it is a necessity to be able to really make a difference.

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it changes markets, regulations, property rights, cooperation, competition & services.

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The professional workshops at Living Tomorrow are practice oriented and customized. You see, hear, feel and do; in short, you “experience”

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(suitable for B2B, B2C of B2B2C)

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1,5 hour

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You want more than just an Inspiration Tour ?

The Future Trends Session puts innovation in a broader perspective. The Inspiration Tour is preceded by

an energetic Future Trend presentation.

This presentation by an Innovation Manager at Living Tomorrow is completely tailor made for your organization, the purpose of the day,

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Are you looking for a full-day offsite on innovation ? Than this workshop

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+32 2 263 01 33

Indringingsweg 1, B-1800 Vilvoorde






This delegation was part of a large-scale plan

aimed at improving the healthcare system in

Uzbekistan. Initiated by a Presidential Directive,

working Committees like this one were to study the

experience of countries with advanced healthcare

systems. Israel was one of the chosen countries.

On July the 23 rd , prior to the arrival of the Uzbek delegation,

a meeting was held in Brussels at the Embassy of Uzbekistan

to the Kingdom of Belgium, initiated by Barbara Dietrich,

CEO and owner of Diplomatic World Magazine.

H.E. Ambassador Dilyor Khakimov hosted the meeting

together with the Embassy's First Secretary, Babur Sabirov,

and Barbara Dietrich from DW. Sheba Medical Center was

represented by Ulrike Haen from the International Public

Affairs Division, and Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, Director of

the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian


Two main subjects were discussed during a working luncheon:

1. Development of ties in tourist medicine including

sending patients from Uzbekistan for treatment at Sheba

2. Development of a plan of action in terms of Sheba's

involvement in the improvement of the medical system

in Uzbekistan, i.e. by targeting the fields that need and

can be improved in the various medical specialties

(either in hospitals, HMO's or else), as well as possible

visits by Sheba specialists to develop programs and

strategies in Uzbekistan or bring medical staff from

Uzbekistan to Sheba.


Uzbekistan Delegation to Sheba

© Sheba Medical Center

Contract signing: Gulnara Vil'evna Urmanova Uzbekistan Deputy Minister of Health,

H.E. Said Rustamov Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Israel, Michal Raviv-Reisman Director SMC International Division

© Sheba Medical Center

Upon return from Brussels and pursuant to a request from the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Sheba International, a special

3-day educational visit program was put together for this first

Uzbek delegation.

During their visit with Sheba Medical Center's International

Department, the delegation got to know Sheba as Israel's

leading hospital and learned to understand the Israeli

healthcare system through lectures, meetings, tours and

discussions. Within the framework of a potential collaboration

between Sheba International and the Uzbek Ministry of

Health, the ministry will profit from the know-how and

experience of Sheba.

At the end of the visit and in the presence of the Ambassador

of Uzbekistan to Israel, Sheba International and the Ministry

of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan signed an MOU

in which both sides declared their intention for future

collaboration in regard to any reform plan implemented in the

healthcare system of Uzbekistan.

Furthermore, the Deputy Minister of Health stated that

the Uzbek Health Committee will not visit other previously

selected countries because they found everything they were

looking for at Sheba Medical Center in Israel.

Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of the Sheba Medical

Center, welcomed the delegation and voiced his personal

belief in regard to medicine serving as a bridge between

people and nations who have one common interest: help

people in need! Prof. Kreiss offered the Uzbek delegation

all the help and assistance they wish to receive from Sheba


The delegation was comprised of the Deputy Minister of Health

of the Republic of Uzbekistan, head of the delegation; the

Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament

of Uzbekistan; from the office of the President of Uzbekistan —

the leading consultant from the department for legal support of

reforms; additional representatives from the Uzbek Ministry of

Health and representatives from private sectors.

Brussels Embassy of Uzbekistan: Dr. Elhanan Bar-On,

Ulrike Haen Sheba, Barbara Dietrich CEO Diplomatic World,

H.E. Dilyor Khakimov Ambassador of Uzbekistan © Diplomatic World





German Friends of Sheba recently held a gala in

honor of the hospital’s 70 th anniversary which was

hosted by Germany’s first lady, Elke Büdenbender

at Bellevue Palace, the home she shares with

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s president.

Director General of Sheba Medical Center, Professor

Yitshak Kreiss and his wife Inbal were there, along with

Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, and Jeremy

Issacharoff, Israel’s Ambassador to Germany.

The First Lady, a judge in Germany, spoke about Sheba’s

accomplishments in the region “Tonight we are all united by

the wish to honor and support a hospital that does great and

marvelous things — and has been, for 70 years… A hospital

like this is a shining example for all people in the region,

and it gives hope that peaceful coexistence, as practiced in

Sheba, will be possible one day in the future.”

Woman for Peace: Eva-Luise Köhler Former First Lady of Germany,

Elke Büdenbender First Lady of Germany, Barbara Dietrich, CEO

Diplomatic World, Christina Rau Former First Lady of Germany

and Peace Dove by Ulrike Bolenz

© Diplomatic World


Nicole Staudinger German Sheba Friends Board Member, Isaac (Bougie) Herzog Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Michal Herzog, Dirk Gaedeke Vice-

Chairman of the Sheba Friends Board, Eva Luise Koehler Former First Lady and Honorary President of the Board, Elke Buedenbender First Lady, Prof.

Yitshak Kreiss Director General Sheba Medical Center, Imbal Kreiss, Christina Rau Former First Lady and Honorary Board Member; Ada Cegla Director

International Public Affairs Sheba Medical Center, Israeli ambassador to Germany H.E. Jeremy Issacharoff with wife Laura Kam and daughter Ella

© Sheba Medical Center




The “Columns of Peace” by the German-Belgian artist, Ulrike

Bolenz, symbolises the most fundamental of the core aims

of the European Union — uniting and reconciling nations

and peoples within Europe. Reminding us that our continent

has been torn apart many times over the centuries by very

destructive wars, particularly during two World Wars in the

twentieth century, these Columns call for the preservation

of peace, individual freedoms and shared values, and respect

for cultural diversity, alongside efforts to promote economic

growth, employment and a better quality of life for all

Europeans. The Council of the European Union, bringing

together the members’ heads of state and government, plays

a key role in assuring these goals. Thus, these Columns of

Peace will be loaned to each country in turn as it assumes the

six-monthly rotating Presidency of the Council, starting with

the Presidency of Bulgaria in January 2018 — and now in the

Austrian Ambassador Residence in Brussels.

The artist placed beautiful images of joyful, laughing women

at the core of her Columns, because mothers embody love

for their children, while teaching them kindness, moral

values and courage. In essence, Ulrika Bolenz is telling us

that women — as mothers — are to be treasured for bringing

each child to appreciate the joys of life and the precious

values of harmony, peace and cooperation among nations,

peoples, cultures and religions.

Austrian Ambassador — Residence in Brussels

© Diplomatic World





Denis Mukwege is known for his practice of

reconstructive surgery for women victims of war

rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Panzi Hospital, designed to allow women to deliver

safely in 1999, is rapidly becoming a rape clinic as Kivu sinks

into the horror of the Second Congo War (1998-2003) and

his mass rapes. This "war on women's bodies", as the doctor

calls it, continues today. "In 2015, there was a noticeable

decrease in sexual violence. Unfortunately, since the end of

2016-2017, there is an increase ", he confided in March.

Already awarded in Europe, the United States and Asia

for its action, serious and sweet launched in 2014 a male

feminist movement, V-Men Congo. Since 2015, while

the DRC sinks into a political crisis enamelled with

violence, The Man who repairs women, as described in

a documentary on his fight has denounced repeatedly

the climate of oppression and narrowing of the space of

fundamental freedoms in his country.

This first Nobel Prize ever awarded to a Congolese has

sparked a wave of joy and national pride in the largest

country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The association GFAIA is happy for the Nobel Peace

Prize 2018 awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege this Friday,

October 5, 2018 with Nadia Murad and warmly

congratulates him.

Since the introduction of the candidacy, until this

memorable day, nearly 5 years have passed! We would like

to thank Mr André Flahaut, who received us at the time,

accompanied by Dr Denis Mukwege, and who supported

this application on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Mission accomplished for the GFAIA.


Barbara Dietrich and Denis Mukwege

© Diplomatic World


The Legion of Honour the highest award of the French


• UN Human Rights prize (New York, December 10,


• Olof Palme Prize (Sweden, 2008)

• African of the Year (Nigeria, January 2009), awarded

by Daily Trust

• Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French

government (Kinshasa, November 2009) by French

Ambassador Pierre Jacquemot.

• Van Heuven Goedhart-Award (June 2010) from

the Netherlands Refugee Foundation (Stichting


• Honorary Doctorate by the faculty of medicine at

Umeå University, (Sweden, June 2010)

• The Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan

(October 2010)

• The King Baudouin International Development Prize

(Brussels, May 24, 2011) by the King of Belgium

Albert II.

• Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil

Society (New York, September 22, 2011) by President

Bill Clinton.

• The 2011 Deutscher Medienpreis (German Media

Award) in Baden Baden Germany (February 2012)

• Officier de la Légion d'Honneur Française (Panzi, July 8,

2013) brought to Bukavu by the First Lady of France

Valérie Trierweiler and the Minister of Francophonie

Yamina Benguigui.

• Civil Courage Prize (October 15, 2013)

• Human Rights First Award (August 5, 2013)

• Right Livelihood Award (September 26, 2013);

• "Prize for Conflict Prevention" by the Fondation

Chirac (Paris, October 10, 2013) honored by the

presence of 2 French Presidents Jacques Chirac and

François Hollande

• Honorary degree from Université catholique de

Louvain in Belgium (February 3, 2014) along with

Lawrence Lessig and Jigme Thinley

• The Hillary Clinton Award in Washington DC

(February 26, 2014) at Georgetown University for

Advancing Women in Peace and Security along with

the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

William Hague

• The Inamori Ethics Prize from the Case Western

Reserve University Inamori Center for Ethics and

Excellence (October 1, 2014)

• Solidarity Prize received from Médecins du Monde

and the Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels

(October 16, 2014)

• The Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought,

received from the European Parliament in Strasbourg

(November 26, 2014)

• Harvard University Honorary degree as Doctor of

Science. Boston, Massachusetts (May 28, 2015)

• Gulbenkian Prize. Lisbon, Portugal (July 16, 2015)

• Women for Women International "Champion for Peace

Award". New York (November 10, 2015)

• Prix Héros pour l'Afrique (Hero for Africa). Brussels,

Belgium (January 18, 2016)

• University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Renfield

Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (March 24, 2016)

• Fortune Magazine 35 th World Greatest Leader of 2016.

USA (March 2016)

• Four Freedoms Award Laureate for the Freedom

From Want, by the Roosevelt Institute in New York

and Franklin D. Roosevelt Stichting. Middelburg,

Netherlands (April 21, 2016)

• Scandinavian Human Dignity Award Laureate, by the

Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers & Committee.

Stockholm, Sweden (October 14, 2016)

• Seoul Peace Prize, Seoul, Korea (October 6, 2016)

• Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People (2016)

• University of Edinburgh Honorary Degree of Doctor

of Medicine, Scotland, United Kingdom (December 1,


• University of Angers (French: Université d'Angers)

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine, Angers,

France (January 23, 2018)

• University of Liège (French: Université de Liège)

Honorary Degree Doctor Honoris Causa Liège,

Belgium (September 20, 2018)





In order to sketch a geopolitical assessment of Russian foreign

policy since the 2000s, the prerequisite is to seek to position

oneself from Russia’s point of view. In geopolitics, this means

trying to understand the issues that affect Russia from its

geographical position, and thus put Russia, the largest country in

the world, at the center of the geopolitical map.


We will focus on geopolitical and geostrategic issues although

the economic aspect is equally important. Due to its

geographical position, Russia is a central element of security

in Europe, as well as throughout Eurasia. Its territory is

contiguous with all major crisis zones in the world.

After the end of the Cold War, Russia had to deal with a

deteriorated geopolitical situation. Russia, after the dissolution

of the USSR where it occupied a central position, suffered

a consequent loss of strategic territories. Its territorial

regression brought it back to a situation prior to that of

Catherine II of Russia in the eighteenth century. Part of its

population found itself scattered in new states adjacent to





Russia had hoped to find a place in the common European

home after the collapse of the USSR, but on an equal footing

with the other European nations. This vision has failed, after

the insistence of EU governments and NATO member states

to “westernize” Russia and only offer it a secondary role in the

Euro-Atlantic area.

NATO enlargement, the Kosovo war and the Color

Revolutions in the countries of the former USSR, in particular

the latest regime change in the Ukraine, have persuaded

Russia that the objective of Western governments is to push

it back to its mainland. The invasion of Iraq, the intervention

in Libya, as well as the attempted regime change in Syria, also

convinced Russians that their security interests are not taken

into account.

The Russian reaction to its marginalization since the fall of

the USSR has manifested in four phases since Vladimir Putin

became Russian President (first term: 31 December 1999 — 26

March 2000 and then until 7 May 2008):

• the fight against the oligarchs starting in the 2000s, with

the iconic step against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-boss of

the Yukos oil group,

• the takeover of Gazprom state-owned company

allowing the Russian State to control its resources and

infrastructure with the gas crisis in 2006 and 2009 with


• the second Chechnya war in 1999 as President and

Russia-Georgia war in 2008 as Prime Minister under the

presidency of Dimitri Medvedev,

• finally the crisis in the Ukraine in 2014 and the intervention

in Syria under the presidency of Vladimir Putin.

The year 2007 is also that of Russia’s come-back at the

international level. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia

confirmed Russia’s suspension of the implementation of the

Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) signed in

1990 and adapted in 1999, which limited military deployments

on the continent. This was done in response to the American

missile shield project and the unilateral exit of the US from the

ABM treaty in 2002.

On the occasion of his speech at the 43 rd Munich Conference

on October 2nd 2007, Vladimir Putin denounced the extension

of the Atlantic Alliance to Russia’s borders, contrary to the

promises made by the Secretary General of NATO, Manfred

Woerner on May 17 th 1990, who assured that there would be

no NATO extension towards the East, guaranteeing security

to the Soviet Union, although this was not written down in a


After the initial disappointment and in response to the various

crises, Russian initiatives such as the intervention in Georgia,

Syria, and Ukraine to regain control of its fate surprised


As Russia’s emblem, the double-headed eagle, suggests,

Russians seek to remain a power pole according to a

multidirectional Eurasian strategy. Their goal is to remain

a vital state in the space previously occupied by the former

USSR for their security and prosperity and to be heard in

Eurasia and globally.

Russia was implicated in the Georgia, Ukraine and Syria

conflicts because its territory is geographically contiguous

with all areas of global tensions. Russia, like any state, seeks to

protect its security and prosperity. Therefore it seeks to defend

its security in its priority areas of interest.

At a global level, Russia is also actively involved in promoting

a multipolar world in the context of globalization which

is more and more becoming a conflict over allocation of

geopolitical spaces.

The aim is above all to challenge the unipolar Euro-Atlantist

project under US leadership. Russia, on the opposite, seeks

to promote a multicentered world so that it has a say in its

priority areas of interest at regional level, in particular. It is

not a question of recreating a power equivalent to the USSR,

nor is it of restoring a bipolar world. Russia has neither the

means nor the ambition for that. It is simply seeking a better

geopolitical balance.

Russia considers that the expansion policy of the Atlantic

Alliance supported by the United States and its allies is

aimed at encircling it. Russia’s geopolitical priority objective

was therefore to loosen its encirclement by the Atlantic



Alliance. This objective is, at least temporarily, achieved. In

the case of Georgia and Ukraine, their chances of joining

the Atlantic Alliance are in the long term questionable. The

frozen conflicts in Georgia, as well as the recognition of the

independence of Abkhazia and North Ossetia by Russia, but

also the independence of Transnistria in Moldova equally

prevent an extension of NATO.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, it is an identity issue of the

Russian nation because Ukraine was the location of the first

emergence of Russia as a State before the Mongol invasion,

and was later a part of the territory of Tsarist Russia, and

after that, part of the USSR, before its independence after

the dissolution of the USSR. The conflict in Donbass and the

annexation of Crimea by Russia also block the expansion of


According to Russia’s point of view, Crimea’s return to Russia

is perceived as legitimate reunification.

From the geostrategic point of view, it allows Russia to secure

a privileged access to the Black Sea with total control of the

port of Sebastopol. The Black Sea is the strategic access route

for Russia to the Mediterranean, and therefore the warm seas.

This port allows Russia to counter its encirclement by the

NATO missile defense system (coupled with that of the United

States) and NATO bases in the Black Sea.

As far as Syria is concerned, Russia made the correct

diagnosis from the start and interpreted Arab revolutions

as a series of geopolitical conflicts that might endanger the

stability not only of Russia but also that of all Eurasia. Russian

intervention helped prevent a regime change in Syria and

avoid a domino effect with a spread of Islamist threat in the

Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as on Russian territory.

At the economic level, on the other hand, Russia’s size is

modest and remains much smaller than that of the European

Union as a whole. Arms expenditure is also well below that of

NATO and the United States in particular. This imposes limits

on the power of Russia, which is often exaggerated.

Russia has thus managed to influence the evolution of world

geopolitics towards a more multicentric world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has widely been re-elected

in the 2018 elections and this massive plebiscite stresses that

the Russian nation has come together like no other nation in

Europe, which demonstrates a failure of the attempt to divide

Russians by sanctions and isolation policy.



Russia’s "unilateral" Westernization and the practice of

sanctions to constrain its geostrategic decisions have failed.

The crisis between the EU and Russia is not a sub-element

of the EU’s external relations but is an issue that touches

upon the aims of the European project. The geopolitical

regression of the EU with Brexit, and the EU-Russia crisis are

opportunities to reform the European project.

A rapprochement with Russia would allow Europeans in the

European Union to diversify their alliances, and to promote

a multicentred world. The European project therefore needs

a strong and stable Russia, as a pillar of the multipolar world

in which Europe as a whole will have more weight in the

global geopolitical balance. However, it is illusory to believe

that relations between the EU and Russia can return to the

situation before the Ukrainian crisis, Russia will never accept

its integration into a Euro-Atlantic area as a subordinate

element. It will not abandon its Asian orientation because the

emerging geopolitical center of gravity of the world is Eurasia.

The rapprochement with Russia would also be useful for

the EU in order to be connected to the Chinese Silk Road

project. It would be wise for Europeans to take distance from

the Sino-American tension, whose main stage will remain far

from the most sensitive priority areas for European interests.

A moderating alliance with Russia and a reformed EU would

play the role of a moderating alliance to avoid an American-

Chinese confrontation or condominium. Russia, as well as the

EU have an interest in the stability of its western, eastern and

southern flanks.

Russia serves as a useful balancing power in the context of a

global equilibrium policy. It is also the energy and commercial

hinterland of the European Union. The possibility of a

strategic partnership between the European Union and Russia

must therefore be safeguarded on the basis of a common

belonging to European civilization.

The German and French governments have recently shown

signs of openness. A new European security architecture with

Russia is the goal announced by the French president, while

the German government’s coalition treaty names Europe from

Lisbon to Vladivostok as a political goal. The future will tell if

the opportunity will be seized.

Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann



Indeed, President of the United States Donald

Trump introduced a completely new way of

diplomacy, very frankly stating his “America First”

doctrine. However, on this sudden and put on hold

for now threat of trade war with the European

Union, EU, is Trump the only one to blame? Who

came up first with the idea of tariffs or similar


It’s especially the big US tech conglomerates like Microsoft,

Apple, Google and Amazon who dominate European IT

and internet markets, making huge profits while paying

almost zero taxes in Europe. Therefore, the idea of a special

VAT, designed for US conglomerates with gross revenues of

over €50 million was born. Well, it’s not a duty, it’s a tax,

however, the result is pretty much the same. It’s not in place

yet, but the idea has been discussed for a while and we can

be sure this was watched very carefully in the US, both by

corporations and authorities.

It makes no difference, that it was not designed as a tariff

and that it is meant to overcome the disadvantages caused

by an unharmonized tax system within the EU. Google, for

instance, has its European headquarter in Ireland where it

is taxed for all its European revenues. It has chosen Ireland

because it had been promised extremely low tax rates. The

formerly poor country draws a huge benefit from it because

Dieter Brockmeyer

of the creation of jobs and infrastructure investments, while

partner countries in the EU are left with nothing.

Moreover, the General Data Protection Regulation has been

installed to put a leech on hungry data collectors from the

US. It increases costs for Facebook and Google for their

European operations, yes, but it also backfires especially

on smaller companies and startups within Europe that are

slowed down in developing market innovations. The new

e-privacy directive expected to be in place next year, is going

to make it worse for both, international companies acting in

the EU and local ones. Big US players can act around this

easily and can count on — more or less open — support from

their government.

From the outside perspective all that matters are authorities

installing obstructions preventing US companies from acting

as freely as before or, at least, that it will be more expensive

for them to do so. Of course, there is a big difference in the

orchestration of the Trump administration. But it is not so

easy to blame only one side for the new direction. The talks

starting now to completely nix tariffs and state subsidies

within the two trade blocks are a step in the right direction.

However, it’s a complicated issue with open ends. Independent

of these talks the EU should solve its internal and structural

problems by reforming the Union, something that’s been

overdue for a while. A harmonized tax system for instance is

hard to accomplish, considering the current state of the union.

However, it would make it easier also to respond to trade war

threats — not only from the Trump administration. This would

take away arguments from those in favor of a trade war which

would consequently harm the entire globe.








OBOR — One Belt One Road or China’s new

silk roads can create a global interconnected free

economic trade and manufacturing spaces and a new

network for the sharing economies of tomorrow!


In 2013 — China’s President Xi Jinping has launched the

One Belt One Road project — involving 60 countries in

a transcontinental, 1 trillion $ funded project. OBOR

embraces 70% of the world population, 55% of world GDP

and 75% of the world’s energy reserves ! Aim: launching the

maritime and land routes connecting the Asian continent

with Europe.

At the operational level, a financial vehicle — the AIIB —

the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was launched.

For its communication with the EU — China created its

own political platform CEEC 16+1 comprising of 11 EU

member states and 5 Balkan states. This forum is now a

driving force to expand and finance the Silk Road network

into the EU. Femoza hopes that Europe’s TEN-T trans-

European networks will be integrated in this planetary

vision on communication, manufacturing and logistics.

Femoza is convinced that this new multimodal

infrastructures will revive the idea of a global

interconnected network for free trade and manufacturing

with free economic zones forming its backbone. Some here

in Europe are announcing a new Hanseatic league concept.





The construction of cross-border optical cables and other

communications trunk line networks may add an additional

transport modus to these infrastructures.

Today value chains between supply and production; between

manufacturing and distribution to the end-clients; such

chains encounter multiple bottlenecks. These are amongst

others the slow speed at which goods now travel, the custom

clearance inefficiencies and inconsistencies, the costs of

delays caused by labour and logistic delays and finally the

lack of visibility of the status of goods along the transport


Through a digital silk road infrastructure including a single

unified customs system and effective methods of tracking

the products on board; the new transport networks could

become intelligent and become part of the integrated

manufacturing and logistics chains.




Humanity has encountered 3 industrial revolutions. These

changed the human work component for the production

of goods fundamentally. The first industrial revolution

was the one of steam-powered mechanical manufacturing

facilities that took place by the end of the 18th century.

The general use of electrically-powered mass production

© Femoza

technologies at the beginning of the 20th century, became

the second industrial revolution. A further automation of

manufacturing came through the third industrial revolution

that began around mid-1970s, through the widespread

integration of electronics and information technology (IT)

in factories. In total, these three industrial revolutions took

roughly two centuries to develop.

Now we have entered with digital infrastructures, internet

of things, artificial intelligence, big data and data-analysis,

blockchain, smart contracts into the 4 th industrial

revolution. It will have the biggest disruptive impact on

the old economies ever and that will change the way we

produce, consume and live on our planet.




Free Economic zones should transform themselves

into digital free zones that have the state-of-the-art

infrastructures and capacities that are needed to empower

this 4 th industrial revolution in production and logistics.

All of this may solve the old problems like lack of speed

in the warehousing operations, the inconsistent capacity

planning along manufacturing and distribution value chains.

It will allow decentralized and fully customized production

of goods that will be delivered from multiple shared

manufacturing sites directly, on demand, to the end

consumers; these fully integrated value chains will be all

time visible, interconnected and transparent through digital

ledger technologies.

The Free zones should in this way form a global

interconnected space network for free manufacturing and

distribution — with a standard global custom system based

on blockchain and smart contracts.





The Forum organised by the UN-UNCTAD will take

place from 22 to 26 October 2018, at the Palais des


© Femoza


Nations in Geneva. FEMOZA is a co-organiser of the

session Special Economic Zones: Opportunities and

Challenges, that will take place on Friday, 26 October

2018. But also some special session on blockchain

transformation will be part of the forum.


The 2018 Forum will feature over 50 sessions, including

three summits, five ministerial roundtables, ministersbusiness

executives dialogues, several multi-stakeholder

dialogues on special themes, a variety of parallel events

and award ceremonies. Over 5000 high-level participants,

representing investment-development stakeholders

worldwide will be present. FEMOZA has an observatory

status at UNCTAD.


For Diplomatic world the 4 th industrial revolution opens

perspectives for the new Eurasia continent, that extends

from North Sea to Pacific ocean; where peoples and cultures

in the 3 major political jurisdictions the Eurasian Economic

Union, the EU and China live in peace and harmony and

develop numerous synergies between each other.

Through the 4 th industrial revolution a meeting point between

the East (inspired by communist and Confucian thinking)

and the West (socially corrected market economy) can be

created. This will open new windows of opportunities to

work out new visions for the promotion of growth; within

a broadly supported social model and an environmentally

sound platform: a new model for the future of humanity.

Wallpaper, watercolor

© Lieve Van Stappen







Three organisations signed a memorandum for

cooperation on the future Diamond Silk Road train


FEMOZA the World federation for Free Economic Zones

is a non-for profit organisation with its seat in Geneva. The

organisation has an observer statutus at UNCTAD and

UNIDO — two organisations that are part of the United

Nations. Also Diplomatic World was one of the signatories.

Diplomatic world combines diplomacy — journalism with

a strong focus on moving our planet towards more peace,

cooperation and cultural exchange. The third organisation is

the Chinese community of Antwerp, through EFTCC — the

European Federation of Traditional Chinese Culture. Ludo

Van Campenhout — Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp

was the guest speaker and underlined the importance for

Antwerp of the project. Antwerp is an open door to the

world and will connect citizens from various countries like

Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and China through the

Diamond Express train. The next Antwerp city Government


© Diplomatic World

will hopely take this ambition high on its strategic

international agenda.


The organisers stress that Antwerp Central is today

considered one of the most beautifull stations in the

world. This is confirmed by several international rankings.

The historical monument that was ordered by King

Leopold II has been transformed from a dead-end station

to a through station and that is a real masterpiece of

engineering and architecture. The station is now one

of the most important transitpoints on Europe’s high

speed train network; with fast and easy connections

to Amsterdam - Paris - London and Cologne. This

gives Antwerp Central Stations a trumpcard: its direct

catchment area is nearly 30 mio citizens and can be

compared to Shanghai, Antwerp’s sister city.

In addition Antwerp is the entrance door to the

International Silkroad — connecting the Atlantic and Pacific

Ocean. Every week the Port of Antwerp receives containers

through the maritime silk roads; but also over land

Bloctrains from China arrive in nearly 13 days (compared to

35 days by sea).

But as the China Government policy of One Belt One Road

comes into reality by fast and easy connections on the

ground: new Silk Roads are giving us a brand new feeling

of the one continent on which we live here: EuroAsia: a

conglomerate of peoples, cultures, countries that extends all

the way from the Atlantic till the Pacific ocean. FEMOZA,

Diplomatic World and EFTCC want to invite citizens

all over that one Eurasia continent to meet, to greet, to

exchange views, cultures, education, innovation by travelling

on the planned Antwerp-Shanghai Diamond Silk Road train.




In 1722 the Antwerp merchant Johan Alexander

van Susteren founded the Oostendse Compagnie. This

company was the emanation of the heroic involvement of

Antwerp on the old Silk Roads. This Antwerp company

was the first one on our European continent to develop

the old historical maritime Silk Road with China. The

company imported at its highlight even more than 58% of

all traded tea from China to Western Europe. A unique

Palace on the Meir was built by van Susteren. The Palace

on the Meir in Antwerp, still exists in its original form and


© Diplomatic World


was symbolically choosen by the 3 organisations to sign

their memorandum.

Another name to remember is the Belgian banker

Naegelmaeckers who from 1898 till 1917 operated nostalgic

luxury trains. His ‘Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-

Lits” operated the world famous luxury trainhotel on the

Transsiberian Express, bringing passengers from Moscow all

the way to Vladivostok.




The first Diamond Silk Road train will make use of

the historical Trans-Siberian Express. That will make

the train extremely attractive as it will connect citizens

from Berlin, Warsaw, Minsk, Moscow, Yekaterinburg,

Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan Bator and Beijing. A

fascinating journey on sleeping trains that can be done in

less than a week. The initiators of the project hope that a

dialogue can be started between the Peoples Republic of

China, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the

EU to even work out a special single “Silk Road Visum”

dedicated to this train journey.

The chairman of Russian Railways, Oleg Belozerov, and

the general director of China Railway Corp signed on

June 8 this year a Memorandum of Understanding on

the organization of high-speed rail freight transport on

China-Russia-Europe axis.

The ceremony took place in a Beijing-Tianjin high speed

train, where the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and

President of China, Xi Jinping attended. So Eurasia train

travel will soon be next generation high speed and it is

important that not only goods but also citizens will be able

to use this new super infrastructures.



China and Europe share the same railway track width —

standard gauge or 1435 mm. But Russia’s railway space

has a broader track width: 1520 mm. Spain has developed

a unique technology whereby trains can continue their

journey over both railway networks. Talgo technology

allows the wheels to glide over their axis and adopt to

different railway gauges. China as well as Russia have today

Talgo trains — and these trains could be used to make the

Antwerp-Shanghai railway line operational.

© Diplomatic World





The signing of the Memorandum at the Palace on the Meir

took place in presence of a important diplomatic delegation

from several countries. Moreover the AWDC — Antwerp

World Diamond Centre gave in its speech the full support

to the project. And also the Russian world leading diamond

mining company Alrosa was prominently present in support

of the event. Antwerp has been the heart of diamond

trade worldwide for more than 500 years! 84% of all rough

diamonds and 50% of all cut diamonds find their way to the

city. Shanghai is China’s diamond capital and the sister city

relationship between both cities is therefore a precious one!


The Belgian National Railways have authorised the

placement of a unique sculpture of the Sino-Belgian artist

Shufen on the plus 1 platforms of the railway station. That

sculpture is a strong sign for the peace, friendship and

harmony that we want to create on the new EuroAsian

continent. It is a hand of hospitality between the 2 friendship

cities Antwerp and Shanghai and forms an invitation to bring

the dream of the Diamond Silk Road train into reality.

The organisers will look for an international party Silk

Road Party weekend with active participation of the Silk

Road capitals Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow and Beijing.

These Silk Road parties in the stations should take place

simultaneously and aired online via internet streaming into

one EurAsia Silk Road Party for its citizens. To go into next

steps the signatories to the Memorandum want to set up an

international Diamond Silk Road foundation.

This project is only possible with people who believe

in disruption, who can think “out of the box”, who are

innovative and most of all who believe in our new continent

EurAsia that extends from Atlantic till Pacific Ocean. These

were the very first words of Freddy Opsomer at the signing


Freddy Opsomer served some years as mediator between

Belgian’s National railway company and the City of





New 60-acre redevelopment project,

LABIOMISTA, slated to open in 2019 in Belgium.

Established by artist Koen Vanmechelen,

LABIOMISTA to feature large-scale public park,

research facilities, and the artist’s studio.

Internationally renowned conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen

is breathing new life into the city of Genk, Belgium — once a

major mining center — with a 60-acre redevelopment project.

Called LABIOMISTA — which means “the mix of life” — the

project will feature an entrance and orientation building

designed by acclaimed Swiss architect Mario Botta; a Research

& Study Forum, located in a newly redesigned 1920s villa;

the Cosmopolitan Culture Park, a sustainably redeveloped

grassland that will serve as home to a wide range of animals

and invite the public to engage with the environment and its

inhabitants; and the artist’s 53,000-square-foot private studio,

also designed by Botta. Each of the project’s components

is inspired by Vanmechelen’s wide-ranging practice, which

is guided by an artistic and scientific engagement with

biocultural diversity and its impact on the creation of more

resilient and sustainable communities. This fall marks a

midway point to the project’s completion, which is slated to

open in June 2019.

LABIOMISTA brings together, at one site, the different

threads that comprise Vanmechelen’s work, while also

creating a new platform for dialogue and innovation. His

practice is best encapsulated in such “living art” initiatives

as the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP).


Interior view, The Battery, LABIOMISTA - Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Kris Vervaeke

Launched 20 years ago, the CCP is a crossbreeding program

through which the artist naturally breeds chickens from

different countries, diversifying the flock’s gene pool

and in doing so increasing its fertility, immunology, and

aesthetic variety. The project has become a driving force for

Vanmechelen, spurring similar projects around the world —

most recently in Ethiopia — as well as collaborations with

scientists and leaders from a spectrum of fields to examine

the importance of diversity to building resilience, shifting

outlooks on the environment, the relationships between

nature and culture, and community development.



The selection of the site in Genk also further builds on

these ideas, as LABIOMISTA sits atop a former coal

mine that was later transformed into a now defunct zoo.

Economically and ecologically scarred, the location offers

an ideal opportunity for an intervention that will at once

rehabilitate the natural landscape and stimulate economic

growth in this region. With support from local government

as well as private stakeholders, and in collaboration

with Flanders and Limburg Tourism, LABIOMISTA is

being developed as a public-private partnership between

Vanmechelen and the city of Genk. Discussions are also

already underway for a further development focused on

cultivating locally-sourced dining options in and around

LABIOMISTA, to support further economic and social

growth in the area.

“The examination of the ongoing development of our

societies and cultures feels particularly pressing today.

My vision is that LABIOMISTA will foster discussions

across a wide range of people — from the public to artists

to scholars — about how we can create more diverse,

sustainable, resilient, and engaged communities, and also

about our relationships to the other living creatures with

which we share the earth. It is exciting to bring together the

various aspects of my work into a centralized hub, and to

see what new ideas and projects can be born from it,

in this region and far beyond,” said Vanmechelen. “I’m also

inspired and enthusiastic about the collaboration with the

leadership of the city of Genk, who share my vision for a

new kind of community and have boldly signed on to have

an artist redevelop this vital site and area.”


The Studio, also known as The Battery, is situated at the

southern end of the site, with proximity to the road and

© Florian Voggeneder

Koen Vanmechelen (b. 1965) is an internationally

renowned conceptual artist based in Belgium. He

employs a diversity of approaches to his crossdisciplinary

practice, from painting and sculpture, to

video and installations, to drawing and glasswork, in

addition to his living art initiatives.

Across the last decade, Vanmechelen has collaborated

with scientists from different disciplines. His research

and work earned him an honorary doctorate from the

University of Hasselt in 2010, and the Golden Nica

Hybrid Art award in 2013. His ongoing investigations,

with the support of project partners, led to the

creation of the Open University of Diversity, which

invites people from different fields of study and

practice to engage in a dialogue and new projects that

examine ideas of diversity.

Vanmechelen has shown in major institutions across the

world, including The National Gallery London, Victoria

and Albert Museum (London), Museum Kunst Palast

(Düsseldorf), Venice Projects (Venice), Muziekgebouw

aan ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), Museum of Art and Design

(New York), Pushkin Museum (Moscow), Serlachius

Museum (Manttä) and across Belgium, including at the

Verbeke Foundation, Watou, Museum M and Z33. In

2015, he participated in the Havana Biennale, where

his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project was responsible for

reintroducing an extinct species of chicken back to Cuba.


Exterior view, The Looking Glass, The Battery, LABIOMISTA - Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Philippe van Gelooven

views of the Cosmopolitan Culture Park to the north

and the Research & Study Forum to the west. Inspired

by Vanmechelen’s artworks — which in addition to his

“living art” projects include paintings, drawings, sculpture,

installation, and video works — Botta designed a steel frame

building, clad in black brick, and punctuated by 20-foot-high

windows that draw light deep into the structure’s core. The

Studio has three levels and an open, spacious interior, with

polished concrete floors throughout.

The western end of the building is elevated, creating a series

of open-air spaces punctuated by structural columns. These

spaces — which will be open to the public — showcase some

of Vanmechelen’s 2D and 3D installations and works, and

also feature an enclosure for the Red Jungle Fowl — the

primary progenitor of the domestic chicken. The main level,

which runs the length of the building, includes spaces for

art-making and gathering as well as for rotating displays of

Vanmechelen’s work. The second floor serves primarily as

office and storage spaces, and features a balcony that wraps

the interior perimeter, offering sightlines down onto the art

— and art-making — on the main floor. The eastern end of

the building has a third, ground-floor level storage area.


The Studio also features a multi-story greenhouse on its

western side entitled The Looking glass, which houses a

number of bird species, including hornbills, toucans, and

Collective Memory, marble © Koen Vanmechelen, LABIOMISTA

© Philippe van Gelooven


Exterior view, Incubated Worlds, Addis Ababa (ET), 2018 © Koen Vanmechelen

© Goele Schoofs

In April 2018 a unique poultry facility opened in

Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Incubated Worlds is

an artwork and research center at once, a combined

effort of internationally acclaimed Belgian artist Koen

Vanmechelen and two ILRI livestock geneticists; Tadelle

Dessie and Olivier Hanotte. More than a scientific

facility, Incubated Worlds is about harnessing diversity

to promote new types of unity and harmony. It reveals

art and science as valuable partners in addressing global

challenges of sustainable food systems.

The unique genetic diversity of the Cosmopolitan Chicken

Project is brought to Ethiopia in Incubated Worlds, where

the CCP will be crossed with an Ethiopian-grown chicken

breed, researched and selected by the Ethiopian Institute

of Agricultural Research and ILRI for its productivity and

local preference. The crossbred chicken will be named

the ‘African Ethiopian Planetary Community Chicken’,

“It represents the merger of the global with the local,

the world with the community”, says Vanmechelen,

“This crossbreeding project is part of a quest to balance

diversity with productivity. It is at once art, research and

development project.”

and offers a model for more sustainable and resilient

food systems. ACGG Project Leader, Tadelle Dessie:

‘Incubated Worlds brings diversity and ever-changing

combinations back to Ethiopia, the place where life in

myriad forms began and flourished. It demonstrates to

the world that difference can be a thing of beauty and

something that society needs to survive. Ethiopia, being

one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, is an apt

location for this facility’.


Honoring the beauty and value of diversity, Koen

Vanmechelen’s artwork Book of Genome was added to

the collection of the National Museum of Ethiopia. It is

significant that these books find a home in the National

Museum of Ethiopia, being the cradle of civilization and

the home of Lucy; the world’s most well-known fossil

from the early hominids.

Incubated Worlds brings a fresh perspective to the

collaborative ILRI-led African Chicken Genetic Gains

project, which is working to increase the productivity

of smallholder chicken farming in Africa and is

supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Crossbreeding genetically rich and diverse birds with

locally grown chickens that were selected and developed

for productivity, enriches and diversifies genetic lines

Installation view, Genome Books, DE-CODE (video), Incubated Worlds,

Addis Ababa (ET), 2018 © Koen Vanmechelen © Goele Schoofs




Exhibition view, It's About Time, Serlachius Museums, Manttä (FI), 2018 © Koen Vanmechelen

© Sampo Linkoneva

It’s About Time, Vanmechelen solo exhibition at the

remarkable Serlachius Museums in Finland, offered an

in-depth retrospective overview into the unique territory

Vanmechelen’s art occupies on the edges of art and

nature. It presented striking and monumental artworks

inside the Serlachius main exhibition space, with his

famous breeding program for chickens and pigs outside

across the grounds of the park.

Curator Timo Valjakka; “Key concepts in Vanmechelen’s

art are diversity, fertility, identity, domestication, dedomestication

and human rights. A deeply ethical artist,

his work is concerned about the state of the Earth

and a sustainable future for all species. He seeks both

symbolically and concretely to open perspectives into a

future where people do not exploit nature or each other

but live in a state of balance. As an artist he is motivated

by the desire to change the world, not by the power to

possess it.”


Mario Botta and Koen Vanmechelen in the architect's studio, Mendrisio (CH), 2014

several varieties of turacos. A large enclosure, positioned

atop the building, also provides a habitat for a pair of

Steller’s Sea Eagles. A glass void in the ceiling at the core of

the building allows for views into the Eagles’ environment.

The design for the 53,000-square-foot Studio is a

direct outgrowth of Botta’s long-standing friendship

with Vanmechelen, and his strong understanding of

Vanmechelen’s vision to unite experiences of nature and

culture. Although primarily not a public facility, visitors to

LABIOMISTA will be able to walk around and through the

open-air spaces and greenhouse, and also get views to the

Eagles housed above.



Visitors will enter LABIOMISTA through an entrance

structure, titled The Ark, located at the southwestern end

of the site, and which is also designed by Botta. A dramatic,

modernist archway of black bricks, steel, and polished

concrete, the structure will include 2,500 square feet of

interior space and serve as a welcome area for visitors,

providing them with information about the overall site

and Vanmechelen’s practice. The Ark will also include

installations and works of art by Vanmechelen, a shop, and

the offices for LABIOMISTA’s site manager.

Interior view, The Battery, LABIOMISTA - Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Kris Vervaeke

From this entrance, visitors will be directed toward the

Research & Study Forum, where they can learn more about

the activity that takes place at LABIOMISTA. Situated within

a beautifully renovated 1920s villa that originally belonged

to the owner of the coal mine, the Forum will serve as the

home base for the Open University of Diversity, a think tank


Exterior view, The Battery, LABIOMISTA - Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Philippe van Gelooven


founded by Vanmechelen in 2011 to explore the intersections

of science and art, particularly as it relates to questions of

diversity, fertility, immunology, resilience, and sustainability.

It will, over time, provide overnight accommodations for

scientists, scholars, and curators, who wish to conduct

research at LABIOMISTA or use its library and archives.

Here, the public can experience installations that provide

further details about the animals and ecosystem developed

in the Cosmopolitan Culture Park, as well as some of the

ongoing scientific inquiries and dialogues that relate to

different aspects of the redevelopment. Visitors can also

view some of the archives on the site’s coal mining history,

the genome data for the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, and

additional works of art by Vanmechelen.


The Cosmopolitan Culture Park will be the largest

component of LABIOMISTA, encompassing the majority

of the 60 acres. Animals at the Park will include camels,

dromedaries, ostriches, llamas, emus, nandus, and alpacas.

Together these animals will enable Vanmechelen — and

the scientists and researchers with whom he collaborates

— to pose questions and formulate answers about human

and animal relationships, including issues around how we

broadly view animals, evolution, adaptation, domestication,

and the impact of these ideas on diversity.

Formerly a zoo, the Park is being designed by BURO

Landschap, a Belgian urban planning and technology firm,

in collaboration with Vanmechelen. With the removal of the

enclosures that were once a part of the zoo, the Park will

feature a network of elevated and ground level pedestrian

walkways to establish spaces where the animals, which

will be able to roam freely, can engage safely with human

visitors. By encouraging visitors to explore the Park on foot,

LABIOMISTA will provide an enriching experience with the

Park’s animals, opening a window into their communities

and reinforcing the linkages between all living things.

Located within the Park will be an amphitheater, called Lab

Ovo, designed by the Belgian-Spanish architecture firm Van

Belle & Medina. The amphitheater will provide visitors with

the opportunity to watch art performances and hear talks

by artists or scientists, and also offers a centrally-located,

publicly-accessible space to care for the Park’s many animals.

The Park will include public sculptures created by

Vanmechelen, including his 9.5-meter-high sculpture

Interior view, The Battery, LABIOMISTA - Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Kris Vervaeke

CosmoGolem. Some of the sculptures will serve as animal

shelters — such as bird houses — as well as landmarks for

visitors. Vanmechelen’s “living art” initiatives will also be

central to the Park, which will include breeding stations

for the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project and Planetary

Community Chicken and serve as a platform for the

exploration of the de-domestication and reintroduction of

certain animals into the wild.

model for public-private partnerships that are built on

collaboration and an openness of vision.





LABIOMISTA is supported by a partnership with the

city of Genk, which made possible the adaptive reuse of

land and opened the door for the creation of this major

redevelopment project, fully envisioned by an artist.

Building on this groundbreaking relationship, the leadership

team for LABIOMISTA will encourage additional

partnerships with other local and regional entities,

supporting future growth and innovation in the region.

Vanmechelen has already begun to create connections to

adjacent community gardens — managed by local residents

— and will eventually establish a space for food trucks

and other vendors to provide other services to visitors to

LABIOMISTA. These efforts provide a new blueprint and

Installation view, The Looking Glass, LABIOMISTA

Studio Koen Vanmechelen

© Philippe van Gelooven





On the occasion of the 150 th anniversary of the

laying of the foundation stone of the Palace of

Justice in Brussels and the 200 th anniversary of the

birth of its architect. The international organisation

Meta-Morphosis & Stockmans Art books wanted

to create a cross-media project to celebrate this

emblematic building and to study the importance of

justice in society.

No other building is a better representative of the Belgian

genius. It is a symbol of the exceptional wealth of the

country during the period of its construction, but above all

it reflects the ambition of a young democracy. The

judicial power does not pretend to be a ‘counterpower’ but

‘another power’ and therefore had to be placed above the

other two powers: legislature and executive power.

Because of its international reputation and the influence it

had on important buildings abroad (Parliament of Buenos

Aires in Argentina, Palace of Justice of Lima in Peru, etc.),

this building, which was until very recently the largest

Palace of Justice in the world, is without a doubt one of

the best motivations for a universal reflection on justice.

Expert figures from all over the world accompany us in this


Palace of Justice in Brussels

© Axel Ruhomaully, © Meta-Morphosis

ambitious project with diverse realisations which will bring

together magistrates, politicians, diverse experts, artists,

citizens and future generations.


For only a beautiful book can pay tribute to the biggest

(and arguably most beautiful) courthouse in the world. The

entire project is brought to a close with the publication of

a beautiful art book in four languages — French, Dutch,

English and Spanish, in which all aspects of the project

are presented as well as a universal reflection on justice,

accompanied by art photographs of different places and

artistic creations.

High magistrates, specialists and international figures are

working on this publication at the moment. They were given

free rein to work on neverbefore-published subjects on the

courthouse, its architecture and history, and ask questions

related to the concept of justice. Themes like ‘Justice and

injustice’, ‘Justice and Human rights’ and ‘Justice and

climate’ will be a part of the reflection. Each of these texts

is intended to celebrate the courthouse for what it is and

for what it represents, but also to use it as a pretext to

let readers ponder the fundamental role a strong justice

system has on a true democracy. The audience is varied,

ranging from the daily occupants of the Palace of Justice, to

students and teachers, patrimony and history enthusiasts,

architects and art aficionados, to leaders and institutional

stakeholders, in Belgium and the rest of the world. An

important number of international figures have already

confirmed their participation to the book including Hubert

Reeves — astrophysicist, Princess Esmeralda of Belgium,

Abdoulaye Fadiga — the four times Muay Thai world

champion, Michel Tognini — French astronaut, former Head

of the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space

Agency and many other surprising contributors.

Meta-Morphosis’s strength lies in the ability to balance

these complex subjects and render them intelligible and

appealing, while Stockmans Art Books is proficient

in translating this vision into a fitting physical form.

The contents of this book will therefore be both

understandable and of great quality. For that reason certain

subjects developed by specialists are perfect for artistic

collaborations. The goal is to illustrate the reflections in a

different way and to look at them from a different viewpoint,

but also to make them more appealing and understandable

to a younger audience. Therefore Belgian and international

Palace of Justice in Brussels © Axel Ruhomaully, © Meta-Morphosis

artists are creating in the name of justice. Their involvement

will sensitize an ever-growing audience and broaden the

perspectives of the chosen subjects.


Reinterpretation of a mythical menu during an unforgettable

night. The menu of a dinner, organized by the Conference

of the Young Bar on the occasion of the closing of the

Exhibition of Popular Tradition on 25 April 1903, will be

reinterpreted by a chef during an unforgettable evening to

celebrate the book publication and the end of the project.

During the event, the art pieces created for the project will

be auctioned.


Meta-Morphosis makes it a point to include the younger

generations. By mediating in issues involving heritage

they have assembled the knowhow to reconnect a younger

audience to its history. From heritage to philosophy, Meta-

Morphosis suggests to question all facets of the courthouse.

From knowledge about the building, the context of its


creation and the reasons for the extravagant architecture, to

the concept of justice itself. What is justice and the justice

system, what does it serve and how is it applied in Belgium?

And elsewhere? And even more related questions like: What

is injustice? How important is the principle of equality for

the law? How do we attain it? What is the function of the

justice system in social networks? Several cultural

mediation projects revolving around these themes are

organized in collaboration with organisations in the

‘Marollen’ neighbourhood and the schools in Brussels.


With permission of the Buildings Agency, the corrugated

wall panels will be decorated with photographs, drawings,

paintings and archive documents. These wall panels protect

the basis of the scaffolding of the Palace of Justice’s main

façade. The images are all chosen as a part of the memory

preservation project of the Palace of Justice. They are

commercialized to help finance this ambitious project.

Starting from now, as the first three panels have already

been installed in the beginning of October and the next ones

will be installed in the coming weeks.


In parallel to these events and realizations, Meta-Morphosis

set up a supporting comité that brings together leading

figures, key players in the various fields that contribute to

the dynamics of Brussels and beyond, through the will to

highlight this incredible building and preserve its memory.

Patrons to support the project:

Jean-Pierre Buyle — Geoffroy Coomans De Brachene —

Alain Courtois — Luc Deleuze — Emmanuel Cornu — Francis

Delperée — Bernard de Mérode — Charles-Louis de Mérode

— Fabienne Delvigne — Philippe Delusinne — Marc Eyskens

— Geoffroy Generet — Hervé Gerard — Albert Giugiu —

Sophie Jekeleer — Patrice Le Hodey — Françoise Tulkens —

Guy Van Wassenhove — Edouard Vermeulen — Pascal Vrebos

You can follow the project’s progress throughout the coming

year on the site:

Palace of Justice in Brussels

www.courthouse.brussels — www.palaisdejustice.brussels

www.justitiepaleis.brussels — www.justizpalast.brussels

Stockmans Art Books www.stockmans.be

All images pages 105 - 112 of the Palace of Justice in Brussels

© Axel Ruhomaully, © Meta-Morphosis

© Axel Ruhomaully




Meta-Morphosis is 1) a non-profit international

organization, and 2) a group of commercial companies

that work together on the themes of art, culture and

heritage. In 3 years, through 25 projects over 15

countries, Meta-Morphosis has developed a unique and

universal expertise recognized by most international

institutions. Invited each year by Unesco to the World

Congress Forum; Official partner of Google Art &

Culture; Involved in most events linked to heritage

preservation. They use heritage to reveal and enhance

invisible ties that exist between countries, institutions,

businesses and people. In new artistic forms, we feature

memories, testimonies, emotions of a place,

a talent, a challenge, a story to encourage transmission,

to facilitate intergenerational and intercultural dialogue,

to refocus on human values.














My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to

speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit in a world in

which we all believed, bridging our differences.

― Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals

The diagnosis of ‘cancer’ is overwhelming. Suddenly, you are a foundling in the world of the sick, a ‘patient’ with an unclear future.

Everything else comes to a stand still, because surviving is the absolute priority. Reinventing yourself implies failure, but one must try

again, and explore until new and unexpected perspectives emerge.

The exhibition Dear Agathe, Agathe dear… is a kaleidoscopic ‘work in progress’, a multimedia project inspired by complex

experiences. It shows the scarred body, challenges its prevailing codes and explores its historical, sociopolitical context. The artworks

presented in “Dear Agathe, Agathe dear” … join a still young tradition in which mostly female artists embrace their vulnerability, and

despite their insecurity, draw strength to show themselves… These haunting images are hard to forget, acknowledging others’ misery.

The performance Dear Agathe, Agathe dear… is also a work in progress. Focussing the spotlight on what is concealed, visitors

encounter a gently swelling polyphonic choir that embraces, understands, heals, and above all, celebrates life.

The words spoken by my oncologist echoed in my brain.

My chemo could affect my cognitive skills. He added that my

artistic skills could be at risk too. I must have immediately

repressed this message for this was the very last thing that

I was willing to put at stake. Yet, more than anything, I wanted

to live. Therefore, I immediately forgot his words until a friend

reminded me later of my concerns on this topic. I decided to

do whatever it took to reinvent myself again. I even wanted to

become my better self. I chose not to have a reconstruction

following my double mastectomy. I would rather get a tattoo.

Every day I selected a rose in the garden and painted it using

watercolours. This demands concentration and carefulness. One

has to be alert because water paint flows wherever it chooses. It

can’t be erased. While painting I slipped into a flow, oblivious

of time and space: a kind of instant mindfulness. A flower is a

living being. You can’t afford to skip a day if you want to paint

the entire cycle from blooming to withering. Each time the

roses surprised me. The more I studied them, the more complex

and ingenious they seemed. More than two years later I had

painted enough roses to make a selection. I decided to postpone

the tattoo for the time being. I’d rather try making an animation

first. The first traces of a wild rose were found in a fossil dated

40 million years ago. The first cancer, recently discovered, grew

in the foot bone of a child around about 1,7 million years ago.

Roses will continue to bloom long after cancer is largely under

control, possibly within ten years.

This flower has been cultivated for over 4000 years. In ancient

times, physicians granted therapeutic qualities to rose juice

and rose water. Hildegard von Bingen recommended rose oil

to massage painful joints and cold feet. Moreover, she knew:

rose fragrance rejoices. In Catholic iconography the five rose

petals symbolize Christ’s wounds on the cross, the red rose

itself representing his blood. Red roses are often tattooed over

the scarred wounds left by mastectomies. Her history resonates

and gives meaning to bodies that have suffered, healed and

survived. Her damaged skin becomes a palimpsest. When we

first looked at the moving images of the animation created

from watercolours, we were perplexed. Indeed, we discovered

a rose blooming and withering, but it could just as easily be

interpreted as a cancer cell. When we placed the animated roses

next to one another in a gridded format, a ‘classic’ wallpaper

was born, albeit from living roses. Like whirling snowflakes

and the waves of the sea, these roses are fractals. Engaging

these self-repeating images requires no intellectual effort on

the viewers’ part. It keeps their mind focused and anchors their

wandering thoughts. It thus entices contemplation and distracts

from one’s immediate environment.

The roses wallpaper is de–stressing. It has a soothing

influence on the troubled, anxious brain. The images inspire

conversations with fellow spectators. Ideally, I would like to

project this animation in a hospital, preferably on the wall in

the waiting room of an oncology department.

Lieve Van Stappen, 2017

Page 21

Page 89

Wallpaper, detail, watercolor

Wallpaper, watercolor

Page 131 Wallpaper, watercolor

Page 139 Wallpaper, watercolor

Page 153 If you have a cuting in your hand, 2017, Watercolor

Page 169 Wallpaper, detail, watercolor



Super Etna Wines of Vini Franchetti

In the previous edition of Diplomatic World, we covered the life story of Andrea Franchetti,

In the previous edition of Diplomatic World, we covered the life story of Andrea Franchetti,

one of Italy’s most fascinating, poetic and contrarian winemakers.

one of Italy’s most fascinating, poetic and contrarian winemakers.

We now invite you to take a closer look to his mesmerising vinyards of Passopisciaro

We now invite you to take closer look to his mesmerising vinyards of Passopisciaro

on the north face of Mount Etna.

on the north face of Mount Etna.





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

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

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

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

wines. When he came to the Etna for the first time in the winter

wines. When he came to the Etna for the first time in the winter

of 2000, he was touched by the misery of blackened streets and

of 2000, he was touched by the misery of blackened streets and

ashen churches in large old towns. “It seemed crazy to restore

ashen churches in large old towns. “It seemed crazy to restore

vineyards so high up the mountain – above, it was erupting – but I

vineyards so high up the mountain above, it was erupting but liked that they were planted so high.” Andrea says. “Volcanoes are

liked that they were planted so high.” Andrea says. “Volcanoes are

gloomy places, and when I arrived, Mt. Etna was even gloomier

gloomy places, and when arrived, Mt. Etna was even gloomier

because it was an abandoned volcano. Wineries lay collapsed all

because it was an abandoned volcano. Wineries lay collapsed all

over its slopes; stonewalled terraces disappeared everywhere up the

over its slopes; stonewalled terraces disappeared everywhere up the

mountain in the bushes.”

mountain in the bushes.”

At the top of the steep Passopisciaro property looms a hump of

At the top of the steep Passopisciaro property looms hump of

black gravel. It’s where the lava spill from a big eruption in 1947

black gravel. It’s where the lava spill from big eruption in 1947

had stopped, caking up just before it could submerge whole terraces

had stopped, caking up just before it could submerge whole terraces

below it, vines, walls, and buildings: on Etna you can lose it all.

below it, vines, walls, and buildings: on Etna you can lose it all.

Here, it’s always very cold at night, even in August. The first

Here, it’s always very cold at night, even in August. The first

wine Andrea Franchetti made was pale and meager, and he was

wine Andrea Franchetti made was pale and meager, and he was

discouraged. He planted other grapes; whatever is planted there

discouraged. He planted other grapes; whatever is planted there

the wine always tastes of citrus and camphor, without that generous

the wine always tastes of citrus and camphor, without that generous

body that you like earth to lend right away to a wine.

body that you like earth to lend right away to wine.

There’s no mold, no moss; the ground sparkles black like the night;

There’s no mold, no moss; the ground sparkles black like the night;

the wine slowly becomes very elegant and strange. During the day

the wine slowly becomes very elegant and strange. During the day

a soft light penetrates everything and then there are starry nights;

soft light penetrates everything and then there are starry nights;

Etna has enormous poetry. Making wine, you have access to it.

Etna has enormous poetry. Making wine, you have access to it.

There isn’t Mother Nature here. You are conducting your viticulture

There isn’t Mother Nature here. You are conducting your viticulture





Passopisciaro produces six different bottlings of nerello mascalese,

Passopisciaro produces six different bottlings of nerello mascalese,

the native grape to Mt. Etna, in order to showcase the profound

the native grape to Mt. Etna, in order to showcase the profound

differences in the terroir – lava flow, aspect, and altitude – of the

differences in the terroir lava flow, aspect, and altitude of the

various Contrade that Andrea Franchetti works with. The vines

various Contrade that Andrea Franchetti works with. The vines

are all between 70-100 years old, and the nerello harvest typically

are all between 70-100 years old, and the nerello harvest typically

occurs at the end of October/early November. The wines undergo

occurs at the end of October/early November. The wines undergo

fermentation in steel vats, followed by malolactic and 18 months

fermentation in steel vats, followed by malolactic and 18 months

aging in large neutral oak barrels; this minimal intervention approach

aging in large neutral oak barrels; this minimal intervention approach

to winemaking allows the differences in terroir to shine. Franchetti

to winemaking allows the differences in terroir to shine. Franchetti

started bottling the contrada wines separately in 2008, with a label

started bottling the contrada wines separately in 2008, with label

change in 2009. We present you 3 of the 5 contrade, all available at

change in 2009. We present you of the contrade, all available at

Boutique Barrique, Belgian distributor af Vini Franchetti.

Boutique Barrique, Belgian distributor af Vini Franchetti.

Contrada Rampante

Contrada Rampante

(Contrada R) is the highest cru at

(Contrada R) is the highest cru at

1,000 m (3,330 ft) above sea level. At

1,000 (3,330 ft) above sea level. At

the highest confines of viticulture on

the highest confines of viticulture on

the northern side of Etna, Rampante

the northern side of Etna, Rampante

is ancient contrada, producing

is ancient contrada, producing

one of the volcano’s finest, most

one of the volcano’s finest, most

aromatic wines because of the sandy

aromatic wines because of the sandy

character that the lava has acquired.

character that the lava has acquired.

Due to the altitude, it is typically

Due to the altitude, it is typically

the last contrada to ripen. Andrea

the last contrada to ripen. Andrea

Franchetti owns and cultivates 1.4

Franchetti owns and cultivates 1.4




International Ratings for the superb 2015 vintage


International Ratings for the superb 2015 vintage


Tenuta di Trinoro 2015

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 95 points: “The gorgeous 2015

Tenuta di Trinoro pours into the glass with inky dark richness that

is beautiful to behold. This wine is made primarily with Cabernet

Franc but has some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot mixed in

as well. Although Andrea Franchetti had retreated from his trademark

overripe style in recent years, you get a nostalgic glimpse of it

here. The warm growing season has conspired to create a rich and

textured red wine with aromas of blackberry preserves, cherry confit

and subtle baking spice. This is a charming and exuberant creation

that is open and loud even at this very young stage in its long and

promising lifespan. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2035)”


Tenuta di Trinoro 2015

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, 95 points: “The gorgeous 2015

Tenuta di Trinoro pours into the glass with inky dark richness that

is beautiful to behold. This wine is made primarily with Cabernet

Franc but has some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot mixed in

as well. Although Andrea Franchetti had retreated from his trademark

overripe style in recent years, you get a nostalgic glimpse of it

here. The warm growing season has conspired to create a rich and

textured red wine with aromas of blackberry preserves, cherry confit

and subtle baking spice. This is a charming and exuberant creation

that is open and loud even at this very young stage in its long and

promising lifespan. (Drinking window: 2019 – 2035)”

Score: 92

Score: 92

Tasting Note: Pretty rose petal, graphite and juicy cherry flavors

Tasting Note: Pretty rose petal, graphite and juicy cherry flavors are


framed by light, dusty tannins and bright acidity in this charmin


framed by light, dusty tannins and bright acidity in this charming,

Toscana Palazzi 2015

light- to medium-bodied light- red, ending to medium-bodied with a mineral-tinged red, ending finish. with a mineral-tinged finis

Toscana Palazzi 2015

Drink now through 2025. Drink 283 cases now made. through 2025. 283 cases made.

Score: 96Score: 96

-Wine Spectator April 2018 -Wine Spectator April 2018

Contrada Tasting Note:

Contrada Tasting Guardiola Immediately Note: Immediately alluring aromas alluring of ripe black aromas currant of ripe and


black currant Contrada and Chiappemacine

Contrada Contrada Chiappemacine

blackberry Contrada


waft from the

blackberry Guardiola

glass, frames by spicy oak. Picks up earth, Contrada Chiappemacine

waft from the glass, frames by spicy oak. Picks up earth, Contrada Chiappemacine

(Contrada leather and G)


tar notes, is an layered ancient

leather and G) tar notes, is

through domain

an layered ancient

the long

through domain

finish. Balanced and (Contrada C) is a small domain at

(Contrada G) is ancient domain

(Contrada G) is an ancient domain

the long finish. Balanced (Contrada and C) is small (Contrada domain C) at is a small domain at


long. Merlot.













from 2020


2035. 615 cases made.

through 2035. 615 cases made.

550 m (1,000 ft) above (Contrada sea level, C) is small domain at

between -Wine Spectator between 800 and Dec 1,000 800 2017 and (2,600 1,000 to m (2,600 to


(1,000 ft) above 550 m sea (1,000 level, ft) above sea level,

3,300 ft) between above -Wine sea Spectator 800 level, and on Dec the 1,000 2017 edge

(2,600 to

Andrea’s lowest site 550 for PASSOPISCIARO

a (1,000 single ft) above sea level,

3,300 ft) above sea level, on the edge


3,300 ft) above sea level, on the edge

Terre Siciliane lowest Contrada site for

Andrea’s S 2015 single

of the lava 3,300 flow ft) from above Etna’s sea level, 1947 on the edge

vineyard cru. The Andrea’s site



lowest site for a single

of the lava flow from Etna’s 1947

vineyard Score: 92cru. The site produces Siciliane lowest Contrada site for S 2015 single

eruption. of It the produces lava flow a deep from and Etna’s 1947

a more Tasting full-bodied, Note: Medicinal vineyard rounder herb and cru. The site produces

of the lava flow from Etna’s 1947

vineyard Score: 92 style spice notes form a fragrant thread,





produces deep and

more unwinding full-bodied, through this rounder grippy, medium-bodied style cru. The red, site which produces offers

complex eruption. wine with It a rich produces taste of a deep and

because lively acidity it lies and on flavors the a last more Tasting of mulled outreach full-bodied, Note: Medicinal rounder herb and style spice notes form a fragrant th


Toscana eruption. wine



di DU Magnacosta It rich


produces taste



deep and

because it lies on the last more outreach cherry and mineral that linger on

unwinding full-bodied, through this rounder grippy, medium-bodied style

red fruit.

red, which offer

Score: 95 complex

Andrea Franchetti

wine with


a rich taste of

of Mount the finish. Etna’s Drink now lava; through


beneath 2028.

complex lively acidity it

the 163 cases made.

red fruit. Andrea Franchetti makes

of Mount -Wine Spectator Etna’s April lava; 2018 beneath the lies and on flavors the last of mulled outreach cherry and mineral that linge

this Toscana




di Magnacosta rich taste



because it lies on the last outreach

Tasting wine Note: from A a dense careful profile selection emerges of as this red goes from cherry thinner strata of lava lies

red fruit. Andrea Franchetti makes

of Mount the a limestone

this wine from careful selection of

thinner strata of lava lies limestone finish. Etna’s Drink now lava; through beneath 2028. the 163 cases made.

and black red currant

Score: fruit. fruit

95 Andrea to iron, cedar, Franchetti earth and spicy makes oak flavors.

some of the older nerello mascalese

bed to which the vines of Mount -Wine penetrate. Spectator Etna’s April lava; 2018 beneath the

some Muscular of tannins guard the lingering, persistent finish. Youthful and


the older

Tasting wine


Note: from A a


dense careful profile selection emerges of

bed to which the vines

as this red goes from cherry thinner


strata of lava lies a limestone

vines, exuberant. which this Cabernet wine he from Franc. started Best careful bottling from 2021 selection through 2033. of 415 cases He owns 1.2 hectares


thinner of vines strata in of lava lies limestone

made. -Wine

which and black currant fruit to iron, cedar, earth and spicy oak flavors.



he started

of the




He owns 1.2 hectares of vines in

separately nerello mascalese

PASSOPISCIARO bed to which the vines penetrate.

separately some Muscular beginning

beginning of the tannins older 2011.

2011. guard nerello the lingering, mascalese persistent finish. Youthful this contrada.

this and bed to which the vines penetrate.

vines, exuberant. which Cabernet he Franc. started Best bottling from 2021 through 2033. 415







owns 1.2 hectares of vines in


made. -Wine



he started

Dec 2017bottling

Score: 92 He owns 1.2 hectares of vines in

separately beginning in 2011.

separately beginning in 2011.


Terre Siciliane Contrada P 2015

grilled lamb. Petit Verdot Score: and Cesanese 92 d’Affile. Best from 2020


The through Antwerp 2025. (Brasschaat) 250 cases Tasting made. based Note: wine store A saturated, Boutique medium- Barrique to has full-bodied red, with den


The -Wine Antwerp Spectator (Brasschaat) April 2018 tannins based wrapped wine store in Boutique sappy black Barrique cherry has

the honor to distribute DITRIBUTOR the wines of Vini for Franchetti Belgium, in Belgium, Luxembourg

and cassis fruit.





the honor to distribute DITRIBUTOR graphite the wines and of cigar Vini for Franchetti box Belgium, linger on in Belgium, the Luxembourg grippy finish. Try and this The with

Terre Siciliane Contrada P 2015

Luxembourg and The Netherlands. For more information please

Luxembourg and The Netherlands. grilled lamb. For Petit more Verdot information and Cesanese please d’Affile. Best from 2020

Score: 94

contact Steven Hubrecht through at +32 476 2025. 27 250 57 32.

contact Steven Hubrecht at +32 476 cases made.

Tasting Note: A well-knit version, offering chewy tannins and juicy The -Wine Antwerp To order

27 57

Spectator (Brasschaat) your



April 2018 based wines:

store Boutique Barri

acidity meshed with generous black cherry and blackberry fruit,

the honor to distribute the wines of Vini Franchetti in B

the honor to distribute the wines of Vini Franchetti in with dried thyme and violet. Ends with a lasting note of tarry mineral

on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2030. 225 cases made.

Luxembourg and The Netherlands. For more information

Luxembourg and The Netherlands. For more information

contact Steven Hubrecht at +32 476 27 57 32.

-Wine Spectator April 2018

contact Steven Hubrecht at +32 476 27 57 32.

Score: 94

Tasting Note: A well-knit version, offering chewy tannins and juicy

acidity meshed with generous black cherry and blackberry fruit,

with dried thyme and violet. Ends with a lasting note of tarry mineral

on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2030. 225 cases made.

-Wine Spectator April 2018


Terre Siciliane Contrada C 2015

Score: 93

Tasting Note: Snappy tannins and bright acidity are well-meshed

with flavors of wild cherry, raspberry, mineral and spice in this vivid,

ligth- to medium-bodied red. Hints of smoke and licorice linger on


the creamy finish. Drink now through 2028. 330 cases made.

-Wine Spectator April 2018

Terre Siciliane Contrada C 2015

Score: 93

Tasting Note: Snappy tannins and bright acidity are well-meshed

with flavors of wild cherry, raspberry, mineral and spice in this vivid,

ligth- to medium-bodied red. Hints of smoke and licorice linger on

the creamy finish. Drink now through 2028. 330 cases made.



Terre Siciliane Contrada G 2015

Terre Siciliane Contrada G 2015

Score: 93

Tasting Note: Fresh and light- to medium-bodied, this perfumed

red offers dried mint, violet and anise accents to the cherry and

mandarin orange peel flavors. A bright and balanced version, wi

chewy finish that echoes the aromas. Drink now through 2025. 3

cases made. -Wine Spectator April 2018

Score: 93

Tasting Note: Fresh and light- to medium-bodied, this perfumed

red offers dried mint, violet and anise accents to the cherry and

mandarin orange peel flavors. A bright and balanced version, with a

chewy finish that echoes the aromas. Drink now through 2025. 320

cases made. -Wine Spectator April 2018



Terre Siciliane Contrada R 2015

Terre Siciliane Contrada R 2015




tannins wrapped in this sappy Sicilia


DITRIBUTOR for Belgium,

black cherry Franchetti Luxembourg

and cassis 2015 fruit.





DITRIBUTOR graphite and cigar for box Belgium, linger on the Luxembourg grippy finish. Try and this The with


Tasting Note: A saturated, medium- to full-bodied red, with dense



The Antwerp (Brasschaat) based wine store Boutique Barriq

Bethaniëlei 16, Brasschaat

Bethaniëlei 16, Brasschaat

m. +32 476 27 57 32

m. +32 476 27 57 32





www. boutique-barrique.be

www. boutique-barrique.be

To order your Franchetti w

Bethaniëlei 16, Brasscha

Bethaniëlei 16, Brasscha

m. +32 476 27 57 32

m. +32 476 27 57 32



17/10/2018 11:19







This was the title of the special on Pancreatic Cancer in

54, the “Autumn 2017” edition of Diplomatic World.

We are not there yet but we have lots of good news to



There is no sure way to prevent pancreatic cancer. Some

risk factors such as age, gender, race, and family history

can’t be controlled. But there are things you can do that

might lower your risk. The same counts for all cancers,

even all diseases: healthy living.

Smoking is the most important risk factor! Do NOT smoke!

You will lower the risk if you quit smoking.

Maintain a healthy weight and avoid processed foods.

Obesity is the second important risk factor! Eat lots of fruits

and vegetables, whole grain bread and pastas and include

regular exercise in your daily routine. Some claim alcohol

should be banned but limited use, in time and portions,

is a logic directive. However, if there is a family history

of pancreatic cancer or multiple cancers, your doctor will

advise more targeted tests. The cause of most pancreatic

cancer cases is unknown, but research studies have

identified risk factors that may increase the likelihood that

someone will develop pancreatic cancer.


© stemcellthailand.org

© medscape.com



• Smoking: people who smoke cigarettes are two times

more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than people

who have never smoked.

• Obesity: obese people have a 20 percent increased risk

of developing pancreatic cancer when compared with

people who are of normal weight.

• Diabetes: pancreatic cancer is more likely to occur in

people who have long-standing diabetes (more than 5

years). This can also be a symptom.

• Pancreatitis (Chronic and Hereditary):

chronic pancreatitis indicates an increased risk of

developing pancreatic cancer. It’s even higher in

individuals with hereditary pancreatitis

• Diet and exercise: healthy eating and regular exercise are

vital to promote healthy living

• Family History of Pancreatic Cancer: if a person’s

mother, father, sibling or child had pancreatic cancer,

then that person’s risk for developing the disease

increases by 2 to 3 times.

• Family History of Other Cancers risk of pancreatic

cancer increases if there is a history of familial ovarian,

breast, or colon cancer, hereditary pancreatitis or

familial melanoma.

• Race (Ethnicity): African Americans and Ashkenazi

Jews have a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer

when compared with individuals of Asian, Hispanic or

Caucasian descent.

• Age: the chance of developing pancreatic cancer

increases with age. Most people diagnosed with

pancreatic cancer are over the age of 60.


118 © Pancreatic Cancer Action

© Pancreatic Cancer Action

“In late 2007, I noticed that I was feeling tired all the time

and had lost my appetite. I ignored these symptoms. I was a

practicing attorney and I assumed that I was feeling pressure as

I prepared for a trial scheduled for late January 2008.

Then I noticed that my urine started to become dark. It became

progressively darker, but I also ignored this.

Then I became jaundiced and started to itch all over my body.

My wife insisted that I should go immediately to the hospital.

An ultrasound showed that there was blockage in my bile duct,

which was causing the jaundice and itching. I was given an

endoscopy procedure the next day, during which a shunt was

inserted in the bile duct to release the blockage. It was after this

procedure and a CT scan that I was told that I probably had

pancreatic cancer and was scheduled to meet with a surgeon.

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early January 2008.”


The cause of pancreatic cancer is not known but there are

many signs and symptoms that we should pay attention

to. Anyone of these symptoms can be an indication of

something else but please take note and contact your doctor

to discuss it if you feel something is not right.

• ‘painless jaundice’ a yellowing of the skin and the white

of the eyes, dark colored urine and general itching of

the skin. All could be related to bile duct obstruction.

• ‘weight loss’ which is significant and unexplained

(you’re not on a diet), sometimes even dramatic

• ‘abdominal pain’ which is new-onset and significant.

Since the pancreas is located behind the stomach, the

pain will radiate from the stomach right to the back.

• ‘diabetes’ which is new-onset and not associated with

weight gain — a helpful hint your family doctor will


• ‘indigestion’ sometimes vague or abdominal discomfort

and often not responding to prescribed medication

• ‘loss of appetite’ or pain with eating, nausea or


• ‘bowel movements’ that change, fatty stools that are

often pale.


© Digestive and Obesity Synergy Centre Saba - Docs


Not everyone will experience all these symptoms and the

symptoms will also differ according to the location of the

tumor. All of these symptoms can also have other causes,

but it is important to have them checked by a doctor.


On October 10 th , the European Parliament by Pavel Poc

MEP, hosted a meeting titled “Putting Pancreatic Cancer on

the map — what we have and what we need”.

The event brought together stakeholders from all over

Europe with a common interest and willingness to improve

policies for people with pancreatic cancer.

Worryingly, as the incidence of pancreatic cancer increases

with age, it is expected to become even more prevalent in the

coming decades as the European population ages. Despite

not being the most prevalent cancer, pancreatic cancer is

on the way to becoming the second cancer killer in the near

term. With this event, the objective will be to present the

work undertaken by Pancreatic Cancer Europe (PCE) and

United European Gastroenterology (UEG) to address the

inequalities in pancreatic cancer diagnosis and care across

Europe. Inequalities are deep across Europe: incidence

ranges from 7.4 (ASR) in Sweden to 17.8 (ASR) in Czech


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadliest

cancers since it usually causes no symptoms early

on leading to an advanced form of the disease by

the time it gets diagnosed

Pancreas head Body Tail

Bile duct


• Jaundice

• Upper abdominal pain that

radiates to the back

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Depression

The pancreas, a crucial part of

the digestive system, secretes hormones

like insulin, and produces enzymes

needed for food digestion

Pancreatic duct

Cancerous tissue*

Sphincter of Oddi


(small intestine)

* Artist's impression of common tumour positions


• Smoking

• Obesity

• Diets low in vegetables and

fruis, and high in red meat

• Family history of chronic

inflammation of the pancreas

• Diabetes

• Older age


• Depending on the stage of

cancer, a surgical removal

is done to remove parts of

the pancreas affected by the

tumour. This can extend a

patient's life a few years

• Where surgery is not possible,

chemotherapy and radiation

therapy is used to improve a

patient's quality of life.


• The American Cancer Society

says the 5-year survival rate

for patiens is only about 5%.

Most patients die withing six


• Diagnosed in 230.000 people

across the world, with 37.000

cases in the United States


© Cambridge Research Institute, Cancer Research UK


Republic; 5-year survival rates fluctuate between 0.5%

for Slovenia and 9% for Sweden, while the median 5-year

survival rate across Europe is only 3%. The event featured

presentations by key pancreatic cancer experts and patient

advocates, jointly fighting to limit and defeat this disease.

Dr Lydia Makaroff, European Cancer Patients Coalition

(ECPC) presented the heatmap showing a small

improvement of participating European countries in the

fight against Pancreatic Cancer.

Professor Matthias Löhr (UEG) addressed barriers in

diagnostics. There is no mass screening test for pancreatic

cancer today. People with a family history of cancer must be

MRI tested.

Miroslav Zavoral, Military University Hospital Prague stated

that pancreatic cancer is a disease, not only a local tumor.

Early diagnosis should be the task of the general practitioner

and the fact is that we must provide them with more

information and improve awareness! Diabetes T3 should be

investigated more profoundly, not only diabetes T2.

Ali Stunt, founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action

UK presented the "Inequality report".

Mariella De Bausset, Sec. Gen. of the Fondation A.R.CA.D.

(France) had some very interesting and necessary points of

action to offer on national best practices.

‘Sign & Symptoms’ posters are available in many European

languages and we have to make that known to all concerned,

mostly the general practitioners and associations.

A survey in France showed the following:

• patients did not know the signs & symptoms

• general practitioners minimized the symptoms

• no “urgent” pancreas protocol exists, we should have

quality care in less than 14 days!

• globally some 50 drugs are being developed, 41% by US

companies but only 5% by EU companies

Advocating for a screening program in the EU and more

specific in Eastern Europe MEP Marian-Jean Marinescu

(EPP, Romania) pledged his undivided attention and efforts

in supporting all well-grounded projects regarding the early

detection of pancreatic cancer.


“Research must concentrate more on pancreatic cancer

BUT there are not enough tumour samples and not enough

researchers! No European bank of tumour and/or blood samples,

accessible to all researchers in Europe exists today”, MEP.

Lieve Wierinck promised to look into this urgent matter.

How to make the field more attractive? Not only regarding

treatment but also regarding early detection by identifying

asymptomatic factors. Epidemiology data needs to be

available in large numbers to be able to have early detection

signals. Without these resources, without all the data, no

biomatter study can be done.



• Pancreatic cancer is one of the more

stubborn cancers to diagnose and

treat. Early detection is rare, thus

treatment is limited. Unfortunately,

there are no medically backed

methods of preventing pancreatic

cancer. However, avoiding the risk

factors for it is the best defense we


• Do Not Smoke


• Healthy Diet and Exercise


• Localized surgery and

post-op radiation and/or


Before surgery

After surgery

• Local chemotherapy +


• Pancreatic Enzyme


© All to Health/Living Well

We are a large group of advocates and form a fierce team of

fighters. We will make noise until things change for the better

for all cancer patients. The excuse that pancreatic cancer

does not claim enough victims or that the survival rate is

too low to spend research time and money on finding a cure,

has been used for too long now. We want people to know

that a pancreatic cancer diagnosis is not an immediate death

sentence. Too many patients already are testimony to this.

We will spread the word: know the signs and symptoms, act

accordingly and consult your doctor. Early detection is key!



oncologists, researchers and database experts to co-ordinate

a national effort to improve survival for pancreatic cancer

patients. It is the first of its kind in the world.

“This may well be the most important development in

resourcing UK pancreatic cancer research in a generation”

Professor Nick Lemoine, Director of Barts Cancer Institute,


“The Tissue Bank is a collaboration between six UK hospitals

that are renowned for their excellence in treating pancreatic

cancer patients - and we're already in discussion with more

hospitals about joining us.”

The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund Tissue Bank is a

national — and ultimately international — resource that will

help develop new treatments and bring these to patients

much faster. It brings together surgeons, pathologists,

You can read the full press release and watch the Tissue

Bank video on the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

website http://www.pcrf.org.uk/pages/tissue-bank.html

For more information contact info@pancreascommunity.eu




Art is one amazing way to explore the full potential of

cultures and to share them with a wide public. The two

artists Walter Vilain and YAO Yizhi have achieved an

incredible level of harmony and sharing into their art,

blending European and Chinese cultures into unique

canvas bearing two peoples’ history.

From June 29, 2018 until September 10, 2018, the China

Cultural Center in Brussels was hosting the Walter VILAIN

& YAO Yizhi: “Melody” Joint Exhibition on the occasion

of the 1st Edition of the EU-China Art Dialogue, featuring

a fine selection of the most representative artworks from

the latest art creations by the two artists, alongside some

precious photos of this artistic pair.

The true beauty of art is that it knows no boundaries. Often

very singular, art can welcome several styles and cultures

and turn them into harmonious blends, making civilizations

richer and more colorful through exchanges and mutual

learning. When the East meets the West through painting,

we can see sparks triggered out of the exchanges engaged

between Chinese and Western cultures, as well as the

harmony achieved between Eastern and Western cultures

and arts.

With a shared passion and taste for arts despite their

different cultural backgrounds, the two artists, Walter Vilain

and YAO Yizhi, have created works that reinforce with and

add glamour to each other. Their friendship, beyond any


ZHANG Chi Minister-Counselor and Deputy Head of Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Kingdom of Belgium, ZHANG Ming Ambassador of

the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Union and spouse, Artist Walter VILAIN, TAN Shu Vice Director of the China Cultural Center,

Artist YAO Yizhi

© Linda Yao

Look into the Pines, 2012, 70 x 70 cm

© Yao Yizhi


Live performance of YAO Yizhi with traditional Chinese music

© Linda Yao


The Walter VILAIN & YAO Yizhi:

“Melody” Joint Exhibition

June 29, 2018 — September 10, 2018


Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the

European Union

Live performance of Walter VILAIN accompanied by classical music

© Linda Yao



China Cultural Center in Brussels


Atlas International Culture SPRL

doubts, has become a perfect illustration of the blooming

exchanges between the Chinese and European civilizations,

something well embodied in the spirit of the Silk Road.

To pay tribute to the mutual appreciation and friendship

between the two artists, the China Cultural Center in

Brussels held a joint exhibition entitled Walter VILAIN &

YAO Yizhi: Melody from June 29 to September 10, 2018.

This exhibition presented a fine collection of the most

Lotus Blossom in Summer, 2012, 70 x 70 cm

© Yao Yizhi

representative works recently created by the two artists,

together with some precious photos. It featured two forms

of paintings — European oil painting and Chinese ink

wash painting — whose co-existence is a perfect example of

harmony in diversity. Together, Walter VILAIN and YAO

Yizhi highlight the fact that European and Chinese artists

could work together to pursue the same aspirations through

different artistic means, endeavor to create a vast universe

where diverse cultures blend together into a harmonious

whole thanks to the artists’ mutual appreciation for each

other’s culture. The two artists kept conversing over their

zest for arts and created artworks that mutually resonated

with power, staying true to a shared aesthetic despite their

respective cultural traditions, Eastern or Western, past or

present. Their unusual close friendship, beyond all doubt,

became over time a perfect illustration of the blooming

exchanges between the Chinese and European civilizations

in the spirit of the Silk Road.

Just as music knows no boundaries, their friendship

resonates beyond all borders between China and Europe.

Text, China Cultural Center in Brussels






The world is chasing the newest innovation

trends, digitalisation is everywhere. How strong

is Russia’s development? Are there possibilities

for stronger cooperation internationally?

In Russia, as in all major countries, we have special

programs of digitalisation of the economy. Russia is

very advanced in using various kinds of information

technologies. In my opinion, you should be more active in

introducing digital technologies in all sectors, especially

in the monetary sphere. We now have opportunities to

create digital currencies, which will be controlled by

the government and there will be no risks that these

currencies will be stolen and used in other ways.

So, all the huge and really sophisticated legislation

about banking control could be easily changed by the

digitalisation of currencies, and we already have plans to

introduce the digital technologies in currency regulation.

I am speaking of crypto currencies, but am also speaking

about the national currencies with digital technologies.

Introduction of digital technologies in national currency

creation will give us opportunity to avoid all banking

risks. This is very important and interesting.

The younger generation is becoming more

globally mobile. They are opening their minds to

a global vision. How do you see this generation’s

role in international cooperation?

social group that will use these new technologies and

new opportunities.

The first problem is the differentiation of the young

population in terms of knowledge, technical ability, and

opportunities to use these new technologies.

The young generation is split; there is a minority that is

very clever, educated, and successful, but approximately

40% of young people in southern Europe do not have jobs.

Nobody needs them. This is a very dangerous trend; the

splitting of the young generation. It can be solved only

through large scale cooperation, at least in Eurasia. Young

people should have opportunities to use their knowledge

and their skills in all Eurasian countries. The second point

is differentiation in values.

For instance, in Russia we have a long-term tradition

of Christianity. There is a renaissance of the Orthodox

church and desecularization. 70% of Russians identify as

Christians. Christian values are now again very popular

in Russia also among the younger generation. There are

the Muslim part of Russia — Muslim countries — where

we are seeing the renaissance of Muslim values. The great

religions are returning in the Asian parts of Eurasia and

in Russia. In Europe you see a post-Christian situation.

Christian values are not respected at all. The national

governments introduce laws that totally reject Christian



This is a very important subject. The world is very

transparent in terms that information technologies

can now be used everywhere in the world. We see

international universities that use large networks to

provide education to people in different countries.

This progress will continue. The world will be more

interconnected, and of course, young people are the first

In this situation, it is very difficult to organise bridges

between young people in Asia and in Europe. They hold

quite different values, quite different understandings of

the world. For this reason, I propose a neoconservative

synthesis as a basis for the trans-Eurasian ideology. What

does this mean? You have to combine traditional values

that are implemented in the great religions of Eurasia with

Barbara Dietrich and Sergey Glazyev

© Diplomatic World

the values of social states and democracy, and likewise,

social democratic European traditions with traditional

religions as a neoconservative synthesis, which could

be the basis for common values of people from France,

Portugal, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, to China, Korea,

including Russia and Central Asia. We could come to a

consensus, a consensus in the whole Eurasian territory, as

a guideline for ideological orientation.

Could these neoconservative values not also be

found in a society that is, as you may say, post-

Christian or agnostic?

An agnostic society is not aggressive. The people who say

that knowledge is the greatest sin in ideology use some

kind of positive values. The Soviet Union was an agnostic

society. We did not have prelims of cooperation between

Christians, Muslims, and others — agnostics.

We are speaking now about an anti-Christianity. Europe

is now post-Christianity. “Post” means, in fact, anti-

Christianity. Agnostic people reject religion, but they do

not reject religious values. If you look for instance at the

moral codex of the Soviet Union, it is almost the same

as what Jesus proclaimed. The main problem with anti-

Christian trends in European education is that it creates

strong misunderstanding, even for people inside Europe.

Of course, it is not easy to do, but nevertheless we must

find common ground.

The original idea of Eurasian integration was announced

about 100 years ago. Trubnikov wrote that after the

collapse of the Soviet Union the integration could be

based only on the understanding of common history. As

far as we are people that have lived together for centuries

and have shared history, we have a basic common

understanding of basic values, we can construct the future


This is the basis of Eurasian integration according to

Russian philosophical tradition. If you look to the Chinese

ideology of One Belt One Road, they say it is the initiative

of the people of one historical heritage, one historical

soul — historical fortune. So, for Eurasian integration

we need not only free trade, but common values to trust

each other. If we do not have shared values and goals of

integration, the nation states will create barriers against

communication. So, in order to be open, you need to trust

each other; in order to trust each other, you need common

values. This is the problem.


Our integration is based on respect of national sovereignty

and on common, mutual benefits. We do not use any force

in integration, it is totally voluntary, and it is limited.

We do not want to integrate everything. We want to

integrate trade, a common economic space, a customs

union, harmonise the anti-monopoly legislation, the

tax-legislation. But, we do not try to unify the political

systems, the education systems, the cultural systems.

We respect diversity. We integrate only where we can

achieve competitive advantages for each nation. These

new positive results for everyone are so called synergetic


Do you not think that new technologies can

function as an equalizer to disparate levels of

education due to income inequalities?

On one hand, they can be used as an equalizer. You can

live in Africa and hear lectures of Harvard University;

there are new opportunities. But, unfortunately, not

everyone can use these opportunities. When I was a

member of the OSCE inter-parliamentary assembly about

15 years ago, I proposed to introduce the Tobin tax.

Tobin is a famous economist in financial spheres. He

proposed taxation of financial speculative operations.

He mathematically proved that if you imposed taxes on

speculative operations, it will spur economic growth.

Speculations will therefore be less attractive than

investments into the real sector.

The Tobin tax was popular in Europe, some countries

introduced it, but because of European general legislation,

it made no sense to just introduce it in one country. The

European Union must introduce it in all countries. It

should be introduced internationally, let us say, as a 2.0

social tax rate on all currency speculations.

Coming back to development, what is the role

of Blockchain and Crypto in international


I believe these technologies have very good prospects for

growth and implementation in the spheres where there is

a need for transparency and protection from smuggling

and manipulation. The point is that the present twolevel

banking system does not give enough protection

for clients, because any bank could become bankrupt

and you could lose all your money. For this reason, the

digitalisation of money transfers is perhaps the most

important innovation to avoid all the shortcomings of the

present two-level banking system.

The central bank can create money directly, without

commercial banks, and use them for the economy while

each person can be sure that nobody can steal his or

her money. Blockchain technology is very important for

government procurements: To end corruption, Blockchain

is a very good instrument. Everything is transparent.

Coming back to your question about information

technologies, one of the main problems is that all

internet society is not transparent; we do not know who

is our partner on the internet. Blockchain can give pure

identification for all members of the social network, which

will help avoid all kinds of manipulations and criminal

actions. The societies that are ready, according to their

values — the ruling elite is ready — Blockchain can be

quickly introduced.

Brita Achberger and Barbara Dietrich

Then, you should get new money to finance education in

less developed countries, to give young people in those

less developed countries access to the best universities and

pay for educational programs all over the world. Use this

money to overcome technical disasters, like Fukushima

in Japan, or in New Orleans, or Indonesia. We can use

this money for human development and protection. The

United States were the only delegation that voted against

this idea.


Wallpaper, watercolor

© Lieve Van Stappen




After a few years of hype, experts are now tamping

down expectations for cryptocurrencies. Indeed,

several concerns about security and regulation need

to be addressed. But cryptocurrencies — and the

blockchain technology they are based on — also offer

tremendous room for innovation and efficiency.

By competing with traditional fiat currency, they

could help profligate governments and central banks

become more disciplined




It was recently reported that Goldman Sachs has

suspended its plans for a cryptocurrency trading

desk. According to Vitalik Buterin, the developer of

Ethereum, a blockchain platform that runs on the

Ether cryptocurrency (the second-most valuable

cryptocurrency after Bitcoin) delaying institutional

trading for several years is a sensible move, since the

market has to settle. In an interview with Bloomberg, he

tamped down expectations and emphasized that he does

not see potential for any more of the extreme growth

cryptocurrencies have experienced over the past few

years. After the blockchain and cryptocurrency hype in

recent years, it is now time to develop the technology’s

more practical applications, he said.

Blockchain technology ensures that this information is easy

to interpret and cannot be copied. As a result, it fulfills the

ideal conditions for digitizing money, assets and intellectual

property. The blockchain cannot be modified or changed,

providing a high degree of system security.


Money is a means to facilitate the exchange of goods and

services and to set a comparable price for that exchange.

It also stores value between exchanges. This savings (the

stored value) can also be borrowed against interest and put

back into the economy, giving the savings an important

function in providing capital.

At the core of a blockchain system is information

arranged in a sequence that is uniquely identifiable to a

person (physical or legal) and can be safely transmitted

from one user to another. This information can have

various functions and can be used multiple times. In

the case of cryptocurrencies, owners can transfer digital

money to third parties through blockchain technology.

The blockchain then acts as a payment system, working

with the user interface, like a wallet app on a smartphone.


In the cryptocurrency world, the sequence of information

is called a “token.” There are systems (Bitcoin), in which

this information is, technically, not designed as a token

(a token could represent, for example, any number of

Bitcoins). The term denotes the transferability of this

information and its freedom from external influence.

Princess Gisela of Liechtenstein, Expert of Geopolitical Intelligence

Services AG (GIS)

The value of today’s major currencies is based on trust in

the central banks and state treasuries, and the belief that

other actors will accept this money at face value. It also

requires trust that the banking system will properly keep,

allocate and transfer funds. This system is centralized and

requires reliable intermediaries.

On the other hand, cryptocurrencies are based on a direct

exchange between purchaser and seller. It is a decentralized

system in which the blockchain provides the necessary

ledger. This allows essentially anybody to start a currency.

Along with the three leaders — Bitcoin, Ether and Ripple

— thousands of smaller currencies have sprung up. The

Swedish National Bank even has plans to issue its own

cryptocurrency, the e-krona, while Venezuela launched

the “petro” cryptocurrency in February 2018. Liquidity is

created by so-called “miners,” who earn a small amount of

the cryptocurrency for each transaction they process. The

blockchain technology limits these operations, preventing

unlimited quantities of the cryptocurrency from being


Prince Michael of Liechtenstein, Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical

Intelligence Services AG (GIS)

To raise equity, an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO, system was

developed. This uses the blockchain technology to replace

the stock market, and effectively decentralizes its function

of supplying capital to the economy.


As with any revolutionary new technology, the use of

blockchain to create independent currencies raises fears

and expectations about potential winners and losers.

In this case, the discussion is polarized and frequently

emotional. In some countries, like China, cryptocurrencies

have been banned. In others, like Luxembourg, authorities

have warned financial intermediaries against engaging in

cryptocurrency trading. In contrast, the canton of Zug,

in Switzerland, allows taxes to be paid in Bitcoin. The

Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority introduced a

regulatory laboratory for new applications. Liechtenstein is

also preparing a law that will regulate blockchain business

models, to provide legal certainty for the market.

Being able to conduct transactions without an intermediary

certainly has huge advantages in terms of time, cost and,

if the technology works correctly, security. It is a good

alternative to central bank-issued money and through

competition could eventually enforce more monetary policy

discipline in the current system.

The idea of having an alternative to traditional fiat money is

attractive, especially today, when major currencies’ savings

value is in jeopardy and the trust they require to work is

declining. Central banks are no longer focused on their

duty to protect money’s value and have instead bowed to

the pressure spendthrift governments have put on them to

finance oversized public debts.

Raising capital for newcomers or smaller growing businesses

through the existing mechanisms, especially stock

exchanges, includes cumbersome regulatory procedures and

is expensive. Venture capital is mostly targeted at specific

sectors and is not available to all innovations. An ICO is a

fast and cost-effective way to raise capital or invest.


The technology offers monetary applications that could

be tailored to the specific needs of value chains in today’s

global sharing economy, while still being able to mesh

with other monetary systems and currencies. It could also

provide liquidity for smaller entities, such as municipalities,

that need financing or payment solutions.

However, there are still issues that need resolving.

Allegations that the transactions are anonymous and might

therefore facilitate money laundering have to be addressed.


In fact, in most cases such transactions are not anonymous,

but markets need the comfort of knowing for certain. Total

anonymity is impossible to achieve. Yet this also raises the

concern of how to protect the privacy of parties engaging in

such transactions — so necessary in financial matters — in a

decentralized environment.

Concerns have also been raised about the possibilities

of committing fraud using the technology, which some

perceive as immature. Hypothetical cases of “51 percent

attacks” (whereby a single entity or group gains control

of the majority of the system and can therefore alter the

blockchain) would also need to be addressed.

Compared to the central banks, these systems are still very

limited in capacity and speed. Substantial development work

is still required. Mining cryptocurrencies consumes huge

amounts of electricity due to the enormous computational

power required, especially when it comes to currencies like

Bitcoin. But like the fiat money issued by today’s central

banks, cryptocurrencies are not backed by any tangible

asset. The trustworthiness of the technology, developers and

owners of such currencies will have to be proven.


Blockchain with improved scalability will increase

efficiency in many areas: logistics and supply-chain

control, healthcare, public administration (for land, car

and company registries), smart contracts and more. In the

financial industry, it might replace some banking functions,

such as payments, custody and accounts — even independent

of cryptocurrencies. The first industrial applications have

been in trial mode, such as De Beers’ diamond supplychain

tracking, which provides asset-traceability assurance

in cases of concerns about gems being used to finance

violence (so-called “conflict minerals”). Others are set

to launch soon, including Komgo and VAKT, which are

trade platforms backed by energy companies and financial



The central banks of the world’s largest economies

guide global monetary developments through economic

interdependence. The United States Federal Reserve, the

European Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China

are in the lead, while others, like the Bank of Japan and

the Bank of England, make up the second tier. Many other

central banks have de facto lost much of their monetary



Shifting control away from the lawyers and regulators who

form the backbone of our current monetary system, to

programmers designing blockchain frameworks for transactions

will also pose an interesting challenge. How much regulation

will be required? This crucial question arouses plenty of debate.

Hopefully reasonable solutions can be achieved between the

promoters of supposedly “safe” centralized systems and the

new decentralized peer-to-peer applications.

Governments will certainly want to keep control of money

through central banks and monetary policy. It is extremely

unlikely that countries or supranational institutions such

as the European Central Bank (ECB) on behalf of the

European Union will renounce these functions. To maintain

this control, they can either ban cryptocurrencies or enact

regulations tough enough to strangle the technology.

As in many other cases of young, emerging technologies,

a bubble is forming in cryptocurrencies. The first cracks

have already appeared, and the bubble will eventually burst,

clearing space for a functioning system to develop. Yet a

danger exists that this pending bust might provide a pretext

to curb innovation.

With the creation of the euro currency, most European

countries delegated their monetary policy to the ECB.

That governments were ready to give up this important

instrument of power inspired great hope that the ECB

would conduct responsible monetary policy, independent

of politics. The reality, however, disappointed. Together

with the Fed especially, but also the Bank of Japan and

the People’s Bank of China, the ECB tried to stimulate

the economy with cheap money — destroying savings,

creating asset bubbles and supporting irresponsible public

expenditure and public debt through quantitative easing. In

the long run, such policies can damage a currency’s value

and erode trust in the institution that issues it.

Some countries, either because they are small or because

they want to keep politicians from manipulating their

currency, have chosen to use a foreign currency. For

example, many countries have adopted the U.S. dollar as

legal tender or have pegged their national currency to the

dollar. Montenegro, which is not a member of the eurozone,

has made the euro its official medium of exchange. These

examples show that it is often in a country’s long-term

interest to give up political control over its currency.

The stability of currencies like the Swiss franc and the

old Deutsche mark is based on the issuing institutions’

successful resistance to the expediencies of short-term

politics. For reasons of efficiency, Liechtenstein forms

part of the Swiss franc area, which includes the advantage

that the Swiss National Bank acts prudently and has broad


be qualified financial intermediaries, assuring business is

conducted responsibly and professionally. They will have to

fulfil international standards to prevent money laundering

and respect best-practice rules. The Liechtenstein financial

services authorities will supervise these intermediaries. It

is a promising project, with the goal of creating a safe and

efficient system.


However, loose monetary practices and overly bureaucratic

regulation of the financial industry have caused people to

look for alternatives. A traditional one for savers is gold, but

it is unsuitable for payments. Now, many see an opportunity

for cryptocurrencies to meet this need.

Liechtenstein is likely to be a pioneer, advancing pragmatic,

innovative regulation and supervision for cryptocurrency

transactions and ICOs. Such an approach can allow for

the industry to develop sustainably, while giving those

who use such services the peace of mind they require.

Those offering such services in Liechtenstein will have to

This fits with Mr. Buterin’s view that the sector must settle,

and that practical applications have to be implemented.

Unless the technology fails to develop according to

expectations (which appears unlikely) or is stifled by

legal bans or burdensome regulation (which seems more

probable), we may finally see scenarios in which traditional

money is complemented by these new technologies, with

trusted non-public agents issuing stable currencies and

providing useful financial instruments.

This article was first published at www.gisreportsonline.com

Princess Gisela of Liechtenstein (Expert of GIS)

Prince Michael of Liechtenstein (Chairman and Founder of GIS)







23–24 November 2018

Congress Center Basel, Switzerland




2 500+ attendees

investors, politicians, executives, experts

and startups from all over the world

400 000 000 000 € funds

jointly operated by private and institutional

investors, participating in the summit

70+ speakers

carefully selected, top-of-the-mind

trendsetters from all over the world

Speakers: Highlights

Direct link

Prince Michael

of Liechtenstein

Chairman of Industrie- und

Finanzkontor Ets. and Geopolitical

Intelligence Services AG (GIS)

Tal Catran

Accelerators Guru, Tech Investor,

Start-Up Ecosystem Builder,

Startup Nation & TEDx Tech


Shuonan Chen

Founding Partner at IOVC & Agile

VC, CEO at Shinect, Board Member

at North America Blockchain






New investment funds supporting

social entrepreneurship and businesses

with positive societal impact are being

created on a regular basis.


Some investors aspire to more than a decent financial

return on investment and also want to see a positive

societal impact. But did you know that the topic “social

entrepreneurship and sustainable business models” has

become a structured research domain of its own, a new

scientific discipline? The research community in this

field — more than 110 researchers, industry leaders and

practitioners — came together during the 3rd International

Conference on New Business Models (NBM), that took

place in June at the University of National and World

Economy (UNWE) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Participants from

28 countries gathered to discuss trends in new business

models, how to ensure they are sustainable, scalable and

international, forecasts for the future, and the ongoing

transition towards a more sustainable economy.

By organizing the conference in Sofia — during its

presidency of the EU Council — Bulgaria was emphasizing

that sustainable business models were not merely a luxury

for western countries, but that they opened up great

opportunities for all countries, including those in Eastern

Europe. This 3rd conference in Sofia, which built on the

first two conferences that had been organized in Toulouse

(2016) and Graz (2017), aimed at inspiring leaders in

academia, business, and public policy, to build societies

that give the highest importance to sustainability, and stop

destroying the planet for selfish motives of netting quick


Some impressions and memorable topics are highlighted

here by Prof. Nikolay Dentchev, Conference chair and expert

in social entrepreneurship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

(VUB) and Jan Cornelis, Emeritus Professor (VUB) and

CIDIC’s Academic Attaché who acted as a candid witness

when invited to give some impressions in the closing session.

“Bulgaria — Sofia, on my way from the airport to the hotel,

I had a deep talk with the taxi driver about the Bulgarian

soul, ending up in a discussion on gastronomy and

traditional food. A small tip, 2 Lev — a fraction of 1 Euro,

… the driver offered me a round trip, free of charge, in the

neighborhood of the hotel to locate the best restaurants.

I felt at home already” (Jan Cornelis). At UNWE, we were

welcomed by Rector Stattev, who has a talent for humorous

abnegation: “I made the Hall of Fame of scientists in the

entrance hall, but I didn’t dare to propose this honour for

the numerous famous businessmen of the university because

I couldn’t be sure how many of them have only one leg in

business, and the other one in fraud.”

“Developing countries are sometimes hesitant to consider

sustainable business models, as they are focused on the

daily survival of their businesses. But “sustainability” is a

new way of doing business: robust, solid and attractive, it’s

the future, and it can help Bulgarian businesses become

more successful players in international markets” (Nikolay

Dentchev). The transition to a more sustainable society

needs to be supported by good practices, and new business

models focused on multiple values and new theory.

“Currently our societies have paid a lot of attention to

material goods — houses, cars, clothes, food — and this is

how we signal our success, but successful people in life

promote the values of love, friendship, honesty and respect.

This latter set of values is much more important than the

former materialistic set, and thus we need to prioritize

accordingly for the wellbeing of our societies.” (Nikolay

Dentchev). Many of the other presentations also reiterated

this point, not only for Bulgaria but also for all countries

and continents.

Aerial view of downtown Sofia, Bulgaria

© Shutterstock

The programme featured 4 keynote lectures, representing

(i) the European Commission (DG Internal Market,

Industry, Entrepreneurship), (ii) academia and renowned

academic journals and (iii) the business world. A variety

of topics that are central to analysing and addressing the

challenges in ensuring “sustainable development” were

debated: new business models, sustainable development as

a concept, business ecosystems, social entrepreneurship

and the challenges at the bottom of the pyramid. Practical

illustrations of the issues and good practices culled from

case studies from around the world were shared.



professional journals and conferences. In the NBM

conference, there was a strong call for theory from Jan

Jonker (Radboud University, NL), one of the founding

fathers in this field. Theory indeed allows for abstraction

and transmission of generic best practices going beyond one

single case, but it also requires a more rigorous scientific

methodology including metrics for social and ecological

impact assessment and scientific validation of results.

“I‘m convinced that the NBM field still has to make much

progress in this area” (Jan Cornelis). An inherent danger

of theory — if produced by researchers who have little or no

practical experience — is that it can start leading its own life.

Journal editors need to be very aware of this danger!

Sustainable business models seen from the perspective of

(i) the base of the pyramid and (ii) collaborative cross-sector

initiatives, were the two main themes of the conference.

Sustainable business models can gain impact only when

they are embraced in a transdisciplinary setting involving

multiple stakeholders. As often, such a transdisciplinarity

evolves into a new discipline of its own, leading to the

establishment of specific educational programmes,

University technology transfer has hitherto mainly followed

a linear multistep approach of logical thought and decision

making in conceptualizing and developing new processes,

services and products. Harry Bouwman (TUDelft, NL)

emphasized that this classical technology transfer stage

gate process leading from fundamental research to strategic

research, applied research and innovation & valorization is

still valuable but insufficient. Open research and innovation

platforms are gaining importance, directly involving


multiple stakeholders in all stages of the research and

innovation processes. These platforms provide valuable

opportunities to strengthen the links between technological

and business innovation. The 4 th keynote speaker, Spas

Kerimov (Printivo, BG), CEO of the startup Printivo,

stressed that theory, regulations and strict methodology

should in no way kill the dreams of young entrepreneurs

(in his case, “save human lives and extend the lifetime of

humans by a novel concept for 3D printing of living human

tissues” — see also Diplomatic World DW57, page 136).

Remember our three key words with regard to New Business

Models: sustainability, scalability and (international)

impact. In previous Diplomatic World 57 (page 135) we

stressed that Economic Diplomacy is an essential pillar of

diplomacy and it has been a main driver behind CIDIC’s

DEAC (Diplomatic, Economic, Academic and Cultural)

six monthly missions. I am convinced that in the future,

social entrepreneurship and sustainable business models

as discussed in the NBM conference should also be fully

included in the practice of Economic Diplomacy.

Scaling of startups is a common concern that becomes

even more critical in the context of social enterprises, when

considerable societal impacts are expected in addition to

economic sustainability. The initial phase of scaling up

startups once they’ve exhausted local demand for their

services or products, is a delicate stage in their growth.

Therefore, more than ever, startups that are conceived

of as international businesses from the beginning should

be encouraged. The NBM community might be a fertile

ground for such startups. “What I heard during the NBM

conference strengthens my conviction that universities

should pay much more attention to strengthening

multicultural skills in their curricula and teaching

programmes, and engage more intensely in exercising their

social responsibility by providing international experience

for their students” (Jan Cornelis).

“My head was filled with new insights after the NBM

conference and as I still had three hours of free time before

going to the airport, I decided to visit the Museum of

Contemporary Art. The taxi driver dropped me at the wrong

place in the middle of nowhere. I prepared for a long walk,

but in Sofia you never walk alone for very long.

The wife of an ICT businessman supporting the Museum

of Science for Children recognised me. She gave me a lift

to the Museum of Socialist Art (on my map: Museum of

Totalitarian Art — note the difference), a pearl lost in the

middle of huge blocks of buildings and skyscrapers. I was

the only visitor of the museum’s magnificent sculpture park

and poster exhibition. I recommend it. Try to get hold of the

conservator, a talkative witness of the recent past!”

(Jan Cornelis).

The base of the pyramid refers to the most poor and

vulnerable communities in the world. Unfortunately, more

than 40% of the world’s population is living below the

poverty line. Hence, it is important to develop sustainable

business models to resolve the daily challenges of this large

population. So far, we’ve been looking at the untapped

potential of the base of the pyramid as customers, while at

the NBM conference in Sofia scholars from different parts

of the world viewed people at the base of the pyramid as

central drivers of sustainable business models.

Prof. Dr. Nikolay Dentchev

Chair of Social Entrepreneurship; Faculty of Economic

& Social Sciences and Solvay Business School,

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).


Prof. Dr. Jan Cornelis

Emeritus Professor (VUB) and Academic Attaché CIDIC

This means that poor people should be seen as

entrepreneurs and innovators, and not so much as simply

customers or beneficiaries of aid. Several papers also

reflected on how established multinationals could be

involved at the base of the pyramid, as part of a collectivity

of actors. Please note that scalability is imperative if we

want to achieve meaningful solutions for the problems of

the people at the base of the pyramid.


Wallpaper, watercolor

© Lieve Van Stappen





Always interested in and supporting new technologies,

Diplomatic World has recently developed a new

partnership with ExpoExpat, a virtual reality shopping

mall 100% dedicated to diplomats and expats. We met

with Mr Davy Wauters, co-founder of this exciting

project. Here is what he had to tell us.

How did it all start, how did you get the idea of

creating a virtual shopping mall?

After several years working within the diplomatic

community as a communication officer at NATO

Headquarters, I joined the Anchor Group, a company

connecting businessmen all around the world thanks to

its international networking platform. My friend, Yannick

Kalantarian (CEO of the company 2Advice), introduced me

to the founder of the Anchor group, Mr Ivan Hiel. Through

the Anchor group network we met an American company

developing virtual reality technology in the Silicon Valley,

California. We all sat down together, brainstormed and

finally decided that it was time to create something new:

ExpoExpat, the first virtual shopping mall 100% dedicated

to expats and diplomats.

Why should we visit ExpoExpat and how does it

work in practice?

When you arrive in a new country it can be difficult to know the

right places to go, to seek the best service providers and how

to contact them. ExpoExpat offers a one-stop shop providing

diplomats and expats with a wide range of information and

services they may need to enhance their stay in Belgium, saving

them valuable time. Moreover, all shops are able to serve

visitors in English. You can visit the hub from wherever you are

in the world, also before your arrival in the country!

When we were creating ExpoExpat, we wanted to provide

some extra incentive for people to visit our mall. That is why

visitors will be able to benefit from advantages, discounts

and contests only available in the ExpoExpat environment.


© ExpoExpat

© ExpoExpat

Concretely, once you have logged in, you discover and

explore a new socially interactive online experiment. Thanks

to your interactive 3D avatar, visitors and exhibitors will

be able to easily engage with each other via the integrated

chat, native call and email functions. You will not only

meet exhibitors but also other expats and you will be able to

exchange experiences and advices with them.

Last but not least, I would like to add that inside the

mall you can also access the Auditorium, a virtual room

where videos, conferences, forums and interviews can be

broadcast, via live stream or pre-recorded content.

Not only is a virtual reality shopping mall an innovative

concept but it’s also an ecologically friendly approach to

shopping that is completely free to access! So don’t hesitate,

come and visit us!

Who can access and how can we visit the

shopping mall?

ExpoExpat is open to all the International Organizations (EU,

NATO, UN, Eurocontrol, BRICS, SHAPE, etc), as well as

to the many Embassies, Ministries, Consulates and even to

companies hiring expats. To enter ExpoExpat, simply visit

www.expoexpat.com, the mall is there waiting for you, open 24/7!

How do you see the future of your project?

In the short term, we are constantly seeking to further

develop and improve by prospecting new shops and

enlarging the list of services proposed.

In addition, if a Ministry of Foreign Affairs service would

like to promote its country, we would be happy to provide

a dedicated space inside the mall where each country could

present itself. In the mid term, we know that families and

health are two very important areas of interest for everyone

and we would, therefore, like to develop two dedicated

spaces for these issues. An expat could, for example, look

for and find a local doctor speaking his native language.

Another example would be to offer recommendations

for educational and leisure activities for the children and

partners of expats.

In the longer term, I would like to develop this concept in

other cities like New York City, Geneva, Vienna and other

major international centres. With the Anchor group, we are

willing to move forward, to explore all new opportunities!

If any Embassy, organization or company would like to

develop its own virtual reality environment, based on our

model, please contact us and we will be happy to help. The

Anchor Group is open to all business suggestions!

Davy Wauters

© ExpoExpat

The future is bright and we are part of it.





The economists Hayek and Friedman convinced the world that capitalism

is practically superior to all alternatives, not on moral, but on practical

grounds, linked to the essence of human nature. It’s not a perfect system

and the message to those who did not profit from it is: ‘This is just the way

the economy works, deal with it. Capitalism autoregulates itself by elimination!’


Until a few years ago, laws and regulations moderated

the excesses of the system somewhat. Theoretically, we

all have the same potential for success if we exploit our

talents. But, genetics teach us that we are not born with

an equal potential. Inequality is essential up to a certain

degree for the progress of humanity, but the extreme of it is

unbearable. Historically, Marxism and its applications only

led to the oligarchy of a nomenclature and to dictatorship.

No return to old values will be helpful in the new world order,

it leads only to populism without practical solutions. We have

to establish a new moral code for our relationship with AI and

Deep Machine Learning to eliminate the growing alienation

many of us experience. Who will be in charge? This change

of economic and social paradigm by the digital world and its

algorithms imposes itself with a brutality, unheard of. The

Renaissance, the Industrialization and the invention of the

modern world after 1945 were terrible challenges, but nothing

compared to the "This AI-Big data revolution competes with

our brain". It’s a challenge we have to take on with optimism,

nevertheless we have to remain vigilant. AI allows fabulous

gains in productivity in the service economy, communication

and health care as long as we are not manipulated by

machines, as the heroes in Matrix.

Since the Industrial Revolution, capitalism has an inherent

tendency to create cycles of boom & bust. After the brutal

decline of the manufacturing industry in the early eighties,

we lived through many crises such as in 1987 and 1990,

after which it was again business as usual. But, the casinolike

gambling by banks in a global market without rules,

almost took the entire global financial system to the brink

(Bear Stearns March 2008; Lehman Brothers September 15,

2008). The ‘too big to fail’ principle didn’t work and nobody

followed Benjamin Franklin’s advice: ‘They must all hang

together or most assuredly they would hang all separately’.

Nobody was hanged. Cassandra, the daughter of the Trojan

king announced Troye’s destruction, nobody believed her.

While knowing what destiny would bring, she was unable

to time the tipping point correctly. Her warning didn’t help.

The few economists announcing the next crash explain

rationally that the real question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’. The

veracity of each economic theory is to be seen in the context

of the time. Like Odysseus’ Trojan horse, catastrophe

pops up at night, unexpectedly. A forecast is not science.

Therefore Economy has to be a social-behavioral science,

if it’s science at all. Mankind is all but purely rational.

Emotionally-driven by greed and hunger for domination,

it compensates its drive for competition to some degree by

empathy and regulations. Neuro marketing explores some of

the aspects of consumers in function of their information,

experience and evolutionary drive. Data-mining and AI

propose strategies to boost consumer spending in function

of different categories of psychological profiles, linked to

their income. But, who is intelligent, the machine or the

creators of the algorithms?

The aftermath of the 2008 crash still dominates our economic

and political lives. To avoid a total implosion, governments

bailed-out the banks, increasing overall government debt in a

financialized economy. The credit crunch is not over and led

to economic shrinkage, a great moderation is still imposed

on most state budgets. The people who caused the crisis

got away with it unharmed, but life got harder for normal

people. In the global world today, more people are doing

better than 10 years ago. The global extreme-poor are better

off, the previous global middle class in the Western world

Prof Dr Roland Pochet Secretary General of the Belgian Brain Council and Prof Dr Jan De Maere University Art & Design, Cluj

© Prof. Dr. Jan De Maere

are in relative decline. The 1% top rich became better off, the

others face still today declining real pay and in-work poverty.

The new Stakhanovism of the GAFA industry, atomizing and

intensifying jobs, eliminates every free minute on the work

place. This inequality leads to political crisis. New fault lines

pop up and boost populism everywhere.

The new algorithmic society developed a new paradigm

for growth in the formerly protected service industry,

addressing the needs of a whole audience at once through

new social media. The non-revalorization of jobs in health

care and education dehumanizes and alienates. The

‘Uber model’ is its most profitable expression: extreme

competition on the work floor without social protection.

Only the top of this new GAFA economy accumulates

wealth as never seen before.

Nevertheless, the S&P 500 now stands at more than twice

the level to which it fell in September 2008. Employment

rates are up but wages remain low. Transactions still lack

transparency and a strong central authority. Hedge funds

still do high-frequency trading based on information of

their data centers. The Basel based Bank for International

Settlements (Central bank of central banks) estimates

the over-the counter deals (OTC) at $352 trillion yearly.

Governments buy back their own debt with newly minted

electronic money (QE, Quantitative easing). But Georges

Soros warns: ‘The global balance sheet of the world economy

shows much more liabilities than assets’.

Therefore, for the ultra-rich, cash is like a hot potato, passed

back and forwards between them in a competitive global

system. They buy yachts, real estate and Contemporary art.

Prices go up. Paintings are not on the wall but in vaults.

QE sustains these high prices, thus adding to inequality.

Immediacy replaces the longing for quality in art. Olafur

Eliasson, James Turrell and many other artists explore now

also the unknown continent of AI (Artificial intelligence) in

their works of art. The Belgian Brain Council organizes on

18-19 October in Liège its meeting (www.braincouncil.be).

At this occasion they organize a competition for works of

art related to neuroscience in the broadest sense.

The famous caricaturist Pierre Kroll presides the jury,

which will select works for the exhibition ‘Brain-Art’ in

the Liège Calatrava railway station’s exhibition space

(www.europaexpo.be). The selected works will be auctioned

off in November. The profit, 50% of the price, will finance

brain related research projects, selected by the Belgian Brain

Council. Brain related diseases (Alzheimer, Parkinson etc.)

represent in Europe 40% of medical costs. Brain research

receives only 10% of the total medical research. Therefore,

much more investment is needed, but governments are

cash-poor and it is in their interest to keep the cost of

credit low. Old fashioned art lovers hung their paintings

on the wall to be admired. Their children inherited them.

Today, the political correct Contemporary art addresses the

actual social and political problems in a new language of

immediacy, slogans and street art with great success. Art

speaks the language of its time.

Therefore it became an experience, rather than a beautiful

object to be admired on the wall. The craving for artful

beauty is seen since the second halve of the twentieth

century as a decadent bourgeois status symbol. The classical

art-market dwindles down to the niche-markets it had in



the sixties, when only passionate collectors bought art and

antiquities. Until then, art involved aesthetics, authenticity

and quality control. A masterpiece is unique and not

directly derived from its predecessors. This all changed

in times of Concept and Postmodernism. ‘AI art’ bears

strongly on real art works. Is this intelligence artificial?

Not in my opinion, since machine produced art depends

on earlier examples brought together by humans and on

Big-data mining. I leave in the middle of the discussion if

a pile of bricks or an unmade bed is art or not. The new

stars of the Contemporary art after 1980 obtain incredible

prices at auction. As in the digital economy, the winner

takes it all in this exclusive market. The art production by

hundred thousands of artists supersedes largely the global

art consumption, only the happy few sell their works.

Galleries and art promotors create false rarity on the market

by manipulating sales. They offer the few ’trendy-quality

works’ available only to their best clients as a great favor.

They feed collectors with price data-bases as a necessary

by-product. Professionals and vendors are always better

informed than the buyers, so, they do need less this data.

The new app ‘ArtAssistant‘ developed by Alexander

Tuteleers allows collectors and museums to manage their

collection, while connected to all the data flow in the art

world. Only a few collectors make up their mind themselves,

most have art advisers to guide them. They buy with their

ears, craving to discover the next Gerhard Richter at the

opening of the Frieze or Basel fairs. The real art experience

is not about fame and money, but about deeply felt emotion

and happiness. It’s not a fast flash but a slow and intense

becoming in the quiet heritage of its awareness.

Will we all become ‘cyborgs’ with reinforced brains? The

human brain faces an everyday greater competition with

sentient computer brains. We are the pinnacle of evolution,

but machines are smarter in many domains, while we

are still playing God. Ray Kurzweil pretends to be able

to download one’s total brain capacity into a machine to

create a human-machine hybrid (The Singularity is Near,

2005). He imagines that in 2045 computers will be smarter

than all humans combines (singularity). This will allow a

non-biological extension of the neo-cortex. But, not only

machines are able to enhance the brain. David Glanzman

and neurobiologists of the University of Los Angeles

achieved the transplantation of memories from one trained

Californian sea snail to another without training (eNeuro

magazine) by transferring RNA from the nucleus of a

neuron. The snails without training adapted immediately

their behavior in the same way the trained snails did. This

Billy-Billy Flowerpot robot (www.zorabots.be) © Prof. Dr. Jan De Maere

RNA (ribonucleic acid) translates the genetic code in

proteins. Before this discovery, neuroscience assumed it was

only through synaptic connections that memory originated.

Therefore it’s probable that RNA plays also a role in the

creation of human memories. Elon Musk has said he will

unveil ‘Neuralink’ a device working on ultra-high-bandwidth

machine-interfaces, that merge the brain with AI, providing

‘super-human cognition’. This information flow between

the frontal cortex and the AI extension of yourself will

not be under human control. Two thousand years ago,

Juvenal already warned us: ’Who will watch the watchman?’

AI systems are in the hands of only a few individuals,

organizations and states, deciding freely their targets

without any regulation, control, inspection, implementation

and enforcement of the (non-existing) rules. Ethical and

social issues have to be addressed on a global level, but we

all witness every day how powerless global organizations

such as ONU and UNESCO are. Global warming measures

are still waiting for application. We didn’t learn anything

from history. It will be as always: "too little too late"!

Google’s AI-equipped Waymo cars freely drive in Phoenix

Arizona, but they are still confined in a ‘geo-fenced gozone’

determined by humans. In medical diagnostics, great

progress is made with the help of AI, but it didn’t replace

the role of the doctor in cancer detection. He makes still

the final diagnostic. Algorithms make police work easier

by predicting locations of street crime and drug dealing. In

Japan and China lonely men buy expensive good looking

female robots as companions. Since it is a growing trend,

they are probably satisfied with their acquisition, fulfilling

all their needs. They fall in love with an algorithm that

knows them well, since it exploits their data in a screwed

manner. They are unaware of the fact that this AI creates

only the mirror of their craving selves, producing machine

born interaction on which they can invest the illusions

of their sentiments. For the elderly in homes and care

centers, there is now a green smiling digital flowerpot

device called Billy-Billy to which they can ask questions

such as the weather forecast, the news and it’s capable of

reading incoming sms (www.zorabots.be). Loneliness is

treated by machines because the nurses are too few and to

busy. A new relationship between men and machines has

to be established. Enhancing human intelligence has many

advantages, but it is essential to keep our critical distance in

real terms, not as an illusion.

AI does miracles, technology makes things easier for

everybody. The Blue-Brain Research Concept in Lausanne

simulates as much as possible the human brain and its 100

billion neurons. Today, it is not even capable to reproduce that

of a worm, having only 302 neurons. Computational statistics

improve rapidly, but AI is still far away from the complex

requirements of human intelligence. Nevertheless, they can

make deductions from big-data that human brains cannot.

Machine learning works with algorithms. They are step-bystep

instructions, given to a machine, fed with big-data. They

need a detailed target focusing on a consumer profile and

enough practice corrected by humans to find out what to do

by their self. They need education as horses and dogs do,

through reinforcement of good behavior and ignoring bad.

AI and DML can be tricked by human creativity. AI-based

facial recognition software uses characteristic edge patterns of

light and shadow rather than the real facial features as such,

creative hackers can trick it easily.

Privacy and safety are not at all guaranteed in this new world,

therefore ‘Justice and Peace’ are needed. This old dream of

order and happiness is well illustrated in the drawing Federico

Zuccaro made as a design for a fresco in Firenze, circa 1560.

AI is a powerful weapon to control people’s behavior. The

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a leading Beijing

university publish an annual ‘social responsibility report’ of

celebrities, without respecting their privacy. The Chinese

actress Fan Bingbing, falling foul of the communist regime, is

now rated at 0% and accused of negative social impact. Her

whereabouts are unknown since early June.

Cyber-criminality and hacking soar at incredible levels

since two years. On world level, the amount of digital crime

is bigger than the total turnover of the drug trade. British

Airways lost thousands of credit card details from its clients.

Cambridge Analytics is another illustration of the inevitable

weakness of cyber security and data protection. Rogue

states employ hackers, intervening in democratic elections

by influencing voters, as the scandal around the company

Frederico Zuccaro, Justitia et Pax, drawing c 1560, Firenze

© Prof. Dr. Jan De Maere

Cambridge Analytics illustrated. People are flawed without

knowing. Our propensity for errors is cleverly exploited by

hackers. Cybersecurity is powerless when faced with human

error or negligence. We should replace our passwords

regularly, which should be very long and random to be safe.

Cyber-Firewalls are technologically running behind the

genius of the most talented cyber criminals. All intelligent

connected machines are hackable. We will have to live with

this problem in a digital world. In cyber criminality, the % of

condemned criminals is less than 2%. Security measures are

always taken after the problem arose.

The art and antiquities market is infected by fakes on many

levels, even if material scientific analysis of works of art

is progressing strongly. This kind of analysis is not only

costly and time-consuming. As we saw in the scandal of

the so-called Russian avant-garde exhibition in the Ghent

museum of art, owners not always allow it to be undertaken.

The artness of art has no formal rules, but does not accept

lies and deception. Many questions remain, but art is and

will always be a deeply felt human emotional need, allowing

by its illusion to escape the alienation of an ever changing

world. AI and machines are good in taking care of many

human needs. An elderly person in a care center might feel

comfort in talking to a smiling digital flowerpot, but I doubt

that one day AI will supersede the horizon of our aesthetic

expectations and our longing for belonging. Technology and

virtual reality will affect our mental capacity. People have

to re-evaluate as well the benefits as the risks of intelligent

machines and enhanced humans.





We have to study art not by reading and listening, but by careful

observation of masterpieces. With curiosity, cultivating doubt,

practice and skilled mentors, everybody can become at some

degree a better connoisseur than initially thought. The essential

requirement is to see thousands of paintings and to have mentors,

knowing how to look.


The Russian collector and philantropist Vladimir Potanin’s

foundation (fondpotanin.ru) published the book ‘Russia the

20 th Century’. It covers the Russian culture and history of

the XXth century in a visual way, without scholarly essays.

The motto is: ’The absence of textual guidance allows readers

to create their own vivid images of the century’. How right they

are! They let the art speak for itself, publishing documents,

but also posters, caricatures and images of decorative

arts. It makes us understand what shapes the Russian

mentality and soul. At the end of the XIXth century, the

industrialization expanded cities and created new wealth for

entrepreneurs such as Shschukin and Morozov, which were

capitalists, becoming collectors with an open mind. They

bought Impressionist paintings, Matisse and van Gogh.

Musicians, poets, philosophers and artists felt the onset

of a new era. Dark forces gathered under the outwardly

calm of the rural world, forgotten by the evolution. It

became a revolution, also in the arts. The Russian avantgarde

provided the first radical abstract works of art.

There is a trend to aestheticize those works of art without

taking in account their political context. Propaganda was

indeed the task that Lenin had set for the arts. Artists

lived within the Soviet system and sought to make a useful

contribution through their idealistic fervor. The end of the

twenties destroyed hope and brought economic disaster,

collectivization followed. Millions were ‘reeducated’ by

forced labor and crushed by the Soviet machine. The

avant-garde dream deflated. The individual was seen as

an impersonal unit of society. Writers and artists had to

praise all this and found novel ways to excel in the arts

in an impoverished Russia. After the victory over the

Fascists, a great hope was born for a bright future, quickly

banished by the Soviet authorities. But, each new generation

grew up in confident belief of a better future, only to be

disappointed at the end. In this difficult times, Soviet art

became socialist realism illustrating the exhortations of

the Central Committee of the communist party. Not only

Malevich and Kandinsky made masterpieces. Many others

are rediscovered today. Later, even under duress and serving

propaganda, great art was made in the Soviet empire until

its end in 1990. The main Soviet censorship body, Glavlit,

eliminated all undesirable art and ensured that the correct

ideological spin was expressed. Soviet realism was not

realistic, it celebrated an utopia, never attained. The French

translation of ‘The Encyclopedia of Russian Avant-garde’

(www.apopsix.fr) represents the monumental work done by

the art historians Andrey Sarabyanov and Vasilly Rakitine

and 236 colleagues in their collaboration with 88 museums,

specialized in the field. The two volumes contain more

then 1200 bibliographic references and more than 4000

illustrations. Presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the

encyclopedia was awarded with the Best Book of the year

price in 2015. An English version is in preparation.

Sometimes the well-educated observation of a connoisseur

discovers flaws in the structure of the paint layer and in

small subliminal details. Beauty is also expressed in the

tactile expression of the structure of the painted surface. A

Kandinsky painting of a certain period has a characteristic

pattern structure, connoisseurs know that. In this authentic

painting by Kandinsky, exposed in the Albertine of

Vienna it is visible. Its director Klaus Albrecht Schröder

Ishametov, Coal is the true Bread of Industry,1985

© Prof. Dr. Jan De Maere

investigated the authenticity of the paintings of this

collection offered on loan to the museum, before exhibiting

it. Intelligent people ask advise from specialists after having

done their ‘due diligence’. They are aware of their limits.

In tempore non suspecto, the visitors of the Museum of

Fine Arts of the city of Ghent admired without reserve

the Malevich, Kandinsky and other masters of the Russian

Avant-Garde of the newly discovered Toporovski collection.

However, ten international specialists expressed the greatest

reservations as to the authenticity of the exhibited works,

immediately after the opening of the exhibition.

The authorities had little to say about this scandal that

hit the national and international press. It’s common

knowledge that the market of Russian Avant-Garde

paintings is a mine field and fraught with fakes since

decades. The then Ghent museum director Catherine

De Zeger and Flemish minister for culture Steven Gatz

replied that “they have no evidence of inauthenticity and

trusted the 'collectors'”. A strange answer. If museums would

exhibit everything that is not proven fake, the result would

be hilarious. Many Flemish museum directors complained

about the bad reputation Flanders museums and their staff

got and dissociated themselves from the decisions taken

by the minister and by the mayor of Ghent, supported by

the town council. Obviously, De Zegher relied on their

own (non-existing) experience in this field, since she did

not ask for assistance from the connoisseurs in the field.

She even claimed later to have asked an expert, who said

he was never asked his opinion about those paintings. The

story of the provenance of the collection is as fuzzy as the

biography of the owners. Five hundred so-called top works

came in from Russia. Neither the director of the museum

nor the minister questioned the probable illegal export and

the equally illegal importation into Belgium of these works.

Not any paperwork exists. The Toporovski’s did not allow

that material scientific analysis was undertaken on their

collection. The works were finally withdrawn from the walls

of the museum when the international media reported the

scandal. Later it appeared that an old Ukrainian museum

catalogue was a newly printed facsimile, faked by the

so-called collectors as proof of authenticity of one of the

works. It became also known that the owners of the works

could take them back immediately from the museum if they

were sold to a collector. The Ghent criminal police opened

an investigation, still going on.

Connoisseurs may observe a difference, but, the material

analysis of these paintings will give us significant indications,

allowing to authenticate them or not. It might well be that

his 'collection', coming from nowhere, follows the traces of

Ruffini, Beltracci, Legros and de Hory, is a scam for believers.

But, we will have to wait until we know the results of the

scientific material analysis, the art historical and provenance

research of Toporovski’s collection, to be certain. Let us

compare now the details of the surface of the paint layer

in the Albertina’s authentic Kandinsky with the texture of

Toporovski's paintings, published in the advertisement by the

Ghent museum.




There is an amazing coincidence to this all. On May 14

this year, the American writer Tom Wolfe (1930-2018),

became famous with his first novel ‘The Bonfire of the

Vanities’ (1987), died. After a successful career as journalist

at the Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune

he became a romancier. His goal in writing fiction was

‘to document contemporary society in the tradition of John

Steinbeck, Charles Dickens and Emile Zola.’ His last novel

‘Back to Blood’ (2012) is about class, wealth, race, crime,

sex, corruption and ambition in Miami. His heros, a Latino

police officer and a young journalist, discover a scam

involving the mayor of Miami and a Russian crook Sergueï

Koroliov, offering his collection of Russian Avant-Garde

(Kandinsky, Malevich, Gontcharova etc) to the museum,

Miami built specially for his collection. In fact, it are fakes

painted for Koriolov by a talented Russian painter living in

Miami, named Igor. As usual in the tradition of the New

Journalism, Wolfe took his inspiration from a real ‘fait

divers’ that has an incredible similitude with the Ghent

scandal. Did Igor Toporovski read Wolfe’s novel?

Fakes can appear as beautiful, but, once they are revealed

as such, deception pops up. If people like them, why is it

important to distinguish a fake? The woman I love is the

most beautiful in the world. If she deceives me, she is no

less beautiful, but her love becomes a lie. Any false appears

as an imposture, as soon as it is discovered. The fake is an

insult to the 'me who loves'. Beauty bears imperfections and

flaws, but no lies. Therefore, the believe in its authenticity

is an ontological aspect of beauty, otherwise it’s perceived

as prostitution. The painting has to be believable. Perceived

as a "fake", it is not a plausible. The lack of authenticity

changes completely its reception. Suddenly the viewer

discovers every flaw of the fake and experiences it as a lie!

A painting becomes a “fake”, when it’s intended as such by

its maker; or by its unacceptable attribution to a master. The

discovery of deception requires courage, self-control, great

domain knowledge, adequate critical observation by thinslicing

and multi-parallel computing (intuition) and therefore

brain energy. We suspect authenticity by evaluating different

degrees of probability, and weigh it against how resourceintensive

it would be to have this suspicion confirmed of

rejected. This involves: analyze-based investigation of nonsystematical

facts, material analysis and hypothesis testing.

The very existence of the term “fake” presupposes that

our desire for the "artness of art" is something more than

visual beauty alone. Art is looking for ‘meaningful truth’,

authenticity and creative novelty. Great art does not have

a precedent, but has many followers. Our critical attitude

recognizes the exceptional quality of the masterpiece as

an essential token of hope and reassurance. Human beings

have a propensity to believe beautiful stories, as well in

art as in politics. Evolution wired us to be confident. We

are born believers, since this attitude brings more benefits

than problems. People accept a falsehood if it seems to

conform to known facts, but good sense normally prevails

at the end. All humans are in need of narratives and like

to believe other people’s stories. When one tells a story,

which explains a nice vision of our world based on some

known facts (the Peacock Tail syndrome), we listen, without

considering our self as naïve. We all dream of legitimacy,

power, having a good reputation and to be liked. Crooks

present themselves as the best person to fulfill this desire.

They tell us what we want to hear and hope for. We often

attach meaning to things that are unworthy of it, because we

want to believe they are true. The individual aspect of the

aesthetic art experience is essential for each of us. Everyone

is convinced to have good taste. We have the right to love

what we love, even if others consider it mediocre. The

criteria of our satisfaction are determined by the horizon

of our expectations, by our knowledge of the field and by

our critical cognitive-perceptive experience. In addition,

we are social beings. We hope to share our preferences and

values. We hope to see them validated positively by others.

The opinion of specialists and reference persons exerts an

influence on the way we perceive and value things.

The Belgian newspaper De Standaard published an interview

with professor Antoon Van den Braembussche (Rotterdam-

VUB). He argues that only the verdict of his ‘gut-feeling’ is

the real art experience, unbiased by knowledge, the opinion of

specialists, free of inferences by the dogmas of the art market

and the museum world. If this is true, he is the only un-biased

person in the world. There is not such a thing as perception

without information bias and cognition. The neurophysiology

of cognitive perception observes brain activity in real time by

f-MRI, clearly demonstrate that it is impossible to separate

cognition from observation and bias, even in the initial phase,

which is called 'intuitive' (activity in the lobes of the prefrontal

cortex). Unfortunately for professor Van den Braembussche,

even his 'gut-feeling', the experience of his intuition, which

he situates in his belly, is already conditioned from the onset

by the context of the experience, memory, knowledge and

information. He forgot that his perception of the world is

shaped by his beliefs, expectations and experiences.

The experience of art is much more than aesthetic

emotion, information, fame, expert opinion and market

value. It is above all a critical emotion, felt as a bodily

experience, which intensity supersedes the horizon of

our expectations. Its novelty is essential. This stabilized

ambiguity of the physiological neural configuration of this

emotion is the result of the spontaneous confrontation

of mind concept of our perception with the whole of

our personality, with all that it entails. It transforms

our emotions into our personal feeling. This acts as a

revelation to the self, causing disappointment or wonder,

observable in f-MRI. The hierarchy of the experience

determines the degree of excitement and love that arises

from the work of art.

Everyone, experiencing a work of art, has some kind of

response, ranging from incomprehension, disliking to

great excitement. A connoisseur or an art-critic has to

cultivate the habit of doubting his own reactions, asking

himself why he feels like he does. He has to have the

ability to articulate those questions in the light of vast

domain knowledge. The validation of an authenticity

opens a critical collective debate between members

of an informal worldwide network of specialists and

connoisseurs. Unanimity about authenticity is often a

rare commodity. Taking in account the discoveries of

neuroscience, authenticity can only be a question of

an educated opinion of specialists with great domain

knowledge, based on the results of scientific analysis.

Each painting is instantly evaluated (intuition) in terms

of previous experiences and esthetic-cognitive preferences

(desire), before reason intervenes. Since the brain can

grasp fictional concepts, humans learn by storytelling.

This fictional causal combination of memories is the

reference frame allowing categorization and qualityappraisal,

but it is not without flaws. Our only link to

reality is our subjectivity, yearning to be validated in order

to obtain a higher degree of objectivity by the interaction

of thesis and anti-thesis (Hegelian dialectic interplay:

Aufhebung). Authenticity sets a context for the reputation

of a painting and defines precise expectations.

The human nature is wired toward creating meaning out

of meaninglessness. We are all suckers for belief and faith,

giving us hope. Hearing a nice story, we become blind to

inconsistencies, which become glaring when discovered.

Unconsciously, we react to the demand for complicity by

the crooked storyteller, from whom we accept the inner

urgency to express the split in his personality, up to a

Grebenikov, Completed ahead of Schedule, 1976

© Prof. Dr. Jan De Maere

certain degree. We admire secretly his authority, based

on his lack of empathy. On an extreme level, that’s why

psychopaths are so good in seducing their victims and later

their lady lawyers, when in prison. When the mask falls off

through the revelation of the deception, only shame and

sorrow appear. Fakes intend to deceive.

Russian and Ukrainian culture are an essential part of

European culture since thousand years. Regimes are

changing, conflicts arise, but behind all that lingers the

suffering and hope of each of us for a better understanding.

The history of Europe started with Charlemagne's state

administration of a great part of the European nations,

all united in one culture, nevertheless their ethnic and

geographic differences. That common culture is the wealth

of nations. Quality in art and culture aims at the roots of

our identity. Empathy domesticates our evolutionary nature

and its subsequent aggressive drive. Galton and Darwin

would agree that this stabilized ambiguity between Nature

& Nurture, hidden deep in our mind, soul and personal

feelings, is the cradle of the uniqueness of every one of us.





Eric Kayser is a French artisan baker. He is a

former “Compagnon du Devoir” (Compagnonnage

being an old, traditional French mentoring network

based on apprenticeship with traveling masters);

on completing his "Tour de France" and his

international training, mainly in Quebec, he opened

his first bakery in Paris in 1996.

During these early years, I and other friends from all over

the world visited him in his little shop on rue Monge,

more or less opposite a church. And there we could taste

his traditional bread with its creamy taste and texture

surrounded by wonderful aromas of cereals and dried fruits.

From this Japanese experience, we believe a lot in the Asian

continent: 7 years ago, we opened an office in Hong Kong,

dedicated to the whole continent which has allowed us

to spread our expertise in China, Vietnam, and especially

Cambodia. French bread is popular!

We listened to his explanations on the making of bread with

liquid yeast, certified flours without additives and on his

personal invention, the Fermentolevain machine. Today he

is just as passionate about his baker's job and about sharing

it in different continents. We are very proud of his conquest

of the Asian market thanks to his savoir-faire made in

France! And after all, isn’t bread the main French heritage

in Asia?

After visiting Washington as part of a deputation

accompanying President Macron, we saw you last

July alongside members of the Thai Royal Family

inaugurating a new bakery in Bangkok. What does

Asia represent in the development of the Kayser

Bakeries network?


Asia is essential in my life! 17 years ago, when I wanted to

open my first bakery abroad, I turned to Asia, specifically

Japan. After my first trip, I was fascinated by Japanese

people, their culture and their gastronomy.

I immediately knew that this country would be the gateway

to Asia and its diversity. We were very welcome and today

there are more than 20 bakeries that are located in the

country of the rising sun.

Thai Royal Family and Eric Kayser

As with any artisanal product, I imagine that the

quality of ingredients, particularly flour, is just as

important as the expertise in the making. How do

you supply your Asian bakeries? Will you find local


The growth of a bakery obviously goes through the study

of raw materials available "on-site". For our pastries, we

choose to use local and seasonal fruits. It was obvious to us

that our bread flour should also come from local suppliers

as much as possible! Fortunately we don’t have to import

the flour from France!!! After several trials, we found an

excellent flour from a Korean partner.

culture make it a must-see. And the proximity of Vietnam

and Cambodia have made it a logical follow-up.

As for the presence of the Royal Family at the inauguration,

which was flattering, I can imagine a certain penchant for

our croissants unless it is for our delicious financiers who

count many "addicts" around the world!

Tell us about your choice of Thailand after Japan,

China, Vietnam and Cambodia. Why did members

of the Royal Family attend the inauguration?

Through its office in Hong Kong, Maison Kayser’s ambition

is to spread "good French bread" across the continent. How

could Bangkok be ignored? Its history, architecture and

Eric Kayser and Dr. Pick Keobandith


How do you explain the success of your bakeries in

Asia? Who are your customers? Are they members

of an international élite or locals reflecting an

evolution in the consumers’ habits of a greater part

of the Asian population?

I have always had a thirst for discovery and my curiosity has

always guided me and helped to evolve in my perception of


I fundamentally believe in the value of exchange and

tolerance and the openness it causes. These exchanges are

taking place today on a global scale. Everyone can now

easily access other cultures and a lot of food. I guess this

reflects the evolution of the world. Bread, which is the

symbol of sharing and conviviality, meets with great success,

which comes as no surprise! I have always considered that

breaking bread announced a discreet party: a culinary party

without any distinction among gourmands. If Asia loves our

baguette, it is absolutely consistent and natural!

Dr. Pick Keobandith

President Macron and Eric Kayser


If you have a cuting in your hand, 2017, Watercolor

© Lieve Van Stappen






Rose D’Anvers, rose and diamond, stunning symbols

of nature’s talent for creating two of the most

beautiful icons in the universe.

Rose, soft, scented, delicate, alluring, enchanting.

Diamond, brilliant, scintillating, tantalizing, enduring.

Rose D’Anvers was created in Antwerp, for a millennium a

pulsing, pioneering, port city and Europe’s heart of culture,

learning, painting, and printing. For thousands of years

roses and diamonds have captured the imaginations of men

and women and inspired and uplifted their senses.

A rose, superb in its natural beauty and understated

elegance, traces mother natures’ delicate signature of

swirling petals.

A diamond is nature’s maestro of light refraction and fire.

For centuries, sacred, symbolic, interpreter par excellence

of Antwerp’s exquisite craftsmanship, scintillation, and

brilliant light refraction. In a world marked by change

and challenged by disruption, Antwerp’s Rose D’Anvers

connects the eternal truths of integrity, beauty and

resilience and the people who uphold these values.

Rose D’Anvers’ sublime symmetry, symbolizes reciprocal

respect, love and the recognition of each person’s safe

space and security. Rose D’Anvers, a duet of the rose, royal

representative of nature’s floral treasury, and diamond,

peerless pinnacle of nature’s synthesis of heat, pressure and

the volcanic velocity of the primal elements.

Confronted with today’s hijacking of humility, respect

and love by greed, egoism and aggression, Rose D’ Anvers

celebrates and connects those with grace, gratitude and

generosity of spirit.

light, fire and brilliance to achieve the shimmering radiance

of a thousand burning candles on an altar top.

The history of diamonds and the rose serendipitously

crossed when master diamond cutters first pioneered the

rose cut diamond shape. Early milestone in the evolution of

diamond polishing, the rose cut revealed the first hints of

the hidden brilliance in a rough diamond.

Popular in the past and collected by connoisseurs today,

rose cut diamonds represented the state of diamond

polishing knowledge for several hundred years.

Through time and finely polished facets, Antwerp’s master

diamond cutters taught the world to channel the contained,

light energy inside a rough diamond into the calibrated

prismatic poetry of light refraction and reflection.

A diamond’s internal character can only be revealed

through the cleaving, cutting and polishing away of those

parts of the diamond superfluous to achieving optimum

purity, brilliance and light dispersion.



Antwerp’s master craftsmen perfected the geometry of

gemology, calibrating the angled algorithms of a diamond’s

© Rose D'Anvers

© Rose D'Anvers

Diamond, a metaphor for life’s shaping of man and woman,

only shines and reflects its brilliance after painstaking work

and craftsmanship bring out the inner fire.

Shaping the world as the world shapes us, the polishing of

human character to highlight the fire and brilliance within is

a lifetime passion for anyone wishing to reach the full height

of their potential.


Antwerp’s City fathers long dedicated to tying the city’s

fortunes to the noblest, aspirational qualities, included the

rose in its coat of arms. Thus, the City of Antwerp has

proudly celebrated the rose and the diamond, the latter

most recently through its “Antwerp Diamond Capital since

1447” initiative. Rose D’Anvers is a magical link between

nature and craftsmanship, between the rose and the natural

beauty of the world and, man’s genius for the transformation

of a building block of the universe into splendid, sparkling




Today, Rose D’Anvers symbolizes the soft-hand spirit of the

rose and the beating diamond heart of Antwerp.

Setting a contemporary standard of Antwerp craftsmanship

and style, Rose D’Anvers fills the space with an aura of

beauty and grace signifying the best of the universe.

An impeccably elegant match of nature’s nurturing and

man’s craftsmanship, Rose D’Anvers celebrates our universe

by offering the natural beauty of an exquisitely presented,

stunning rose, stippled with natural polished diamonds.


Drawing on her life experiences to feed her curiosity and

stimulate her interest Rosalie Bogaard has referenced music,

dance, art, design, and culture, to challenge assumptions

and nudge society to a better place. In 2018, paying tribute

to Antwerp Diamond Capital since 1447 and celebrating the

tradition of the rose and rose cut diamonds Rosalie Bogaard

sought out Antwerp’s most talented diamond cutters to

design a new Rose D’Anvers Pentagram diamond cut.

Drawing on Antwerp’s unique diamond technocraftsmanship,

Rosalie Bogaard’s master craftsmen

successfully polished the Pentagram’s spirit, water, fire,

earth and air, onto every Rose D’Anvers diamond.

Now, the Rose d’Anvers Pentagram diamond empowers the

wearer with the alignment of the Pentagram’s life forces.

Set to delight and dazzle and cut and polished to sublime

perfection, each Rose D’Anvers Pentagram diamond is sold

with a personalized HRD Certificate.

The Rose D’Anvers Pentagram is one of the world’s most

desirable diamonds, inspired and polished in Antwerp,

which has transmitted diamond knowledge to the four

corners of the world, for centuries.

The Rose D’Anvers Pentagram diamond is a cut for the age,

reflecting beauty, passion and the magic of life.








In a magazine dedicated to cultural diplomacy in which the

pursuit of listening to others and of enabling greater personal

understandings of individuals is detailed at great length, it may

seem obvious that the role of diplomacy is to achieve peace.

What then, would be the purpose of a museum dedicated to

peace, one in which the promotion of peace takes centre stage?

What is a culture of peace in a peace museum? A museum

filled with the symbols of peace such as roses and pictures

of doves and hearts? In order to explore the idea of Peace

museums further, a few clarifications will help.

According to the Status of the International Council of

Museums (ICOM): “A museum is a non-profit, permanent

institution in the service of society and its development,

open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches,

communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible

heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of

education, study and enjoyment.”

The meaning of the expression “Culture of Peace” was

articulated by the United Nations during the General

Assembly on November 5 th in 2009 as part of a resolution for

the “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue

for the understanding and cooperation for peace” The UN

document defines “Culture of Peace” as a “set of values,

attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject

violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes

to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among

individuals groups and nations.”

The same idea was at the core of the creation, 60 years ago,

of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and

Cultural Organization):

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds

of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

In reflection of UNESCO’s founding statement, it can be

understood that the study and pursuit of ‘Cultures of Peace”

must also be allocated time and scholarly research much like

the history of the military and of global wars, which have been

studied and often celebrated for a very long time.

The world’s first peace museum was founded by Jan Bloch

at the turn of the XXth century and he was most likely

influenced by the intellectual and cultural climate of “Vienne

fin de siècle” which could be found in most European capitals

at the time. An entrepreneur, banker and railroad tycoon, Jan

Bloch also moonlighted as a military theorist, and then as

an activist for pacifism. In 1898, he published a little-noticed

six-volume work titled The War of the Future in its Technical,

Economic and Political Relations. The following year, the

work was in a single volume under a new title: Is War Now

Impossible? Intellectual elites were very interested by it.

He participated in the First Hague Peace Conference in the

summer 1899 and together with Baroness Bertha von Suttner

(1843-1914; First woman Peace Nobel Prize in 1905) and

Frederic Passy (1822-1912; First Peace Nobel Prize in 1901),

they lobbied to find an agreement on disarmament. During his

last years he was an ardent peacemaker and worked to set up

the Museum of War and Peace in Lucerne. Bloch organized it

in thirteen sections presenting the weapons of modern armies

and the warning about the costs of the “impossible” war. The

museum opened officially six months after his death. It was

liquidated after World War I.

Since Jan Bloch, most museums evolved from a War & Peace

concept (where war and peace were presented as the two sides

of the same coin) to the Peace Museum model, where the idea

of stable and long lasting peace is seen as something that can

be built and sustained.

From the start in 1901 with Bloch’s museum to today we

notice the number of Peace museums is steadily rising,

with around 120 today. Japan has the highest number of

peace museums at around 55, 23 public and 32 private

ones. The most famous one is Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Museum founded in 1955. Japan’s peace museums tend to

show the horror of war from the victim’s perspective. They

often avoid showing Japan as aggressors. Like Professor

Toshifumi Murakami said in the International Conference

of Peace Museums, Ostend, Belgium, 5-9 th May 2003 : “The

emphasis is on atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

and also the U.S air raids on various cities”. The proliferation

of the creation of peace museums since the 1980’s can also

be explained by two main reasons: the rise of anti-war and

anti-nuclear citizen movements and article 9 of Japanese

constitution, which sought to outlaw war as a means to settling

international disputes.

There are some differences between Western peace museums

and Asian ones. In the west, the emphasis is often put on

conflict resolution and peace history, while in Asia, the

approach is more respectful towards achieving a neutral

historical truth.

Today generally Peace Museums attempt to embrace peace and

war in a complementary manner. They educate the public to

have a positive attitude in being pro-active in search of peace

for their generation and the next. Peace museums in their

various forms exist globally but are often less well known than

the likes of TATE Modern in London or the Louvre in Paris.

In Bradford in the UK the initial idea of creating a peace

museum arose in the mid–1980s from Gerald Drewett of the

Give Peace a Chance Trust. It is only in 1992 that the Peace

Museum Bradford was established. It is the only museum

dedicated to the history and (often untold) stories of peace,

peacemakers and peace movements, in the UK.

Opened in 1988, The Mémorial de Caen Museum, also

known as the Centre for History and Peace, is one of the most

comprehensive museums about World War II. It is unique in

France. The museum's emphasis is on peace rather than war.

While telling the story of the origins of World War II, the War

itself, and its aftermath, the museum keeps its focus on the

challenges of achieving peace.

In Seoul, South Korea, the Center for Peace Museum was set

up in November 2003 in the wake of the late-1990’s apology

movement for the massacre of civilians committed by the

Korean forces during the Vietnam War. In order to nurture

peace-loving minds, photography and painting exhibitions

have been held under such themes as Japanese aggression,

the Iraq War, and South Korea’s diehard military culture

stemming from the Korean War and the resulting division of

the Korean land.

Today the process of understanding and of searching for

collective ways in which to understand war and a pursuit

of future peace continues and on the 23 th of October 2018

The Center for Peace and conflict studies (CPCS) will open

in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The museum will develop as an

educational and experiential space geared towards supporting

a wider national healing process — one which highlights the

resilience of Cambodia’s people in transforming conflict and

overcoming adversity, as well as the nation’s potential as a

peacebuilding learning centre for the world.

Peace Museums worldwide seem to understand that it is not

enough to criticize war and display the horror of war but to

make visitors think of peace and act for peace. It is living with

mindfulness. Their mission is to educate people about the

culture of other countries through the staging and hosting of

exhibitions taken from different locations and importantly to

honour peacemakers, war-resisters, heroes of non violence of

the past and present.

Museums can play a big role in educating populations

about other cultures. From this perspective, every museum

is potentially a “Peace Museum” when it contributes to a

better understanding and respect between cultures. Civil wars

show that cultural proximity does not automatically prevent

violence. Wars are generally the consequences of multiple

factors. However, cultural understanding and exchanges are

still the best solution available to mitigate the risks of extreme

nationalism and xenophobia which so often lead to violence.

Article made after the presentation about “Peace Museum as

vital instrument for promotion of peace education and the

creation of a culture of peace”, delivered on the 5 th September

2018 at the 1st Edition of Universal Conference for Peace

organized by CULPAC in the EU Parliament, Brussels

Dr Pick Keobandith





I feel privileged to be in Seoul at the time of

“Peace, A New Future” 2018 Inter-Korean Summit

Pyeongyang (18-20 September 2018). Three

challenging days for the leaders of North and South

Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in to make

further progress after the Panmunjeom summits.

At less than 200 km away from where the Korean leaders were

discussing the possibility of a possible peaceful future for the

peninsula, the press center was hosted in Seoul in the Zaha

Hadid building called DDP (Dream, Design, Play). Journalists

from around the globe and a selection of specialists of the

region and of diplomatic relations could follow “live” the

march towards Peace that could benefit the world.

China. It was truly moving for me because a couple of days

before my first trip in South Korea, I was working on Peace

Culture as an expert on Art and Cultural Diplomacy.

I gave a talk on “The Museum of Peace: a vital instrument

for the promotion of peace education and the creation of a

culture of peace” during a conference organized at the EU


A wide range of debates with Korean and International

experts were organized to deepen the insights on historical

diplomatic progress. The dreams of reunification are

bright, like another “Berlin wall” to be brought down. Most

participants were expecting or hoping to witness concrete

steps towards the declaration of an end to the Korean War

and the signing of a peace treaty, as well as the complete

denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Arriving in Seoul I was excited to continue to enrich my

Culture of Peace. In the streets I was surprised to see, in

multiple locations, giant posters of the two leaders together

like two close friends and small huts covered with photos

informing people about the pursuit of the Peace between

the Koreas. An impressive effort from South Korea to

promote the event and emphasize the role of Moon Jae-in as


It was fascinating to see, listen to, and feel the atmosphere

of this very modern capital comparable to Suzhou in

I was reflecting on this while walking to one of the French

bakeries of my friend Eric Kayser. Crossing the plaza in


front of the city hall, I stumbled across a plaque in Korean

and English. On it was written: Seoul Welcomes the World!

The History of Seoul Plaza. The Plaza in front of City Hall

was first established in 1926. In 1952 it was expanded to

13,207m 2 , approximately six times its former size.

It was here, during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Games, that

the cheers of exuberance caught the attention of spectators

worldwide. In an effort to preserve that spirit of enthusiasm,

Seoul Metropolitan Government decided in July of 2002

to refurbish this once concrete and asphalt-lined area and

the plaza was reborn. The Plaza still vibrates with the

energy of the World Cup Games. It is here that the people

of the nation gathered to declare, with shouts of triumph,

reclaimed independence in 1945; where the cries of those

who championed democracy rang, and it is here that the

seeds of industrialization were planted, Korea’s history

culminates in this place. Here also, the nation awaits the day

that shouts of joy usher in a new era of reunification.

Dedication. We dedicate this place, in the center of Seoul,

Seoul Plaza to the beloved citizens of Seoul on May 1st 2004.

Lee, Myung Bak Mayor of Seoul.

Coincidence, or not? It was striking that this shiny plaque

mentioned two topics I am passionate about: “Football and

Cultural Diplomacy” and the “Peace Culture”. My Korean

guests had thought about every little detail during this very

well-organised trip !

In continuing my quest to understand better the particular

moment of history I was experiencing and to know more

about Moon Jae-in, I spent some time in the Cheongwadae

Love and Peace Museum-Center, designed to shed light on

the history of Korea’s former presidents and the Korean

traditional culture. I contemplated and was touched by

some photos of the “Candelight Revolution” in 2016 and

2017. The demonstrations were against the former president

Park Geun-hye, daughter of Park Chung-hee president of

South Korea from 1963 to 1979. She was condemned for

corruption. Intuitively I understood from these photos and

documents on the walls, that a large majority of Koreans

wanted a change and were taking their destiny in their


They have managed to uproot the system anchored in the

previous government. Moon was elected in May 2017.

Moon gave a heartfelt description of these beautiful

moments of revolution in his Acceptance Speech at the

2017 Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards Diner: “The

Korean people brought new hope to world democracy with

their candlelight rallies. They rescued democracy that was

in jeopardy in the most peaceful and admirable manner and

helped launch a new Administration. I am the President

born out of the candlelight revolution”.

Since Moon Jae-in has been president, he has successfully

presented himself in the image of a wise man and peace

builder, acting as president for everyone. Back in Europe,

I treasured in my mind a small sequence from the broadcast

of the final day of the summit: on the Mount Paektu on the

North Korean-Chinese border, the two leaders and their

wives were chanting a beloved Korean song with the Pop

South Korean singer Ali. She was interpreting a version of

“Arirang” used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for


If Moon’s efforts live up to their promise, President Moon

will be a very legitimate candidate for the Peace Nobel


Dr Pick Keobandith





The flower of the rose, in particular Rosa

Damascena (or the Damask oriental rose) is an old

symbol of Bulgarian folklore, mythology and pagan


As a sign of celebration, the rose was used in the ancient

times for production of garlands, like a part of decoration in

the temples, the civic buildings for religious and triumphal

royal processions of the Thracians in the Balkan Peninsula.

These rituals were close to Classical Greco-Roman

mythology and the influence of the regions of Ancient

Persia and Mesopotamia.

The memory of these impressive ancient festivals of the

Thracian culture was immortalized by the rare mural

paintings in the tombs, the art of sculpture, and mostly the

stone bas-reliefs in the rest of old temples and tombs in

Balkan Peninsula.

Twenty centuries later, in the early XVIII th century the old

traditions with the flower of the rose was resurrected by

the mural paintings and woodcarving in most beautiful

Bulgarian renaissance houses in the old towns of Plovdiv,

Karlovo, Koprivshtitsa, Samokov, Melnik, Asenovgrad and in

the region of the Central Rhodopes. In this case we discover

that the flower of rose, like a queen of the flowers and old

symbol is represented in secular "bourgeois" style to satisfy

the aesthetic needs of urban culture and mostly the wealthy

Bulgarian population. The creation of refined secular style

with stylized flower motifs or "garlands of roses" in mural

paintings, mostly used for the absidial spaces named "A la

franga" (à la française) with subject "still life with roses", or

frame with roses for "architectural paysage", are the orders

for the private Bulgarian houses from Ottoman period,

and these are influenced by the European Renaissance and

Baroque styles and the other part by the oriental styles

from the the territories of the Middle East and the Golden

Crescent, governed by the Ottoman Empire. The stylized

or natural painted flowers of the rose in decorative mural

compositions in private Bulgarian houses was a magic

inspiration for the painters called "Rose of Kazanlak", like

a reference to the production of essential rose oil, from

which the old french perfumery artisans create the high-class

perfumes. In early XIX th century the Kazanlak valley was

called by the Turks — "Tele" — or the richest and most fertile

land in European part of the old Ottoman Empire, when the

air was filled with aroma.

Kazanlak is a little town in Bulgaria near the Rose Valley, a

region located just south of the Balkan mountains and the

north part of the mountain Sredna Gora, where every year the

people celebrated the rose folklore festival. The Rose valley

is known with the rose-growing industry, which have been

cultivated there for centuries. The rose inspiration is presented

too in profane stained glass windows in old Bulgarian houses

with floral motifs, influenced by Mediterranean traditions with


Nedkovich house in Plovdiv

© Youlian Raytchev

origins from Egypt and Nile Delta region.

Stambolian house in Plovdiv

© Youlian Raytchev

In the period of Bulgarian Renaissance the mural paintings

are works of artisans. These artisans were united in

large guilds whose creative strength could be felt in the

atmosphere of the churches, schools and private houses.

The artisans maintained active connections with Austria,

Germany, Romania, Russia, the Aegean region and

Asia Minor. The five centuries of Ottoman domination

in Bulgarian territories limit the opportunities for high

education in the domain of fine and decorative arts and

architecture, but in the middle of XIX th century the rich

Bulgarian merchants donated funds for the education of

young Bulgarians in Western European countries and mostly

in Austria, Germany and France. We can say that the mode

of treatment of the mural painted decorative composition

in Bulgarian houses are with insufficiency in academic art

achievements, but they are charged with expression and

the authentic regional style, romantically influenced by the

beautiful Balkan region.

Dr. Youlian Raytchev, Ph.D.

Art historian

Klianti house in Plovdiv

© Youlian Raytchev




Concetta Spitaleri is the Founder and Managing

Director of RosaPiù, a Belgian company distributing

in Europe and in other countries in the world,

specialising on long lasting natural flowers and plants.

About the company: RosaPiù specialises in long lasting

100% natural flowers, plants and trees. The produce is

stabilised thanks to an ecological solution that replaces the

water and fixes the flower beauty for a minimum of 3 to 5

years without the need of water, light nor any other care.

Long lasting floral decos are perfect for B2B and B2C

customers: B2B like hotels, restaurants, embassies, desk

receptions, events organisers, catering, wedding planners

and many more can trust RosaPiù variety of products as

they are ecological and economical with a unique design. As

they do not need any water, they do not have any bacteria

and therefore are perfect in the restaurants and catering

business. RosaPiù can also offer a large selection of ideas

for companies' gifts. Green walls, plants, trees will improve

not just the look but also the ambience and people will

really feel surrounded by ever lasting nature. The long

lasting quality will have a very positive impact on budget

while guaranteeing a fantastic look. For B2C important

sales periods like Christmas, St Valentine’s, mother’s day

will offer the perfect idea for gifts.


Concetta is an experienced creative business woman.

Having held high-ranking positions within leading European

entertainment, telecom and fashion firms, launching a

high-end brand of her own was the next logical step.

Her focus is on creating long lasting natural beauty. Flowers

preservation is not a new concept but it is her artistic talent

and her environmental awareness that sets her apart from

other competitors. The commitment to Corporate Social

Responsibility and reducing environmental impact ensures

that every single floral arrangement is controlled on an

ongoing basis. Concetta herself works closely with each

of the producers and distributors to ensure that fair trade

and strictly quality standards are adhered to.

Her creations are intended to fit every occasion and budget

whilst offering an uniqueness that has to be seen to be

believed. In addition, we offer an innovative exclusive

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Concetta Spitaleri

© RosaPiù






Among the panorama of symbols, which are

dedicated to peace, as a concept of harmony and

the absence of hostility among people, nations,

ethnic and religious groups, there is one magic key

of knowledge, humanity and beauty. The only way to

use it and “unlock the spiritual gates to a better and

peaceful world” is to contemplate and rediscover

the beauty of nature and particularly the magical

gradated colors of the rose “Madame Antoine


This rose was artifically created in Lyon, France in the

period between the two World Wars by French hybridizer

Francis Meilland and dedicated to his mother Madame

Claudia Antoine Meilland. The rose is well known in

English speaking countries as a “Peace Rose” and in

German speaking countries under the name “Gloria Dei”

or the Glory of God. The cultivar was hybridized in 1935,

receiving the number 3-35-40, which numbers we associate

with the third hybridization in 1935, and the 40 th cultivar

selected for test proliferation.

This rose fascinates the spectator by the color combination

in differend shades of pale pink and spring yellow. The rose

“Madame Antoine Meilland” forms elegant buds that open

to large, cupped flowers with a high-centered form.

Alan Brooke to thank him for his key part in the liberation

of France and to ask Brooke to give his name to the rose.

Brooke answered that his name would soon be forgotten

and a much better name to immortalize this beautiful flower

woulf be “Peace”.

The acceptance of the trade name “Peace Rose” was

announced in the United States on 29 April 1945 when two

doves were released into the American sky to symbolise the

the “Peace Rose”. In the same day the Capital of the Third

Reich fell, and this day was considered by historians as a

turning point in the Second World War in Europe.

Few months later the Peace Rose were given to each of the

delegations at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations

in San Francisco, each with a note that read:


When Meilland expected the German invasion in France,

he sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Germany and the United

States to protect the new rose. It is said that it was sent to

America on the last plane and safely propagated by Robert

Pyle, from the Conrad-Pyle Company in Pennsylvania

during the Second World War. In early 1945 when the Nazis

left France, Francis Meilland wrote a letter to Field Marshal





The rose “Madame Antoine Meilland

© Youlian Raytchev

The rose “Madame Antoine Meilland” has been granted

numerous awards, starting with the selection as “Most

Beautiful French Rose” in Lyon in 1942; Gold medals in

Lyon (1942), The Hague (1945), Royal National Rose

Society, St. Albans, England (1947).

The rose is highly appreciated at the first rose show of the

Pacific Society of Pasadena, California. The city is known

for its annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

The rose became the best selling garden rose of all time and

won the All-American Rose Selection Award (1946).

“Princesse de Monaco” (1982) and many other varieties.

After the “Peace Rose” became so well known, Meilland

wrote in his diary:

“How strange to think that all these millions of rose bushes

sprang from one tiny seed no bigger than the head of pin, a

seed which we might so easily have overlooked, or neglected

in a moment of inattention”.

Dr. Youlian Raytchev, Ph.D.

Art historian

The “Peace Rose” inspires many European and

American contemporary artists in development of

figural compositions, expressive still-lives, landscapes or

researching hyperrealistic forms.

Francis Meilland died in 1958 but his son Alain and

daughter Michelle and their children continue the tradition

of breeding roses at Maison Meilland. The “Peace Rose”

was used in creation of the cultivars: “Confidence” (1954),

“Message” (1956), “Grace de Monaco” (1956), “Christian

Dior” (1959), “Baronne Edmond de Rothschild” (1968),


• Alain Meilland; Gilles Lambert, “Meilland, a life

in roses”, Southern Illinois, 1984

• Ludwig Taschner, “Peace — the rose of our time”,

Gerbera Magazine, Pretoria, South Africa, 2008

• Patrice Crowley, “Victory’s flower: The peace

rose”, America in WWII, Pennsylvania, 2009

• Robert Markley, Die BLV Rosen Enziklopädie,

Berlin, 2007



It was unknown to Marie-Antoinette that the words

"Let them eat cake" would become one of the most

memorable quotes in history ever said.

Whether or not these words are true or have been

transformed, they have truly made an impact during the

French Revolution.

In Marie-Antoinette’s mind, eating cake or sweets were her

reply to happiness and doing so would solve the upheaval

occurring in France and make peace.

With the conquering of lands, mixed Mariages of Royalty

brought the creation of new Empires allowing trade of new

and exotic foods from worldwide, thus bringing together a

wealth of culinary cultures through the unity of families and

their traditions. The world was becoming a smaller place.

Most of our fondest and memorable memories will always

be with that celebration cake. Many an evening or party

have been a success due to the arrival of the cake.

A celebration of union between a couple cutting their

wedding cake together. This first act of love and sharing.

Even though the styles change through the years the cake is

still the final symbol of happiness, sharing and love.

My First Royal Appointment was to make the Royal

wedding cake for H.R.H. King Philippe and Her Majesty

Queen Mathilde whom were prince and princess at the time.

A cake soon followed for the 50 th Birthday celebrations of

Princess Astrid and only recently a cake to celebrate the

80 th Birthday of Queen Paola. This cake was truly special

due to the creation of 80 roses from sugar, a true copy of

Roselitta a rose named in honour of her majesty. Pale green

was her favourite colour with beetle insects to copy Jan

Fabre's ceiling in the Royal Palace of Brussels.

A cake has to be personal. That cake was a true success with

all the members of the royal family and close friends present

and all could see the joy and overwhelmed happiness from

her majesty.

My career started when I saw my mum making roses from

royal icing for my Aunties wedding cake. I was only 4 at the

time. We lived in a small village just outside of Manchester

U.K. Years later I saw the wedding cake of Prince Charles

and Lady Diana Spencer, seeing such beauty I knew then

that this was my chosen career path making cakes for the

Royal court.

I did my studies in the north of England and won a

scholarship to study and eventually work in Switzerland. This

gave me the opportunity to work in Germany, Spain, Israel,

Japan and America. Allowing me to enrich my knowledge

in cultures, language and different styles of pastry and cake

decorating, eventualy creating my own style and signature.

Arriving in Belgium 30 years ago where I now live, I realised

my dream was slowly coming true.


© Michael Lewis-Anderson

I also give a lot of my spare time to help charity’s and

foundations, with cake of course. Often on the agenda is to

visit the children’s hospital with Princess Lea of Belgium

while doing fun little workshops decorating cakes. These

children are quite often seriously sick and collaborating

with them creates a peaceful mind and lots of joy; the most

heartwarming experience.

A yearly cake commission from the British embassy in

Brussels is always a true honour and privilege to celebrate

H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II Birthday. The party is held at

the British Residence. The cake has now become one of

the main focal points of the evening and much talked about

before and after. Each year being a new challenge, last years

theme was purple to represent the three generations of the

British Monarchy; the previous year was inspired by blue

sapphire, 65 years on the throne.

It was during one of these events at the American embassy

I was kindly asked to make a cake to celebrate the Austrian

Imperialis "FLAME OF PEACE". This was going to be

celebrated in the castle of Schönbrunn, Vienna, home of


The cake took 3 months to create. Although two months

before this event I was commissioned for another cake.

although this was much smaller than the one for

Schönbrunn it was equally important. The cake was for the

© Michael Lewis-Anderson

Justice Palace of Peace in The Hague. There was an award

ceremony and it was fitting to have a cake to celebrate.


started, being the first cake to be presented and served for

peace in the palace.

I remember when cutting the cake which is my adapted

version of H.R.H. Queen Elisabeth II favourite chocolate

recipe, tears were brought to the eyes of our host Herta

and Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen. A heart appeared in the

cake and I was informed that the cake was the same she

© Michael Lewis-Anderson


emembered from her childhood which brought back many

wonderful memories.

flame and gold leaf for the final touch the Austrian crest was

also painted gold.

With the cake for Schönbrunn, a dream came true and it

was truly a huge challenge to create. Knowing that this was

the first ever Royal reception to be held in the palace for

100 years. The royal family from Bahrain and their premier

minister were among the distinguished guests to support

world peace.

The show piece cake was ornately decorated to fit in with

the style of the opulently decorated state room. I was

inspired by the Austrian architecture, baroque and the

famous Bergel rooms beautifuly painted with trompe de

l'œil, a pleasure for Empress Sisi.

The show piece cake of 3 meters high, with colour of the

exterior castle, was crowned with the flame of peace and the

Austrian Crest and adorned with nation flowers made from

sugar. The cake was truly delicious, moist chocolate filled

with a light cream and chestnuts. It was dressed with white

chocolate and gold lace. Adorned with a small marzipan

Each guest received to take home an individual portion

which was beautifully wrapped like a jewel. For this

achievement and creation I received the Gold medal from

the flame of peace, recognised by the Austrian government.

250 years after Marie-Antoinette left her beloved home

Schönbrunn for Versailles, THE PIECE OF CAKE

FOR PEACE was finally created for the flame of peace

celebration. Marie-Antoinette was probably correct