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The DIPLOMATIC WORLD INSTITUTE was first
announced at the P50 Summer Peace Summit at Living
Tomorrow, June 28. Here is the short statement given at
the summit by Barbara Dietrich, Publisher DIPLOMATIC
WORLD MAGAZINE and Dieter Brockmeyer, Co-Founder
of the Institute:
It was a great honor to have the opportunity to present
the Diplomatic World Institute, DWI, at the P50 Summer
Peace Summit. The foundation of the Institute is a big
step forward for the Diplomatic World Magazine that was
turned into a true global opinion leader by Barbara Dietrich
within the last three years only. The new body will extend
the magazine’s reach using its amazing base of highestranking
diplomatic network. From now on Diplomatic
World is not only a platform to discuss visions and opinions
on a global scale. Via DWI we will be able to initiate and
moderate our own projects following the simple slogan
“from thinking to doing”.
DWI operates as an interface between diplomacy, economy
and culture, following the objective to foster world peace
and well-being. This can be charities as well as awards or
economic and cultural initiatives. Anything that improves the
situation of people globally is also a step closer to maintain
peace, especially in times of global change with a growing
feeling of uncertainty across borders and social groups.
Investing in Tomorrows Leaders
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INDEX DIPLOMATIC WORLD 61
A ROYAL VOICE
of Georgia 16
INTO SPACE FOR FINLAND
CHRISTO AT GUY
VAN DER GELD
President of the
of Uzbekistan 26
LAURENT LE BON
the Picasso Museum
in Paris Living Tomorrow
Ambassador of Peru 36
MUSEUM AM STROM
OF BINGEN Sanny Winters
in Ulrike’s Bolenz
JOACHIM DE VOS
Dr. Talia Golan
AT THE CENTER
& AI ARBITRATION
What May the
OF EVERYTHING 120
Billiet & Co MEUNIER
BUT IS IT REAL?
BY PAUL CAMUSO
of Breast Cancer
IS A NEW
ORDER BEING BORN?
New Media Law LLP 126
Martine J. Piccart,
Ian Welsh M.D., Ph.D.
EVEN IN ARTIFICIAL
THE DRIVING FORCE
Prof Dr Dr HC
Jan De Maere
FOR THE FUTURE
Marten van Haren OF HUMANITY
Marcel Van de Voorde
Prof. dr. dr. h.c.
A ROYAL VOICE
SINCE 2002, FIRST AS A PRINCESS AND
LATER AS THE QUEEN OF THE BELGIANS,
HER MAJESTY QUEEN MATHILDE IS
COMMITTED TO CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
In 2005 the Queen travelled as a UN emissary for the
International Year of Microcredit. In that same year, she
was appointed UNICEF/UNAIDS special representative
for their world campaign for orphans and other vulnerable
children affected or infected by HIV/AIDS.
In 2009 she became Honorary President of UNICEF
Belgium. In that context, Her Majesty the Queen regularly
supports UNICEF activities in Belgium by her presence:
in schools, at governments and at international conferences.
On these occasions she stresses the importance of giving
a voice to the most excluded children and seizes every
opportunity for an inspired plea in favor of children’s
rights. On numerous occasions, the Queen referred to
the importance of valuing the role of young people as a
prerequisite for success.
As an international advocate for UNICEF's global
youth agenda (launched in 2018) and the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United
Nations in 2015, Queen Mathilde is the ideal person to
translate UNICEF’s priorities to the general public
Queen Mathilde also takes up her role as UNICEF
Belgium's Honorary President abroad and travels regularly
to “the field”. Over the past 10 years she witnessed
UNICEF activities in Niger, Tanzania, Senegal, Liberia,
Haiti, Ethiopia and Laos.
This year, in June 2019, the Queen of the Belgians travelled
to Kenya. During the three-day visit, the delegation went
to the Kakuma refugee camp (one of the largest camps
in the region), visited various educational projects in
Nairobi County and the Masai community and witnessed
the awareness campaigns carried out by UNICEF and its
partners on sensitive topics such as education for girls and
the fight against genital mutilation and child marriages.
During the mission — at the specific request of the
Queen — priority was given to interaction with the local
communities and the children.
Highlight of this mission was the presence of HRH Princess
Elisabeth. The participation of the Crown Princess was a
particularly pleasant surprise for all participants and gave
the mission a unique character. The principle of youth
participation and attention to the voice of young people
proposed by UNICEF could not be better illustrated.
During the mission, Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth
were introduced to the various activities and projects that
UNICEF sets up together with the local authorities and
many partners to ensure access to good quality education
for young adolescents. The delegation also got a better
view on initiatives aimed at protecting vulnerable children
in the country. The interactions with the local communities
were very cordial and illustrative of the achievements
and challenges of protecting and promoting the rights
of children in the country.
As Queen Mathilde rightly stated at the end of the mission:
“Education remains the most important means to give
young people, and especially girls, the opportunity to
build their lives and make their own choices”.
Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Visit to Kakuma refugee Camp. Kakuma is the second largest refugee camp in Kenya. The camp is located
in the north-west of the country near the border of South Sudan and Uganda. Of the 180,000 people who
live in the camp, around 60% are under the age of 18. The Queen and Princess Elisabeth did not hesitate
to lend a hand when unloading the cargo from the United Nations plane that brought them to the refugee
camp. The cargo mainly contained emergency facilities, such as school material, for the temporary learning
centers in the camp.
Kakuma, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Fuhara relaxation center. In the Fuhara center, which means “joy”, the Queen
and Princess met the children of Kakuma. In this center the children can
creatively relax by dancing, singing, drawing, etc. This makes it easier for
them to process certain traumatic experiences.
Kakuma, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Kakuma, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde
Kalobeyei school. Thanks to, among other things, the work
of UNICEF, 80,000 children in Kakuma have access to
education in a healthy and safe environment. UNICEF
also offers psychosocial support to children who need
it. This school supported by UNICEF supervises 3,700
children in primary and 1,000 children in secondary
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
education. There are 18 temporary and 14 permanent
Furthermore, all necessary facilities are provided in the
building, such as rooms for administration, water and
sanitation (such as separate toilets for boys and girls),
a kitchen, a storage area for school material, etc.
Kakuma Skills training, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Skills training and income generating projects for young
mothers. This program, supported by UNICEF and the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF), gives young mothers
the opportunity to complete their studies and to develop
competences for their daily lives.
“When I am here, I experience no stress and I no longer
think about the negative things that I have had to endure.
I like the social and community side of it. We are all young
mothers. We share our experiences and we support each
other”, explains Elizabeth, a tailor in training.
The school costs of these young mothers are paid by
UNICEF and LWF, so that they can continue their studies
or opt for training as a hairdresser, in confection or as a
baker. The young mothers also enjoy a daycare service for
their children during their education. Even if the mums
come from different regions, they still have the same
strength and determination
Their training lasts from 1 to 3 months and the mothers
receive a certificate after taking written and practical tests.
Only after having passed these exams the mothers receive a
complete tool set with which they can establish themselves
and develop income-generating activities. The holistic
program covers all the needs of these young mothers:
education, skills development, empowerment, care for young
children, strengthening their position in the community and
Dagoretti Center, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Nairobi county. Queen Mathilde and her daughter
Princess Elisabeth visited the Dagoretti center for
protection and development of children. The center,
located a few kilometers west of the capital Nairobi,
is supported by UNICEF. The aim is to give the most
vulnerable children a second chance. Children are often
exposed to dangerous situations or must cope without a
family. The center focuses on social reintegration through
Dagoretti offers a safe home to the children and
adolescents. They receive meals, lessons to catch up
with school and professional courses in function of the
knowledge and talents that they each have separately.
In addition, they can also play music or theater and
practice sports. Because of their difficulties in life, they
often have a lot to deal with. The staff of the center
encourages them to talk about this with each other and
with specialists, so that they can go on in life and leave
the difficult moment behind.
In the Dagoretti center, the Queen and Princess also
met young mums with their babies. UNICEF supports
this project so that these young mothers can also follow
professional training while their children are cared for
Masai Community, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Close encounters with the Masai Community.
On the last day of the mission, Queen Mathilde and
Princess Elisabeth traveled to the Kajiado region.
Many schools from in the Masai communities work
closely with the government, UNICEF, and other
partners such as World Vision to protect children from
harmful practices such as early marriage and female
genital mutilation (FGM). The partners also help
children to re-integrate into their home and / or school.
The exchange highlighted the dual role of schools: they
not only provide access to education, information about
hygiene and sex, psychological support and sanitary
services, but also an environment that protects against
violence, exploitation and abuse.
When meeting with a Masai family, the Queen and her
daughter identified the challenges faced by the Masai
and the resources they have to face them. UNICEF
sensitizes Masai families around harmful practices such
as premature marriage and female genital mutilation.
Queen Mathilde and Princess Elisabeth learned several
interesting things from the conversations with the
children, the teacher-savers and the social workers during
These practices are still strongly present in the
community. The efforts are bearing fruit: the family with
whom the Queen talked, supports their daughter and
gives priority to her education, rights and future.
Masai, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
At the end of this third day, Queen Mathilde and
Princess Elisabeth took part in a discussion with about
twenty members of the Masai community, animated by
Community Change officials.
In this way, the Queen and Princess received an overview
of the harmful practices in the village and surrounding
communities of the Kajiado region, and of the current
efforts of UNICEF and World Vision to combat them.
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
Masai School, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and HRH Princess Elisabeth
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
This was my first trip to East Africa. Many impressions
came my way. I was very moved to meet the children
in the refugee camp in Kakuma, because they are so
young and so fragile and have already experienced so
many traumas in their lives. I was also very touched by
the encounters with the girls of my age in the last days
because they show so much courage and perseverance in
such difficult situations.
Through my journey here I have seen the work of
organizations like UNICEF and the impact they have on
the community. More girls are already attending school
and the mentality is gradually changing, around the
mutilation of women and premature marriages.
Crown Princess Elisabeth will soon turn 18 in October.
It was her first official visit.
© UNICEF Frank Dejongh
KENYA – HUMANITARIAN INSIGHTS
Kenya is currently in 179th place (a total of 228 countries) in the Human Development Index (HDI).
This UN welfare index mainly measures poverty, illiteracy, education and life expectancy in a certain country or area.
• Population: 26 million inhabitants
• Mortality rate for children under 5 years of age: 46 per 1000 born alive
• Annual number of children who die: 68,882
• Percentage of children under 5 years of age legally registered: 67%
• Percentage of children between 5 and 17 years who work: 26%
• Percentage of children in primary education: 85%
• Percentage of children in secondary education: 36%
• Malnutrition rate (moderate and severe): 26%
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SITUATION
OF THE CHILDREN IN THE WORLD OR ON HOW
YOU CAN SUPPORT UNICEF?
Philippe Henon, spokesperson UNICEF Belgium
All pictures: UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
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MY PRIORITY IS TO HAVE
GEORGIA RECOGNIZED AS
A EUROPEAN COUNTRY
SALOME ZOURABICHVILI, THE FIRST WOMAN
TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA,
SHARES HER CULTURAL AND DIPLOMATIC
AMBITIONS FOR THE CAUCASIAN STATE
Last September, during the occasion of my trip for the
inaugural season of the Tsinandali Festival of classical
music, I was fortunate to meet the President of Georgia
in Tbilisi, the capital and largest city. After a short
conversation and laughter over how a Franco-Laotian
Cultural Diplomacy fan had landed in Georgia to interview
a former French ambassador, now become President of
Georgia, she answered my questions with both clarity and
a very active president on the outside scene and that has
been my task since I was elected, for the last 8 months. I’ve
been extremely active both in the direction of our European
partners, the European Union and all our other partners
because the priorities of Georgia are perspectives of
European and Atlantic integration and in fact, this activity
has led to have Georgia back much more on the European
map. I think today everybody is very interested in Georgia.
Could you clarify for our readers the role of
the President of Georgia as defined by your
constitution, specifically regarding diplomatic
The new Constitution of Georgia has redefined the powers
of the President because we moved to a parliamentary
regime which is a classical one, where the President has
representative powers and the Prime Minister is the one that
has the governing power. But at the same time, the powers
of the President are a bit different in Georgia because the
President, unlike in other parliamentary regimes, has this
time, and it will change in the future, been elected by the
people for a mandate of 6 years, so it gives the President
some legitimacy and claim to be quite influential in society
matters and in diplomatic matters.
In diplomacy, the president, as it is the case for other
parliamentary regimes, is the main representative outside
the country and for a small country like Georgia, diplomacy
is very important as for all small countries. We need to have
Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia during the interview
for Diplomatic World Magazine
Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia at her inauguration, December 16, 2018
We have also our occupied territories which is a very
important problem and that means that we have to be very
active with our partners to try to find an appeasement for
the plight of the people living in the occupied lands and find
solutions for this conflict. We are very coordinated with the
government, with the Prime Minister and with the Minister
of Foreign Affairs but the President is still the most active.
That is a very important part of my tasks but there are
also very important internal aspects of the president’s role
and one of them is culture, especially lately, because the
government has become smaller with one minister in charge
of education, sport, culture and science, which means there
were not enough people with status to talk about Georgian
culture both inside and outside. So my role, that was part
of my electoral program, is really to give Georgian culture
importance in the internal political development because
Georgian culture is what made Georgia and what is really its
main strength inside and also in projecting Georgia outside.
Georgia can only be projected through its culture.
The first priority now is to have Georgia recognized in
Europe as a European culture and civilization and also
to have much more presence of European countries here,
because that’s a way the Georgian population will feel the
proximity with Europe. So culture is very fundamental. I’m
also working closely with UNESCO for our cultural heritage
and we will continue in that direction.
If you look at Georgia, you will see that the cultural
heritage of Georgia is really enormous, we have more
ancient churches than there are cheeses in France and that
constitutes our touristic attractions but also the richness
on which Georgia is grounded, which gives us the strength
to resist everything that has been happening to Georgia
over the centuries, with invasions, occupations, not that we
accept or like it but being able to survive and recompose
itself. It gives historical perspective and hope for the
You are the first woman in this office. What does
this say about the evolution of the position of
women in Georgian society?
I think it’s very important for the international standing of
Georgia to have a woman president, to be one of the only
woman presidents in the world and show how progressive
Georgia is. But for Georgia itself, it’s not new. One of
the most prosperous times of Georgia was with a queen.
Georgia became Christian through a woman saint and we
had numerous women in power in the kingdoms of Georgia
when they were divided. So the fact that there is a woman
with a high state function is something that does not
surprise anyone here and it is very well accepted. There is
part of our mythology that says that having a woman as the
head of state means that Georgia is going to go back to one
of its prosperous periods in history, so that creates a lot of
strength and responsibility at the same time — but I want
to point out that nowhere during my electoral campaign
nor since, have I received opposition or criticism due to
the fact of being a woman. Everywhere else we are very
polarized so there are a lot of attacks, but generally the
Georgian population has a high respect for women and high
expectations. That being said, I think it’s important being
a woman in Georgia today and also a European woman
because I was born and raised abroad in Europe. That is
very important because one of the things that society has to
do now in the coming years and where I feel I have a special
responsibility, is to achieve the end of the transformation of
Georgian society. We have been moving out of the 70 years
of totalitarian regime gradually — it has now been 27 years
— and we still need a number of years to achieve what I
call the liberation of the mentality from the old totalitarian
remanence in society with habits, lack of initiatives, lack
sometimes of freedom. I think as a woman, and the fact that
I come from Europe and I look at things with a different
educational background, that is very important to help with
You had dual nationality and culture, French and
Georgian in your heart. How does this influence
your approach in your function and particularly in
No, as I said, of course I’m completely Georgian because
I was raised in a Georgian family. Keeping Georgian
identity was most important, more when you are outside
than in the country, but at the same time I received a
French education and was for a long time a French career
diplomat and so I’m also completely part of this European
mind-set and education. I think that is important so that I
can look at Georgia from the inside and see what we need
to do to transform our society and bring Georgia into the
21st century and be part of the international community
Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council in Brussels, during the President’s first international visit,
Emmanuel Macron, President of France welcomes Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia at the Elysée, February 2019
with all our strength and potential. But at the same time
I can look at Georgia from the outside with the eyes of a
foreigner and see where some of the weaknesses that we
have to overcome, are. I’m not renouncing any part of it
and in today’s world we are now about a million and a
half Georgians outside our borders and 3,7 million living
in Georgia, so I think we are going to see more and more
people that will have both a strong Georgian identity and
I hope will return to Georgia with experiences of other
cultures — both professional ones and personal ones — and
that will in my view enrich Georgia and not weaken it.
How is Georgia leveraging Art and Culture in its
That’s where we are both different and similar to the
Europeans; it’s where we can bring what are the old
traditions of Georgia that have sometimes been forgotten
in Europe. We have a very long tradition of tolerance
through the centuries. The way Georgians apprehend the
outside world, neither religion nor ethnicity was a factor
for discrimination and that’s something that was gradually
forgotten in Europe.
It was one of the founding values of Europe but it has been
forgotten, so I think Georgian culture is not only something
to discover that is exotic but it’s also going back to the roots
of what European and Christian values are, and for that we
are a very good reservoir.
I think, as I have mentioned, since I’m part of the
diplomatic policy, that culture is our main instrument for
foreign policy. We don’t have a strong army and the military
part is to defend ourselves and we are a small country, so
the economic policy for us is indispensable but it is not an
instrument by which we can really leverage other countries
or use our influence, so our main instrument in diplomatic
policy is culture.
There are also old traditions of wine and we have also many
archaeological artifacts, which make Georgia a reservoir and
a center of ancient history.
So we have a lot to offer.
Dr Pick Keobandith
Founder and International Director, Inspiring Culture
Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia in Afghanistan, where Georgian troops participate in Operation Resolute Support, February 2019
PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA
Born on 18 March 1952 in Paris, France.
Speaks fluently Georgian, French, and English and converses in basic Italian.
Institute of Political Studies (1969-1972 – Paris, France).
Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (1972-1973 – New York, U.S.A.)
Diplomatic and Political Career
1974 - 2004 She worked in the diplomatic service for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France in several embassies
(Italy, United States, and Chad) and with French representations to international organizations
(UN, NATO, Western European Union, OSCE).
2003 She was appointed as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of France to Georgia.
2004 - 2005 She served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
After leaving the post, she founded on 11 March 2006 the political party “The Way of Georgia”.
2006 - 2015 She was an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris,
2010 - 2015 Until December 2015, she led the United Nations Security Council monitoring group on sanctions
2016 She won her election as an independent Deputy in the Parliament of Georgia.
2018 She won her election as the fifth President of Georgia
Que sais-je? La Géorgie, Edition PUF, Paris, 1986.
Une femme pour deux pays, Edition Grasset, Paris, 2006.
Les cicatrices des nations, Edition Francois Bourin, Paris, 2008.
La tragédie géorgienne, Edition Grasset, Paris, 2009.
L’exigence démocratique, Edition Francois Bourin, Paris, 2010.
Cahiers CERI Sciences Po N°4: La démocratisation en Géorgie à l’épreuve des élections, Paris, 2007
Penser l’Europe: What borders for Europe?, Paris, 2007.
Cahier de Chaillot, Institute for security studies of the European Union (N° 102), Paris, 2007.
BLUE LEADERS BREAKFAST
CALL TO ACTION
ON OCEAN AND CLIMATE
DR. PHILIPPE DE BACKER,
MINISTER OF THE NORTH SEA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
political action. I always tell my colleagues: you have the
right to your own opinion, not your own facts. And when
the facts are clear, the path of action also becomes clear.
It is our honour to host the first meeting of this most
distinguished group of Heads of State and Governments,
as well as Ministers, Ambassadors, friends of the Ocean
from around the world to talk about actions and solutions
needed to address the findings of the IPCC Special
Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing
Climate released this morning in Monaco. Greenhouse
gas driven global heating is the leading cause of pervasive,
long-lasting, dangerous changes in the ocean, including
accelerated sea-level rise; melting polar sea ice, mass coral
bleaching; extinction and redistribution of species; and
huge and growing dead zones around the world.
My country, Belgium, has always been and will continue
to be a pioneer in ocean policy and research — although
we only control a little part of the global sea. By being an
advocate for international cooperation — like we were by
The ocean has absorbed 28% of all our CO2 emissions
since 1750; today it absorbs over 1 billion kg of CO2
from the atmosphere every hour, changing the chemistry
of seawater and threatening multiple marine species.
Tackling this emergency means we all have to go beyond
words and declarations. Tackling this emergency means
all States must commit to more ambitious Nationally
Determined Contributions in 2020 to ensure the faster,
deeper emission cuts needed to keep to 1,5°C.
When Martin Luther King was fighting for fundamental
and equal rights — here in the US — he did not say: “I had
a nightmare.” He said: “I have a dream.” It is our shared
responsibility to make this common dream of a cleaner,
safer and prosperous world a reality. I’m a scientist and
a politician and it has always struck me how little room
scientist get to state the facts. It is high time to put
evidence-based policy making at the heart of current
Dr. Philippe De Backer, Minister of the North Sea Belgium
© Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
© Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
leading a High Ambition Coalition in the International
Maritime organisation, setting clear targets for cutting
emissions of the shipping industry. Or by investing in
science-based marine spatial planning, protection 35%
of our part of the North Sea, doubling our capacity for
offshore wind energy and investing in coastal protection.
And by getting the private sector on board in setting
strong ambitions. The Belgian shipowners association —
representing the 10 th biggest global fleet — has established
the Shipping Decarbonisation Council, building up
research and implementing solutions towards zeroemission
shipping in the near future. Carbon capture and
storage investments are underway in the Port of Antwerp;
the second largest European port and industrial cluster in
Europe. It can be done. It will be done.
We need ambitious solutions to help the ocean deal with
effects of the warmth, acidification and loss of oxygen.
Just as a healthy person is better able to face physical
challenges than a sick one, a healthy ocean is better able
to cope with the effects of climate change, than a sick
Therefore in Belgium’s view, it is critically important to
both urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take
bold action to enhance ocean resilience. In our view, this
© Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
© Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
must be achieved by fully protecting at least 30% of the
global ocean by 2030, including through a robust new
international agreement for the conservation of the high
I am looking forward to hearing the Blue Leaders gathered
here today to give their take on this and other solutions.
And to make their actions speak louder than words.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, I am wearing this 30by30 pin. This pin means we
are taking the IPCC report seriously. It means we want
to give our ocean a fair fighting change to sustain itself,
and us. I invite, no, I encourage all colleagues to pick up
their pin, wear it proudly and walk out of this room today
knowing that they are stewards and ambassadors of the
ocean, that they truly are Blue Leaders.
Dr. Philippe De Backer, Minister of the North Sea Belgium and
© Diplomatic World
It is with pleasure that I introduce the moderator for this
event, Ms. Sophie Mirgaux, Belgium’s special envoy for
© Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
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PRESIDENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
H.E. SHAVKAT MIRZIYOYEV
SOLEMN CEREMONY DEDICATED TO
THE 28 TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE
OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
Assalomu Alaykum, esteemed compatriots!
Ladies and gentlemen,
On this joyous occasion, allow me to congratulate from
the bottom of my heart, you, my dears, our multiethnic
nation, on Independence Day. Twenty eight years ago, our
First President esteemed Islam Abdughanievich Karimov
announced the state independence of the Republic of
Uzbekistan before our nation and the world community.
For over the past short period, our beloved Uzbekistan
traversed a difficult, yet glorious path of independence.
Today, we have all grounds to say one truth with big pride
and honor: our courageous and persevering people, despite
facing harsh ordeals, have been demonstrating their firm
will and constant commitment to the chosen path of
That is delivering on the hopes of our hard-working,
laborious and noble people, our fellow-countrymen who
are courageously overcoming all trials of this life, improve
their life and realize their expectations. However, all of
us understand well that these great objectives cannot be
achieved by itself, by chit-chat and tumid words. Such
achievements can only be accomplished by continuous,
hard and selfless work. To this end in recent years, we have
carried out extensive work in terms of improvement of
public administration as well as legal and judicial systems,
strengthening the defense capability of the country,
transiting to real market economy.
We are creating wide opportunities and favorable conditions
for private property and entrepreneurship. Macroeconomic
stability is being ensured. Radical reforms are underway in
agriculture. Despite severe drought and climatic factors,
At present, Uzbekistan is confidently entering a new stage
of its development. A new, democratic face of Uzbekistan is
being shaped on the basis of modernization, ensuring human
rights and freedoms and the rule of law. In this regard, a
priority idea “From national reconstruction — to national
progress” enshrined in the Action Strategy is serving a
guideline for us. Under the notion of national progress we
understand the development of our country, comprehensive
improvement of living standards of our people.
Drawing on the potential and might of our people,
reasonably using our natural resources, we are consistently
moving toward such goals that we set before ourselves.
Distinguished participants of the forum!
Irrespective of any reforms, transformations and new
projects that we implement, all of them are aimed at a single
© Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels
Train (Railway) Station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
our seasoned farmers and peasants worked hard and
harvested abundant crop in numerous sectors. Taking
this opportunity, I consider it as my duty to sincerely
congratulate all farmers, peasants and agricultural people
on their profound successes along the path of ensuring
prosperity of our nation.
A unique system is being shaped in our country in terms
of social development. In this regard, such programs as
“Obod qishloq” (‘Comfortable village’), “Obod mahalla”
(‘Comfortable neighborhood community’), “Yoshlar
— kelajagimiz” (‘Youth are our future’), “Besh ijobiy
tashabbus” (‘Five positive initiatives’) are playing an
essential role in promoting new thinking and working
among our population. As a result, the architectural
appearance of hundreds of our districts, cities and villages
is being drastically renewed. You are well aware of profound
changes taking place in science, education, healthcare,
culture and sport. We have restored the 11-year education
system in general education schools.
Development of school education is turning into a great
national objective and national movement. Higher education
is also rapidly developing our country now. For over the
last three years alone, 35 new institutes of higher learning
have been established in the country with their total number
reaching 112. And the fact that 13 out of this number are
the branches of high-ranking foreign universities is worth
special underscoring. Improving facilities and resources,
as well as human resource capacities of public healthcare
constantly remain in the focus of our attention. Numerous
new hospitals, medical centers, family and private clinics
are being launched across the country. Social protection of
low-income families, physically challenged persons, youth,
girls and elderly people has turned into a priority direction
of state policy in recent years.
In this regard, we should mention the creation of the
Agency for medical and social services and the Fund for
supporting physically handicapped persons. Creation of
jobs for the population, especially for the youth and women,
remains the most urgent task for us. This particularly
important matter stands as core objective and task of all
of our economic and social programs, large investment
projects, and measures aimed at developing services sector.
It won’t be wrong to say that a new era has started in our
country in terms of providing the population with housing
which was an acute problem in our country for a long time.
Enormous changes are happening in cultural life our
country, as well. For the first time, the International Maqom
Art Festival and the International Bakshi Art Festival were
successfully held in Shakhrisabz and Termez, respectively.
“Sharq Taronalari” International Music Festival, which was
recently held in Samarkand at the high level and spirit, has
once again demonstrated our unique classical art to the
In September the town of Kokand will host for the first time
the International Craft Festival. We consider the work of
enlightenment and spirituality as the work of patriotism,
the work of conscience. A man of conscience and
enlightenment certainly loves Motherland. Conscience and
enlightenment means sincerely serving one’s Homeland.
The fact that such an approach is enjoying broad and
enthusiastic support of our people, especially the youth,
demonstrates the urgency of upbringing on the basis of
Uzbekistan is continuing to firmly pursue its independent
policy in ensuring human rights and freedoms, and
this policy is being acknowledged by the international
community. An institute of granting pardon to prisoners
was established in our country. Pardon was granted for
seven times for over the last three years. As a result, nearly
four thousand prisoners, who sincerely repented of their
conduct and returned to the path of correction, were
released. The other day, I signed another decree on pardon.
According to this document, 65 citizens, who were serving
their time, have been granted pardon.
When you watch and see on TV the joy of parents and
children of these persons, who are returning to their home
and their loved ones, you once again realize that it is
indeed a noble and kind work to accomplish. The closure
of Jaslyk penal colony in the Republic of Karakalpakstan
on the eve of Independence Day has become yet another
demonstration of humanistic policy. This historic step
shows that protection of human rights and freedoms in
our country is not a temporary campaign but a continuous
process on the level of state policy. Today Uzbekistan
is asserting itself as a country capable of protecting the
rights and interests of its citizens irrespective of their
Ties with our compatriots working and studying abroad
are strengthening, their rights and interests are protected
and ensured. Necessary conditions are being created for
our citizens who are keen to return to Uzbekistan and
continue their education or career here. This year 156 of
our compatriots — mainly women and children — were
evacuated from war-torn Syria and their civil rights have
been fully restored. Certainly, being merciful and kind
pleases the people and God. Such noble qualities yet glorify
our magnanimous nation.
At present, Uzbekistan is conducting an active and efficient
foreign policy. Our ties with far and near states, and
international organizations are yet widening and developing.
In the first place, we are establishing good-neighborly
relations and mutually beneficial ties with Central Asian
states. Conditions were created for thousands of people to
cross borders freely, freely move across the region and be
able to mutually visit their relatives.
Uzbekistan is actively participating in the activities on
ensuring regional security, as well in dialogues aimed
at establishing peace in Afghanistan. All of this has
significant importance in terms of adding to the prestige
of our country on the international arena and increasing
the number of the country’s friends and partners. Taking
this opportunity, allow me to express sincere respect and
gratitude to distinguished ambassadors of foreign countries,
representatives of international organizations, our foreign
partners and all friends of Uzbekistan, who are joining us
at this festivity, render support and welcome the democratic
reforms in our country.
Peace and tranquility, interethnic and interreligious
friendship and accord are strengthening our lives. We
consider it as a guarantee of our reforms and their crucial
result. Thanks to the reforms that we are implementing
today and elevation of the dialogue with people to the level
of state policy, the climate of openness and freedom is ever
strengthening in our society. People are learning how to
work with authorities by being pro-active and addressing
not only their personal problem but the challenges which
represent the ordeals of the many.
You know that I travel across the country a lot.
On site, in remote districts, villages and townships I try to
launch new economic and social projects, closely learn the
lives of people, the actual conditions that they live in, their
mood, and help with addressing the problems that they are
facing. Today, we are jointly resolving numerous complex
and urgent matters with our people through such open and
sincere conversations. And this makes our people confident
in the future and inspires them towards new and great
achievements. There is no doubt that this is our biggest
achievement. On this great occasion, I bow low before
our brave and magnanimous people, who are preserving
the independence of our Motherland and ensuring its
© Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels
sustainable development despite all harsh trials and ordeals,
for their honest and selfless work, commitment to the ideas
Certainly, as long as there is life, there were and will be
its harsh challenges and problems. However, finding a
reasonable solution to any problem requires unity and
accord in the first place. All of us, especially leaders and
managers need deep knowledge, intellect and patience.
In this regard, there is a profound meaning in the idea of
“Enlightenment against ignorance”. This idea has crucial
importance not only in terms of religious upbringing, but in
all spheres of our life.
If we address any issue on the basis of enlightenment, give
it a good deal of thought, show respect to people, take
their opinion into account, relying on the criterion of the
law and justice alone, our people will be pleased with us.
Time has changed today. From now on, all of us need to
learn how to work in the conditions of freedom, openness
and transparency. All developed countries and the world
community is living in such conditions. In order not to
fall behind the pressing demands of life, all of us need
to continuously learn, refine ourselves and improve our
knowledge and intellectual level.
We have the blood of our great ancestors in our veins. I
believe all of you will join me if I say that being worthy
followers and successors of great forefathers is our sacred
duty. Diligently working for the prosperity of one’s nation
is: being brave and courageous, loving and being devoted to
a Motherland, having good upbringing and being a model to
others. This time around, in the capital city and the regions
we are decorating our compatriots, who are commendably
contributing to the development of our country and make
a model to everybody, with high state titles, orders and
On my own behalf and on behalf of our nation, allow
me to sincerely congratulate and express kind wishes to
those of our compatriots who gained profound esteem and
recognition among our people for their devoted service to
Today, I believe it is important to firmly underscore the
following idea: democratic processes in Uzbekistan became
© Diplomatic World
irreversible and inevitable. For the sake of our forefathers,
who struggled and sacrificed themselves for such bright
days, for the sake of our 33 million people strong nation,
for the sake of our children and grandchildren, who are
looking at us with hope and belief in their eyes, we will
never ever back down from the path of independence and
We will definitely achieve our goals and together we will
build Uzbekistan with a great future!
All of us are well aware that a profound political event
is awaiting us. In December this year, elections to the
parliament and local councils are to be held in our country.
The elections will become yet another important practical
step in consolidating our national independence and
elevating Uzbekistan to the rank of developed democratic
states of the world.
foreign universities in their prime are entering our life.
They are our hope and tomorrow. Therefore providing
broad opportunities to the youth, promoting their needs
and interests, realizing their capabilities and talents,
assisting them with finding their place in life, entrusting
responsible posts to them will always remain at the focus of
I am confident that our beloved children will be worthy of
such high attention of our country and glorify Uzbekistan
across the world with their potential and commitment to
our national idea. Dear compatriots! Once again, I sincerely
congratulate all of you on the twenty-eighth anniversary
of state independence of Uzbekistan. May a sound health
and new successes accompany you, let your family live
in harmony and accord, may everyone see and enjoy
happiness bliss of their children and grandchildren!
I am confident that these elections will express the dreams
and aspirations of our nation, especially the youth and
open up new opportunities for them. At present, numerous
young people with excellent education, command of foreign
languages and managerial skills, graduates of prestigious
May our country be peaceful, our sky be clear and our
beloved Uzbekistan be safe!
May our Independence be eternal!
A YOUNG COUPLE IN DESPAIR
LAUNCHES A CRY FOR HELP
TO SAVE THEIR BABY
Belgium responds in a way we can only be proud of. But.
There are a lot of ‘but’s. Who in their right mind can
deny a baby a life saving medication?
Why are therapies and medications so expensive?
If the government does not pay, how will we solve the
When did we decide researching diseases, developing
therapy, producing effective medication is not profitable
because only a few people are affected?
What is the value of a human life?
These and many other questions we will answer in
the next edition of Diplomatic World. Experts in all
disciplines will be able to speak out and answer these and
other questions. We welcome your comments, especially
from other countries since this is a worldwide issue.
Looking forward to hearing from you! redaction@
“Our country experienced a warm wave of solidarity last
week. But. The fact that a pharma company dares to ask
1.9 million EURO for 1 therapy is scandalous, which
makes me conclude: Pharma in itself is sick”, thus
Ms Karin Jiroflée addressed the parliament knowing that
the development of gene therapy has been developed with
money from the French government and that they now
have the guts to ask for private people to sponsor the
amount together, I find that unthinkable.
“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
INTERVIEW WITH AMBASSADOR
H.E. RAOUL DELCORDE
THE BELGIAN MINISTRY
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Transcript of an interview; views expressed here
are personal and do not necessarily represent the
opinions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What are the new dimensions of diplomacy which
are broadening its scope, by blending culture,
economy and politics?
Ambassador Delcorde: In the 21 st century, diplomats
indeed have to embrace a new kind of diplomacy.
Traditionally, diplomacy was mainly a political relation
between two States. As I have written in my book ‘The
Belgian Diplomats’, Belgian Diplomacy from its very
beginning has been focusing on trade. Foreign trade was
and still is vital for the Belgian economy, as you certainly
know. In order to export you have to discover new
markets. In that sense, our embassies give crucial support
to the business community.
This sounds almost as a cliché today but 180 years ago
it was an innovative approach. From this perspective,
we can say that from the start Belgian diplomacy was
an economic diplomacy. However, today’s diplomacy is
not just about economic or political relations. It’s also
about what the Americans would call ‘soft power’: we are
striving to make our country attractive going beyond the
clichés that people have about Belgium. We are challenged
to broaden people’s view on our country, showing that
Belgium is not only about diamonds, chocolate, beer
and Belgian (instead of French!) fries, but also a country
rich in high-level pharmaceutical research, economically
interesting harbours and very talented cartoonists.
Last but not least, nowadays the embassy becomes an
actor on social media, a new world for people of my
generation. 5 years ago I couldn’t even have imagined that
I would become an active twitter user! This kind of public
diplomacy is of utmost importance in our days.
Many countries like the Emirates, Qatar and Saudi
Arabia are interested in Belgian art for their new
museums, inviting even some famous Belgian artists
like Wim Delvoye and Luc Tuymans. These new
museums in the Arab World are sending out a strong
message of global togetherness. How do you see
this evolution on a cultural level? Do you have any
concrete plans to expand your cultural relations?
First of all, it’s up to the individual artist to decide
where he/she wants to be known. You mentioned Wim
Delvoye. As a matter of fact, this very prolific artist is
inspired by Iranian Art and spends a couple of months
per year in Iran. In international affairs Iran is a country
on the forefront, but on the artistic level we don’t make
an immediate connection between Belgium and Iran as
Wim Delvoye does. Delvoye recently settled in the city of
Kashan, 200 km South of Tehran, where he is renovating
a set of old houses. Last spring the Royal Museums of
Fine Arts in Brussels had an exhibition on his work which
was really worth visiting.
In the world of Belgian cartoons and comic books we can
find some excellent non-traditional ambassadors. The best
example is comic strip hero Tintin, created by Hergé, one
of the most impressive creators of the 20th Century. In
a certain way, Tintin embodies typically Belgian values:
modesty, interest in others, sense of adventure, curiosity
about other cultures. Unfortunately, many foreigners
assume Tintin is French. By promoting Tintin in various
occasions, we try to correct these widespread but false
assumptions. For instance, both in Sweden and
Poland I organized an exhibition with the Hergé
Besides visual arts, the Belgian art scene has a lot to offer
in other forms of art too. The famous fashion academy in
Antwerp is one of our best ambassadors abroad in terms
of fashion design. In performing arts, the Royal Ballet of
Flanders is worth mentioning.
This dance company is currently being directed by the
internationally acclaimed choreographer Sidi Larbi
Cherkaoui. He came to Ottawa when I was ambassador to
Canada, promoting his avant-garde dance creations. The
Queen Elizabeth Music Competition is another magnet
for foreigners. Many laureates are from Asian origin,
coming from South-Korea, China, Japan. By bringing
their families along, these people get acquainted with a
country they probably never heard of before.
Since cultural matters fall under the competence of the
regions, in our embassies we collaborate closely with
our colleagues from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels to
support them as much as we can. Usually exhibitions
or concerts abroad are a joint effort between the
embassy and the Flemish, Walloon or Brussels Regional
So yes, personally I am a strong supporter of cultural
diplomacy and its huge potential. These days diplomacy
is no longer about drinking a cup of tea or a glass of
champagne, to use a cliché. Nowadays, diplomats venture
out of their offices and residences to meet, interact and
create bonds with people of all kinds, not just the elite.
As a high level diplomat, have you been involved
in a specific cultural project that could be of
particular interest to us and our readers?
© Diplomatic World
this trip, they were accompanied by a professional guide
in their visits to different sites of historic or cultural
importance, such as Bruges, Brussels and Ypres. They
learned a lot about the history of Belgium and of the
Canadians who fought in our country. Afterwards, a film
was made about their experience.
Ambassador Delcorde: In Canada I developed a cultural
project with young people. Interacting with famous artists
is important, but creating bonds with youngsters who will
build the world of tomorrow is crucial too. The project
dealt with the commemoration of World War I, the first
war in which the Canadians fought outside their territory.
In Flanders you can find several cemeteries with many
young Canadians who fought and died in and for Belgium.
I organized a competition amongst all the high schools
in Canada, asking to produce either a painting, video or
poem related to Flanders Fields and World War I. Out of
more than 200 pieces of art coming from all over Canada,
the winner was awarded with a trip to Belgium. During
When they came back, I saw a group of young
enthusiastic teenagers, moved and happy about what they
learned about their country abroad. These youngsters are
the engineers, managers, teachers of tomorrow, and their
views on Belgium will be different, just because of this
very special trip they made when they were 17. Hence
I conclude: a diplomat has to connect with renowned
artists, but first and foremost we have to connect with
people of all generations from all walks of life.
Barbara Dietrich and Maarten Vermeir
Ambassador of Belgium with rank
of minister plenipotentiary (1st class)
Date of birth: March 29, 1955
Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations)
M.A. in International Relations and Public
M.A. in Philosophy
B.A. in History (University of Louvain-la-Neuve,
Belgium, and University of Paris-IV Sorbonne, France).
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES :
September 2018: Director Middle-East/North Africa,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
August 2014 – August 2018: Ambassador of Belgium
May 2010 – August 2014: Ambassador of Belgium to
September 2007 – current : Guest professor at the
Institut d’Etudes Européennes, Université Catholique
de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.
September 2007 – April 2010: Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Deputy Director General for Multilateral
September 2003 – August 2007: Ambassador of
Belgium to Sweden;
September 2000 – July 2003: Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Deputy Director, Directorate General Europe;
August 1996 – July 2000: Minister-Counsellor at the
Embassy of Belgium in Washington, D.C.
1995-1996: Assistant to the Secretary General of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels during the
Belgian presidency of the group of States parties to the
Schengen Agreement (free circulation of people in the
1992-1994: First Secretary at the Belgian Mission
to the Organization on Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE), Vienna.
1990-1992: First Secretary at the Belgian Mission to
the U.N., New York.
1986-1989: First Secretary and Deputy Head of
Mission at the Belgian Embassy in Islamabad.
1984: Admitted to the Belgian diplomatic service at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels.
1983-1984: Assistant Professor at the University of
Louvain-la-Neuve, Department of Political Science.
Member of the Académie des Sciences d’Outre-mer
(Paris) and of the Académie Royale de Belgique
(Classe des Lettres et des Sciences morales et
Non-Resident Senior Fellow, The Glendon School
of Public & International Affairs, York University,
Le métier de diplomate, Bruxelles, Académie royale de
Belgique, collection l’Académie en poche, 2018.
Les diplomates belges, Bruxelles-Wavre, Mardaga, 2010
(with a foreword of the Minister of Foreign Affairs),
also published in Dutch and in English.
La carrière diplomatique en Belgique, Louvain-la-
Neuve, Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 2011.
Les mots de la diplomatie, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2015.
Le jeu des grandes puissances dans l'Océan Indien,
Paris, L'Harmattan, 1993.
La sécurité et la stratégie dans le golfe arabo-persique,
Paris, Le Sycomore, 1983.
30 articles in various publications.
Great Officer of the Order of Léopold II, Commander
of the Order of the Crown, Commander of the Order of
Léopold I (Belgium),
Various high foreign decorations.
« LE MÉTIER DE DIPLOMATE »
BY RAOUL DELCORDE
ACADÉMIE ROYALE DE BELGIQUE,
COLLECTION L’ACADÉMIE EN POCHE, BRUSSELS, 2018
In “Le métier de diplomate” Ambassador Raoul Delcorde
provides us with a clear and detailed depiction of what the
profession of a diplomat specifically entails, from the first
manifestation of professional diplomacy in the heydays
of the Renaissance Republic of Venice till nowadays. On
one hand, Ambassador Delcorde depicts a comprehensive
overview of European and International History to outline
the way in which the profession of a diplomat has changed
and evolved in relation to the larger context of European
and International Politics. On the other hand, Ambassador
Delcorde provides us with a thorough and comprehensive
analysis of the bilateral and multilateral practicalities of
diplomacy as well as an overview of the required skills
leveraged by a contemporary professional diplomat. This
assessment draws upon a deeply rooted and practiced
interdisciplinary approach that does not come as a surprise
knowing the academic background and expertise of
growing ground of such an impressive line of diplomats who
serve with drive the Kingdom of Belgium and the European
and International Community. The Venetian Renaissance
connected for trade directly to Bruges, 1815 or the year of
both the Congress of Vienna and the Battle of Waterloo
before the gates of Brussels, WWI that cut so deeply into
Belgium, and the foundation of both the European Union
and the United Nations with Belgian politicians like Paul-
Henri Spaak amongst many others, are key milestones in the
development of the diplomatic profession. These events all
have a direct connection to Belgian history while the Belgian
sense of pragmatism and flexibility could not be suited
better for the high demands of global politics and diplomacy
in today’s rapidly changing world. As such, “Le métier de
diplomate” is a clear compass to understand diplomacy.
Review by Maarten Vermeir
Ambassador Delcorde is not only the ideal writer to depict
the accurate image of a professional diplomat in all her or
his facets, colors and layers, but equally he is a competent
and efficient diplomat — overseeing and facilitating the
endeavors of the Belgian Diplomacy specifically in some of
the challenging diplomatic regions in the world such as North
Africa and the Middle East, from Brussels. As convincingly
demonstrated in “Le métier de diplomate”, it becomes
crystal clear that an interdisciplinary toolkit of skills is
nowadays needed more than ever, specifically for diplomats
who operate in challenging international environments with
historical sensitivities. In this regard, Ambassador Delcorde
fits perfectly in the Grand Gallery of Belgian Diplomats,
which has inspired him to publish the pioneering book “Les
Diplomates Belges” (Mardaga, Brussels, 2010, also translated
into English under the title The Belgian diplomats).
It is truly fascinating to realize that a medium sized country
like Belgium is and will continue to be the birthplace and
H.E. GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ
AMBASSADOR OF PERU
What is your experience so far as an Ambassador
to Belgium and Luxembourg?
of this organization towards the development of these
Andean countries and their 110 million inhabitants.
My experience as Ambassador to Belgium and
Luxembourg has begun when I had the honor of presenting
Credentials to His Majesty Philippe, King of the Belgians,
on March 7, 2017; as well as to His Highness the Duke
Henri of Luxembourg, on September 21, 2017. Since the
Peruvian Embassy is also Mission of Peru to the European
Union, the work is even more interesting and represents a
real challenge every day, as much for the variety of issues
as for their importance in bilateral relations, covering
different areas: politics and diplomacy, economy, culture,
cooperation and exchange of high level visits, just to
mention a few.
On the other hand, I consider that Brussels, being the
European capital and the venue of important institutions,
is providing, thanks to its cosmopolitanism, a special
scenario, full of opportunities for the development of an
enriching diplomatic management.
Peru is a member of the Andean community;
how is Peru’s relationship with other Andean
Agriculture is one the major contributors to Peru’s
economy. How has Peru used technology to improve
their Agricultural production?
Agriculture is present in Peru from ancient times, with the
Incas and pre-Incas cultures. In modern times, this activity
has become much more important, for supplies to the
internal market, but also as a successful export activity to
many destinations. Peruvian agriculture exports have grown
from US$645 million in 2000 to US$6,600 million in 2018,
due to new developments and diversification of production
and destination markets, good agricultural practices and
up-dated agrarian technologies, applied particularly in the
area of fresh fruits and vegetables. Thus, Peru has become
the first world exporter of asparagus and artichokes, second
supplier of avocados and blueberries and fifth in fresh
grapes suppliers, not to mention also the first rank for
organic coffee and second for organic bananas, and growing
participation also for mandarins and mangoes.
Are there any Trade agreements between Peru
and the EU?
Peru is very active within the Andean Community and
it is working closely with its partners Bolivia, Colombia
and Ecuador, looking for a comprehensive, balanced
and autonomous development policies, in the context
of a process of integration with these countries. As you
know, the headquarters of this sub-regional organization
are based in Lima, Peru and the new Secretary General,
elected last January, is a distinguished national from
Colombia, Mr. Jorge Hernando Pedraza Gutiérrez.
Together with Colombia and Ecuador, we have a free trade
agreement with the European Union which governs our
bilateral trade and investments, providing long term rules
This association recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary,
in which occasion the four presidents got together in Lima
and renewed their integration commitment and signed
a Presidential Declaration recognizing the contribution
Natalya Berdkyan, H.E. Gonzalo Gutiérrez Ambassador of Peru and wife,
© Diplomatic World
Panoramic view of the main square of Lima, Peru
that insures private operators of their dealings with their
corresponding counterparts. The agreement, which was
signed first by Peru 6 years ago, has proven to be a good
instrument to support free trade helping also to adapt to the
new changing world trade environment.
Tourism today is an important economic sector. It is
contributing effectively to the gross national product
(GDP) of many countries in the world, because of its
role in national resources development and generating
employment, in addition to its social and cultural
importance. How do you see the role of Tourism in
the growth of cultural experience in Peru?
Tourism is a fast-growing sector in Peru, both for the appeal
of the history and ancient cultures of Peru, but also for its
outstanding nature in the three main geographical regions of
Peru, the coast, the Andes and the tropical forest.
Cultural experience due to the legacy of our ancient
civilizations, is a strong attraction for international tourists,
as it is also the beauty of the high mountain landscapes and
valleys, and the exuberance of the deep Amazonian forest.
So traditional tourism is enhanced with specialty tourism
modalities such as living cultures, sporting activities,
gastronomy, bird watching and others. From less than one
million visitors in 2000, tourism reached more than
four million in 2018.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and Europe.
Are there any activities already in place to promote
Peruvian Arts and Culture?
We are planning the realization of a photographic exhibition
on Caral, the oldest city in America, with archaeological
remains of a civilization, little known in Europe, which
is 5.000 years old, and has developed in the north-central
region of Peru. In the Sacred City of Caral, we can find
temples, pyramids and amphitheaters located in a natural
area between the sea and the mountains, and which will
surprise the visitors and of course the public who will see
Machu Picchu, Peru
Furthermore, in 2021, Peru will celebrate the bicentenary of
its independence, a special occasion in which the Embassy
will carry out a wide range of commemorative activities
in the city of Brussels, including roundtables about the
Independence history, some special philatelic emissions
as well as a project for the monumental lighting of some
emblematic façades of the city with the colors of the
million to more than US$5,700 million in the last year.
Current plans are to update such an agreement, given
the important changes that have taken place in all our
countries, in such a period of time. In March this year we
have already concluded the first negotiation round with
Argentina. And in 2016 a deepening economic and trade
agreement was reached with Brazil, looking to accelerate
the trade liberalization process of ACE 51.
Recently we had the “Inca Dress Code” in the Royal
Museum of Art and History of Brussels. It was a great
success this exhibition of traditional textiles from pre-
Columbian Peruvian cultures.
Peru is an Associate member of the MERCOSUR
Countries. how has Peru benefited from it?
In December 2005, the government of Peru signed the
Economic Complementary Agreement with the Mercosur
members (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay)
which entered into force early the following year and was
technically known as ACE 51. Since then, bilateral trade
with MERCOSUR countries has grown from US$2,400
A highly successful agreement to underline is the PACIFIC
ALLIANCE between Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico,
that was signed in June 2016 with the aim of creating an
area of integration and progressively achieving the goal of
free movement of goods, services, capital and people, as
well as promoting a faster development, social inclusion
and a political and economic articulation and growth, with
emphasis in the Asia-Pacific area.
The PACIFIC ALLIANCE represents an integration and
open area of near 225 million inhabitants, that have more
than US$18,150 average per capita income, and more than
US$1,200 billion foreign trade per year. It receives 45% of
foreign total investments in Latin America and more than
55 million tourists per year. The rotating presidency which
this last year was held by Peru, will be transferred to Chile
During the Peruvian presidency, the Embassy of Peru
coordinated the organization of several Seminars on
business opportunities of the Pacific Alliance in Namur,
Ghent and Luxemburg, as well as an Ambassadorial visit
to Antwerp port. We organized a Seminar in Callao - Peru
with Customs officials of the four member countries which
will take place in the following weeks. Also, the PACIFIC
ALLIANCE will sign a cooperation agreement with the
European Union, probably in the next summit in Peru.
THERE IS NO GOING
Interview with Anna Bryanchaninova, Youth
Climate Ambassador for Germany and Russia at the
Center for United Nations Constitutional Research,
CUNCR, on the organization’s climate initiative:
CUNCR, what does this organization stand for
and how is it organized?
The Center for United Nations Constitutional Research
(CUNCR) is an independent think-tank based in Brussels
(Belgium) focused on the United Nations Charter and
on promoting the constitutionaliziation of the UN and
of international law, with the aim of making global
governance democratic. That means for people to be
represented in global decision-making through a world (a
UN) parliament, which does not exist right now!
human rights law, cyber law and environmental law.
Currently, one of the primary areas in which we see a
need for global governance improvement is in the fight
against climate change. We agree that we are currently
facing one of the most critical climate crises of our
history and responses should be daring. We believe that
climate crisis is a governance crisis! That justice should
be pursued in the context of climate change and work
towards real responses such as global legislation and court
system to address it. As such, this has been the third year
CUNCR’s president and executive director is Dr. Sharei.
He started CUNCR together with 9 other founding
members, who are experienced (some life-long) activists,
theorists and practitioners for peace, democracy, business
ethics, federalism, civil rights: Daniel Schaubacher,
Roger Kotila, Bob Hanson, Marjolin Snippe. Dr. John
Sutter, Prof. Schwartzberg, Francisco Plancarte and
Andreas Bummel. The members and founders represent
all continents and major countries of the world. In
addition to its staff, CUNCR has a resident fellowship and
internship program that helps in its operation as well as
policy research and recently has welcome Youth Climate
Ambassadors as collaborators and decision makers in its
climate governance recommendations and programs.
CUNCR is mostly supported through membership
contributions and pledges from co-founders. However, it
receives grants from certain organizations especially from
the Global Challenges Foundation based in Sweden.
What fields do you cover and how does climate
fits into it?
Our think-tank focuses on creating better global
governance in different fields such as in criminal law,
that CUNCR have hosted a climate justice seminar, where
academics and practitioners come together to discuss the
challenges and potential solutions of addressing climate
change through international law.
You are “Climate Ambassador” but also the
organizations representative is Germany and
Russia. How does this go together?
Indeed, the combination makes perfect sense to me. I was
born in Russia. I love the country and keep my Russian
passport as a great treasure. Germany is my home of
choice, well organized and one of most involved countries
in environmental topics. I have also worked in crossborder
advisory for 5 years helping German companies
to enter the Russian market and vice versa. As I learned
about the start of environmental reforms in Russia with
a focus on waste management in 2018 one idea popped
up in my mind immediately: German technologies and
experience in process management is the vital know-how
that should be exported to Russia for waste separation,
transportation and recycling.
So, I am trying to use my knowledge, contacts and openmindedness
to make it happen. I started with figuring out
the main challenges that the industry is facing in Russia
and talked to the leading NGOs there. Their feedback
was amazingly positive, so I have my to-do list and have
already started looking for solutions. But Russia is also
a country of thinkers, so I am hoping to discover some
sustainable solutions that can be exported to Germany as
well. Speaking about me being Climate Ambassador, well
I guess my destiny just got me. I started my own challenge
of going Zero Waste at home last year and documenting
my experience to then share it with everyone via social
media. I hope to inspire people to follow my example.
By taking on the role and responsibilities of Climate
Ambassador I defined the point of no return to myself: so,
there is no going back anymore.
What are your “climate-goals” and how do
you follow up?
Recent evidence suggests that the Earth, now passing
390 parts per million by volume CO2 in the atmosphere,
has already transgressed the planetary boundary and is
approaching several Earth system thresholds. Besides
the loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and
extinctions), we humans are the ones in danger. Climate
change is a result of an extreme way we impose an
economic development model to the logic of nature
and of human prosperity. However, climate change also
represents an opportunity to rethink our civilization
paradigm under the norms of sustainability. We will be
forced to start changing our consumption habits. It’s an
opportunity to set the pathway for a fairer society. The
current climate crisis will not distinguish whether you
are a developed or underdeveloped nation, its effects
are being felt by all earthlings. We see that the current
climate negotiations aren’t enough to set a safe limit
below a global warming of 1.5°C. As always, the business
scenarios reflect a lack of coherence and effort to reach
the global climate goals. This is indeed a crisis of climate
governance. But when people urge change, governments
will have to react. If us citizens, have the powers to take
decisions, to promote personal and global initiatives
to foster effective climate action, in the next decade we
will have a chance to reshape the catastrophic climate
scenarios into great transition scenarios. We should use
this crisis as an opportunity to build a transition towards
There are many things that any of us can and should
do in everyday life for the sake of our own future, those
here are my routines: CO2 reduction by using public
transport, bike, and train instead of airplane when I can.
I gave up my driving license course to commit to my
decision. Other measures: reducing the use of electricity
at home: minimum light, no dryer etc.; saving water in
the bathroom and in the kitchen by switching off the taps:
reducing the use of plastic and waste in general. There is a
lot more that easily can be done by anybody!
In today’s world there seems to be lots of
resistance to accept the necessity to alter behavior
in order to protect the planet. Is there a chance
to rescue the planet?
I do have hope to save our future. And yes, I want to
stress it: the planet will survive anyways, it has survived
active super-volcanoes, dinosaur extinction, meteorites
and many other bad things. It is not about the planet — it
is about avoiding the extinction of humankind. With the
fast, unsustainable technological development we have
suppressed nature and destroyed the natural balance.
We must stop here. I see 3 main challenges on the way:
1. resistance of the governments following interests of
small groups; 2. over-consumption caused by corporations
trying to maximize profits; 3. it's a race against time.
CUNCR with its program is trying to tackle the first two
challenges. The solution to the first problem we see in the
democratization of climate governance. Over-consumption
is the disease of today, here education and reaching
transparency can help. Of course, the satisfaction of basic
human needs (food, water, safety) is the precondition
for any change. Time is our main enemy: I am positive,
that strong and emotional media coverage is the key for
changing the minds of the broad audience. Nothing shown
on TV today or shared on Facebook will matter in 20
years if we have no clean air to breathe or water to drink,
healthy food to eat and place to live. After the dramatic
fires this year we probably have only another 10 years to
turn the tide. Just add this number to your age and let it
In your professional live you are a controller in
the insurance industry. What gives you this major
volunteer involvement in CUNCR?
I love my job: it's interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
But I am also lucky to come from a very good background.
My parents (both scientists) provided me with all the
means they could for success and taught me the right
values. Plus, life quality in Germany is very high. I
consider all that an enormous privilege that few people
have on this planet. I feel the necessity, even my duty,
to give something back to the world, to the society.
Volunteering for CUNCR is an interesting challenge: it
combines fighting for what I love — nature — and political
involvement — out of my comfort zone. I have somehow
historically always managed change processes in all my
jobs, so I am ready for the next big one.
Plus, as realistic and rational as I am, I am a desperate
dreamer: I believe that if every person every day does
something good, we can start a big wave of love and
kindness and make the world a better place to live
for everyone: nature, animals and humans existing in
Interview by Dieter Brockmeyer
The photos were taken during the Climate Democracy and
Justice Summit in Greece (Korfu / Epirus) this summer.
Photos © Johannes Dellian for CUNCR.
THE EU AND CENTRAL ASIA:
An often overlooked region in world affairs, Central
Asia is gradually become more important for the
EU. While the EU has engaged with the Central
Asian region since the years of independence, it has
only in recent times gradually increased its presence
in the region, widening areas of dialogue and
A first EU strategy for the region was adopted in 2007,
which after 12 years was updated this year, and will guide
development cooperation programming in the region under
the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
The new EU strategy takes better into account the new
regional dynamic and reflects the new realities on the
ground, as well as the evolving needs for the Central Asian
countries. It is more focused and results-oriented than
its predecessor, responding to the needs of all sectors of
society. In short, the EU positions itself as a reliable partner
in the transformation of the region, having a strong interest
in seeing Central Asia develop as a stable, rules-based and
connected area rather than one of competition and rivalry.
The new strategy hence aims to forge a “stronger, modern
and non-exclusive partnership with Central Asia”.
THE NEW STRATEGY RESTS ON THREE PILLARS:
• Partering for Resilience: the EU will partner Central
Asia in addressing their socio-economic challenges and
enhancing their ability to reform and modernise.
• Partnering for Prosperity: the EU will assist countries
in unlocking their growth potential, and an enabling
environment for the flourishing of the private sector;
unlocking barriers and constraints to intra-regional trade
and investment and promote sustainable connectivity.
• Working Better Together: The EU will work together
with the countries of Central Asia to strengthen the
architecture of the partnership, intensifying political
dialogue and opening up space for civil society
All these pillars constitute solid building blocks towards
achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
It is hoped that the new EU Strategy will likewise be
accompanied by a proportional increase in funding.
For the period 2014-2020, development assistance to
the region was worth EUR 1.1 billion, 62% up from
the previous programming period. Funding is likely to
grow again in 2021-2027, if the European Commission's
proposal to raise total funding for its external action across
the globe by 30% is approved.
At the same time, Central Asian countries are equally
committed to upgrading relations with the EU. Currently,
there is an ongoing process of upgrading existing
Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) to
next-generation Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation
Agreements (EPCAs) — finalised with Kazakhstan and
under negotiation with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. In
addition, in July this year the EU announced the opening
of a fully-fledged delegation in Turkmenistan, the only
country in Central Asia which did not have one thus far.
Furthermore, the EU is supporting Central Asian efforts
to be integrated into the global economy through accession
to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). EU expertise
helped Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to become WTO
members in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and this year a
project was launched by the European Commission, in
cooperation with the International Trade Centre, to help
the Uzbek accession process. Accession to WTO enables
structural economic transformation transition to free
market structures and a liberal trade regime compliant
with international standards.
The strategy builds on the positive economic and political
developments of the region in the recent past. Central
Asian economies are slowly integrating into the global
economy, trade and investment flows and global value and
supply chains through the modernisation, diversification
and liberalisation of their economies.
Uzbekistan, in particular, has surprised many pundits by
the speed and scope of the large-scale domestic economic
reforms and opening-up that it has carried out under
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who came to power in
December 2016 after the passing of Islam Karimov. More
conciliatory foreign policy approaches have eased regional
tensions and opened the door to cooperation between
formerly hostile neighbours. At the same time, Central
Asian countries are becoming more interested in engaging
The Strategy will also help tackle the region’s challenges in
the years to come.
sector in order to contribute to the creation of new jobs
per year for the young growing population and returning
The region is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate
change and the depletion of freshwater resources.
Increases in average annual temperature of about 2 degrees
Celsius across the region by 2050 are likely. Climate
change may reduce production of food reduction of
agricultural productivity. Furthermore, temperature rises
are shrinking at a fast speed the glaciers in the mountains
of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that feed Central Asia’s
main rivers (Amu Darya and Syr Darya). According to
a World Bank forecast, total crop yields in Central Asia
are expected to decrease by 30 percent by 2050 due to
changing climate patterns.
Hence, the EU will pay particular attention to support the
transition of countries towards green and climate-resilient
economies, less reliant upon hydrocarbons and more on
renewable sources of energy with which the region is richly
endowed (hydropower, solar and wind). More efficient
energy use is essential for mitigating climate change.
Central Asia’s population will increase over the next
decade — this puts pressure on countries to widen
employment opportunities and the need to provide the
growing population with quality social services, notably
health and education. Central Asia has a predominantly
young population of around 70 million (half of which are
under 30) which is expected to grow to 95 million by 2050.
In addition to its landlocked geographical position, the
regional economy and trade structure present a series of
structural shortcomings: over-dependent on commodities
(energy, minerals) and labour remittances. There is a
strong need for the countries of the region to focus on
economic diversification strategies and to introduce more
sustainable economic development models, including
through reducing dependence on commodity revenues and
privatisation of major state owned enterprises.
Strengthening the private sector is critical in the context of
the structural transformation process that countries in the
region are undergoing. It is also important for promoting
economic diversification and moving from traditional
sectors (such as natural resources) into more sophisticated
production activities (high value-added manufacturing and
services). Furthermore it is critical to have a robust private
The countries of Central Asia are developing national
strategies to transition to low-emission and climateresilient
economies (Kazakhstan, for example, aims to
produce half of the total electricity through renewable
sources by 2050 — up from just under 1 percent in
2013). Furthermore, the EU has made water and the
improvement of water efficiency one of the main priorities
of its development aid for the region. Because water has
always been a contentious issue in Central Asia — due
to the transboundary nature of such challenges — more
unity in the region is needed to be able to respond to them
Lastly, let us not forget the role of cultural diplomacy and
the increased participation of Central Asian countries in
EU education programmes like Erasmus+ which can also
play an important role in furthering EU objectives in the
In conclusion, the region of Central Asia lies at a critical
juncture. Expectations are high, and the momentum of
reforms and opening-up needs to be kept. For the EU, now
is the time to move from vision to implementation.
IN DIPLOMATIC CIRCLES
MEET PHILIPPE BILLIET
Diplomatic World is interested in informing its
readers about upcoming talents in diplomatic
circles. Having circulated an initial request for
suggestions, several readers have suggested to
write something about Brussels based lawyer
In recent years Philippe Billiet has been named in
diplomatic circles for his excellence and his innovative
approach to the provision of legal services to diplomats and
diplomatic missions. His interventions behind the screens
have helped retain good relations within and with missions
and his interventions in courts have helped to improve and
shape mission-related practices.
His ability to identify and construct a best approach to any
given issue then gradually coincided with an increasing
use of mediation, dispute review board, partnering, expert
determination, confidential listening, settlement counsel,
arbitration, conciliation, neutral case evaluation and other
less known but efficient ADR techniques in the realm of
matters that have or may have a diplomatic dimension.
Diplomatic World investigated why this particular lawyer
has become so popular in diplomatic circles and we would
like to share here with you our findings.
1. CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS & MAXIMISED
2. PROVEN EFFICIENCY
The approach of Philippe Billiet proves efficient and would
allow to keep in mind the essential interests of clients, as
well as to retain or restore a non-conflictuous tone and
Philippe Billiet dedicates much of his time in improving the
art of making a proper conflict diagnosis. This means that,
as opposed to the still existing trend of nearly automatic
litigation, he has developed and systematically applies a
model to ensure that each issue is first properly diagnosed
in such way that the best strategy to reach a maximised
outcome can be identified.
Philippe has been teaching these skills at the Brussels
VUB University and within the department of the Brussels
Diplomatic Academy, where his approach was first noticed
by Brussels diplomats in 2015. Soon thereafter Philippe
was asked to share his views in tailor-made communication,
negotiation and mediation trainings for diplomats on
communication, negotiation and mediation techniques.
The correlating client satisfaction rates have been detected
by several reputed lawyer-evaluating bodies and eventually
resulted in the issuance of several legal awards for
excellence, particularly as of 2017 onwards.
In 2019 Global Law Experts granted to Philippe Billiet
the award for “Sovereign Dispute Resolution Mediator of
the Year in Belgium”; Leading Advisers and Acquisition
International have both granted him the award for “Leading
Conflict Resolution Specialist of the Year” and Global
Venture, Corporate America Today, M&A Today and ACQ5
have bestowed upon him the award of “Arbitration Lawyer
of the Year in Belgium”.
© Phillipe Billiet
3. INTERNATIONAL NETWORK
As the former COO of an international organisation
that deals with the promotion of alternative conflict
resolution, Philippe has over the last decade developed an
international network of lawyers that covers nearly all fields
This means that, for nearly all matters, regardless of the
nature and scope thereof, he would be able to recommend
or team up with a relevant specialist lawyer.
Such desk mainly focuses on services for sovereign States,
international organizations, state-owned entities, investors,
government officials, diplomatic missions, diplomats,
international civil servants, lobby groups, companies and
non-governmental organizations, relating to;
• Local law compliance formalities for diplomatic
missions 1 ;
• WTO and general trade related matters 2 ;
• Investor-State or State-to-State issues 3 ; and
• Other matters relating to economic diplomacy. 4
We believe that this approach offers a perfect match
between flexibility, reduction of overhead costs, strong client
relationships, international reach and specialisation. Where
clients may initially have thought to find these elements only
in big law firms, they now tend to turn to Mr Billiet as their
If you would also like to recommend a person that
represents an upcoming talent in diplomatic circles, we
would be interested to know and inform our readers
thereof. To this end you can send an email to
4. DIPLOMATIC DESK
Recent evolutions have brought with them that Philippe
Billiet, besides being a commercial lawyer, now also heads
a diplomatic desk (= team for public international law and
diplomatic relations) of a law firm.
1 E.g. Social security, Labour law, Contracts, etc.
2 E.g. Antidumping investigations, Anti-subsidy investigations,
Safeguard investigations, etc.
3 E.g. Investment arbitration, FDI screening, Sovereign mediation,
Investment treaties, Law of treaties and treaty interpretation, State
responsibility, Sovereign and diplomatic privilege and immunity, etc.
4 E.g. EU Regulatory, Competition law, State-Aid, Merger Review, etc.
SOCIAL MOVEMENT THAT GIVES EMOTIONS
Emotions That Heal the Soul
On the UNITY social movement
Today, the leading oncology centres of the world
actively develop an integrative approach. It was taken
as a basic element of the UNITY project created by
Alena Kuzmenko in Russia. It presupposes focusing
on psychological and emotional aspects of treatment
of oncological patients by means of different practices.
People from different professions and countries take
part in the project’s fulfilment. Cosmonauts are the
ambassadors of the UNITY movement.
patients. Within that work, much attention is paid to art
therapy, yoga, and meditation. The project’s volunteers
including artists, musicians, and representatives of other
artistic professions regularly host workshops in hospitals
and medical centres.
Creative activities positively affect people’s psychological
and emotional state. This is one of the effective means to
draw severely ill patients from depression.
FOUNDER OF THE UNITY SOCIAL MOVEMENT
Ms. Kuzmenko and her team see their mission in
improvement of the quality of life alongside with
psychological and emotional support of oncological
UNITY regularly organises on-site photo sessions and
exhibitions at medical institutions presenting both works
of professional artists and those of patients. A separate
programme of the project is dedicated to grooming when
having oncological diseases. Specialists share advice on
how to look good even at the most difficult moments
when human organism experiences serious changes and
is affected by medicines. All that makes it possible to
improve the patients’ mood and change their attitude to
International cooperation occupies an important place
in the UNITY’s activities. Once Alena Kuzmenko got
acquainted with an American astronaut Nicole Stott and
the artist Ian Cion carrying out humanitarian art projects.
By joining their efforts Ian, Nicole, Alena together with
the US artist Loli Lanas launched the Space for Art
Foundation led by the astronaut, artist and earthling (how
she calls herself) Nicole Stott. The mission of Space for
Art Foundation is to unite heroic children around the
world to help them overcome the challenges they're facing
through the wonder and awe of space exploration, an
appreciation of their role as crewmembers on Spaceship
Earth, and the healing power of art.
Within one of the projects, oncological patients from
different countries paint their dreams on the pieces of
fabric joined together into a Space Suit which is sent to
the International Space Station.
The UNITY social movement received its name to
commemorate the painted space suit that was manually
decorated by patients of oncological centres in five
countries within the Space Suit Art Project.
Cosmonauts became constant partners, ambassadors, and
real friends of UNITY. They regularly host meetings with
patients and communicate with them. Both children and
adults always look forward to seeing them.
Jeff Monson, American sportsman and Russian politician,
Didier Marouani, French composer and musician,
Barbara Dietrich, Editor-in-Chief of the Diplomatic
World Magazine in Belgium, and Ksenia Bezuglova, Miss
World 2013 among wheelchair women, Head of “Nothing
is impossible” charitable foundation, and champion in
parachuting took part in the event. Children from the
school #18 from the town of Krasnogorsk volunteered at
the event. Kids involvement in the charity projects is a
very important part of UNITY mission.
“The name UNITY itself presupposes unification. This is
not only a word for us. We unite in order to help the needy
at difficult moments of their lives”, says Ms. Kuzmenko.
Jointly Space for Art and UNITY launched a largescale
project called Sky/Space. On January 12, on
Cosmonautics Day, the Russian biggest park VDNKh
hosted the meeting of the project’s participants. They
could not only immerse into creativity and their dreams
but also communicate with interesting personalities and
listen to their inspiring stories about the meaning of space
“We are all different but have the single sky. This time, we
proposed our participants to use their imagination and
depict the space, the place where dreams come true”, says
The movement cooperates with not only art figures
and cosmonauts but also schools, social and charitable
organisations, museums and associations of people with
disabilities. Moreover, the project promotes international
exchange of best practices on working with oncological
“We cooperate with more than 30 countries through
the work of UNITY and Space for Art Foundation. It is
important for us to join efforts. When people with the
same values in life could act together, they will transform
the reality”, believes Alena Kuzmenko.
The idea to create a movement to support oncological
patients by means of unification of the international
experience came to Alena Kuzmenko several years ago.
Her mother was diagnosed with a terrible disease.
Ms. Kuzmenko brought to her to the USA where she
realised that countries could significantly develop in
combating oncology by exchanging the best practices.
As all women do, Alena Kuzmenko believes that it is
easier to overcome any life challenge in the atmosphere
of love. That is why the main task of UNITY is to provide
oncological patients with warmth and sincere care.
Ms. Kuzmenko emphasizes that many women including
those at leadership positions represent the charitable field.
They are the initiators of a number of humanitarian and
Ms. Kuzmenko shared her own mission as a woman with
Diplomatic World: “To sow the seeds of Love around the
world and make people reach the stars”.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov
CHILD RIGHTS ADVOCATE
50TH ANNIVERSARY ALSO MARKS
HIS 22ND ANNIVERSARY AS UNICEF
BELGIUM’S GOODWILL AMBASSADOR
It is unnecessary to introduce long-time multi-million selling
artist Helmut Lotti. For almost 3 decades the Belgian
singer/songwriter has moved people in different parts of the
world with his music.
This year Helmut celebrates his 50th anniversary. What
people do not always know however, is that since almost
half of his lifetime, Helmut is an ardent advocate for the
protection of children’s rights.
UNICEF was the very first humanitarian organization
to appeal to celebrities to make its actions known to the
Danny Kaye can be considered as the pioneer of “goodwill”
Ambassadors. Between 1954 and 1987 he visited UNICEF
projects worldwide and, in this way, got the public to know
the work of the Children's Fund. He passed the torch to
The popular singer became a Goodwill Ambassador for
UNICEF Belgium in 1997. Since then he made several visits
to UNICEF projects in the field, He witnessed UNICEF
emergency actions in Mozambique and Haiti, visited
nutrition projects for malnourished babies in Burundi and
was invited to participate in AIDS prevention and support
projects for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Namibia and
They paved the way for countless celebrities who have since
taken on the role of UNICEF Ambassador. The list of
international, national and regional celebrities consists of
people from all horizons. The many UNICEF Ambassadors
contribute in very different ways. What they all have in
common is their desire to improve the lives of children
What qualifies a singer to represent UNICEF?
And what good can celebrities really do?
Fame has some clear benefits in certain roles with UNICEF.
Celebrities attract attention, so they can focus the world’s
eyes on the needs of children, both in their own countries
and by visiting field projects and emergency programs
They can make direct representations to those with the
power to effect change. They can use their talents and
fame to fundraise and advocate for children and support
UNICEF’s mission to ensure every child’s right to health,
education, equality and protection.
© UNICEF Belgium
Helmut Lotti — Haiti
© UNICEF Katrijn Van Giel
I can say that I have always stood up for justice. I was only
eleven years old when I first did something for UNICEF.
A sponsored competition run was organized at school for
the benefit of the children in Haiti. My mother wanted to
give me one hundred Belgian francs for five rounds.
I ended up walking fifty and my mother lost a thousand
francs. We had seen a report on Haiti, and it had really
taken hold of me. I do not know exactly where I got that
sense of solidarity, although the fact that we had to share
everything at home, and it was not always easy would have
something to do with it.
It soon became clear that Helmut wanted to do more than
just be the face of a campaign. In consultation with the
UNICEF Belgium team, Helmut was increasingly called
in to generate attention for UNICEF actions in the field.
He traveled to Mozambique when that country was troubled
by heavy flooding and launched an emotional appeal from
one of the overcrowded refugee camps he visited.
This “desire to change the world” is most certainly present
with Helmut. His career with UNICEF started in 1997
when he became the “face” of UNICEF Belgium’s Greeting
Card campaign. For many years the UNICEF Greeting
Cards were an important source of income for the national
committees for UNICEF such as UNICEF Belgium.
The support of Helmut Lotti in the promotion of the
campaign resulted in a significant increase in the sale of
UNICEF greeting cards in Belgium and translated into
financial support for UNICEF projects in the field and
thus in improving the well-being of many children.
In 2005 Helmut patroned the UNICEF Belgium campaign
on the impact of HIV/AIDS on children. He traveled to
Namibia where he met young people who were infected with
the disease but also witnessed the impact of HIV/AIDS
on the so called “aids orphans”, children that lost their
mother or both of their parents through aids. At the time of
Helmut’s visit, the number of children orphaned by HIV/
AIDS in the developing world had reached crisis
In 2010, 10 months after an earthquake hit Haiti, Helmut
Travelled to Port-au-Prince to “see what the money collected
in Belgium had achieved so far” as Helmut put it. Amongst
all the misery and devastation, in a child-friendly zone
created by the Haitian Olympic Committee and UNICEF,
children played basketball. “Children remain children,”
Helmut said. “If they get the chance, they play, and this is
the true essence of UNICEF’s work: giving every child a fair
chance to a happy childhood.”
Some years later, in Burundi he witnessed the impact of
acute malnutrition on young children. UNICEF and its
partners set up a large-scale campaign distributing “Plumpy
Nut”, a therapeutic food supplement used to treat severe,
acute malnutrition in young children. With no more than
three bags of Plumpy’Nut per day for six to eight weeks,
you can save the life of a child, in times of famine, drought
or flooding. The use of Plumpy’Nut is a good example
of UNICEF’s innovative approach. Plumpy’Nut is a real
lifesaver and has drastically changed the treatment of severe,
acute malnutrition — one of the leading causes of death
worldwide for children under five.
Over the years, Helmut also regularly put his musical
talents at the service of UNICEF and the children. In 2008
he sang at the “Stars for Europe” concert at the foot of
the Brussels Atomium and in 2010 he participated in the
“Haiti Lavi 12-12” concert, organized for the victims of the
Helmut Lotti was present at many events supporting
UNICEF: press conferences, broadcasts, the launch
of a dedicated MontBlanc fountain pen, workshops for
legacy donors… Helmut also shows his sporting side, and
participated for UNICEF in the 24 Hours Cycling in Zolder,
Helmut Lotti — Haiti
© UNICEF Katrijn Van Giel
Helmut Lotti in Burundi
the 20 km from Brussels, the Starwood Bike Ride, the Stair
Climbing Race of the Sheraton hotel (466 stairs !) and the
post-tour cycling criterium in Sint-Niklaas.
In short UNICEF Belgium looks forward to working with
Helmut for many more years to come. As UNICEF Belgium
Spokesperson Philippe Henon puts it: “Helmut Lotti is a
true Renaissance man, a true ambassador that — together
© UNICEF Nicole Andrea
with the UNICEF teams — made a difference for many
children in the world. We are convinced that Helmut’s
continued drive, enthusiasm and professionalism is an
important support and added value for our daily efforts to
protect the rights of the world's children and to support
UNICEF programs in the field.”
Philippe Henon, spokesperson UNICEF Belgium
Guided by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) UNICEF works in some of the world’s
toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them
fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works for every child, everywhere, every day, to build
a better world for everyone.
“In Mozambique, Namibia, Russia, Burundi and Haiti, I have seen with my own eyes how effective UNICEF works. Those
visits convinced me even more that I made the right choice. I am a Goodwill Ambassador of the organization, because
that way I can structurally help and make a difference for children. I would love it if you could support UNICEF too.
Because the children need your help!” — Helmut Lotti, Goodwill Ambassador UNICEF Belgium
Want to learn more about the situation of the children in the world or on how you can support UNICEF? www.unicef.be
Helmut Lotti and Barbara Dietrich in Living Tomorrow
© Diplomatic World
THIS YEAR ON 22 OCTOBER
HELMUT LOTTI CELEBRATES
HIS 50 TH BIRTHDAY AND
30 YEARS ON STAGE
Concerts in December:
20.12.2019 The Capitole in Ghent
26.12.2019 Royal Circus in Brussels
27.12.2019 Ethias Theater in Hasselt
28.12.2019 Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp
29.12.2019 Casino Kursaal in Ostend
Tickets via Gracialive.be
Helmut Lotti and Barbara Dietrich in Living Tomorrow
This year on 22 October Helmut Lotti celebrates his 50 th birthday. His first record was released 30 years ago. On this occasion
a jubilee box with 21 CD's and 13 DVD's will be released on his birthday.
PROMOTING THE WORLD’S
LARGEST COLLECTION OF
ART WORKS BY PICASSO
WE MEET LAURENT LE BON,
PRESIDENT OF THE MUSEE NATIONAL PICASSO-PARIS
In our quartet of close friends during the first few years
at the Ecole du Louvre, Laurent Le Bon was not only the
brightest but also the one who, simultaneously, was studying
political science at Sciences Po Paris. He also came first in
the Cultural Heritage Curator final ranking competition at
the Ecole du Patrimoine.
After being curator at the Centre Pompidou he was
appointed director of Centre Pompidou-Metz, and now he
is back in Paris where he has been President of the Musée
national Picasso-Paris since 2014. He is very unique in the
artistic sphere. Despite his busy schedule he will always
find some time to greet our friends from all over the world
© Diplomatic World
Picasso, Femme dans un fauteuil, Fondation Beyeler
© Sucession Picasso
even though I usually announce the visit the night before.
Last July we were privileged to cross paths with him at the
Picasso Museum and the Rodin Museum in the same day.
At our invitation he has answered some of our questions for
Diplomatic World Magazine.
With Guernica, Picasso showed how an artist can
send out very powerful political messages. Today,
Cultural Diplomacy has become an important
component of international relations. What is your
view on this evolution and how does this impact your
work as President of the Picasso Museum in Paris?
Guernica has certainly become an icon of Picasso’s work
and, more broadly, of the artist’s commitment. I do not
think Picasso has a particular political lesson to give us, but
I think there is a lesson nonetheless: do what you say and
put your convictions into action. Rather than making great
declarations, when Picasso wanted to support the Republic
during the Spanish War, he put his words into actions.
Sometimes he is depicted as a not very generous person, but
we have found evidence of his financial support to different
movements. Likewise, he refused to let Guernica return to
Spain before democracy was restored. He had to wait for
Franco’s death before Guernica could come back to Spain
as this symbol of freedom. That was a real political gesture.
Today, Cultural Diplomacy is still an important component
of international relations. We are conscious of that and
we try to make our contribution through the projects we
organize in other countries and a generous loan policy.
In times of increasing talk about digital exhibitions, it
means something to offer people a real encounter with
How important are relations and cooperation
with other museums around the world in your
management of the Picasso Museum?
professional adventure allowed for the showing of works
by Picasso in countries where it had never been done. For
example in September two exhibitions will open in Beirut in
Lebanon and in Izmir in Turkey.
What can you say about the next exhibitions taking
place in your Museum?
Since the reopening of the museum in 2014, relations and
cooperation with other museums around the world have been
at the heart of the Musée Picasso’s policy. It was essential
that the museum fully consolidated a leading place in the
research on Picasso and among the modern art museums
community. First of all, we tightened links with the other
monographic museums dedicated to the artist: the Museu
Picasso in Barcelona and the Museo Picasso in Malaga.
We co-organized several exhibitions with them. We also set
up several networks with this objective: a network bringing
together the museums preserving important collections of
Picasso’s works, an international network of the single artist
museums, and the network “Picasso-Méditerranée”. This
last one has been a very ambitious project over two years,
gathering 70 institutions in Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, the
south of France... It started in 2017 and it will be coming
to an end in December, after about 50 exhibitions. What
was amazing was that none of the 50 exhibitions organized
during the project were the same. Every institution was
free to choose its subject and the Musée Picasso supported
the project with loans and sometimes with scientific
advice. Some were thematic, others on a period, on a
specific media, but no two were alike. This extraordinary
The forthcoming months will be rich in beautiful
exhibitions. In late September, we will open a show devoted
to a period of some four years (summer 1926 — spring
1930) in Picasso’s art called “Tableaux Magiques” [Magic
Paintings] by the critic Christian Zervos. About 50 works
from this corpus will be presented to the public. It will be
an exceptional event since these works are today all around
the world; some will come on loan from Japan, the United
States, Sweden… I hope the public will be touched by these
paintings probing a deep emotional dimension. In 2020,
we will cover a completely different topic with exhibitions
devoted to Picasso and comics and the poetry and writings
of Picasso in spring, and then, in the fall, a dialogue
between Picasso and another master: Auguste Rodin.
This exhibition will be in partnership with the Musée
Rodin, in two parts, presented at the same time in the two
museums. In this show the visitor will discover that the two
artists have much more in common than we imagine: it is
quite fascinating to see that the comparison extends well
Dr Pick Keobandith
Founder and International Director, Inspiring Culture
MADAME CATHERINE CHEVILLOT,
THE THINKER BEHIND
THE STRATEGY OF
THE RODIN MUSEUM
IN PARIS, SINCE 2012
How we first met Catherine Chevillot,
the woman to be found quite literally at
the top of the Rodin Museum.
It is an amusing fact that both myself and Isabelle Janssen
(director of the Gabriele Munter Foundation, Munich)
my best friend and classmate when we were at the Ecole
du Louvre, have a connection with Catherine Chevillot,
Director of the Rodin Museum in Paris. Catherine Chevillot
was the young, dynamic and very serious professor for our
course specialization “19th Century Sculpture”.
Catherine Chevillot had also studied under Serge Lemoine,
the professor who supervised Isabelle’s doctorate. In Paris
he was the only one who organized unique conferences
for his MA and PhD students at Paris IV University
with the various architects on the sites of their recently
completed and costly buildings. Isabelle and I recall how
we particularly remember two of them — Jean Nouvel and
Frank Gehry. Talking about his building for the Fondation
Cartier, the former explained the importance of the
arena in helping us admire his architecture. Where as the
latter spoke about the inspiration of Picasso’s paintings
from different periods for his geometrically challenging
Today we are glad of this opportunity to meet Catherine
Chevillot with our friends from Germany, Georgia and the US.
I express here my gratitude to her for accepting to be
interviewed for Diplomatic World magazine.
How can you explain the ubiquity of Rodin’s
monumental Thinker, visible in so many places
around the word?
This question is a permanent one for me! Since I have
been director of the Rodin museum, I have been amazed
to see how, from Mexico to Beijing or Helsinki to Rome,
people are fascinated by Rodin. I think at first, that Rodin
uses a unique language: the human body; and any one is
immediately concerned by this, the body is certainly what
we have as most precious, because our body is us. And
this language allows him to show all human passions.
What is more convenient to address to any culture, any
ages, any context? His expression leaves no one without a
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
As Director of the Rodin Museum, how do you
balance financial objectives and cultural ambitions?
In a way, it is Rodin himself who left indications to guide
us in our choices: he established that his museum should
go on with spreading his works. We have two ways to do
that: organizing exhibitions all around the world, and
carrying on bronze original editions. Those editions are
also an important income for the museum. So we have on
the one side all the missions of a national public museum
(conservation, public, education, etc.) and one very specific
mission given by Rodin himself. And on the other side, all
the incomes of a classical museum, and thanks to Rodin,
a very special one coming from selling bronze original
editions. So the Rodin museum makes its best efforts to
be a reference place for research on Rodin, as we have
all the archives on him, and has a scientific program of
publications (collections catalogue, archives, etc.). For
bronze original editions, I established a scientific advisory
board so that what we are doing could be checked and
controlled by external sculpture specialists.
Very few women are leading cultural institutions in
France. Do you consider yourself as an exception?
Do you see an evolution in favor of more gender
equality at the head of public museums?
Naturally I think it is good that women can achieve
leadership of institutions, in a cultural field or not. But
firstly, in France, it has been the case for quite a long time:
since the end of the Second World War, many institutions
have had a women at the top, and before me two women
have led the Rodin museum. Secondly, I fear an effect: we
need women so we take women. If the choice is between
a not so good woman and an excellent man, I prefer the
What can you say about the first monographic
exhibition of the woman sculptor Barbara
Hepworth in your museum?
I am really delighted to have the opportunity to do this
exhibition, because I discovered this artist during my
studies at the University of Dijon, when my professor
Serge Lemoine taught us sculpture of 19th to 20th century.
With Arp, she is certainly the artist that made the deepest
impression on me.
© Diplomatic World
Barbara Hepworth really invented a unique aesthetic world,
a complete harmony between the human, the landscape and
the light, with a marvelous sense of shape.
As afterwards I became a specialist of the Nineteenth
Century, I could not imagine that I could do this show.
Dr Pick Keobandith
Founder and International Director, Inspiring Culture
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
MUSEUM AM STROM
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN
“In the forty-third year of my life, a heavenly voice spoke
unto me: “Infirm human, ashes to ashes, mould from mould,
say and write what you see and hear!” The heavens opened
and a brightly glowing, fiery light came down, pouring over
my entire mind and heart; and like a flame which does not
burn, but merely warms, it ignited my breast. And suddenly I
grasped the sense of the interpretation of the books, namely
the Psalter, the Gospel and the other Catholic writings, as
well as the Old and New Testaments.”
Hildegard of Bingen fascinates people: the story of her life
has been told for over 800 years, always in new versions and
always a little differently. This is due to the unbelievably
diverse facets of her personality and her work. “New”
aspects of Hildegard could — and still can — be discovered
in all epochs. In the late twelfth century, Hildegard’s first
biographers were mainly intent on listing the miracles of the
Saint. Her visions were then disseminated for centuries as
interpretations of the future — and prophecies of this and
that were attributed to her.
Later, details of her life were imaginatively painted in: a
meeting with the great Bernhard of Clairvaux, for example,
or with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. In modern
times, many people can no longer accept Hildegard’s visions
as God-given: Did she suffer from migraines, for example?
And only a few decades ago did she become popular as the
inventor of holistic naturopathy.
But who was Hildegard of Bingen really? It was in the
middle of a major time of turbulence in European history
that Hildegard of Bingen was born, probably in 1098, as the
child of aristocratic parents. These prestigious origins were
to form an important prerequisite for Hildegard’s successful
endeavours for the whole of her life. Hildegard’s home
is the old cultivated landscape between the Rhine, Nahe
and Hunsrück with its Roman heritage and its openness
to traffic. Hildegard’s special talent made an appearance
in her earliest childhood years. She reports of perceptions
which remained invisible to those around her — and that
she preferred to keep such experiences to herself for fear
of rejection. From her early childhood, Hildegard often
suffered from illnesses and physical infirmity.
Hildegard was destined early on for a life dedicated to God:
she was only eight years old when she was handed over,
together with Jutta of Sponheim, only a few years her senior,
for the purpose of a spiritual education. Her relationship
with the charismatic Jutta was forged from this time
onwards, and represented a formative experience for the
young Hildegard. This relationship deepened when Jutta,
Hildegard and another girl moved into the “Frauenklause”
(women’s hermitage) at the new Disibodenberg monastery
when she was only 14.
With Hildegard’s entry into the monastery begins a 30-year
phase in which she is hardly featured in the sources. It is
extremely hard to form an image of Hildegard’s daily life
and development during this phase of her life. We are not
even sure of the exact location and character of the women’s
hermitage: did the women live there in a completely
walled-in environment or rather as in a “normal” convent?
Whatever the case, the community was highly characterised
by Jutta’s personality, whose deep piety expressed itself in
ascetic self-denial. Hildegard also reports that Jutta was
her only teacher: from her she learned to sing the Psalms
and play the harp. Hildegard states no other sources for her
education. Yet she must have received multiple stimuli from
other sources, for example from educated monks.
The year 1141 represents the major turning point in
Hildegard’s life. We have to imagine long, regular working
© Museum am Strom
sessions in which the first visionary work slowly and over
a period of years took on literary shape. Here the learned
monk Volmar provided assistance for Hildegard. He
transferred the spontaneous notes of the visionary into
correct Latin — this is referred to in the image of the author
in “Liber Scivias”, which depicts Hildegard with a wax
tablet and her “secretary” with a book in his hand.
Hildegard’s effect as a writing prophetess must soon have
had an impact outside of Disibodenberg. Apparently, it
was the Abbot himself who informed the Archbishop
of Mainz on the unheard-of proceedings taking place in
his monastery. Archbishop Heinrich, on the other hand,
decided to defer judgement on the writings to the Pope
— in particular as the Pope was staying in nearby Trier
over the winter of 1147/48 for some time. Surprised by
the information on Hildegard, Pope Eugen III is said to
have read in public from the SCIVIAS in Trier. Bernhard
of Clairvaux is also said to have been there and to have
honoured Hildegard’s prophetic talents. In this way,
subsequent to receiving her heavenly call, Hildegard also
received the order to proclaim her visions from the highest
authorities of the worldly church. There had never been
such a prophetess authorised by a Pope in the entire history
of the church! With the assumption of her prophetical
assignment begins a long series of letters which Hildegard
addresses to people all over Germany and outside the
country. For Hildegard, these letters were a medium of
equal importance to the visionary works when transporting
her divine messages into the world.
Numerous bishops and archbishops, above all the
three Rhine Archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier,
corresponded with Hildegard and held her advice in high
esteem. The same applied for abbots, abbesses, provosts,
priors, canons, canonesses, monks and nuns from Albon to
Zwiefalten. She was also involved in exchanges with worldly
figures — above all the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. But
also the English royal couple, the Byzantine Empress Bertha
and Dukes and Counts were amongst her correspondence
At approximately the same time as the events in Trier,
Hildegard began to make preparations for the foundation
of her own convent. On the Disibodenberg, the facilities for
the growing women’s community had become limited — and
anyway, a life in the hermitage appeared no longer suitable
for the public figure Hildegard had now become.
For this reason, Hildegard’s most important supporter,
the Count Palatine Hermann of Stahleck, probably also
considered her presence in the city to be a fortunate
circumstance. He provided the basic material requirements,
and even offered to act as the worldly patron for the new
monastery: in this way he, too, would be able to profit
from entirely new possibilities for influence in the city of
Bingen, which had up to now been subject to his greatest
rival, the Archbishop of Mainz. In around 1150, when
today’s metropolises such as Munich or Berlin still had
yet to be founded, Bingen was considered one of the main
locations on the Rhine which already possessed a city
character: a market had been located there for centuries,
and the merchants of Bingen are recorded as having reached
Koblenz and Trier as long-distance traders.
The initial years at Rupertsberg were not easy: there
Hildegard was faced with a life of privation during the
construction of a new monastery. Over a period of years, the
visionary was forced to deal with resistance and a lack of
discipline within her convent. Some nuns refused to bow to
the difficult conditions and left the community completely.
The conditions in her convent had finally been settled.
Now the prophetess, who meanwhile had reached the end
of her sixtieth year, was able to set off as an admonisher,
advocating the contemplation of a life agreeable to God
even here on earth. Around 1160, Hildegard holds what
are probably her first public sermons. She thereby breaks a
taboo, as the annunciation had hitherto been reserved for
priests. Travelling, too, was in fact prohibited for nuns who
had obligated themselves to a secluded life in the convent.
Yet Hildegard calls upon a state of emergency law which
decrees that, if priests and bishops are entangled in worldly
matters, she, the prophetess, must proclaim God’s word.
some of her nuns in the previous years caused Hildegard
to write this work, as her descriptions of the vices are
sometimes so vivid that they can almost be identified as
the vicious talk of rebellious sisters. The book, whose
educational character is clear to see, was however also
conceived as an aid for the preaching activities of priests.
Hildegard was primarily concerned with the annunciation.
At her late age, Hildegard becomes braver than ever in
taking up the fight against the societal ills of her time.
Hildegard now chooses drastic words: in furious sermons,
she reads the priests in Cologne and Trier the riot act in
around 1165. She also makes herself very clear at the age of
over seventy at a public appearance in Kirchheim-Bolanden,
where she warns the clergy: “Princes and the imprudent
population will descend upon you, oh priests.” She severely
admonishes mankind to return to a way of life agreeable to
God. And even the great visionary work of her later years,
the Liber Divinorum Operum (“Book of Godly Works”
1163-1173/74) with its comprehensive description of the
entire Creation culminates in the description of a tribunal
of depraved clergy: as avengers, the righteous aristocrats
appear, who are to ensure the restoration of the order
ordained by God.
Not all prelates were happy with this. In 1178, shortly
before Hildegard's death, an interdict was placed upon the
Rupertsberg convent: from then on until its abolition, it
was prohibited to administer sacraments and perform acts
of worship. The interdict was also often used as a means of
coercion. For Hilegard, who was not only prophet, scientist
and writer but also a composer, that was a very hard
decision: the prophetess composed 77 songs and a spiritual
In particular in the years 1151-1158, but probably over
the entire duration of her writings, Hildegard compiled
natural history texts. In this form, the work provides a
view of all animate and inanimate nature unique for the
time. Even if Hildegard’s authorship of a natural history
work is undisputed and the basic layout recognisable, the
original detailed text by Hildegard remains unknown today:
whereas original manuscripts are available of all other
works by the prophetess, the natural history texts have only
been handed down in transcripts from the thirteenth to
fifteenth centuries. Between 1158 and 1163, Hildegard’s
second visionary work, the “Liber Vitae Meritorum”, a large
work on the fight between virtues and vices, is written. It
is probable that her experiences with the unbiddability of
© Diplomatic World
© Museum am Strom
In a letter to the Mainz prelates who imposed the interdict
on Rupertsberg in 1178 which forbade choir singing in the
convent, Hildegard formulated a kind of “music theology”.
Prior to the Fall, it was possible for people to take part
in the praise to God by the angels. Firstly, the prophets
received back some of the previously lost knowledge.
Through songs and the sound of instruments, people should
be taught and encouraged to lead a life agreeable to God.
Henceforth, the devil has done everything to prevent sung
praises to God. Therefore the devils' work abets whoever
thoughtlessly prevents choir singing.
Dr. Matthias Schmandt
Director Museum am Strom, Bingen
Museum am Strom
55411 Bingen am Rhein
Dr. Matthias Schmandt and Barbara Dietrich
© Diplomatic World
"ZUM GLÜCK UND FREIHEIT"
IN SEARCH OF HAPPINESS
AND FREEDOM IN
ULRIKE’S BOLENZ ATELIER
Visiting Ulrike Bolenz’s atelier in Vilvoorde is a
privilege. The reward for doing this as a passionate
art lover and professional is rewarding. Discovering
existing works and having a sneak peek into the
process of new work, while being able to feel and
touch the materiality and layers of the work, is a
pleasure and brings a person close of imagining
oneself as being an artist.
Not from a romantic point of view; the art world today
has evolved in a tough world for the artist who has to
create, develop a consistent but innovative discours and
contextualise his or her work on a permanent basis before
presenting it. True to oneself but also taking care of the
market, the galleries and collectors and of course the
institutions and curators; stakeholders that always push the
artist on the edge of a very tin line. For many artists, there
is a golden rule that says ‘you are as good as your latest
work’. The complexity of being an artist today is hopefully
compensated by several ways of expressing oneself, in
freedom, and sharing creativity and happiness for the artist
and the environment.
driven by a feminine touch, and always influenced by layers
of political awareness and engagement. Apart from the
portraiture paintings that are often commissioned and more
colourful and more gentle towards the subject, the works
that are realised from her free spirit are often organically
built up towards a catharsis, for both the artist and her
In her 30-year career Ulrike Bolenz has developed a highly
individual body of work that lies somewhere between
tradition and experiment, often starting from a classical
stroke moving to a surprising way of applying new and
diverse techniques. Her works are extremely fascinating
to look at because they show and conceal themselves
simultaneously. Ulrike Bolenz offers us fragments of
stories, but she often speaks in half words, erasing traces
as if she wanted to keep an unspoken secret concealed.
The paradox in looking at her work goes from fierceful and
powerful, towards whispering and soft. Her body of work,
transgressing different media like paintings, sculpture and
installations, graphic art, video, photography — even reusing
old techniques as the Daguerreotype — and collage, is
audience; this purification results in new forms of emotional
beauty, happiness and freedom. The feminine touch does in
no way means the artworks address particularly to women,
on the contrary, for Bolenz it is about the human being, who
is per definition gender neutral. The art works are almost
inviting the audience to touch them, the skin of the material
comes close to the human skin with its scars and bruises, its
softness and pores.
center of the installation/painting is occupied by a death
man, a casualty of our human behaviour. In terror and
destruction, hope is not far away. Ulrike Bolenz is confident
human beings are optimistic, strong and innovative. We are
able to stand up towards catastrophes, environmental issues,
financial crisis, war and migration.
Two thematics of work are leaving traces finding its roots
on (wo-)man’s life. A consistent thematic for the artist is
the mythical figure of Icarus, a metaphor for our lives as
humang beings, rising and falling, cyclical, emotional with
the daily burden of the consequences of our actions and
choices. When people are represented by the artist in the
artworks, life-size figures inhabit the artworks; the human
size of the protagonists works very well; the confrontation
is more direct, dimensions on a human scale bring us closer
to identify ourselves with the artist’s model. Secondly a
yearly series of artworks relate to the yearly overviews in
December / January of news channels etc. The horizontal
THE COLUMNS OF PEACE
In parallel, Ms Dietrich is travelling the world with
another iconic art work of Ulrike Bolenz, The Columns
of Peace. The beautiful images of joyful and laughing
women embody the love of women and mothers for their
children, while teaching them kindness, moral values and
courage. Moreover, they allow every child to experience
the joys of life and give them happiness.
It is the same with wise politics, which is a supporting
element of building the human communication. Ulrike
Bolenz imagines the Columns of Peace as towering
and noticeable pillars, which should remind the whole
world that only the happiness of human existence could
strengthen the tolerance, unity, and deep understanding
of diversity of people’s thoughts and religions.
Women always strive for creating harmony and
preserving peace and cooperation between nations.
That is why they took their places on the Columns of
Peace. The column symbolises historically positive
terms such as stability, strength, and pivotal power
while laughter of humans characterise positive content
such as security, will to live, and a free spirit. Pillars
are supporting structural elements in the architecture.
The artist herself mentions that the artwork symbolises
the main goal of the European Union, which is to unite
and reconcile all European nations. Ulrile Bolenz has
been teaming up with Barbara Dietrich for a long time,
since moving to Belgium. Since Ms Dietrich took over
Diplomatic World Magazine, Ulrike got involved in
creating a Peace Dove as a signature print for delivering
Ms Dietrich’s message of peace to leaders worldwide.
Born in 1958 in Germany, Ulrike Bolenz lives and works
today in the multicultural environment of Vilvoorde,
Belgium, 15 minutes from the center of Brussels.
She graduated in 1979 from the Art Academy in Kassel,
and she was taught by Prof. Manfred Bluth and Tom J.
Gramse. Ulrike Bolenz has featured in solo and group
exhibitions throughout the World and has an impressive
list of public assignments and entries in renowned
collections and museums in Belgium and abroad.
Recently her artworks were displayed in Russia
(Saint Petersburg, Moscow), Hong Kong, Germany
(Berlin), Austria (Vienna), Belgium (Hasselt, Brussels,
Ghent, Steenokkerzeel-Kasteel van Ham), France and
Italy (Rome, Venice).
ANTWERP PORT WORLD COSMOS
PAUL VAN HOEYDONCK
PHILIP HEYLEN, HONORARY
ALDERMAN OF THE CITY OF ANTWERP
I remember how Paul Van Hoeydonck told me that
he grew up in Antwerp as a child, and that when
he looked up through the attic room at night, he
saw the Cathedral of Our Lady in all its impressive
Gothic Art, but also how he spent hours staring at
the moon — already back then.
It was the start of a fascination that Paul never lost ever
since. He breathes ‘Antwerp’.
As Antwerp's Alderman of Culture, I have followed the
artistic work of Paul Van Hoeydonck for many years. His
importance as an artist cannot be underestimated. First as
Antwerp helmsman of the G58 movement, when he made
geometric, abstract works. And remarkably, from the very
beginning, Paul Van Hoeydonck looked beyond our national
borders. He gradually found his own voice. He made
sculptures and experimented with materials, materials that
he often gave a second life.
We became true friends in 2014, in the run-up to the
ISWA World Congress, a groundbreaking international
congress on the global approach to the waste issue that
was organized in Antwerp that year. I absolutely wanted
Paul Van Hoeydonck on stage then. He was there with the
American astronaut Al Worden — together again for the
first time since 1971. Together they spoke about the major
challenges of today: the future of our planet, the impact of
climate change, the beauty and the mystery of the universe.
Van Hoeydonck and Worden together in the early 1970s.
One made a historical space journey with the Apollo 15, the
other made an art object that is still floating in space today.
‘Fallen Astronaut’ is the only work of art on the moon to
date. The artist who created it is Paul. The astronaut who
took the figurine into space is Al. That was in 1971, indeed.
Van Hoeydonck's artwork is a tribute to all astronauts and
cosmonauts — Americans and Russians — who died during
a space travel. The exceptional of that artistic mission to
the moon is also evident from the following story. When
American President Nixon had to give the green light to the
statue for boarding Apollo 15, he only asked one question:
‘Is Van Hoeydonck a republican or a democrat?’ When
he got the answer that Van Hoeydonck is a Belgian he
answered: ‘Oh, but that won't hurt.’
Since the 1960s, the United States has been engaged in
a fierce Race on Space with the then Soviet Union. The
race for the ‘first man on the moon’ was a real prestige and
propaganda battle. It was not without reason that President
John F. Kennedy had said in the 1960s: ‘In a very real
sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be to
an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there’.
The shared passion for space brought the gentlemen
Viscount Dirk Frimout Astronaut, Marleen Meyers and Paul Van Hoeydonck
© Diplomatic World
Jacques Vandermeiren CEO Port of Antwerp, Viscount Dirk Frimout Astronaut, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Annick De Ridder Alderman for
Port Antwerp and Philip Heylen, Honorary Alderman of the City of Antwerp
© Diplomatic World
We know about Richard Nixon how he ended up in
the history books without honor. But today, Paul Van
Hoeydonck's art is praised and shown more than ever
before, at home and abroad.
What I admire most in Paul Van Hoeydonck is his vitality
and the curiosity with which he stands in life. His eye and
ear for young artists, his attention for the current social
debate, his watchful eye on the challenges that the world
faces today. Paul is a man of that world and of his time. He
continues to inspire as an artist and as a committed person.
The statue of Van Hoeydonck on the moon is called ‘Fallen
Astronaut’. But today Paul prefers to refer to ‘Man on the
Moon’. He wants it to be a universal symbol of hope, rather
together. Wherever she is at that moment. When I talk to
the moon, it feels like I'm talking to her. Don't you think
that is romantic?’
For that reason alone, Paul Van Hoeydonck is a very
beautiful person, but for me he remains one of our most
important artists of the past 7 decades.
And so we end up on a positive note. And a quote from Paul
And I quote: ‘I have a small appointment with the moon.
Every time at full moon I ask my wife to stare at heaven
Barbara Dietrich, Jan Engels, Viscount Dirk Frimout Astronaut,
Paul Van Hoeydonck and Kristina Engels
© Diplomatic World
LELLI DE ORLEANS E BRAGANCA
CREATING WINDOWS TO
An exuberant tropical forest in countless shades of
green, at once detailed and misty, birds in flight,
the touch of a butterfly... always.
These are the details that catch the eye in the art of Lelli
de Orleans e Bragança; her paintings are windows to
the natural beauty of the tropics, observed through the
unique perspective of the artist.
Her works reveal the perfectionism in her art. A timeless
style, more Impressionist than Realist. The views are
mostly of pristine natural settings, where exotic birds and
butterflies are the main animal subjects, humans rarely
disturb the peace.
A daily need for peace and beauty is the driving force
behind her aesthetic quest. “When I’m painting, my aim
is to create a haven of peace and tranquillity. While that
is my main goal, my landscapes don’t reveal everything at
first glance, one has to let the eye wander and explore in
order to find the hidden details.” Some expanses of her
canvases verge on the abstract, hues of colour in multiple
layers, but she is a figurative painter at heart.
Brush strokes of paint bring lush and often mysterious
scenery to life on canvas; one can almost feel the breeze
rustling in the palm trees, the soft mist enveloping the
forest. They’re magical openings onto the infinite worlds
of nature; wide angles that can lead the eye to distant
horizons, or bring it into tiny leafy microcosms, inhabited
by colourful tropical insects. Her birds are outstanding,
flying through the forest or perched on branches; they
practically burst out of the canvas in their rich, luxuriant
her entourage when she came to live in Rio de Janeiro.
The family passion for horse riding also runs in her blood
and has taken Lelli on trails far and wide, from Machu
Picchu in the highlands of Peru, to the hills of Tuscany.
She has also covered long stretches of her country’s
interior, an endless source of inspiration for her work.
Scuba diving is another sport that has taken her across
the globe, from Bora Bora to the Caribbean, though she
particularly loves to explore the aquamarine waters of
Angra dos Reis and visit the whale sanctuary of Atol das
Rocas in her native land.
Princess Maria Gabriel de Orleans e Bragança prefers
to be called Lelli, a childhood nickname that she has
adopted in her personal and artistic life. On her father’s
side of the family she descends from the kings of France
while her mother was a Bavarian princess. She has eleven
brothers and sisters, the four eldest were born in France,
Lelli is the youngest of the seven born in Brazil and spent
her early childhood at the family estate in Jundiaí do Sul,
in the state of Paraná.
Needless to say, Lelli is a firm believer in protecting the
environment and wildlife. A nature lover by birth, her
ancestor, the Empress Leopoldina, a Hapsburg princess
married to Pedro I of Brazil, was fascinated by natural
history and brought biology and botany professors with
Lelli and Maria Gabriella de Orleans e Bragança, Jan and Kristina Engels
© Diplomatic World
It was in the bucolic climate of these southern farmlands
that her parents, prince Pedro Henrique de Orleans e
Bragança and princess Maria da Baviera de Orleans
e Bragança, first introduced her, and twin sister Rezi,
to paints and brushes, and where they developed their
artistic skills under the watchful eye of their father, a
gifted water-colourist. Their mother preferred to paint
on porcelain; her minute detailed renderings of XIXth
century scenes of Botafogo bay in sepia are exquisite, and
a cherished influence in her daughters’ work.
Other influences are Albert Eckhout, Franz Post, and the
traveling artists who came to Brazil with the Portuguese
court in 1808: Debret, Rugendas and Faccineti.
After graduating in design in Brazil, Lelli went on to
finish her studies at the renowned Van der Kelen art
school in Belgium. There she perfected her style and
learned the “trompe l’oeil” technique, acquiring detailed
knowledge of perspective and the depiction of marble,
stone and wood on canvas. She continued to paint in
Europe for many years before returning to Rio de Janeiro
and dedicating herself to painting the exotic Brazilian
landscape. Her work was very well received and it’s
success took her abroad for exhibitions in Portugal,
France, Belgium and Germany. She is an artist whose
talent is devoted to showing the exotic tropical scenery of
Brazil all over the world.
Rezi, her twin sister, also attended the Van der Kelen
Institute and is a gifted artist. She worked with Lelli
for many years before getting married and moving to
Belgium, where she became well known for her works
on porcelain. Now that her children are grown, Rezi has
again joined Lelli in painting canvases. Recently the
sisters went trekking in the forests of the Mata Atlântica,
on the coast of the state of São Paulo, on a research trip
for their exhibition “The Brazilian Rainforest”, which
will open in Belgium. Two talented artists reunited in
their quest to depict the fauna and flora of the exuberant
Brazilian tropical forests.
Photos Lelli de Orleans e Bragança
A MAN AND HIS DOG,
A PAINTER AND HIS MODEL
PRIVATE COLLECTION AT WM GALLERY
It all started when Thierry Poncelet, who grew up as
a child in an artistic environment, was commissioned
to restore an artistocratic portrait of an 18th century
painting. Feeling bored and fed up with the looks and
expression of the portraited lady — while being crisscrossed
by his own cocker spaniel — the artist decided to ‘restore’
the painting with his ‘dog’s’ face… on a temporary basis
because eventually Thierry had to give the restored
painting back to his commissioner. But the idea turned
into a concept, and the “Aristochien” painter was born.
Thierry Poncelet became a loyal visitor of auctions,
antique shops and public sales looking for the right
18th–19th century paintings for his new practice.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him
prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the
principal difference between a dog and a man.
—Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
The exhibition at WM Gallery in Antwerp, run by Patrick
Declerck, is called Private Collection and will probably be
the last public exhibition of Thierry Poncelet, after showing
these works in the Summer of 2019 in the beautiful French
castle of Château de Gramont. A true occasion to discover
the master’s ‘dog-kennel’ this November, December for the
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would
stay out and your dog would go in.
—Mark Twain, a Biography
The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven,
—Mark Twain, Letter to William D. Howells,
2 April 1899
Aristochien became Poncelet’s signature, but one can’t
argue that these paintings go beyong a simple master’s
trick. The artist creates with a careful chosen dog’s
head, in combination with the selected original painting,
a new original art work, splendid in its technique and
especially in the reinterpretation and the psychology of
the old and new model. The contemporary viewer is only
able to experience the dog’s face and is obliged to use
his imagination for projecting the original model. The
technical expertise and the thorough research of painted
materials and used canvases or wooden panels make his
reputation solid and almost unique in his domain.
Along his career Thierry Poncelet has been influenced by
19th Century French caricaturist J.J. Grandville but also
by the great portrait painters like Bronzino, van Dyck,
Winterhalter, Boldini or even Modigliani.
EXPO 16 NOVEMBER - 29 DECEMBER 2019
Wolstraat 45 | 2000 Antwerpen | www.wmgallery.be
Open from Thursday until Sunday from 1 pm until 6 pm
FIRST TSINANDALI FESTIVAL
PEACE RESONATES THROUGH
MUSIC OVER THE CAUCASUS
MOUNTAINS IN GEORGIA
Last September at the invitation of our friend
George Ramishvili, chairman of Silk Road Group,
I was privileged to attend the inauguration of the
fabulous first Tsinandali Festival of classical music.
I admired to see how he has continued to believe that
modern business forms an integral part of the world’s social
and cultural community since our cooperation for “Dialogue
with Emperor Qin: China EU Contemporary Sculpture
Exhibition” in 2010.
Today, with his very bright and efficient team, Martin
Engstroem and Avi Shoshani — who are the artistic directors
and also founders of Tsinandali Festival — they have created
this top quality, international festival of classical music,
which is absolutely innovative and without precedent in
Georgia. They have brought together old and young worldclass
musicians and conductors, with the experienced
Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Pan-Caucasian
Youth Orchestra. The latter was George’s wish, to bring the
hope of living in peace to the young generation in Georgia
Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra
© Tsinandali Festival
Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra
© Tsinandali Festival
and the neighboring countries. He believes that the most
powerful weapon in this region is music. Classical music
is anchored in the heart of the people. The Pan-Caucasian
Youth Orchestra is composed of 80 talented young members
(aged 18-28), showcased for the very first time at the
Tsinandali Festival. The following countries also support
them: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey,
What are your ambitions for the
Tsinandali Festival ?
To contribute to the upholding and continuation of the
Tsinandali Estate’s historical, cultural and educational
traditions has been an ambitious undertaking to start with.
The Tsinandali Festival forms a perfect embodiment of
this continuation: it has made my dream of making the
Tsinandali Estate a cultural and educational center of
international importance come true.
The Festival is a partnership with your company
Silk Road and the State of Georgia. What benefits
can you expect for your organization?
First of all I want to express our gratitude to the government
of Georgia for its support given to the festival, which I think
is unprecedented even in comparison with many wealthier
states. We hope that this first festival has done its job and
that future festivals will do even better. We expect benefits
for both Georgia and Tsinandali, claiming a place on the
map as one of the best classical music events. Apart from
its cultural and educational impacts, it will have an indirect
economic impact with the growth of tourism, with more
people appreciating the beauty of our country, bringing
progress and a better life to its inhabitants. There is a real
example of this in Verbier from where we took inspiration
and we hope to repeat this in Kakheti. If you mean any taxrelated
benefits or anything of that sort, there are none.
Why the choice of classical music?
There is a rich tradition of classical music in Georgia.
Many Georgians are internationally renowned musicians,
be they opera singers, violinists or pianists. Classical music
is a universal language of culture and we are happy to have
Georgian and international musicians and audience speaking
this language in Tsinandali, the language of peace and harmony.
oute, the ancient geopolitical axis connecting Asia with
Europe, where currents from the East link to those from the
West, diverse ideas are exchanged and differences bridged
by common values.
In a push to rediscover Georgian heritage through the revival
of the country’s wine making traditions, SRG invested in
a project to restore and promote the famous Tsinandali
estate and gardens in the Kakheti region, the 19th Century
Chavchavadze family manor house, its landscaped garden,
a historic winery, wine cellar, hotel, museum and café,
operating as a cultural and educational center. Tsinandali
hosts numerous events and exhibitions, including an
international classical music festival of growing importance.
Martin Engstroem and Avi Shoshani
© Pick Keobandith
TESTIMONY BY THE PROMISING YOUNG
VIOLINIST DIANA SARGSYAN FROM ARMENIA
The performing artists come from all around the
world, is it your intention to make this festival an
Yes, this is our intention, our dream and hope.
George Ramishvili is the Founder and Chairman of Silk
Road Group. An entrepreneur with over twenty years’
experience, George founded SRG in 1996.
Silk Road Group (SRG), a privately held investment
company, owned and run by Georgian and European
partners, is active in Energy, Transportation, Hospitality,
Entertainment, Real Estate and Telecommunications. Every
SRG business has been established with the vision that
Georgia is an integral part of the historic Silk Road trading
Today I live in Yerevan, Armenia, where I study at the
music conservatory. I first began violin lessons aged 8, in
my city Gyumri. I learnt about the festival from posters put
up in the conservatory. When I researched it, I then found
more information on the official pages. I was shocked to
discover that it was the biggest festival I’d ever heard of.
We were to play in a Pan-Caucasian orchestra, in concerts
with the most amazing talented soloists in the world,
such as Mischa Maisky, Yuja Wang, Lahav Shani, and
Denis Kozhukhin. The concerts are conducted by major
conductors (Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Andras Schiff, Gabor
Takacs-Nagy, Pinchas Zukerman, Claudio Vandelli …) from
all over the world. I came to this orchestra having had very
little experience of playing in orchestras but I now feel that
I’ve gained huge experience after only 40 days.
Dr Pick Keobandith,
Founder and Director Inspiring Culture
Maka Tskitishvili, Natia and George Ramishvili, Sir András Schiff,
© Pick Keobandith
Pick Keobandith and George Ramishvili at the opening of “Dialogue with
Emperor Qin”, Tsinandali 2013
© Pick Keobandith
EUROPEAN PEACE PILLAR
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FINLAND PRESIDENCY
OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
H.E. RIITTA RESCH AMBASSADOR OF FINLAND
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 — now in Embassy of Finland in
The artist placed beautiful images of joyful, laughing women
at the core of his 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.
Gerard Huiting, Barbara Dietrich, H.E. Riitta Resch Ambassador of Finland and Baron Ernest de Laminne de Bex
© Diplomatic World
SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS
ON TWO MARVELOUS SUMMER
EXHIBITS IN PARIS
“HELENA RUBINSTEIN, L’AVENTURE DE LA BEAUTÉ”
AND “ELIE NADELMAN, VERS LA BEAUTÉ”
Encouraged by Dr. Pick Keobandith, our long-time friend
and collaborator in international cultural projects past,
painter/photographer Jacques Chuilon and I ventured
around the corner to see “Helena Rubinstein: l’aventure
de la beauté,” a marvelous homage currently on view in
one of the most beautiful mansions in the Marais in Paris,
the Museum of Jewish History and Art (the former Hôtel
Saint-Aignan). By the same token, Pick announced to us
that she was preparing the curation of a show centered on
the drawings of sculptor Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), to be
held simultaneously at the Polish Library in Paris, situated
on the elegant Quai d’Orléans, and considered “home” to
all Polish immigrants to this country since around 1850.
Apparently there was a connection of which I was not yet
Krakow. She knew, with her keen eye, that this artist was
indeed a creator of great and rare importance. She not only
encouraged Nadelman, her personal collection prominently
contained many marble pieces by this wonderful sculptor,
and in the show we can see how she even had herself
photographed among several of the masterpieces she had
acquired while she was building her global empire.
So in a most connected event that took place later on
July 3rd, we were again privileged to attend the opening
night of the Elie Nadelman exhibit consecrating several
rare drawings of projects for large sculptures, sketches
entitled “études,” the French word he chose himself, which
The unexpected effect of viewing the Rubinstein show,
wonderfully curated by Michèle Fitoussi and profoundly
explored in her book “Helena Rubinstein, La femme qui
inventa la beauté”, was overwhelming. The theme: the quest
for Beauty, in its purest essence — and also its evanescent
fragility — was speaking directly to me and registered 100%.
Far from the cliché of a powerful merchandising magnate,
exploiting female consumers around the world, I discovered
her life-long struggle in the backstory of the woman and the
artists, behind the enterprise. She was a collector of fine art
on a scale such as we can barely imagine today: paintings
and sculpture from all periods, maintaining sumptuously
decorated personal residences from Park Avenue in New
York to apartments on the embankments of Paris, all
displayed and furnished with artwork commissioned by
the finest and most renowned creators of her time, and
documented by the finest photographers, from Dora Maar
to Cecil Beaton. And this, I discovered, is the connection
to Elie Nadelman, also of Polish birth and a naturalized
American citizen, in that way similar to the legendary queen
of beauty, who had immigrated from her humble roots in
describes so well the struggle of creation and the different
steps towards ultimate perfection in marble. This was in
the same manner of Chopin, beloved and defended with
passion by the Polish Library (they hold several of the
composer’s artifacts, manuscripts, even a period Pleyel
piano) who wrote several “études.” At the clever suggestion
of Jacques Chuilon, that night we heard, very appropriately,
a charming interlude of Chopin’s ‘Trois nouvelles études’
(posthumous) played by the young and promising Narumi
Iwase during the presentation, which was delightfully
followed by a traditional Polish fruit cake and a divine
white wine called Natella 2017, offered by the Georgian
winemakers Tsinandali Estate / Silk Road Group. This was
also the occasion to meet and greet such ambassadors as
Miguel Verzbolovskis (Panama) and Maksymilian Liszewski
The Helena Rubinstein specialist Michèle Fitoussi was also
present, and charming to talk to as she shared with me her
insights, as well as the masterfully articulate Prof. Xavier
Deryng who gave us a private tour of the Chopin collection.
Especially delightful to me was meeting and speaking to
Cynthia Nadelman, the grand-daughter of the great sculptor,
who resides in New York City, herself very knowledgeable
concerning these rare works, and who shared her broad
culture and love of beauty in general. We compared notes
about the famous pair of sculptures that now decorate
the entrance hall of the New York State Theater, Lincoln
Center, where I happen to have performed several times
with the New York City Opera. It turns out she and her
friend Dr. Catherine Tinker, also present, had seen one of
my performances there, in ‘Agrippina’ by Handel!
A thank you to the intrepid Barbara Dietrich (Diplomatic
World) for her helpful participation, and thank you to
our friend, Pick, the spirited and devoted art historian
and gallerist whom we met so many years ago in Canton,
China, for this extraordinary artistic journey, and “bonne
continuation” with your many future projects with your
innovative program: Inspiring Culture!
Gregory Reinhart, formerly of the Paris Opera
All Photos © Jacques Chuilon
CHRISTO AT GUY PIETERS GALLERY
DR. ANTON VAN DER GELD
CHRISTO WITH HIS PARIS PROJECTS VISITING KNOKKE
Gallery Owner Guy Pieters received the versatile American
artist Christo in his Gallery in August. Guy Pieters is widely
known in the art world of Belgium and far beyond. He is a
jovial and energetic person who is fascinated by the world
of art. He has a strong intuition for discovering talents in
modern art and he and his amiable wife Linda have all the
ingredients for success and happiness in life. They always
face the unexpected together and that makes their life so
exciting and meaningful.
Guy and Linda Pieters have leading art galleries in Sint-
Martens-Latem, Knokke and in Saint-Tropez, where they
welcome visitors with their expert team of employees.
death in 2009 that he will be back in Paris, where they lived
together until the mid-sixties and then settled in New York.
From 1961 they worked together as an artist duo under the
name ‘Christo & Jeanne-Claude’.
Christo was born in Bulgaria, his father was a scientist
and his mother secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts in
Sophia. He studied at the Academy in Vienna and went to
Paris. There he met Jeanne-Claude, who was then studying
philosophy and Latin. Jeanne-Claude, daughter of a general,
is described as a dynamic, extroverted woman — full of ideas
— who stood out for her lush red hair. She herself always
said she had become an artist out of her love for Christo:
‘If he had been a dentist, I would have become a dentist.’
CHRISTO AT GUY PIETERS GALLERY
Guy and Linda Pieters gave Christo a warm welcome in
their Gallery in Knokke. The American artist, together with
his deceased partner Jeanne-Claude, has a great reputation
in the world of art and has packaging art as specialty.
It was a fascinating exhibition in Knokke, visited by
numerous people from home and abroad. Many works of
art by Christo were on display, particularly Parisian projects
such as the wrapping of Pont Neuf. The center of attention
was the sketch of the Arc de Triomphe, wrapped by Christo.
CHRISTO ABOUT THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE
The sketch of his new Parisian project shows the detailed
way in which Christo works. He is already carefully
preparing himself for the work that awaits him in France.
Christo has in fact received permission from the authorities
to pack the Arc de Triomphe in 2020 from September 19
till October 4. To achieve that, he needs a lot of material:
25,000 square meters of silver-blue, recyclable plastic
and a lot of red rope. In 2020, an exhibition by him and
his Jeanne-Claude will also be on display in the Centre
Pompidou Museum in Paris. It is the first time since her
THE ENVIRONMENTAL ART
BY CHRISTO AND JEANNE-CLAUDE
The artistic strategy of the duo is to ‘dress up’ large, striking
buildings or landscapes with fabric. Packing them leads
to abstracting those objects. When you see those packed
buildings and landscapes, they suddenly look different.
The object has not only been given a different shape, but
also a different appearance. As a result, people start looking
at those objects ‘with different eyes’. And that of course
is always the goal of art: to reveal, to make visible what
is hidden. In that respect are Christo and Jeanne-Claude
with their wrapping art real innovators in the world of
art. They enable us to look around with new eyes in the
environment in which we live. That means being active in
the psychological field: observing and discovering. That
means being active in an aesthetic sense: discovering the
beauty of something.
All in all, Christo is an artist who knows how to touch us
with his specific view of the world. His art takes us out of
everyday life and brings us back to our essence. In this way
many people can enjoy the art of packaging, the art of living
by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
THE PASSION OF GUY AND LINDA PIETERS
Guy Pieters has become a household name in the art
world. He is an autodidactic art dealer, who has gradually
immersed himself in art. His roots lie in the picturesque
village of Sint-Martens-Latem, where the cove of the sea
used to be. For him it is a magical village, with which he has
made a true artistic friendship.
Guy Pieters' Gallery received a great name recognition, with
exhibitions from, amongst others, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel
Appel, Arman, Félix Labisse and Paul Delvaux. This way
Guy Pieters’ Gallery reached the top of the European and
international art world. The Gallery exhibits and represents
major international artists such as Christo & Jeanne-Claude,
Andy Warhol, Roger Raveel, Yves Klein, Wim Delvoye,
Jan Fabre and Gilbert & George, Arman.
His statement is typical: ‘If I had not been born in that
village, I would not have become an art dealer.’ For him,
being an art dealer is not so much a profession, but a
passion that he shares with Linda, his muse. He dares to
follow and fulfill his dreams. He is a natural talent in the
field of life and art, who manages to achieve a great deal
with self-discipline and perseverance. He always managed to
expand his gallery at home and abroad.
It was a real pleasure to visit the exhibition together with
the editor-in-chief of Diplomatic World, Barbara Dietrich,
and to speak with artist Christo and with Guy and Linda
Prof. Anton van der Geld, president of the BeNeLux-
Prof. Anton van der Geld, Christo and Guy Pieters (Knokke)
© Diplomatic World
IN CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH
THE CENTRE DES MONUMENTS
NATIONAUX AND THE CENTRE POMPIDOU,
WILL CREATE A TEMPORARY ARTWORK
IN PARIS ENTITLED L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE,
WRAPPED (PROJECT FOR PARIS,
PLACE DE L'ÉTOILE – CHARLES DE GAULLE)
It will be on view for 16 days from Saturday, September 19 to Sunday, October 4,
2020. The Arc de Triomphe will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable
polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 meters of red rope.
The Eternal Flame, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, will continue to burn
throughout the preparation and display of the artwork.
As always, veterans associations and volunteers will ensure
the continuity of the daily ceremony of rekindling the flame
that pays homage to the Unknown Soldier and those who
lost their lives fighting for France.
In 1961, three years after they met in Paris, Christo and
Jeanne-Claude began creating works of art in public spaces.
One of their projects was to wrap a public building. At the
time, Christo, who was renting a small room near the Arc de
Triomphe, made several studies of a project there, including,
in 1962, a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped,
seen from the Avenue Foch, as well as a few additional
studies created in the 1970s and 1980s.
As a prelude to L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, a major
exhibition, presented at the Centre Georges Pompidou
from March 18 to June 15, 2020, will retrace Christo and
Jeanne-Claude's years in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well
as the story of The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Project for Paris,
Almost 60 years later, the project will finally be realized.
As for all Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s previous projects,
L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, will be entirely funded
by Christo through the sale of his preparatory studies,
drawings and collages of the project as well as works of art
on other subjects.
© Diplomatic World
Guy Pieters, Kristina Engels, Christo and Jan Engels
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World © Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
SPACE, PEACE AND
NICOLE STOTT IN LIVING TOMORROW
Nicole has explored from the heights of outer space to the depths of our
oceans. In awe of what she experienced from these very special vantage
points, she has dedicated her life to sharing the beauty of space — and
Earth — with others. She believes that sharing these orbital and inner
space perspectives has the power to increase everyone’s appreciation of
and obligation to care for our home planet and each other. Nicole Marie
Passonno Stott is an American engineer and a retired NASA astronaut
Artists: Sarah Fabergé, Gary James McQueen, Koen
Vanmechelen, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Frederik De Wilde,
Nicole Stott, Gary James McQueen, Fred Eerdekens, Peter
De Cupere, Panamarenko, Nick Ervinck, Sergey Dozhd,
Ulrike Bolenz, Liudmila Norsoyanand, Louisa Burnett-
Hall, Kaixuan Feng, Felix Roulin, Hergé, Gianni Candido,
Michael Lewis-Anderson and Concetta Spitaleri.
Curator Barbara Dietrich
The exhibition is devoted to the future of Art and Humanity
and one of the main ideas is the humanitarian aspects of the
Art uniting different countries from around the world.
INNOVATION, THE VALUE OF MEMORIES,
GLOBAL PROSPERITY AND WORLD PEACE.
If there is anything certain about our future, it’s that
technological progress will rapidly be creating change of
a dimension mankind never before experienced. This will
provide tremendous opportunities for global prosperity and
world peace — but also huge risks!
— without questioning the ethics of what they are doing.
They conclude that man will always be on the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, this does not reduce related fears in our
societies. All innovations can be used either for good or bad.
That’s nothing new to learn — other than that, in the past,
the outcome often was random.
These innovation cycles can’t be stopped or reverted!
However, if we want our future to be good, we need to
tackle the fear. This can only happen through information
that is available to be accessed by and debated within the
wider public. Understanding takes away fears and leads
towards action — in a positive sense! That’s where the Living
Tomorrow's Art platform comes in by creating sustainable
partnerships to inform and to discuss innovation across
borders and stakeholders and launch initiative.
Some experts speculate that, in less than 20 years, we
will have a “singularity”, meaning that computers and the
human brain may have the same capacity. This fosters many
fears, exceeding today’s fears, about Artificial Intelligence
(AI) that most jobs will soon be gone. However, others
are saying that AI is only based on algorithms without a
conscious mind. Machines follow mere logic, not knowing
what — or why — they are doing something and — of course
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Nicola Hamilton, originally from the West Midlands
in the United Kingdom. I’ve worked for most of my career in
marketing for visitor attractions and museums and am now
the General Manager of Sea Life in Blankenberge. I’ve lived
in Belgium with my family for 8 years and whilst we live in
Bruges we often spend our weekends in Knokke-Heist. Living
in Belgium has been a challenge at times and I never thought
that I would learn Flemish at the age of 38, but you see
what love does! Not only that but my application for Belgian
nationality was confirmed in July so I feel truly integrated.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We work long hours at Sea Life because we’re doing a lot
of upgrades at the moment, so when I’m off I really like to
switch off. Long walks, shopping & eating out are top of
the list of my favourite activities and Knokke-Heist is just
perfect for that. It’s especially handy because the shops are
also open on Sundays.There is also an excellent array of
evening classes available here to expand your knowledge
and I love crafts especially silversmithing and dressmaking.
Knokke-Heist with its expanse of high fashion shops is a
great place for inspiration for both of these hobbies.
Of all places in Belgium, why Knokke-Heist?
Ever since I first met my husband back in 2003 I’ve been
coming to Knokke-Heist and feel really at home here. I’m
not sure whether that’s because of the English style houses
or the laid back and open culture, but it’s a very different
atmosphere here. It’s often the events that keep drawing us
back, especially the Zoute Grand Prix each year in October
and the new Mise en Plage food event which this year. A
great way to brighten up a dark winter evening is at the Light
Festival which runs throughout December into the Christmas
holidays. I must add that warm clothes are essential!
You say you like long walks & eating out,
tell me about that
My favourite time of year at the coast is the winter and
not just because you can still buy homemade ice cream
or a hot waffle! There is little better than a long walk
along the promenade on a crisp Sunday morning. We
mostly start at the top end of Knokke, in Zoute, and walk
all the way to the Socorristas de Biarritz, stopping for a
coffee along the way. The statue is by Aurora Canero and
is my absolute favourite of all the pieces of public art in
Knokke-Heist. It reminds me of Biarritz which is my ideal
holiday destination abroad, sharing so many of the same
characteristics as here namely style, great food, wonderful
views and of course the surf.
I love a good 5K run and there are so many different routes
to take, through the woods, along the beach or of course
through town for a good bit of window shopping. The
perfect way to unwind. We take part in the annual 5K beach
runs in Knokke and Heist and follow the many triathlons in
a supporting capacity!
What’s next for you?
Well, apart from the fact that we’re heading into my
favourite season, I have a growing personal interest in the
UN SDGs (sustainable development goals). I believe in
everything in moderation and that there is so much we can
all do to protect the future. Of course I also have a very
unique perspective on Brexit and am hopeful I will be able
to use my skills and cultural understanding to benefit not
only Sea Life but other people and companies too.
All photos © Olivier Depaep
What’s the best thing about living in Belgium?
The food without a doubt. The ‘traiteur’ ready-made meals
were something new to me when I moved over. Delicious
restaurant quality meals to heat up back home for when
we’re simply too tired to eat out. There are so many
‘traiteurs’ to choose from in Knokke–Heist and a huge range
of dishes, there is something for every taste.
We enjoy eating out too, whether it be a big hearty meal or
in a Michelin Starred restaurant for a special occasion, you
can find it all.
GLOBAL ART FORUM
WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?
WHAT IS CULTURE?
WHAT IS IDENTITY?
Are all these concepts not vague, and any definition of them contestable?
As human beings we identify with some groups, and take distance from
others. Our thoughts are shaped by our identities. Our actions and symbols
are extensions of our thoughts.
Mirror juxtaposes the dualistic world view of Plato's Cave, with the holistic
frame of reference of Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream, where even life and death
are relative. Europe and Asia are sources of inspiration for both surprise
and familiarity. Some people become expert in debate and argument; others
acquire skill in careful listening and observation.
Some people analyze, prepare, plan; others prefer to grab opportunities as
they occur. These are just some examples of the endless variety we observe.
The paradox of culture is that no human being can be described as the sum
of patterns, yet we are all formatted in patterns. To be able to understand
and even see ourselves, we need to see difference. Only by recognizing
difference can we see ourselves.
Why should I think of myself as unique? I can certainly learn a lot from you.
This book invites you to reflect.
Who are you?
How do you look at me?
How do you look at the world?
不 同 意
i love you
i love you
柏 拉 圖 的 洞 穴
莊 子 的 夢 想
individual in context
You look into the mirror
and see me.
Only by looking at me
can you see yourself.
I look into the mirror
and see you.
Only by seeing you
can I recognize myself.
Mirror is a philosophical poetical artistic contemplation of who
we are as human beings and how we deal with each other and
the world around us.
Jeanne Boden, professional observer of cultural patterns,
brought a lifetime of research and reflection to this book.
Sanny Winters' high sensitivity to the essence of things
transforms it into art.
In partnership with Bruno Devos of Stockmans Art Books, they
have created this timeless and unique collector's item to make
the world a more graceful place.
FIRST YEAR OF THE
MUSICA MUNDI SCHOOL
21 ST EDITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
SUMMER COURSE AND FESTIVAL!
MUSICA MUNDI SCHOOL:
ONE YEAR OLD ALREADY!
Since the creation of the Musica Mundi international
summer course and festival back in 1999, its two founders,
Hagit Hassid Kerbel and her husband Leonid Kerbel, have
never stopped dreaming of establishing a school that would
provide young talents from all over the world a structure in
which they could get professional music training and a highquality
The teaching would be entirely integrated to allow the
personality of the young musicians to develop in a balanced
and harmonious way. It would be provided irrespective of
socio-cultural origins and financial background, with the
goal of giving young people from 10 to 18 years of age
the chance to pursue their specific musical training, while
leaving the door wide open to other career options.
As the success of Musica Mundi has grown over the past
20 years, and with the strengthening of links within a
community which has become a family, this dream has
become a reality thanks to the awareness of a real need
in this area. Indeed, with the exception of the United
Kingdom, schools offering musical training combined
with a high-level general education as envisaged by Musica
Mundi simply didn’t exist in Western Europe at the time.
So it wasn’t about creating a project that would only
serve personal needs, but about providing something that
was missing in the international context of music and its
A DREAM BECOMES REALITY
This slightly crazy dream of two musician-teachers with an
extraordinary educational project, a clearly stated ambition
and a very long wish list, has finally come to pass.
© Musica Mundi © Musica Mundi
Since September 2018, the Musica Mundi School dream
has finally become reality in the exceptional location of
the former Dominican Monastery of Fichermont, built at
the initiative of King Albert I in 1928 on the listed and
protected site of the battlefield of Waterloo, opposite the
Lion, and dedicated to peace and the victims of conflict.
As a reminder, the occupation of the premises is in the
form of a 99-year emphyteutic lease, with an annual rent of
1 symbolic euro. Naturally, the founders of the Musica
Mundi School agreed to preserve the site and to respect its
THE FIRST INTAKE OF STUDENTS
The very first student intake was in September 2018.
This first contingent consists of 25 pupils between the
ages of 10 and 18, divided into 5 classes. This initial
success surprised and delighted the founders of the
school, who were more than aware of the enormous
upheaval such a commitment represents for these
young people and their families. Additional proof of the
international aura of the summer course — festival, this
first intake of pupils at the Musica Mundi School are
from countries where such schools already exist, such as
Russia, Belarus, Slovenia, Poland and Albania. Western
Europe is also represented with pupils from Germany,
Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and also
Belgium, which has eight. This first intake also welcomed
pupils from Australia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Like the summer school festival, these young pupils have
been accepted on the basis of an audition, which only
took their talent into account. It is important to point
out that the fees at the Musica Mundi School are based
on parents’ tax returns. On this basis, and in proportion
to their available means to cover their child’s fees, the
school decides the level of the grant to be allocated.
Almost all pupils at the Musica Mundi School receive
scholarships to varying degrees.
By thus combining grants offered by the Musica Mundi
School, contributions from parents in accordance with
their financial means and help from other bodies, all the
pupils selected have been able to gather the necessary
funds to pay the annual school fees of 25,000 euros,
which includes absolutely everything. It is a significant
amount, but nonetheless much lower than fees requested
from similar schools, in particular in the United
© Musica Mundi
The second contingent of pupils for the 2019-2020
academic year has now been selected.
Eleven new pupils have been accepted, which means there
will be a total of 36 pupils in September 2019.
A HIGHLY PERSONALISED SETTING
At the Musica Mundi School, as in life, everyone needs
to follow their own path, just as everyone needs to be
stimulated during childhood (and not just then), in order
to grow and develop. These two clearly identified needs
are reflected in a totally dedicated framework in order
to provide the best possible support to pupils on their
On the one hand, there is the core programme. On the
other, a personal programme to develop and manage.
The link between them is flexibility. In parallel with each
pupil’s instrumental practice for concerts at the school
and the private or official events inside or outside the
school (European Parliament, ceremonies within various
institutions and foundations, etc.), each pupil prepares his
or her own competitions and participates in masterclasses
These joint and personal programmes involve a profusion
of activities which naturally need to be well managed and
at an appropriate pace, thus enabling everyone to cope with
all the activities, in a spirit of permanent stimulation to get
the very best out of each and every pupil. Lessons at the
Musica Mundi School are structured in such a way that all
pupils can fully devote themselves to their art and evolve
in the best possible circumstances. The days of making
concessions are over!
THE CONDITIONS OF EXCELLENCE
In order to create the necessary conditions of excellence on
every level, the founders have introduced a large number of
far-reaching skills and commitments.
For fundraising and good governance, the Board of
Directors, composed of the traditional Musica Mundi
sponsors and patrons, has done everything required to
amass the necessary funds and bring this project to fruition.
For the general studies programme, the school has opted
for the Cambridge International Examinations programme,
for which the Musica Mundi School had previously
been awarded a distinction in terms of applications for
registration. The school was given official accreditation
following a visit from the inspector in June 2018. This
meant the official Cambridge classes could go ahead as
planned, respecting the commitments the school had made
to Cambridge, as confirmed by the inspector when he was
sent over on an unannounced visit. The results of the end-ofyear
exams, which are placed in a safe deposit box and then
sent to Cambridge in a sealed envelope, will be available in
Of course, all of this would not have been possible without
the unfailing commitment of the senior management, made
up of head teacher Herman De Vleeschhouwer, deputy head
Stéphanie Petch, the consultant Harriet Gibson, and the two
founders Hagit Hassid Kerbel and her husband Leonid Kerbel.
The music classes have been provided by all the artists who
are already part of the Musica Mundi family, starting with
Maxim Vengerov, goodwill ambassador to the school, who
will give a grand masterclass on 25 June, open to pupils
and members of the general public. Working alongside
him, Ivry Gitlis, Vladimir Perlin, Jérôme Pernoo, Ronald
Van Spaendonck, Catherine Michel and others make
up the teaching body, not forgetting the music theory
teachers. None of this would have been possible without
the devoted teaching staff responsible for the general
teaching programme, most of whom had sent spontaneous
applications to teach at the Musica Mundi School. Finally,
we have to mention here the father and mother of the house,
who see to the general wellbeing of each and every pupil
and the respect of school rules, from the moment they rise
in the morning until lights out at night.
The instruments are also in keeping with the Musica
Mundi School’s high levels of excellence. The school
has a leasing contract with Steinway, the Rolls-Royce of
pianos, making it the only Steinway school in this region
of Europe. In total, Musica Mundi has 17 pianos (5 grand
pianos and 12 upright pianos). Pupils got to see how they
are manufactured on one of their numerous outings, on this
occasion a visit to the Steinway factory in Hamburg.
THE INTERNATIONAL SUMMER COURSE AND
FESTIVAL: 21 ST EDITION, 7 CONCERTS AND
100 ENSEMBLES - SUMMER 2019
Managing the start of this first school year was quite a
challenge involving a staggering amount of personal and
collective energies, some of which were also required for the
organisation of the 21 st edition of the international summer
course — festival, which is fundamental in the eyes of the
founders in order to meet new artists and new potential
recruits for the school. A summer school festival, each time
envisaged as a new — and necessary — open door onto the
world, an event that is absolutely complementary to the
Musica Mundi School.
For this new edition, which took place between 14 and 28
© Musica Mundi
July, we have received a total of around 300 applications — a
success probably not unrelated to the feedback and good
vibes around the Musica Mundi School, just like last year.
Sixty-nine young and talented musicians from 30 countries
have been selected this year. The youngest is 10, the oldest
20. There were 40 girls and 29 boys, including pianists,
violinists, viola players, cellists, clarinettists and harpists.
This year, at their request, 17 pupils from the Musica Mundi
School also took part in the summer school. This was a
great opportunity for them to meet incredible artists and to
benefit from their teaching.
CONCERTS AND 100 ENSEMBLES
On 20 May, the 69 selected students were given the scores
of chamber music that they were working on, and which
divided them up into 100 ensembles, in the form of trios,
duos, quartets, quintets and sextets, as well as an orchestral
ensemble for the closing concert of 28 July at the Château
du Lac in Genval.
As was the case during the anniversary edition in 2018, the
newcomers had the honour of staying in the building of the
Musica Mundi School for the entire duration of the summer
course festival. Concerts by the pupils, as well as masterclasses,
were also held there during the summer school.
This year, there were not 6 but 7 concerts programmed.
The Château du Lac in Genval, which remains the real
centre of the summer course festival, hosted 6 of them.
The 7th took place in the school concert hall.
The sixth concert was a very special one: it took place in
the school concert hall and gave the opportunity to discover
the Glass Duo, an incredible pair of musicians whose only
instruments consist of crystal glasses (Harp Glass).
Finally, the gala concert brought together the summer
school and the festival. The artists in residence
accompanied ensembles and orchestras made up of young
talents. For their part, the members of the “Musica Mundi
Young Faculty”, artists who are just starting out, were also
enchanting the audience.
Amongst the artists-in-residence of last summer, we were
delighted and honoured to welcome, for the very first time,
pianist Natalia Trull, clarinettist Marc Simpson and the
Leipzig String Quartet. Alongside them, our beloved Ivry
Gitlis, Maxim Vengerov, Menahem Pressler, Vladimir Perlin,
Alexandra Soumm, Catherine Michel and Jérôme Pernoo
shared all their talent to the delight of the students, the
whole Musica Mundi family and the general public.
Hagit Hassid-Kerbel and Leonid Kerbel,
Founders and organisers
Musica Mundi School: www.musicamundischool.org
The opening concert of 15 July presented a performance by
the pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, a “regular” at the summer
For the very first time, Nikolai Lugansky, one of the most
influential pianists of the moment, was performing at the
concert of 18 July.
The concert of 20 July was also a showcase for all the
artists-in-residence as part of this new edition (see below).
During the concert of 22 July there was an opportunity to
focus on 3 alumni of the summer coursel-festival, young
talents who have since become accomplished artists and are
going from strength to strength: the pianist Julien Libeer, the
violinist Daniel Losakovitch and the cellist Ivan Karizna.
The concert of 23 July presented the school’s goodwill
ambassador, Maxime Vengerov, who took the stage.
© Diplomatic World
ARTS FESTIVAL, BOZAR
CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI EXHIBITION
50 years of EUROPALIA
In 1969, the first EUROPALIA festival, dedicated to Italy,
opened its doors. The festival aimed to generate a greater
understanding of other countries through art and culture.
The need for this had grown in the context of the European
Economic Community, where countries started working
together and their citizens living together. An introduction
to each other’s culture could stimulate genuine interest and
thereby strengthen dialogue and cohesion.
No fewer than 26 festivals have taken place over the years,
with top editions such as Europalia Spain (1985) and
Europalia Austria (1987). In 1989, Europalia Japan marked
the moment when the festival started to look beyond
Europe. Several non-European countries have subsequently
been invited, including Russia (2005) and India (2013).
But a lot has changed since then.
Today, it would be unthinkable for the festival to present
like it did 50 or even 20 years ago. Our world vision has
changed, along with the role and (our own) image of
Europe. We now think differently about cultural identity.
After 50 years, the EUROPALIA mission remains
pertinent. Artistic projects that initiate dialogue between
societies and communities are more necessary than ever.
But the approach and interpretation are different. They
are active, contemporary and sustainable. Active because
EUROPALIA is actively committed to new creations,
residencies and exchanges, and to presenting cultural
heritage in a way that creates connections and resonates
with today’s big questions. Contemporary because art
is about the here and now, and tackles themes such as
gender and migration. Sustainable because the festival
does not stop after three months; artists and institutions
continue working together and perpetuating artistic
Bozar Brancusi, Installation view
© Luna Klaps
BOZAR Brancusi, Self-portrait, atelier, “les Colonnes sans fin I à IV”,
Bozar Brancusi, Installation view
© Luna Klaps
The EUROPALIA ROMANIA programme reflects this
approach and interpretation. We wholeheartedly thank the
Romanian Cultural Institute team and all our partners for
sharing our conviction.
Romania, an update
In Belgium and by extension Western Europe, there is
limited knowledge of Romanian culture or its artistic
scene. The image of this country held by the general public
is an amalgam of Dracula, Ceausescu, folklore and in
recent years, the flourishing nature and strong presence of
Romanian cinema. This image is limited and was formed
by, among others, prejudice and the (un)availability or (in)
accessibility of Romanian artistic projects.
EUROPALIA ROMANIA harbours ambitions of changing
this and providing an up-to-date image of Romanian art. Of
course, it would be impossible and presumptuous to attempt
to give a complete overview of Romanian culture. But the
festival does enable artists and curators to have a voice and
present a multitude of current, surprising perspectives on
Romania, its heritage and contemporary art scene.
The festival’s introductory exhibition, ‘Perspectives’
(BOZAR), sets the scene. It starts with the birth of the
Romanian identity in the middle of the 19th century and
goes all the way up to the fall of Ceausescu in 1989, with
a focus on the historical avant-garde. How did art develop
against the background of this turbulent history? How
do today’s artists view these past events? The exhibition
introduces numerous Romanian artists who will receive
further attention throughout the festival.
Brancusi comes to Brussels
Without doubt, the highlight of EUROPALIA ROMANIA
is the exhibition dedicated to Constantin Brancusi (1876-
1957) at BOZAR. Despite being one of the greatest
artists of the 20th century, Brancusi has never before
been the subject of a retrospective exhibition in Belgium.
EUROPALIA ROMANIA is changing this.
For the first time, masterpieces from across the world are
travelling to Brussels reveal the evolution and power of
Brancusi’s work as a sculptor and photographer. Sculptures
by Auguste Rodin and Medardo Rosso complete the
first, chronological section. The exhibition also focuses
Bozar Brancusi, Installation view
© Luna Klaps
on Brancusi’s studio, where work by his contemporaries,
friends and pupils such as Amedeo Modigliani, Man Ray,
Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp and Isamu Noguchi is
presented. But the stars of the show are sculptures by the
master himself. They testify to his relentless search for the
essence, for sublimation.
Dance and movement also play a significant role in
Brancusi’s oeuvre. EUROPALIA ROMANIA has therefore
commissioned several performers and choreographers to
create new works for the exhibition. These creations will be
shown throughout and during the exhibition, on Thursdays,
Fridays and Saturdays. To give children and families a warm
welcome, ARTS BASICS for CHILDREN will be hosting
Romania, between East and West
Romania is unique due to continuous encounters between
East and West throughout its history. These began with
Dacia (500 BC - 271 AD), the empire that is at the heart
of the Romanian republic, and its contacts with Greek
cities along the Black Sea coast. They continued with the
Romans, who conquered Dacia during the 2nd century.
Afterwards, there were contacts with the Byzantine Empire,
the Orthodox world and their Bulgarian and Serbian
successors. Encounters between East and West followed
one another, and their influence is still felt today. This
cross-pollination between East and West is one of the
guiding themes of the EUROPALIA ROMANIA artistic
The second headlining exhibition, ‘Dacia — The Glorious
Past of Romania’ at the Gallo-Roman Museum in
Tongeren, looks at the cultural cross-fertilization that
occurred around two thousand years ago. For the first
time in Belgium, pieces form Romanian museums, in
particular from the National Museum of Romanian
History, will illustrate the different cultures that lived
in the majority of the present-day territory of Romania.
The museum in Tongeren will present an extraordinary
scenography and a fascinating journey through history.
Bozar Brancusi, Installation view
© Luna Klaps
The Grand Curtius in Liège goes back even further
in time and highlights the Bronze and Neolithic Age
with beautiful geometric pottery and unbelievable
Big name solo exhibitions alongside thematic group shows
The rest of the exhibition programme focuses primarily on
the contemporary art scene, with several solo exhibitions
by, among others, Ciprian Muresan (°1977) — one of the
biggest names in Romania right now — in S.M.A.K. and Ion
Grigorescu (°1945) in KIOSK. One of the first conceptual
artists in Romania, Grigorescu has an unimaginably rich
and intriguing oeuvre. For the first time, and in close
collaboration with the artist, a retrospective of his work will
take place. In addition, group shows will address current
themes and provide a broader picture of the contemporary
art scene. CC Strombeek delves into the subject of
migration in ‘Displacement & Togetherness’ while the MiLL
in La Louvière explores the Romanian art scene of the last
Residencies and new creations
This upcoming festival, the EUROPALIA CURATOR’S
AWARD will celebrate its third edition. This time, the
unique prize for emerging curators goes to Els Vermang in
collaboration with artist Claudia Radulescu. Together, they
leave for a residency in Romania to develop their project
titled ‘HIT’. The idea behind the project is to discover how
a musical hit comes about by composing and releasing a
track, then analysing the resulting music in an exhibition at
The festival contains a series of additional residencies
(followed by exhibitions), among others at AAIR (Antwerp)
and WIELS (Brussels).
Two themes stand out in the festival’s dance and
performance programme, which primarily features
new creations. The first one is folklore. How does the
BOZAR Brancusi, “Léda”, 1926 © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Adam Rzepka, Sabam Belgium, 2019
contemporary art scene relate to folklore? Does it
prefer to stay away from this old instrument of
propaganda, or has it come to terms with its rich
traditions? Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus
explores and works with Romanian traditions, including
bear rituals, in, among others Concertgebouw Bruges,
deSingel, and KVS.
The second theme tackles the position of women and
feminism. In ‘Mothers of Steel’ (Kaaitheater), two female
characters, played by Agata Siniarska and Madalina
Dan, literally weep iconic moments in the history of
their respective countries, Poland and Romania. With
‘Manifestation’ (Kaaitheater), Eszter Salamon creates a
choral performance in which she explores the history of
In the field of classical music, the work of George Enescu
(1881-1955), from traditional performances to jazz
interpretations, runs like a thread through the festival.
There are also stunning musical collaborations, between,
for example, the National Belgian Orchestra and conductor
Cristian Macelaru and cellist Andrei Ionita. The unrivalled
soprano talent Angela Gheorghiu will also make her voice
heard, but mainly lesser-known talents fill the programme.
Here too, there is an emphasis on new creations and
interdisciplinary exchanges between artists from Romania
and Belgium. Alongside the fantastic project of the Taraf
de Impex Roma musicians, three projects stand out in
Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) stands central in the theatre
programme, and his ‘Rhinoceros’, directed by Robert
Wilson, will be one of the season’s highlights at Théâtre de
Liège and Le Phenix in Valenciennes.
Filmmaker Anthony Nti travelled to Romania to record
a video clip for the duo Karpov not Kasparov. Antwerpbased
musician Milan W. also went to Romania where he
discovered the tulnic (a type of Alpine horn) and recorded
BOZAR Brancusi, “Prométhée”, 1911 © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Adam Rzepka, Sabam Belgium, 2019
a new album. And finally, there is a project around the
experimental art group Kinema Ikon. The collective
worked with pieces of discarded film tape, secreted away
from the authorities during the communist era, to create
short experimental films. These unseen materials are
haunted by copyright issues, due to their “glued on” music.
EUROPALIA ROMANIA has commissioned 5 Belgian
and 5 Romanian musicians to create a new score for these
The music programme gets off to a festive start at a party on
4 October at Les Brigittines (Brussels).
30 years after the fall of Ceausescu
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the
communist regime. References to communist Romania
appear in all disciplines, but around the time of the
anniversary, in December, several writers and filmmakers
will be invited to discuss this historic event. The literature
section of the festival focuses on three periods: the
historical avant-garde, the communist era and modernday
Romania. For each period, there are a plethora of
residencies, debates and encounters between leading figures
such as Mircea Cartarescu (1956) but also with the younger
Videograms of a Nation
The film section explores the reality of modern-day
Romania through a camera lens. Both lesser known films
and major titles will offer different perspectives on the
historical and cultural transitions within the country and
its engagement with cinema as an art form. Different
periods are highlighted thematically. For example, the
series ‘Propaganda and subversion in the 1950s’ will be
screened at Cinematek (Brussels). It will be the most
extensive retrospective film programme of the last 25 years,
accompanied by a new publication.
Dirk Vermaelen, artistic director EUROPALIA
& CRYPTO SUMMIT 2019
Before my departure I was asked by almost everybody why I would go to Siberia
while it is in flames! Indeed, wildfires are a huge environmental problem.
However, this has nothing to do with what’s going on in Irkutsk. Indeed. the city
is hot, a hot spot but far different from what we expect in other parts of the world
when we hear the name Irkutsk.
To set it right at the beginning: I’m very happy that I went.
I’m overwhelmed by the Siberian beauty, its hospitality
and its spirituality! Irkutsk is a highly dynamic city, very
well connected to Asian metropolitan areas. From the local
airport there are three flights every day to Seoul and three
weekly flights each to Beijing and Tokyo.
What are we missing out on here in Europe?
Of course, it all has to do with Blockchain Technology and
Crypto Currencies. In Siberia lots of energy is available and
cheap. The low temperatures during most of the year make
it easy to cool down equipment. That makes it an ideal place
for crypto mining! Therefore, it is only consistent to launch
the Baikal Crypto Summit, the first international ever in the
city and it was sure worth the trip. It provided a new scale
and new approaches for and in blockchain technology, with
great insight and interesting stories, including a new level of
honesty and opportunity.
“Money is a medium of exchange, which is purely a market
phenomenon. It is impossible to “assign” something to
money in a market sense. It will be coercion, which is
noticeable in the case of fiat. Sound money is always
competitive and private, like any other goods and services.
The restriction of competition, up to its prohibition, always
leads to a drop in the quality of the goods”, this statement
of one of the participants for me summarizes best what it is
autonomy in the digital age. True enough, that creates lots
of problems right now. But it can be solved! Right now,
there is a lot of misunderstanding and many don’t yet
understand the multiple opportunities provided by cryptos.
It’s a long way still… In short, Irkutsk was a great experience
in the very heart of this huge land mass of the Eurasian
continent. As a matter of fact, lake Baikal is in the very
center of this continent, the distance to the west is exactly
the same as to the east! At Lake Baikal I could feel the
energy of this land mass.
It is all about the possibilities of crypto currencies, of
course. But it is more than that: It is also about twisting
our awareness towards the value of personal data, to the
values of our activities, to digitalization that creates millions
of winners. It’s about our digital profiles and personal
Enjoy a unique eating experience
02 263 01 31
Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde
Open from Monday to Friday.
Saturday by reservation for groups of 20 people or more.
AT THE CENTER
AT THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST, IN THE VERY CENTER
OF THE EURASIAN CONTINENT, IN SIBERIA NEAR
LAKE BAIKAL IN IRKUTSK, RASIA BAIKAL 2019,
A MARATHON OF BUSINESS EVENTS WAS HELD.
There were no major international forums and conferences
in this place before, the nearest events were held one
thousand kilometers to the west and four thousand
kilometers to the east in Vladivostok. The initiator of the
Ralph Simon, Chief Executive Mobilium.com and Alexander Shulgin, Visionary, Investor and Composer © rASiA Baikal 2019
project, a recognized visionary, international investor and
composer Alexander Shulgin understood that he was taking
a risk: “I considered this idea as a startup. The first season
went by and we created a working model for multifunctional
collaboration between local entrepreneurs and innovators,
but also cooperation between colleagues from all five
continents and from BRICS countries.”
A successful investor who has invested in more than a
hundred companies, including world-famous brands, was
right this time. The events were a great success. More than a
thousand participants, more than a hundred foreign experts
and leaders from 44 countries, more than 50 speakers from
23 countries came to Irkutsk to start a new era in Siberia.
At the opening ceremony of the events on the first day,
Mr. Sergey Sokol, Chairman of the Irkutsk Region's
Legislative Assembly, delivered a welcoming speech. “I am
sure that the knowledge gained at the forum about the latest
trends in innovation, tourism, volunteering and other areas
will help us to set new goals and objectives, coordinate and
improve the work aimed at the prosperity of the Irkutsk
region and its residents,” said Sergei Sokol.
“We are always ready to develop and will look forward to
the results of the sessions in order to put the knowledge
gained into practice and take another step forward.
Irkutsk Region with its rich natural resources, scientific and
human resources potential can claim to become a platform
for the creation of the most advanced technologies and
technologies of the future.”
Mr. Anton Logashev, Vice Governor, and Alexander
Abramkin, Head of the Baikal Bank of Sberbank, also
addressed the audience.
Mayenezeke Baza preparing to explain the vision of the future of Africa
© rASiA Baikal 2019
On the first day, the Plenary Investment Session was held
with the Irkutsk Investment Development Agency of the
Irkutsk Region as a partner. Discussion panels on the
topics of fintec, tourism, future cities, volunteering and of
course international cooperation was also successfully held.
The main partner of the first day was the company AAA
Entertainment from South Africa
Day two was a visionary day. SHULGIN 22.214.171.124. is a global
think tank of the world's best experts and leaders, held
regularly in various countries since 2017. Previous meetings
were held in Moscow, Hong Kong, Philippines, France,
Guatemala and now in Irkutsk
Twenty-five lectures were given by key speakers on how the
industrial sectors and services will develop technology, future
of professions and training. And of course there were topics
on the Future of Global Geopolitics and Industrialization,
the Future of Lifestyles, the Future of Europe and Africa in
2035 and Decentralization of Africa 2.0.
Mr. Sergey Sokol, Chairman of the Irkutsk Region's Legislative Assembly
© rASiA Baikal 2019
Plenary session lead by AIRIO © rASiA Baikal 2019
Peter Ng, founder and CEO JD Mining with his keynote “Let’s make mining
sexy” © rASiA Baikal 2019
Jimmy Nguen, President of Bitcoin Association explains the benefits from
Bitcoin SV in a plenary session. © rASiA Baikal 2019
On the third day however, decentralization played a major
role, as Blockchain technology was the main technology.
The day was called Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit.
The most important companies of this rapidly developing
sector — Bitcoin.com, Bitfury Group, Bitmain, Sigmapool,
Minery.io, and many others — participated at the Irkutsk
Irkutsk is called the capital of cryptomining, where the
cheapest electricity, cold, good fiber optic communication is
good for skilled technicians from 15 technical academies in
the city. More than a thousand large and small miners are
located in the region, which is about 40% of the global total.
The Summit also discussed pressing topics as blockchain
as a service, blockchain for enterprises and decentralized
economies. The main partner of the day were Bitcoin
Association and Bitcoin SV.
The events ended with a two-day trip to Baikal to learn
about the region and culture, including local customs and
meetings with shamans. They also predicted the successful
future of rASiA Baikal events. The next rASiA Baikal 2020
and Baikal Blockchain & Crypto Summit is being planned
for June 2020.
Alexander Shulgin with closing remarks after the three day marathon © rASiA Baikal 2019
TALKING ABOUT MY TAKEAWAYS FROM
RASIA BAIKA IN IRKUTSK THIS AUGUST
• First, I realized that it was the right decision to hold
an event in this region. Until now, there have only been
small local events and very few of them with foreign
participants (no more than a dozen participants from
neighboring countries). Thus, rASiA Baikal has been the
first big international event in Irkutsk.
• Secondly, we are convinced that local business and youth
are both ready for new achievements and success. Both
in business and socially the level of young people’s social
responsibility in contributing to solve environmental
problems is one of the highest I ever met in the world.
Knowledge and skills in technology, engineering, and IT
are among their strongest assets.
• Thirdly, the willingness to cooperate with entrepreneurs
from neighboring countries in the region is extremely
high. During the forum, several agreements and
transactions have been concluded between Siberian and
Asian entrepreneurs, which will be very useful for the
• Fourth, the level of readiness to adopt innovations
and the direct involvement in creating innovations was
admired by the participants.
• And fifth, Irkutsk, as the center of the Eurasian
continent, is a great place to get to know not only for
tourism but also as the center attracting new ideas and as
the heart of friendship.
the brightest innovations that changed the world. Then it
was optical discs, internet, mobile digital environment, now
Blockchain, which, by the way, I call a block'n'roll. Young
startups and coders here are exactly the same kind of guys
as 40 years ago in rock 'n' roll and punk rock. They too want
to change the world and achieve freedom. So, innovation
for me is to improve the world, to improve life, to make
us happier with every innovation. We are all striving for
happiness, only in an innovative way it will be faster.
Let me give you an outlook on how the world is going to
look in 2035: Industries will be fully automated, work
will be a privilege, volunteering and self-employment will
grow dramatically and will require a creative approach
and a high moral standard. Civil society will be in a
great confusion and despair, because of the changes in
the industry, and most importantly, also the changes in
The conference does not directly relate to my business.
For me, holding a forum is more a matter of philanthropy.
I do not want to do business from the organization of the
forum itself, but I very much hope that the forum facilitated
as many entrepreneurial business contacts, ideas, projects
among the forum participants as possible. The growth
that we will have in the business ecosystem around the
forum will surely also have impact on the business of my
companies, at least in some niches. If we bake a big pie,
everyone will get a piece. For me, a small crumb will be
I am always at the top of innovation. As a teenager, I joined
the first wave of rock'n'roll, which at that time was one of
© Diplomatic World
© Diplomatic World
geopolitics will be dramatic. Not only the professions and
sectors of the economy will die, but also the borders of
the countries in their current form, as well as the model
of public administration and their institutions will be
weakened. Ecology (environment) will change, based on
natural phenomena and greater involvement of young
generations in solving environmental problems.
The biggest opponents to innovation have always been
those who were to be replaced by such innovative solutions.
Therefore, now the biggest opponents are the existing
system of state management, institutions of power, banking,
education, representatives of old infrastructures, and, of
course, as always, conservatively ignorant people.
In such institutions and branches of government, there
are an incredibly large number of people who cannot only
find no job, they also cannot find themselves in a changing
world. Intuitively understanding this and not wanting to
part with their cozy offices, visible positions and attractive
wages — they are the main blockage of innovation. They
are so selfish that they do not understand that they are a
barrier for the wellbeing of their own children; so many
of them want to live only for themselves without children.
But progress cannot be stopped, so the best people have
always been and will continue to be on the cutting edge
of innovation, even if they are burned on fire and publicly
hanged as they once were. Moving forward to a happy future
is the human mission. In such a movement you can show
your talent and save your soul.
When we come to the time when there will be 9 billion
people on earth — if we allow this — mankind will have
learned by using new technologies how to refer more
carefully to the diet and the amount of food eaten
and cooked. As a result, the amount of food to feed
people will not be higher than now, it will just be more
reasonable and used more efficient. Do not dispose of large
quantities of unwisely cooked food in a waste container.
Also, innovations in the agrarian library will provide
the opportunity to use natural resources for sowing and
harvesting more efficiently.
Well, of course, the food itself will change, not only by
providing smaller portions and healthy food, but also new
types of food will appear. Foodtech will not only provide
3D printed food, or a substitute for meat, but also other
innovative solutions based on the synergy of foodtech,
biotech, and agrotech. The most important thing is
that the consumption of animals, which started in large
volumes about a hundred years ago to avoid getting into the
Malthusian trap, will finally decrease.
BLOCKCHAIN AND BITCOIN:
IS AN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
SETTING OUT RECOMMENDED
REGULATION THE BEST
BY IAN PENMAN
PARTNER, NEW MEDIA LAW LLP
Earlier in August 2019, a large cross-section of the
Blockchain and Bitcoin industries gathered at the first
Blockchain “rASiA Baikal” conference in Irkutsk, Siberia.
During the conference, among other key issues examined
by the delegates during various forums, was the issue of
whether Blockchain in general, and Bitcoin in particular,
should be regulated 1 .
There are a number of diverse opinions on this subject, but
it seems to me that — if we want Blockchain technology
and digital cryptocurrencies in particular to achieve the
massive steps forward in technological solutions that the
technology’s potential offers, then regulation is a necessary
“next step” along the development path.
Without internationally recognised regulation, governments
will shun cryptocurrencies as being liable to enable the
evasion of tax — which is after all their lifeblood — and
without government support, big business will not invest
on a global scale. But the key question is — what regulation?
And by whom?
An International Convention?
Clearly, it would be preferable if the world’s governments
(or at least the majority of them) implemented legislation
which met with the approval of the majority of the
industry’s experts. To that end I would like to propose
that the industry forms a regulation body, made up of
representatives from different elements of the blockchain
industry, from a diverse range of participant countries,
who would consider and formulate proposals, which after
they have been voted on and distilled down to a workable
convention — would then be submitted to nation states for
Of course, there are precedents for this in the federal model
(for example as implemented by the Articles of Congress
in the USA in 1777) 2 , and in the Berne Convention on
Copyright — adopted in 1886 3 . The Berne Convention is an
international agreement which governs copyright. The treaty
states that if copyright exists in one of these countries,
then this copyright is valid in all member countries who are
signatories of the Berne Convention. At present there are
177 signatory countries out of 195 countries in the world
One more recent example is the international agreement
on 5G technical standards, as outlined by the International
Telecommunication Union (“ITU”) 4 , and 3GPP 5 . The
3GPP organisation fundamentally consists of all the world’s
telecommunications standards bodies who have agreed
to share the definition of 3G wireless and govern the
innovation and conditions of the next-generation networks
such as 5G wireless technologies.
The 3GPP is a pivotal example of how an industry can
agree to share a definition of a function, in this case, 3G
Wireless. Similarly, the 5G wireless aims to be a global
standard, which can be proven to be a difficult task as each
participating country (e.g., China, Russia, South Korea)
or amalgamated body of countries (e.g., the EU, the UN)
will maintain its own definition of 5G networks, its own
concepts of 5G speed, and its own regulations for where 5G
transmissions may take place.
Another good example is ICANN 6 , which is a nonprofit
organization responsible for coordinating the
maintenance and procedures of several databases related
to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet,
ensuring the network's stable and secure operation. I was
on the advisory board of ICANN in the 1990’s, and saw
first-hand how the regulation of the technical aspects of the
Internet could be made possible without the involvement
of national governments, by interested parties within
international industries with a professional vested interest in
the success of the project in question.
Why do we need a Convention?
Without a convention, proscribed by the blockchain
industry itself, the field will end up being regulated by
individual governments with little or no understanding
of the technical issues, passing a myriad of conflicting
legislation on a national basis. This can only serve to slow
down implementation, and cause huge interoperability
problems, which an international convention will help
to avoid. Already, some governments are seeking to treat
cryptocurrencies as “assets”, whereas others see them as
“currencies”, which can be traded without capital gains tax
being applied to each trade. Which is the correct path?
WE NEED TO IMPROVE
In addition, use of the Darknet is rapidly giving blockchain
in general and Bitcoin in particular a bad name. The failures
found in Liberty Reserve, Silk Road and Mt. Gox are good
examples of why regulation is necessary, in order to “clean
up” blockchain’s reputation. Commentators have argued
that the primary reason blockchains are associated with
cybercrime is the absence of strategic governance enabling
agreed rules and ensuring compliance. The moment such
governance with policies, procedures and mechanisms
and enforcement are in place, the real societal benefits of
blockchains could be achieved.
AND GET GOVERNMENTS “ONSIDE”.
for centralised authorities, as well as the need to trust
them. It is this very “decentralisation”, coupled with the
cryptographic qualities of the solution, which terrifies
governments — whose very existence is made financially
possible by the ability to tax their citizens, without funds
being hidden either cryptographically or geographically.
For example, while blockchain enables Bitcoin users to
hold, send and receive money online, these distributed
ledgers do more, including clearing and settlement of digital
asset trading and distributed computing without having
the need for central intermediaries. This could potentially
render the existing banking systems obsolete.
Some blockchain standards appear to be consistent despite
having a decentralized system as there is a consensus
amongst the individuals in each blockchain network as to
how to deal with transactions. For example, an essential
aspect of blockchain is that once something is on the
blockchain, it cannot be altered or counterfeited. Once an
asset is listed on the blockchain, ownership is immutable
unless the owner verifies a change. Furthermore, blockchain
has the ability to prove ownership of an asset through its
immutable distributed ledgers as information on previous
and current ownership is both accessible and visible to
those in the network.
Currently, blockchain technology is used in two modes:
public and private ledgers. Various financial institutions are
implementing private (permissioned) ledgers. This is a more
circumscribed controlled application of the technology,
where user identity is known and confirmed. This has the
result that private blockchains can be compared to telco
providers. In contrast, public ledgers are permissionless
censorship-resistant pseudonymous ledgers where username
or wallet address is not fully traceable to the real individual
executing the transaction. A nightmare for governments, if
unregulated, for the reasons set out above.
CURRENT USES OF BLOCKCHAIN
A number of large banks are now partnering with R3 CEV,
a blockchain start-up dedicated to the development of
common standards for the industry, while the US NASDAQ
is adapting the technology to record trading in securities of
The use of decentralised ledger blockchain technology
by virtual currencies like Bitcoin removes the need
Blockchain is also particularly important in markets which
endure high levels of forgeries such as those found in
precious commodities and high-value properties. In such
instances, it is crucial to maintain accurate information in
order to deter unauthorized and fraudulent changes. For
instance, Everledger shows how the use of a distributed
ledger in the diamond trade can assure the identity of
diamonds from being mined and cut to being sold and
insured. This usage has the potential to deter fraud and
prevent illegitimate diamonds from entering the market.
Blockchain applications in businesses indeed go beyond
this, as well as its core current employment in banking.
The issue is that blockchain technology has expanded
from the transfers of digitally stored values, as found in
a multitude of different cybercurrencies, to applications
needing transaction verifications or a trusted repository
of information. In addition, increasing numbers of
organizations are beginning to use blockchain to develop
infrastructure to support decentralized applications,
as exemplified in the Ethereum Foundation, where
decentralized peer-to-peer applications and smart contracts
could be built on top of its blockchain infrastructure.
These applications bring into focus both legal implications
and law enforcement concerns.
What concepts should the Convention address?
The two strands of the convention should try to settle
technical standards and legal standards, which are
intertwined, but require different practical and philosophical
Directive, neither of which imply the creation of a new
Conversely, the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing
and Urban Affairs is now requesting information about
the regulation and oversight of virtual currencies and
blockchain tech from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation, Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the
National Credit Union Administration.
Several states in the USA are currently in the process of
adopting the Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency
Businesses Act (URVCBA) 8 which provides a statutory
framework for the regulation of companies engaging in
“virtual-currency business activity,” such as exchanging,
transferring, or storing virtual currency; holding electronic
precious metals or certificates of electronic precious metals;
or exchanging digital representations of value within online
games for virtual currency or legal tender.
Which is the correct approach — and why? Surely the
blockchain industry itself knows the answers best?
How do we reach agreement?
The concept of using blockchain technology to determine
the future of blockchain is irresistible. For example, once
provisional suggestions have been received by interested
parties within the industry, they can be refined and voted
upon by way of a distributed ledger voting system.
In the UK, there are no specific cryptocurrency laws as
yet, cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in
the UK, and exchanges have registration requirements.
The UK HMRC has issued a brief on the tax treatment
of cyrptocurrencies 7 , named the “Revenue and Customs
Brief 9 (2014): Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies”, which
states that their “unique identity” means they can’t be
compared to conventional investments or payments, and
their “taxability” depends on the activities and parties
involved. Gains or losses on cryptocurrencies will, however,
be subject to capital gains tax.
In the EU, the European Parliament voted to adopt a smart
regulatory hands-off approach to regulating blockchain
technology. The EU Parliament’s initiative combines two
different initiatives: the creation of a Virtual Currency
Task Force and the inclusion of virtual currency exchanges
within the ambit of the European Anti-Money Laundering
The voting system would allow as many interested parties
in each country to vote as may be required, in a confidential
manner, with the votes for each country being counted
in such a way that the majority vote then represents one
“country vote”. The majority of the country votes are then
counted — until a decision on each recommendation to be
put forward to the convention is made.
In this way, a worldwide convention can be systematically
discussed and finalised which will set out how regulation
of blockchain and crypto currencies should be progressed,
on a “most favoured solution” basis, which in turn can be
submitted to governments worldwide, for them to adopt if
Of course, there is nothing to say that governments will
adopt the convention, but then again, there was nothing
to suggest that the Berne copyright convention would be
adopted either. But it was. As it became obvious that the
creative industries would prosper under an internationally
recognised and supported scheme for regulation.
When can we do this?, and What should the
Convention be called?
diplomats as to the substance of the text can take place,
with a view to the final convention being ratified at the next
rAsiaBaikal conference in Irkutsk in [June] 2020.
Thus the blockchain and cryptocurrency convention would
be known as the Irkutsk Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
It is my suggestion that the first draft of the Convention
should be submitted to the next rAsia meeting in Brussels
being organised by Diplomatic World in [April] 2020.
From there, consultation with leading politicians and
From this writer’s perspective, this would be a step worth
Ian Penman — Partner
New Media Law LLP - August 2019
1 Thursday 8 th August 2019. rASiA Baikal conference
in Irkutsk, Siberia. “Is Government Regulation of
Cryptocurrencies Necessary?” www.rasiabiakal.com
2 The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual
Union was an agreement among the 13 original
states of the United States of America that served
as its first constitution. It was approved, after much
debate (between July 1776 and November 1777), by
the Second Continental Congress on November 15,
1777, and sent to the states for ratification.
3 The Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as
the Berne Convention, is an international agreement
governing copyright, which was first accepted
in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.
The Berne Convention formally mandated several
aspects of modern copyright law; it introduced the
concept that a copyright exists the moment a work
is “fixed”, rather than requiring registration. It also
enforces a requirement that countries recognize
copyrights held by the citizens of all other parties to
4 The ITU is the successor to the International
Telegraph Union, which was formed way back in 1865.
The ITU coordinates the shared global use of
the radio spectrum, promotes international
cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to
improve telecommunication infrastructure in the
developing world, and assists in the development
and coordination of worldwide technical standards.
5 3GPP https://www.3gpp.org/ The 3rd Generation
Partnership Project (3GPP) unites seven
telecommunications standard development
organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI,
TSDSI, TTA, TTC), known as “Organizational
Partners” and provides their members with a stable
environment to produce the Reports and Specifications
that define 3GPP technologies.
6 https://www.icann.org/ ICANN is a global multistakeholder,
private sector organization that manages
Internet resources for the public benefit. It is best
known for its role as technical coordinator of the
Internet’s Domain Name System.
8 The Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency
Businesses Act (URV-CBA) provides a statutory
framework for the regulation of companies engaging
in “virtual-currency business activity,” such as
exchanging, transferring, or storing virtual currency;
holding electronic precious metals or certificates
of electronic precious metals; or exchanging digital
representations of value within online games for
virtual currency or legal tender. The URVCBA’s
unique, three-tiered structure clarifies whether an
individual or company engaging in virtual currency
business activity is (1) exempt from the act; (2) must
register; or (3) must obtain a license. The URVCBA
also contains numerous consumer protections. https://
PARTNER — NEW MEDIA LAW LLP
Ian is a founding Partner of New Media Law, which
is a West End Media & Entertainment law practice in
London. Ian specializes in Media & Entertainment
law, as well as Intellectual Property and e-commerce.
Areas of advice include: Copyright, Internet Law,
Company/Commercial, Licensing, Distribution,
Shareholder Agreements, Director’s Service Contracts,
ISP Agreements, Web Design Agreements, Media
Content Agreements, Production Agreements, Financing
Agreements, Domain Names and Trade Marks
(acquisition, recovery and protection), Mergers and
Acquisitions, Libel and Slander, Litigation and general
company commercial advice.
Ian’s clients range from governments (such as the Isle
of Man) to household media names (such as Sony
Playstation and News Group Newspapers) and state
of the art technology companies (such as Synchtank,
see www.synchtank.com) and span the media content
industries — including television and film producers,
broadcasters and distributors, computer game and
console manufacturers, internet retailers, record
companies, animation houses, music publishers, artist
management companies, actors, directors, artists and
musicians, magazine and book publishers, software
developers, domain name registrars, ISP’s and Website
programmers together with a number of other media/
entertainment and general commercial companies.
rAsia conference in Moscow in June 2014 (see: www.
rAsia.com) and well as on digital distribution at the
DCIA conference in Berlin, and chaired the Euroforum
seminar on the “the Digital Distribution of Music” for
3 years after its inception. He also chaired C5’s “Digital
Entertainment Distribution” conference in London,
which featured Microsoft, Sony, Warner Bros and
Disney, and further moderated a forum at “The Digital
Revolution of Film and TV” conference. Ian was a
member of the ICANN Working Group which advised
the ICANN board on its strategy for the introduction
of new global domain names.
He holds a 2:1 LLB (Honours) from The University
of London, as well as a Masters in Law (specializing in
internet and Multimedia Rights) from the University
of Westminster, where he is a visiting Principal
Lecturer — and has written their Entertainment
& Media and e-commerce course for the LPC.
He is a Principal Lecturer and Examiner on the
University of Westminster LPC E-commerce
course in London, and also the founder of the
Media Law & Business Affairs course in London
Before setting up New Media Law in January 2002, Ian
was previously an Associate at DLA Piper, a top 10 city
firm, where he spent over 7 years advising primarily in the
Media and Entertainment law sectors — often focusing
on the New Media sector involving the Internet and
e-commerce. Prior to entering the law profession, Ian
worked initially for a family stockbroking and investment
firm in Chicago and then in the music industry for 9 years
— initially as a professional musician and record producer,
and latterly in artist management and music publishing.
Ian regularly speaks at conferences focusing on Media
and Entertainment — and has recently spoken at the
Digitalization makes things easier! Well, we all know by now that this early
assumption was playing the positive card too much. More democracy? Look
what China is doing these days and see how some big data companies are
treating consumer rights. Moreover, fear is justified that many of the jobs as we
know them today will be lost. Nobody can tell yet what will replace them. It
can’t be repeated often enough: any invention can be used for both — for good
and for bad. It takes a lot of effort — and responsibility — to secure open and free
societies. It’s the same when we look towards sustainability and the protection of
Artificial Intelligence can provide lots of great solutions to
help us avoid waste or carbon and to deal with the waste
that can’t be avoided or to plant new trees in big numbers,
only to name a few. But it also consumes lots of energy
and releases huge amounts of heat from electronic devices
and the growing server farms.
Now, it seems we are so much attracted by the things that
can be moved in a sustainable way that we don’t see the
risk. Again, there is another side to the coin — as always:
Blockchain Technology and Cloud Computing increase
the demand for energy substantially and defuse huge
amounts of waste heat into the environment.
To give an example: one company runs server farms on
various locations across Europe. At one location about 10
years ago it had about 10,000 m2 with an energy demand
of a small city with about 70,000 inhabitants. About half
of this demand was needed to cool down the facilities.
Today, the space they provide in this location alone has
almost tripled and constructions are under way to almost
double today’s capacity within the next three years. It’s
easy to forecast the energy demand and the waste heat
released into the environment.
Well, in Siberia, the global hotspot for the crypto mining
industry, energy consumption will not be an issue for a
long time, there is enough. However, waste heat may be
underrated, also in “remote” parts of the world. We should
pay much more attention to this issue. There are solutions
for many problems. We only need to address them! India
launched a program to improve home air conditioning by
halving at least 50% of the power consumption.
In a few years India expects over a billion private air
conditioning systems in the cities. Today’s devices are
cheap but consume lots of energy and are giving lots
of waste heat into already hot urban streets. Is this the
beginning to tackle this problem before it becomes a truly
Even the renaissance of traditional nuclear power may
not be as “clean” as environmental activists claim. Yes, it
is carbon neutral — however, these powerplants are very
advanced steam engines that are also defusing more
heat into the surroundings than traditional coal power
Dieter Brockmeyer is co-founder and Chief Project Officer of the newly formed
Diplomatic World Institute (DWI), here with Barbara Dietrich, publisher
of Diplomatic World Magazine and co-founder/CEO of the DWI when first
announcing it during P’50 Peace Summit this June.
© Eurasian Women Community Press Agency.
TALKING ABOUT MY TAKEAWAYS FROM
IRKUTSK THIS YEAR IS NOT EASY SINCE THERE
WERE SO MANY OVERALL.
LET ME SUMMARIZE THIS WAY:
• Virtual reality is ideal for low-impact virtual tourism —
especially when set up for groups (Wild Immersion with
• Full-blown revolution often destroys value unnecessarily
says Andrea Chamma — better to first try to evolve the
ecosystems if possible.
• Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies are thriving in
Russia and Asia, and the community for ready for better
interaction with regulatory authorities.
• Without Satoshi, Bitcoin has splintered along religious
lines a bit like a fundamentalist church schism.
• Building startup ecosystems in a specific region takes a
lot of work, and thereʼs no guidebook or playbook anyone
can point to for this (itʼs not even clear how it happened
in Silicon Valley, though lots of theories abound), yet it
remains vital for long-term economic health in a region.
• Much work remains for the blockchain and bitcoin
communities to make these technologies feel accessible
to everyday (especially enterprise) consumers.
• One of the biggest challenges with decentralized communities
is the reality that nobody can officially represent
and advocate for the core community overall, so itʼs
harder to build a center of gravity to pull in new adopters.
orchestration our startup will deliver will enable smaller
organizations to act with the same kinds of scale that was
previously only possible with huge amounts of staff and
Iʼve worked in highly innovative companies like Google and
for many other multinationals and I have to say we talked
about innovation a lot less at Google than we did at the
others because we were swimming in it (in other words:
how does a fish know itʼs wet?) so for me this is a question
of culture first and foremost. Innovation culture requires
humble leadership who can establish the psychological
safety needed to let a fully diverse set of viewpoints
contribute to that pathfinding. Every one of us has a bias
that craves familiar cultural territory so thereʼs nothing
more important than bringing a team together with a large
diversity of networks so that you donʼt start with a crippling
In my case, Iʼm building a new kind of startup and what I
saw in Irkutsk has been consistent with what got us inspired
in the first place. The singularity weʼre always talking about
in technology isnʼt the only one weʼve had in human society
— we saw the same kinds of event horizons (and renaissance
periods) during the dawn of the agrarian and industrial
age, respectively. Humans naturally form value networks in
their socioeconomic activities, and the fractal orchestration
pattern that results can be immensely useful for those that
need to make investment decisions. And anyone can grow
and cultivate their value networks. The time will come
when having smaller, more nimble organizations will be
an advantage, and the value network
© Andy Zmolek
© Diplomatic World
My outlook on the world in 2035: most of the value
produced in the world will be nonfinancial in nature
(meaning that the exchange of currency will not be required,
whether electronic or physical). This is a hard topic to get
our heads around because today we live in a world where
capital is still the scarce resource that most dominates, but
weʼre quickly moving to a world where human attention is
far more scarce and the only way to access it is to better
orchestrate the exchange of value around it.
However there is lots of resistance that needs to be
overcome: while itʼs tempting to point to government
regulation and taxes (and there is some resistance there to
be sure), the real answer is rooted in human psychology —
our own programming makes innovation hard because weʼre
naturally tribal and we fear loss much more strongly than
we prize gain. Most of us routinely delude ourselves into
thinking we are open minded and make logical decisions.
This is not the case, and one must first accept this reality
and create the opportunities for diversity to appear even
when itʼs not comfortable. Set your life up for moments of
serendipity by putting yourself at the edge of your comfort
zone, and youʼll find the barriers to innovation are lowered.
One of the biggest challenges in the future will be how
we can feed soon nine billion or more people and keep
our planet a pleasant place to live on. Often when I see a
question like this itʼs as if one presumes that a small number
of people are able to solve something for everyone in a
general way and itʼs never going to work that way. Societies
need a certain amount of freedom to evolve and develop on
their own even when doing so means they pose risk their
own most important fundamental needs. A better question
to me is: how do the most developed societies have the
greatest positive impact on the least-developed and most
at-risk societies without impeding their ability to evolve
and grow? Helping those societies at risk must be done
in a way that preserves their right to self-governance and
doesnʼt create problematic dependencies and unsustainable
distortions, so itʼs very important that we approach such
questions from an ecosystems-minded perspective.
My takeaway from the rASiA conference was a far
better understanding of the depth and significance
of Data Mining and Bitcoin activity in Siberia, as
well as seeing that the cost of mining is probably
lowest in the world. Also, I never realised how big
Irkutsk is as a city, and that whilst it does get very
cold in the autumn and winter, I was impressed by
the people, the bit mining professionals and the
attendees to rASiA.
Attending rAsia was important for our Mobilium Global
business, as it gave us the chance to meet with some
outstanding entrepreneurs from Brazil, Southern Africa,
Russia and spend time with the terrific British lawyer Ian
Penman — and of course too, Diplomatic World publisher
We approach innovation in two specific areas — education
and mobile device innovation. Our education innovation
is being led by Mrs. Esther Wojcicki, one of the most
iconic educators in the world, who is based in Palo Alto,
Silicon Valley. Together we are building what we call our
“Global Moonshot for Education” — a new education
discipline to train students, under graduates, job seekers
and businesspeople what they need to learn and practice
for the industries of the future. We also do a lot of work in
India where our company Hungama Digital, are the world’s
leading providers of mobile content for the Bollywood
movie industry in India.
one can find brilliant ideas and companies in countries one
would not have thought of previously. For example, personal
health developments of great value are being found in India,
in Brazil and in the Baltic countries too.
To feed 9bn people will require a revolution and growth
of “Vertical Farming” — that is, farming in urban areas in
tall buildings, where hydroponic horticulture will have to
The world of 2035 will see amazing developments in
Artificial Intelligence and great breakthroughs in medicine
and what is now called Exponential Health and Personalised
Medicine — an area we work in with Singularity University.
I believe that by 2035, the world will have had to adopt a
whole new tabula rasa about dealing with Climate Crisis
and especially so in the wake of the uncontrollable fires in
the Amazon — a huge wake-up call for all of us.
The biggest resistance to innovation is often the difficulty
that entrepreneurs have in raising or finding capital to
finance their innovation. Fortunately, disruption and
innovation are now so prominent in the G20 countries that
© Diplomatic World
be used for vegetables and fruit to be grown in the middle
of massive urban areas. To keep the world a pleasant
place to live in will be a major challenge for leaders and
governments, and especially so, in an age when demagogues
are gaining more and more power and democracy as we
knew it at the time of the formation of the European Union,
is under major stress. Never before has there been such a
need for principled political leadership or inter-government
cooperation on a scale not imagined in the current political
© Diplomatic World
JOACHIM DE VOS,
For 25 years Living Tomorrow is a unique innovation and
demonstration platform in Brussels where we showcase
innovations in real life settings, and where
we work together with many leading companies.
We host hundreds of thousands of visitors every year,
professionals and consumers. We connect them with
innovation and get in touch with them how our world will
look like in the next decades. TomorrowLab is a strategic
innovation advisory and services provider that started
fifteen years ago; it was created on demand of several
companies that asked us how to innovate and how to create
a continuous process of innovation.
What is your approach on innovation
and what does it mean to you?
Innovation is per definition special and typically human. It
is something that helps us to survive and evolve. For me the
definition of innovation is simple: to see what everyone sees
but doing what no one does. We observe things happening
but only few of us are curious enough to detect the potential
for something new, that will also accepted by the market.
Innovation means also bringing something successfully to
market. There are many ideas for ‘inventions’ that were
never successfully commercialized. At the end this means
© Living Tomorrow
We did a global survey amongst 90 CEOs with one question:
“If you're not completely satisfied with the return on
your investment in innovation, what are the obstacles?”
The top five problems we noticed: 1) It takes too long
to bring innovation to market. 2) We are not successful
in collaborating with other companies. 3) There is a
lack of coordination in the process. 4) The organisation
has an unsupportive culture towards innovation. Many
companies focus on continuous lean and mean exercises
and operational excellence but there is no creativity left. All
activity that does not fit within these procedures needs to be
killed. 5) Limited customer and market insights, what will
the future bring to us and our customers? In what direction
will the added value for our company turn?
Let’s take a closer look at these five main obstacles for
innovation and how to tackle them.
First of all, ‘too long time to market’: innovation has to
become a professional procedure, an ‘engine’, embedded
and integrated deep into the organization. TomorrowLab
helps our customers, companies, governments or cities in
developing this attitude. It takes a managerial approach;
innovation cannot stay a Friday afternoon activity. We guide
to create and install a personalized process, an innovation
engine, that takes new ideas step by step to a successful
who have an overview on what the whole company is doing,
putting everything in perspective and steering its direction
towards the defined strategic goals.
We bring scarce innovation profiles to companies. We help
to connect different experts and business units to build
future proof companies that excel in innovation. The fourth
element is stimulating a supportive culture and climate
towards innovation and develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
In our programs we try to take employees and leadership
of our customers away from their desks, create a distance
from the daily operational stuff, solving the problems of
yesterday. Managers are trained to make extrapolations
of the past into the future, and there it goes wrong. We
use scenario methodologies: what plausible futures can
we develop for the company? In which ecosystem will
we live and act tomorrow and what are the opportunities
and threats for the future? These exercises create future
awareness, the start of an innovation supportive culture.
The fifth element is lack of future customer and market
insights. We are used to analyse market research of things
we observe in the market today, but how to question the
future if customers cannot imagine what that this would
The second concern was inadequate external collaboration
or joint ventures. The solution is to open up this process
of innovation, and that is a difficult one. Companies and
their employees are trained to work inside a box, in a closed
environment. And now they should tear down the (fire-)
walls around the company and share potential innovation?
One of the main reasons is to protect ‘intellectual property’.
We measure our innovation by the amount of IP generated
in our firms. But that is not the only truth anymore:
new revolutionary design will have to be developed in
group structures, in open platforms, in teams in close
collaboration with other external partners, combining the
best of different worlds. Question yourself who will be
your partner in the future, who will be my competitor in
the future. Markets are changing based on new demands,
new needs or rather unserved needs of customers. Many
companies forget this simple rule. They try to invent
everything themselves. The third topic is a lack of
coordination. What we experience at TomorrowLab is that
many companies have experts, doing deep dives into specific
topics and themes but they lack T-shaped profiles. People
© Living Tomorrow
© Living Tomorrow
mean to them? That is the reason why we have started
Living Tomorrow, envisioning a tangible future, letting
people come in, experience the kitchen or carehome of the
future, think and capture their reflections and sensations.
We capture crucial information in our projects; future
customer feedback that we share with our customers.
What is the world going to look like in 2035?
Nobody can predict the future by looking into the crystal
ball. But I think there are a few certainties for tomorrow.
Sustainability, caring for our planet in the first place. We
will have to save our world; we will have to do more with
less. We will have to use fewer natural resources. We cannot
continue the oil era, consuming and burning fossil fuels
like we are doing today. There are alternatives and we really
need to take them seriously. Solar energy, electrical vehicles,
the race is on. Not only for cars, but also for ships, airplanes
and trucks, challenging the transport and commuting scene.
Short haul will be revolutionized by electric engines
and hyperloops with zero emission in high speed.
Containerships are still using polluting bucker oil and these
ships will be shifting soon to batteries and hydrogen or
nuclear power. We still need a lot of research and innovation
in this area, but we are making progress like we never did
before. The clock is ticking. Even better is not making
the things we don’t need: waste prevention. Landfilling is
still a major issue in many parts of the world. How will
manufacturing look like in 2035? Revolutionized ! Robots
will be everywhere, doing the jobs we did anno 2019. 3D
and 4D printing will boost on demand production, locally.
It could mean the end of cheap mass production in
countries like China.
And Mooreʼs Law will not miss its effect: every 2 years
processing power doubles in performance and uses half the
space. Things become invisble and incredibly smart in an
hyperconnected world: cars, wearables, homes, building,
cities,… everything becomes smart. Today we carry around
100 microprocessors in our watches, smartphones, cars, but
in 2035 that will grow to tens of thousands. They will be
anywhere even inside our body measuring vital parameters
and travelling throughout our bloodstream and brains. Data
will be the new gold and it will push our society further in
enabling new smart services, smart robots, smart devices
doing things like we imagined them but never asked for.
Data in 2035 is like oil before: the engine of new economies.
In the sixties we concentrated large production plants into
specific industrial areas outside our cities. But in 2035,
with clean production, collaboration with robots, 3D and
4D printing, micro manufacturing of personalized things
will again take place in the city centers. What will the
civil society look like? It will be a next generation internet
society; the world is my home.
Remember, the internet is still a very young technology. The
first public webpage was online on August 6th, 1991. And
think about how intrusive online services came into our
daily lives. Changing the way, we shop, work, sport, watch
tv and listen to music, the way we drive our cars and bikes,
take planes, even how we meet or connect with each other.
Our privacy is under attack, although we live in a continent,
Europe, that has the best protection worldwide thanks to
GDPR and EU privacy legislation. But still, private data will
be more open in 2035.
It will be very hard to do things secretly for good and for
bad. Sometimes it is necessary to give up some of our
privacy. Today we think that our computers are stupid and
non-personal, but when robots and humanoids will surround
us in 2035 you will talk to them, tell them your secrets.
They will get to know you better and, in this way, serve you
better, become an intellectual and sometimes even “human”,
as a friend. Most traditional jobs will have been replaced
by robots powered by artificial intelligence but at least as
many new jobs will have been created. Even lawyers or
medical doctors are not ‘safe’ for disruption, meaning that
also highly intellectual jobs will have a problem in surviving
Some predict that in 2040 we will reach the singularity
point. Singularity means that the processing power of
computers will be equal to that of a human brain. And
taking Moore’s Law into account that means that, 34 years
later, by 2074 one computer chip will be more performant
than all human brains — 10 billion — together. Challenging.
Some people look at this as a nightmare, Elon Musk
started a company – Neuralink – to connect our brain to
a machine to make sure we can catch up with machines.
Nicholas Negroponte stated in his book the Age of Spiritual
Machines that we will be immortal by scanning our brain
into a machine and virtually live forever. I personally believe
that it will move towards a more positive scenario, but
super-powers and super-intellect will be there and yes, there
will be a threat for a divided society between the haves and
the haves not.
Already for this reason I believe in human mankind making
the right choices, crafting the right legislation for the
future of privacy, life (DNA cloning), co-living with super
intelligence. Yes, we are in need of strong politicians,
elected to guide us through new decades of change.
Politicians are dealing with minor issues as Brexit or the
reorganization of our state today. But our real challenge is
to build a future for everyone embracing new technology
What is the biggest resistance on innovation
and how can it be overcome?
At TomorrowLab we see that the biggest threat to
innovation is the resistance to change part of ourselves,
our companies, organizations and governments. It is
not anymore the strongest that survives but the one that
adapts the most easily to change. Always remember the
famous Kodak case. A typical example of not adapting
to change. The price they paid for not changing, not
innovating, was high: one of the world leaders went
bankrupt in a few years’ time. Kodak was a great
company; they had the best engineers that invented the
digital camera. These people presented that innovation to
their board. The reaction was: ‘Why should we invest in
this kind of inferior technology?’ Bad quality, high prices,
complex and costly production and no “consumables
market” of films and photo prints?
Their outstanding chemical film was performing so well,
making a lot of money in selling films and making photo
prints afterwards. Kodak’s board decided to put the
program on hold, not ready to go to market. And they never
had another chance to even start it, but a few years later it
was simply too late. New competitors were faster and more
agile, the adoption of digital photography went so fast, at
an overwhelming pace. Goodbye Kodak. Same with Nokia
and even today we see “Kodak effects” happening everyday:
in electric mobility, in banking, in retail, in education, in
telecom, in energy, in pharma. Incumbents think there is
plenty of time, being powerful enough to catch up: rather
be a fast follower than a pioneer. Simply a wrong vision and
How to overcome this change anxiety? First, imagine
the future! Think different and color outside the lines.
Organizations and governments act incremental and inside
out. They believe they can influence the future towards
their preferred scenario. And that is an illusion, we are not
living in an era of change but in a change of era. One major
fact succeeds another one, none of them can be influenced
by yourself: think 9/11, think economic crisis 2008, think
oil crisis, think energy crisis, think refugee crisis, think
climate impact… These events affect our lives, our work, the
ecosystem we have to live and work in. It is vital to take the
contextual environment of the future into account: think
the unthinkable, not the desirable but the plausible. Open
up your world, connect with external parties outside your
non-comfort zone, listen to different voices and reflect on
what it will mean to you, your family, your business, your
society. Define what will be missed if your company is
about to disappear tomorrow, and will this gap be filled-in
immediately by a competitor? Too many companies are
doing the same thing only slightly different.
In that respect the service or product lacks a soul, there
is no bold vision, no moonshot. That is the difference
everyone feels today between, Tesla or SpaceX and any
other car manufacturer. Tesla tries to save the planet and if
that is not working out, they are preparing to colonize Mars,
leaving our ‘wasted’ earth behind. What a difference in
mindset with ‘competitors’ trying hard to catch up because
they spoiled time with incremental stuff… ‘by making the
chemical film just a little better and a little more profitable’.
So, captains of industry and politicians, start imaging the
future. Not as a one-time exercise but take it seriously,
use external help to facilitate the outside-in and build
that culture of future awareness and innovation. Make
it your DNA and start thinking about what you want to
leave behind for the next generation. Start overcoming the
resistance to change by creating a culture of piloting and
testing. Allow people to see failure as success in progress.
It also helps in embracing uncertainty and unknown
technologies. Start experimenting today, even small
scale: test, learn, reflect and try over. Stay curious in new
technologies, new services that surround you. Try out in a
radically and different way? That is what the Facebooks,
Spotifys and Airbnbs did. And it's not ending with these
companies, it's just the beginning. Innovation is a river, it
How can we soon feed nine billion people on the
planet and keep it a pleasant and sustainable place
to live on?
© Living Tomorrow
Our world population is almost going to double in the next
fifty years. And I think the main challenge for keeping it
a pleasant place to live, is sustainability. There are five
scarce resources that define sustainability on our planet:
food, natural resources, health, water and energy. We
should use and activate our imagination, our brains to
innovate on these five elements. Take food. When there is
not enough food, you have tensions leading to war between
people. We should really look at how to feed our planet in
the next decades. We have to change the way we produce
and consume food, not because we like to, but because we
have to. It is simply impossible that China and India will
consume as much meat as we do today.
New innovations like protein alternatives and lab grown
meat are here to stay. It should become possible that with
the cells of fifty cows we can feed the world. Unthinkable?
We globally slaughter over 150 million animals per day for
food consumption today. We have to take it seriously. Keep
in mind there are many other challenges in food production
and agriculture, because we only have one planet. And
when we double the population, we should also look at our
environmental space and impact on that space The way we
live, the way we build our houses, the way we move, and build
cities — soon mega-mega cities. Big questions, all in transition.
Climate change is urging us to innovate, new diseases are
popping up. Some areas become unlivable, other areas offer
new opportunities. Medical innovation is moving forward
rapidly, and we will get assistance from AI and robots: in
surgery and the exploration of new pharma molecules, the
race towards a new generation of antibiotics is on and also
urgent. Being with so many people on this blue planet will
put a lot of stress on the next coming generations. Water
is another underestimated scarce resource. When we are
at home, we just open the tap and the fresh water flows. It
looks so obvious but it's not. Today Belgium’s position is
third highest in water scarcity in Europe after Cyprus and
At home almost 99% of the water that comes out of the
tap is drinkable water. It has been cleaned to the highest
standard. And we only use one percent of that water to
drink. Time to rethink the whole water ecosystem. Why not
having 99% of the water as grey water, good enough to use
in the garden, dishwashers, washing machines, carwash,
flush toilets or even think about closed loops of water in our
homes. Only the 1% needed for human consumption could
come into our homes meeting the highest standards.
© Living Tomorrow
And we should pay real value for this process; today it is
just too cheap. Another major challenge of sustainability is
energy. The world is in transition today evolving from coal
to oil to green energy. The research for green alternatives
is ongoing with wind energy, water energy, solar energy.
We have the potential to make a leap forward changing
geopolitical influences. If you know that only 25.000 sq
miles of solar panels are needed to meet the world’s energy
consumption today. That is the surface of the rain forest
disappearing every year. And the first step could help solve
Today we are really innovating towards a new world and I
am very happy to live in this era because there is so much
possible and so much change going on. I do believe in a
positive future. That is why, when you enter our Living
Tomorrow building in Brussels, you see large signs saying,
“do not fear the future”.
I believe that the future will always have more opportunities
than threats, and that makes us human. We always try to
innovate our way forward. The future looks bright and I
am happy for our children that every day we can work on
innovation to make the world a better place for every one
& AI ARBITRATION:
WHAT MAY THE FUTURE HOLD?
BY JULIEN RODSPHON,
LEGAL INTERN AT BILLIET & CO
This article attempts to determine the possible future
opportunities for arbitration when it comes to blockchain
technology and smart contracts. It will be divided into three
parts and a conclusion. In the first part the definitions of
blockchain technology, smart contracts, and AI arbitration
will be addressed and it will be explained how these
three notions can be linked together in theory. The second
part will present pilot projects on AI that serve the purpose
of justice as well as their pitfalls. Finally, the third part will
address the opportunities that arise in the context of AI
arbitration and blockchain technology.
I. DEFINING AND INTERLINKING BLOCKCHAIN
TECHNOLOGY, SMART CONTRACTS, AND AI
A) Blockchain Technology
A blockchain is a chain of blocks that contains information.
It can be pictured as a huge accounting book where the
records (the blocks) are interlinked and encrypted to protect
the security and privacy of what is in the blocks. It is, in
other words, a distributed and secured database, open to
anyone (in the case of a public blockchain), and that can
contain all types of transaction, not only economical ones.
To make it simple, each block contains three elements: the
data, which depends on the type of block (for a transfer
of bitcoins for instance it will be the sender, the receiver,
and the number of bitcoins), the hash, which is a unique
fingerprint-like entity that identifies the block and its
content, and the hash of the previous block in order to
create the chain.
The interest of a blockchain is twofold. First, the content
of each block is validated by the users of the blockchain.
To sabotage a blockchain, one would need to have control
over 51% of the users of that blockchain, which is not
possible. Second, once the content of a block (a transaction
for instance) has been validated by the community of
users, it can no longer be changed and will be forever part
of the blockchain as long as the chain exists. This makes a
blockchain not only an indestructible ledger of information
of all kind but also a very useful tool of traceability as
anyone can access all the blocks in the chain.
B) Smart Contracts and AI Arbitration
A smart contract is a self-executing set of electronic
instructions written into lines of code. This permits a
computer to read the contract and to execute it if the
conditions for the execution are met. It is based on an “if
— then” logic. For instance, a smart contract concerning
the lease of an apartment could be divided into two phases.
First, the lessee would have to pay the first month of rent
through the smart contract. That would be the “if”. Then,
once the payment has been made, the smart contract would
give to the lessee the code of the locker situated next to the
door of the rented apartment that contains the keys. That
would be the “then”.
Smart contracts have already been used for decades , but
the concept reached a whole new level with the blockchain
technology. As explained before, a blockchain constitutes
a secured and accurate platform of exchange of data,
indestructible and always traceable. Such context is optimal
to exploit smart contracts in their full potential. Indeed,
Thus, Kira is not a tool that can give a decision over a
dispute. However, it fulfills the first step of rendering a
decision: reading and understanding the contract.
This is an illustration of how a smart contract may function within a
blockchain (Source: blockchainglobal.be).
when for instance two persons sign a smart contract,
they can then insert it inside a block of a blockchain. The
smart contract will then be validated by the users of the
blockchains and once validated, it won’t be possible to
modify it anymore. This process presents advantages of
transparency, efficiency and rapidity, amongst others. It
also prevents attempts from one of the parties to rewrite the
The interest of the present article is to discuss the
utilization of an AI as an arbitrator, in order to settle a
dispute that would arise out of a smart contract inserted in
a blockchain. AI stands for artificial intelligence and in the
case of arbitration, it could constitute an algorithm within
the smart contract that would resolve disputes by founding
its reasoning on similar situations that happened before in
other blockchains, for instance, since all information in a
public blockchain is available for the users. The object of
the second part of this article is to analyze pilot projects of
AI intervening in the course of rendering justice in order
to see how such AIs could be used for arbitration in smart
contracts contained within a blockchain .
II. OVERVIEW OF PILOT PROJECTS AND
In this part, the author will focus on AIs that already exist
and that could be used in the course of arbitration. The
first AI worth-mentioning is called Kira. As described by its
creators, “Kira is a powerful machine learning software that
identifies, extracts, and analyzes text in your contracts and
other documents” . In other words, Kira is an AI that can
read a contract and underline the important terms, therefore
enhancing one’s visibility into his/her contract. Kira can
operate the due diligence process in minutes and aims in the
end to reduce the time lawyers spend on reading a contract .
The second AI this article will address is the ROSS
Intelligence . As described by its creators, “ROSS has
been built from the ground up to deliver the most complete
collections of relevant law in response to your natural
language research queries”. ROSS is in other words a
research platform for laws and jurisprudences like Westlaw
or LexisNexis but its creators revendicate that ROSS is far
easier to use and far more intuitive. Where Kira is a tool
that allows a quicker reading of contracts, ROSS allows
a quicker finding of relevant laws, cases, and responses
for a given issue. ROSS is indeed able to answer legal
questions within a day and it provides with its answer a
few explanatory paragraphs . Again, as Kira, ROSS is
not a tool that can settle a dispute. However, it presents
the advantage of explaining its reasoning when giving an
To a similar extent as ROSS, AI has been created to
predict future decisions of the Supreme Court of the
United States in given cases . Founding its reasoning
on the analysis of previous cases, the creators of this AI
argue in their conclusion that their model “achieves 70,2%
accuracy at the case outcome level and 71,9% at the justice
vote level”. Although there is no doctrine of precedent
in arbitration as there is in the Common Law Tradition,
such AI could be used for the purpose of arbitration. For
instance, after hearing the parties and before starting to
draft the awards, arbitrators could use this AI to analyze
previous arbitral and judicial decisions and see how
the AI predicts the outcome of the current arbitration.
Arbitrators would then have an idea as to the direction
their award should take, as long as they trust the AI and the
jurisprudences/previous awards relied on.
All these AIs present a major disadvantage: they cannot
recreate the human perspective that exists in every case.
For instance, even though Kira can read the clauses of a
contract, it cannot determine the subjective intent of the
parties behind the clauses. To a similar extent, ROSS cannot
take into account the human factor when drafting the
answer to a legal issue. Concerning the third AI mentioned,
as it cannot consider the sensibility of each judge of the
Supreme Court; it cannot determine an outcome with
III. IDENTIFICATION OF OPPORTUNITIES
AI arbitration actually exists in the form of the Arbitration
Engine, or “[the] first online collective decision-making
application based on the Influents Algorithm [which] is
a proof-of-concept pilot, designed for a two-party conflict
with an arbitrator/mediator” . However, this tool is
several years old and is therefore not really relevant for the
purpose of the present article. Yet, it can give us insight
as to how AI arbitration could be in the future. In the
Arbitration Engine, visitors have two possibilities, the
first one being to experiment with a pre-made scenario
that is a simulation of a compulsory management-union
mediation, as contemplated by section 55 of the British
Columbia Labor Relations Code. The second possibility
is to set up a whole new conflict scenario. In both cases,
the visitor will explore the algorithm by taking on the
role of the three parties (the union, the employer, and the
mediator/arbitrator). A more modern AI arbitration could
have a similar structure where each party would enter their
data into the system and then the AI would analyze these
data little by little by asking questions to the parties to
determine an outcome in the end.
However, as of today and to the knowledge of the author,
there is no AI system fully used as an arbitrator and that can
render a binding decision to settle a dispute. It is therefore
relevant, after the future possibilities previously mentioned,
to discuss what are the current opportunities of AIs in
arbitration and how it could be compatible with a smart
contract within a blockchain.
First of all, AIs could make for good experts. According to
the WIPO, “[e]xpert determination is a procedure in which
a dispute or a difference between the parties is submitted,
by agreement of the parties, to one or more experts who
decide on the matter referred to them. The determination
is binding, unless the parties agreed otherwise”. In
that scenario, AIs could be used as experts to answer
technical questions that, although they do not need human
subjectivity to be answered, might require the analysis of
numerous data (for instance determining the market value
of the shares of a company at a given time). Using AIs
as experts in arbitration could improve the speed of the
proceedings, the preciseness of the results and prevent any
discussion post expert determination as to the partiality of
the expert, since it will be a robot.
As to the 3 AIs previously mentioned, one
possibility would be to merge them into one with the first,
Kira, to analyze the contract and the potential issues
raised by the parties when a dispute starts. Then ROSS
could rely on previous jurisprudences/arbitral awards,
but also on future decisions that would be predicted by
the last AI, to draw a developed answer as to the legal
issues detected by Kira. This answer could take the form
of an award binding the parties as long as they agree to
it. This whole process of AI arbitration could be included
into a smart contract contained in a blockchain. All the
users, but particularly the parties to the smart contract
would have access to the conduct of the arbitration
and could intervene by bringing details or by answering
questions spontaneously asked by the AI. Such solution
would facilitate access to an arbitral justice as there will
be, for instance, no more need to constitute an arbitral
tribunal. Amongst other things, this would save time
and costs. An alternative solution, in order to limit the
absolute objectivity of AIs, would be to subject the “award”
rendered by the AI to a final check done by a human
arbitrator. This could still be dematerialized as the smart
contract inserted in the blockchain could already contain
the name of the human arbitrator that would have to do
the final check of the “award” given by the AI.
Secondly, just like Kira which is an AI that analyses
contracts, AIs could also be used to assess evidence, which
consists in arbitration of determining the relevance and
materiality of documents. AIs could present a summary
of the pieces of evidence produced by the parties and in
the context of e-discovery or the analysis of an important
quantity of documents, AIs could be more efficient than
humans and less prone to mistakes. This would allow
arbitrators and lawyers to spend their time on other issues,
rather than looking for something in a pile of documents,
thus saving time and costs in the overall arbitration
process. However, where AIs could assess the relevance
and materiality of evidence, determining the admissibility
of evidence should be left to the arbitrators. Indeed, the
issue of the admissibility of evidence involves subjective
consideration, especially in the context of illegally obtained
evidence. In that case, human arbitrators should be the ones
that decide whether or not a document is admissible with
regard to the particular circumstances of the case.
As explained in another article about AI and arbitration
, AIs could ensure the equality of the parties in the
arbitral proceedings by keeping a precise count of how
much each party speaks, how many pages parties use in
their submission and so on. In that context, AIs would be
used to help arbitrators make sure the proceedings are equal
between the parties and the role of the arbitrator would be
to bring some subjectivity and flexibility into the procedure,
as flexibility is also a feature of arbitration that is important
for the parties.
blockchain technology as it would dematerialize and ease
the settlement of disputes. Such a solution should be viable
in the future but right now, AIs are not efficient enough to
act as arbitrators and there are not enough rules to legally
deal with them.
In other words, AIs currently present the main opportunity
to reduce costs and improve speed by assisting arbitrators
and lawyers. On the other hand, their main asset also
constitutes their main flaw: their lack of subjectivity that
implies necessarily a better objectivity. All these possible
utilizations of AI in arbitration could be inserted within
a smart contract contained in a blockchain in order to
always reduce human intervention in something already
AIs today present opportunities not to settle disputes on
their own already but to restore somehow the reasons
parties used to choose arbitration: speed and minor costs if
compared to litigation. AIs could thus be used as assistant
help for arbitrators and lawyers for the tedious tasks that
tend to make proceedings last longer, such as the ones
aforementioned. Smart contracts and blockchain technology
make already an efficient and promising association aiming
to dematerialize legal relationships and ease their creation.
Adding an AI arbitration mechanism to a smart contract
would follow the philosophy of smart contracts and
A solution could be to propose an international convention
like the New York Convention but for AI arbitration. In
such an AI arbitration convention, there would be rules
and frameworks as to which situations can be arbitrable
by a machine. Arbitral institutions could propose adapted
rules for AI arbitration, from how to put it into place to the
enforcement of an AI award. The author of this article is of
the view that the use of AI is inevitable in the future and it
will change how lawyers and arbitrators think, work, and
apprehend a case. The international arbitration community
should embrace such considerations in order to participate
efficiently in the creation of improved AIs that will help
arbitrators and lawyers and maybe one day completely settle
ICT pioneers who wish to develop or use AI arbitration
should make sure that their technical evolution
meet all existing legal requirements related to valid
arbitration processes and outcomes. With a view on
ensuring legal compliance with AI arbitration, feel free to
contact the Billiet & Co legal team of experts for assistance
 To write this part, the author of this article relied
on different sources without specifically quoting
them such as http://blockchain-technology.cf, https://
or the YouTube Channel “Simply Explained – Savjee”.
 See Smart Contracts Were Around Long Before
Cryptocurrency, Allan I. Mendelowitz and Willi
Brammertz, americanbanker.com, 17 November 2016.
 AI arbitration has to be distinguished from ODR
(online dispute resolution) as AI could happen online
but not every arbitration that happens online is AI
arbitration. For an insight on ODR projects, see The
Governance of Blockchain Dispute Resolution, Darcy
W. E. Allen, Aaron M. Lane and Marta Poblet, pp. 8-13.
 To a similar extent, see https://ebrevia.
com/#overview, which is an AI specialized for due
diligence in M&A.
 A New Beginning – Artificial Intelligence and
Arbitration, Philippe Billiet and Filip Nordlund, Korean
 A General Approach for Predicting the Behavior of
the Supreme Court of the United States, Daniel Martin
Katz, Michael J. Bommarito, and Josh Blackman.
 Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over Arbitration?,
Christine Sim, Asian Journal of International
Arbitration, p. 8, 2018.
BUT IS IT REAL?
BY PAUL CAMUSO
AND WILLIAM SHATNER
What are you doing with the blockchain? It may
sound like one of those preposterous questions
asked by today’s youth, but it’s a very important
question to be thinking about these days.
The use of the blockchain is poised to permeate our lives
whether we are ready or not. Its uses as a distributed
ledger of information has boundless applications beyond
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. World industry is
gearing up for global adoption of distributed ledgers
becoming the normal way of them doing business in the
Smart contracts — think of them as little bits of
executable code that work on the blockchain as
applications do on your laptops and smart devices — are
the future ways industry will utilize those blockchains.
Futurists at Mattereum, a leader in smart contract
property registrations, foresee a time in the near
future when not only purchases can be made via the
blockchain, but also ownership transfers of everything
from automobiles to houses. Imagine not having to wait
days, weeks, or months to pass papers on a new home
but having to wait minutes if not seconds? This is where,
theoretically, things are heading. It does, however, beg the
question: how do you know what you are buying is real?
Certainly, a car is a tangible item, as is a piece of fine art
or a designer handbag. For the last two, what assurance
do you have that they are genuine? For luxury items,
if you purchase something on the secondary market,
how do you actually know it is real? With the internet
becoming the most common secondary marketplace, it
is becoming impossible for the average consumer to tell
since, aside from a seller’s guarantee and perhaps a paper
certificate (which can be easily duplicated), second-hand
goods usually come with no assurance of authenticity.
With the rise of counterfeiters and their use of
technology to create accurate fake merchandise, sales
receipts, and even product registration cards, there is
a strong need to have something that gives buyers a
safeguard when purchasing items. This is where the
immutable aspects of the blockchain can assist in a very
Imagine spending thousands of dollars on the
secondary market and finding out that you accidentally
purchased a counterfeit luxury handbag. The Global
Brand Counterfeiting Report estimates that over thirty
billion dollars annually is lost solely to online global
counterfeiting. That is a worldwide impact on industry.
The OECD reported that the total value of imported fake
goods worldwide was USD $461 billion in 2013 with
nearly 5% of all goods imported into the EU being fake 1 .
And it’s only gotten worse. Harvard Business Review in
May of this year ran a story on how Luxury Brands could
beat counterfeiters and their numbers were shocking: the
total trade in counterfeit goods was put at $4.5 Trillion
and that fake luxury merchandise may account up to 70%
of that number! That’s a nearly 10 fold increase in just
Counterfeit items are sold daily on many after-market and
secondary market websites. Sometimes the buyer knows
they are purchasing counterfeit items, but sometimes they
do not. It would certainly help if manufacturers could
implement a device in any item that gave off a faint radio
signal which could be picked up by a smart device and
verify the item as genuine. It could be as easy as using a
transit card or a contactless payment card. This works
only until the counterfeiters eventually figured out how to
copy the signals and antenna tags. That is the depressing
dilemma in today’s world, because no matter how smart
or clever the manufacturer’s solution is to counter the
forgery market, the counterfeiters eventually figure out
a way to make exact copies, taking you back to square
All that time and energy spent, and within months (or
even weeks) a counterfeit of a desirable item is being
offered up for sale on websites at a healthy discount
compared to its street price. Industry losses are mounting
daily, and manufacturers have little recourse. Most
countries where counterfeiting takes place have few laws
or little interest in prosecuting. You can try and shut
down the larger counterfeiters but, like an arcade game,
as soon as one goes down, three more pop up to take
its place. If you have a desirable brand or product that
the public wants, you can be assured that somewhere,
somehow, that item will probably be counterfeited.
The one thing that has not been copied to date is a
crypto token or coin. The way in which crypto assets
are created is based on a timestamp and verification of
its creation by a number of machines that exist on the
blockchain. When a crypto coin or token is “minted”, its
address and identification on the blockchain is based in
part on the timecode of its creation. That information is
verified and recorded, making it immutable and
thus unalterable. Attempts to duplicate it would
immediately be rejected by the other verifying machines
So there actually is an item (whether it be a crypto coin
or token) that cannot be counterfeited. How can we relate
this to a physical, real-world object?
DIGITAL TWINS VERSUS CRYPTO TWINS
A Digital Twin is what the name implies: a digital
representation of a physical, real-world object. The
definition goes on to include the actual physical object
and the relationship between the two. The term has
been in use for several years, having been popularized by
NASA in the early 2010’s as a concept for 3D modeling
where designs and ideas could be constructed in a digital
world for testing before being constructed in the real
© William Shatner
These twins also exist in the world of Crypto. The Digital
Twin becomes a “Crypto Twin” aka a Crypto object (a
token or coin) that relates to a physical object in the real
world. It’s a bit of the reverse of a Digital Twin where
the real-world object stays the same and a crypto token
or coin is created to represent it, with their relationship
being connected by the blockchain. This relationship can
also be used as a record of authentication.
Our goal at Third Millennia Incorporated is to take
real-world objects that have some intrinsic value and
tag them in a uniquely identifiable way that can be read
via a smart device. Whether it’s a one of a kind article,
an autographed item, an original piece of art, or a
valuable luxury item, we use the Crypto Twin token as a
representation of a real-world object and, using the actual
record of the blockchain, tie the two items together. This
forms an immutable record of authenticity that cannot be
HERE ARE SOME POSSIBLE REAL-WORLD
A design house produces a high-end brand of signature
designer merchandise. Since their brand is highly sought
after by the public, they are victims of counterfeit goods
manufactured elsewhere. The counterfeiters and their
agents sell these knock offs via websites, street corners,
flash store set ups, and secondary market auction sites.
The public may or may not be aware that these items are
counterfeit, but inability to stem the flow of counterfeit
merchandise is worrisome for the brand as it impacts
sales and its reputation.
Art has always been a very lucrative investment. If
you choose the right artist, your investment in art can
appreciate in value considerably while it decorates your
walls. As a result, there is a secondary counterfeit market
that produces fairly good copies of art by many sought
after ‘collectible’ artists such as Banksy, Invader, and
Warhol. Even counterfeit pieces can sell at thousands to
tens of thousands of dollars. How can one be assured that
they are buying a genuine piece of art and not a worthless
fake on the secondary market?
The world of collecting has been around for millennia.
Romans collected manuscripts and proudly showed off
their treasures in such places as the fabled Library of
Alexandria. Even celebrity autograph collecting has been
going strong for centuries, with many autographs going up
in value once the signer passes away. As an investment,
they may not be a cornerstone to a portfolio, but they
certainly have a value that can appreciate greatly.
In 2008, Hastings Communication and Law Journal
quotes that each year as many as half of the art
sold in the UK may be “spurious” 2 . The value of art
forgeries trading was estimated to be between $250
and $500 million, and counterfeit goods of all kinds
had seen a “five fold” rise between 1989 and 2003.
Art authentication, by its own nature, is an educated
opinion arrived at by a number of people whom the
general public accepts as experts. Attributions to artists
change over time. It’s not a science. Tens of thousands
to millions of dollars are up for stakes in authenticating
some art pieces. A lost master could bring millions while
if an expert isn’t quite convinced of the authenticity of a
piece; it could become a costly mistake for whomever the
owner is. Interpol in its first International Conference
on Counterfeit Art came up with a series of guidelines
to raise awareness of the trend of counterfeit art, to
enforce and encourage local laws to be passed regarding
counterfeit art and to create a centralized database of
information that member countries could turn to when
they have an issue with counterfeit art.
The dilemma: how do you know that the William
Shatner autograph you are bidding on is genuine? A
quick look on secondary market sites like eBay list his
autographed memorabilia with prices ranging from just
a few dollars to several hundred. Since the signatures
all look very similar, how does one know what they are
In all of the above instances, and in many more realworld
situations where authentication is needed, the
question of how we know what is real and what is not
continues to pose a great challenge.
Third Millennia Incorporated is attempting to solve
this issue with a Crypto Twin Authentication service.
Although the concept is simple, the mechanisms are
technically complex enough to make them virtually
counterfeit proof. Using a tag or marker that can
be physically attached to a product, the frequency
identification technology of the tag, along with other
descriptive e information related to the item—appraisal
reports, manufacturing information, photos, video, etc.—
are put into the blockchain record.
The on-chain record keeping database is based on the
Semantic Web format. Originally developed years ago for
the web, its structured format allows the database of items
that have been verified to be easily searched using basic
web tools and Boolean expressions. This format is also the
preferred format for many museum collection databases.
Once an item is scanned by a user on our smart
device app, the technology built into the app will
perform several functions. The initial scan will look
up the blockchain record based upon the frequency
identification, and the app will determine if that item
has been recorded. If there is no record, an error will
be returned. If the scan indicates that the item has been
entered into the blockchain, an authenticity smart token
for the item will be sought out. If the token has not yet
been distributed, an account can then be set up using
by providing a few basic details. The system will then
create a simple crypto wallet on the app and put the
authentication smart token into that wallet. The smart
token effectively becomes a “Crypto Twin” to the realworld
item and certifies its authenticity.
If the item gets sold by the owner on the secondary
market, the token can be moved into a new wallet
registered on the app for a small fee. Counterfeiters may
be able to copy the tag, and even the signal, but unless
the token has not been registered by the original owner,
there is only one token per item. So an asset without a
token is like a vehicle without a title, or a work of art
without provenance. It basically delineates the secondary
market for real and counterfeit items, allowing buyers and
resellers to know what they are purchasing before the sale
The future for manufacturers, artists, and celebrities
is very bright with the help of this technology. Future
enhancements to the token could allow an owner to
mark the token as stolen if the item is stolen. Then,
any secondary market sellers that are offered the stolen
merchandise can scan the item and see that it has been
flagged. This would make it very difficult to sell, plus
the item could be returned to the owner if the secondary
market seller contacted the authorities. Furthermore, the
service could be white listed by a manufacturer, artist, or
celebrity to become a part of their own smart device app;
insuring even more brand loyalty by their customer base.
The World Health Organization reported in 2017 that
one out of every ten drugs in developing and poor
countries are counterfeit. In a worldwide industry of over
$300 Billion dollars in sales this puts the figure at over
$30 million in counterfeit sales. Many companies are
turning to crypto companies for solutions. Everledger has
been working on a blockchain solution to track diamonds
to prevent the distribution of blood diamonds into the
economy. They are now expanding that system into the
fine wine industry. It is hoped that using systems based
on blockchain ledgers will help curb counterfeits from
entering the commerce system.
The global implications of adopting this kind of
technology would certainly benefit the bottom line of
manufacturers, artists, and celebrities. The purchasing
public can not only trust in the quality and authenticity
of an asset, but can pass along that trust into secondary
market. It enforces brand loyalty and helps buoy up
very healthy secondary market price levels to ensure the
desirability and sophistication of the brand continues in
those markets. This approach to using crypto technology
not only enables adoptability by the masses, but also
allows for a variety of future applications in everyday life.
“I am very excited to be a part of Third Millennia and
it’s forward thinking strategies of employing crypto
technology to allow adoptability by the masses. I see not
only the uses discussed in this article but so many other
practical uses of this technology in everyday life. I am
going to be adopting the authentication technology in
my own store where those who purchased an item signed
by me will get one already registered on the blockchain
with this service. It will ensure that my signature is
authenticated through and beyond the third millennia!”
© Paul Camuso
1 OECD/EUIPO (2016), Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated
Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact, Illicit Trade, OECD
Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264252653-en.
2 Giondonca, Joseph C. 2008. “Can Intellectual Property Laws Stem
the Rising Tide of Art Forgeries?” Hastings Communications and
Entertainment Law Journal 31, no. 1: 47–78.
Paul has worked in the software technology field from
the late 1980’s through 1990’s before moving to Europe.
A former Customer Relations Director for Lotus/
IBM EMEA, Paul has many years’ experience with
multinational corporate satisfaction issues. He has spent
the past 20 years working in with actor William Shatner,
introducing Mr. Shatner to bring technology uses to
the Entertainment Industry and showing how to exploit
technology as a marketing and promotional tool. His
partnership with Mr. Shatner in Third Millennia should
be tour de force in using the technology of the crypto
world in new and exciting ways to allow quick adoption
of crypto by the masses. A former resident of both
Boston, Massachusetts and London, England he now
resides in Los Angeles, California.
William Shatner has cultivated a career spanning over
50 years as an award-winning actor, director, producer,
writer, recording artist, and horseman.
Shatner originated the role of ‘Captain James T. Kirk’
in the television series Star Trek, reprising the role in
seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed.
He played the title role in the hit television series T.J.
Hooker, as well as eccentric lawyer ‘Denny Crane’ on
both The Practice and Boston Legal, for which he was
awarded two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award.
He has also hosted several television series including
Rescue 911 and Shatner’s Raw Nerve. In April 2011,
Shatner launched his hugely popular one-man show,
Shatner’s World on Broadway, later touring in Australia,
New Zealand, Canada, and over 50 U.S. cities.
His love of music has inspired him to record such
albums as Has Been, country album What About Me,
and holiday album Shatner Clause (which was number
2 on the Billboard chart). He has also collaborated on a
number of musical projects such as Ponder The Mystery
in 2013 (for which he wrote the lyrics), and Seeking
Major Tom (2011) featuring songs by U2, Frank Sinatra,
Queen and Pink Floyd.
Off the screen and broadcast waves, Shatner has authored
nearly 30 best-sellers in both the fiction and non-fiction
genres. His autobiography, Up Till Now, was a New
York Times best-seller and was followed by Shatner
Rules which was released in October 2011. William
Shatner’s book, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship
with a Remarkable Man, was released in February 2016
appearing on the NY Times Bestseller list. William
Shatner’s newest book, Live Long And…What I Might
Have Learned Along the Way, was released in September
Shatner has been successful in another area: as a
longtime dedicated breeder of American Quarter horses.
As both a breeder and rider of American Saddlebreds,
he has won numerous world championships in several
equine events. His passions for horses and philanthropy
were united when he started the Hollywood Charity
Horse Show, which benefits Los Angeles-based children’s
Shatner continues to act, write, produce and direct while
still making time to work with charities and further his
passion in equestrian sports. He and his wife, Elizabeth
and three married children live in Los Angeles.
IS A NEW WORLD TRADE
ORDER BEING BORN?
BY IAN WELSH
When we look at trade statistics we tend to think of
trade as being between countries.
While this is accurate in certain senses, the organizations who
actually trade, and the organizations who shift goods between
countries without trading, are mostly not countries. They are,
in fact, corporations. Most of these corporations are private,
though some are government owned.
This fact, and the influence of private actors on governments,
sometimes obscures the fact that the most important actors in
the trade and logistics field are governments. It is governments
who determine the terrain of trade; what can be traded or
shipped, with who, and how. Governments make the rules, and
other actors must respond to those rules. Private actors act
within a rule system set, and enforced, by governments.
Currently, the three governments most capable of exerting
influence on global trade are the United States, the European
Union, and China, with other states such as India, Japan, and
Russia possessing these capabilities to a slightly lesser extent.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) exists substantially
because the US and Europe made it happen. The IMF, World
Bank, and the SWIFT system which enables payments are
either creatures of government or subject to government
The rules around trade, made after the collapse of the great
European Empires (each of which was its own free trade
zone), were made by the US, with European consultation,
after World War II. As time went by other countries gained
influence in the system, but it is still substantially a system
created by the North Atlantic powers.
This is something the Chinese are very aware of. When
Westerners and others who benefit from the current system
proclaim it to be an international system of law and suggest
that China should support it, the Chinese note that it is a
system that was made almost entirely without their input. It
isn't their system. It isn't the system that would have been
created if, when it was created, China had been a greater
global influence, instead of recovering from occupation and
If negotiations were started today, from scratch, China would
have almost co-equal say with the United States. China has coequal
GDP in purchasing parity power, and slightly more trade
than the US.
Bearing in mind that, for most of the last two thousand years,
China and India were the largest economies in the world, and
that China is returning to that place, to ask China to agree to
trade rules and arrangements made when it was at the absolute
nadir of its strength and international influence, seems, to
China, obviously and blatantly unfair.
None of this is to say that private actors don't matter; they
decide what is done within the rules set up by nation states.
But as with a coach on a football team, they make their
decision within rules they did not create. And, increasingly,
the rules are being made by China. This is most clear in the
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Meanwhile, in America, there is a push to change the rules
as well. This is obvious with President Trump’s tariffs, his
renegotiation of NAFTA, and his refusal to sign the Trans
Pacific Partnership (TPP). But it didn’t entirely start with
Trump. The TPP was an agreement which left out China, the
greatest Pacific trade power, because it was designed to create
a trade area competitive with China.
So both America and China are seeking to change the world
trade order, and the old order is cracking.
The core ideological commitment of the current trade order is
a belief that trade always creates a larger pie. This is based on
the law of comparative advantage: if countries do what they’re
relatively better at, more goods and services are produced than
if they don’t specialize. Since this is the case, we should always
strive to create more trade.
This trade order moved a lot of productive capacity away
from the United States and Britain, among others. This
was planned, and expected. Furthermore, this might not
have been much of an issue. America was still wealthy,
Americans bought their imports with dollars, and so on.
However a combination of domestic policies, such as
reduced progressive taxation and de-industrialization, hit
some regions and classes of Americans harder than others.
This led to significant inequality in America, and areas of
significant poverty. Entire demographic groups found that
their futures were less likely to be prosperous than their
parents were. Faced with a future that looked worse than
the past, many Americans no longer believed (or believe)
that the economy is working for them. And since they could
see that industries which had provided good jobs had moved
overseas, even if they believed it was inevitable, they blamed
this on free trade. In Britain, this same demographic was
largely responsible for voting to end British membership in
the EU. They voted, in effect, to leave a large trade bloc.
So we now have a situation where there are a large number
of people, large enough to elect governments and win
referenda in core economies, who no longer believe in the
current world trade order. They don’t think free trade is
good for them. Even if Trump is not re-elected in 2020, or if
Britain stays in the EU, those people will not go away.
Ironically, the theorists of the modern trade order
understood the problem. They knew that some people would
lose from free trade, even if the pie was made bigger, and
said they should be compensated. But that never happened.
And unless something sort of large-scale social assistance
programme like a basic income is passed, it seems unlikely
to occur. The effects we’re seeing of a diminishing popular
belief in the old trade order could be interpreted as a
consequence of this. In effect, those who feel they have
lost from the current trade order now hold a veto over it.
Business cannot make supply chain plans which can be
disrupted every few years by an election or referendum.
The current US administration seems to be in agreement
with China on one particular aspect of trade policy. Trump
prefers unilateral or near unilateral deals. He doesn’t want
to make trade deals with large numbers of other countries.
Why? China probably understands. Yang Jiechi, then
Foreign minister for China, said in 2010, ‘China is a big
country and other countries are small countries, and that's
just a fact.’
© Ian Welsh
America is a big country, and that’s just a fact. When
America negotiates with smaller countries, one on one, or
one on two as with the NAFTA renegotiations, it gets what
it wants because it is capable of exerting greater influence.
What Trump wanted, as it turns out, was a clause which said
that Mexico and Canada couldn’t make trade deals with nonfree
economies without the approval of the other members.
‘Non-free’ in this context was widely understood to be
referring to China. So, Trump wants trade deals which clearly
benefit the United States, does not believe that all trade deals
are good, and wants to make deals where he is dealing with
one or a very few countries over which he believes the US
can exert greater influence. He is backed by a part of the
American population deeply suspicious of free trade.
China, meanwhile, has been working on the Belt and Road
Initiative. BRI is not just concerned with ports, roads, and
railways, although it is actively pursuing deals which allow
goods to flow into and through countries. For example,
the northern belt portion promises ‘one declaration, one
inspection, one cargo release’ for cargo shipping all the way
from China, though multiple countries, to the European
This is a trade area in all but name. The initial negotiations
have been multilateral, but the sheer number of nations
involved in the Belt & Road Initiative suggests that it has
the possibility of becoming a rival to the WTO; a true
multilateral trade area. When the EU, all the nations
between China and the EU, the nations near China, and
many African and even South American countries are added
in, this will be a formidable trade area.
Such a trade area doesn't exist yet, but when you consider
the aspirations of BRI, it is clear that it could exist. Should
it happen—and there are good reasons to believe it will—the
trade area created by the Belt & Road Initiative will likely
lack the full depth of what the WTO offers. However, it will
still be a vast trade area, and all the appurtenances can be
added in time. Given the failure of the Doha round of the
WTO, it would seem a sensible course of action for China
to create its own system. In multilateral negotiations with all
WTO members, there is little chance of China molding the
WTO to its preferred image.
Since the current world trade system is seen by many
domestic voters in the US (and Europe) as having hurt
them, the world finds itself in a position where the current
influential trading powers are no longer entirely committed
to the trade system they created, while the rising powers,
such as China, do not see why they should support a system
which was not set up to serve their interests but, rather, was
set up by powers which they feel have not given them due
regard within living memory.
America has started forcing other nations to choose. Mexico
and Canada were easier to convince to align with American
positions, largely because of proximity and because they
are so dependent on American trade. There was little doubt
in the outcome. China has tried to position itself to avoid
forced choices of this variety. However, if the US continues
down this route, treating China as an adversary, China
will have little choice but to respond in kind. The world
will split into two trade systems. Likely there will be two
major payments systems as well. In some respects, this will
resemble the old Cold War world, except that China is a
mixed market system.
There will be a choice between two systems, with a slight
chance of there being a third system functioning as a neutral
bloc. If such a neutral bloc is established, it will most likely
be led by Europe (although Japan may also seek neutrality).
Both are firmly in the American bloc currently. But with
many European states concerned over such American shifts
in policy as the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, and with
Japan’s vast business interests linked to China, it is not
impossible that they could view deepening trade ties with
China, the rising power, as preferable.
There is certainly no guarantee that events will play out in
this way. But consider this: if you were a company making
long-term plans, would you trust that a trade war could
not happen? Would you be comfortable with a supply
chain substantially based in China (if your company was
American) or based in America (if Chinese)?
That, I would suggest, is what decision makers should
consider. What is the risk of such an arrangement, and how
much damage could it do to your company if it came to
be? Alternatively, is there a way to take advantage of this?
Change always provides opportunity.
It seems like there will be technical interoperability between
payment systems and in that sense the risk is not great, but
in a two-system world supply chains look very different than
they do today. Those with production located in the other
bloc may find themselves in financial, and even personal,
danger if either bloc decides to use legal sanctions.
Certainly, it is not impossible that a new trade order with
two principal zones will not come to pass, and that the old
order could reestablish itself over time. But how much risk
is entailed in assuming that it will, and not taking steps now
to prepare for navigating it gracefully?
Ian Welsh is a writer, editor, and social media consultant.
He has written for Huffington Post and a number of
online blogs and journals. An anthology of Ian’s essays,
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, was released this year.
His work has covered such issues as the economy, the
housing bubble, and financial crisis of the 2000s. In
particular, he focuses on the ways in which ideologies
and ideas interact with economic reality. He is based in
EVEN IN ARTIFICIAL
THE DRIVING FORCE
PROF DR. DR. HC JAN DE MAERE
Three hundred thousand years ago, humanity
attained the capacity to know itself. In 1712,
Thomas Newcomen built a steam engine to prevent
coal mines from flooding, the industrial evolution
shaped the modern world. Thomas Edison and
Guglielmo Marconi enabled sound and radio signals
to travel the world, heralding a new era of science
Hundred twenty years ago we became aware of part of
the physical reality of the cosmos. Now, we hand over
‘knowing our selves’ to a new form of intelligent beings,
not only to machines! We gave that intelligence the
autonomy to improve, to replicate itself and to choose its
own targets by rewriting its own code and by hybridization.
But our deep human (conflictual) nature and psychology
will always have be integrated in these cyborgs, since we
are their founding fathers, if we want to survive.
bottle. But AI will always be nevertheless a product of the
Darwinian evolution, an intentional selection overarching
the natural and epigenetic ones. Human natural evolution
A couple of decades ago, less than 10% of European
households had internet, smartphones did not exist. Since
then, AI assisted by data-mining became a cyber form of
human intuition, acquiring many superhuman abilities.
In 2015, the Alpha-Zero computer program developed
by Deep Mind owned by Google learned to play go,
shogi and chess games at a super-human level in less
than 24 hours. Since the nineties and the internet age,
hyperintelligence, coined ‘cyborg’ (a human creature with
artificially enhanced intelligence and bodily capacities)
in the sixties, evolves since at a hallucinating speed,
unencumbered by human rules.
Their speed of evolvement will outstrip anything we
can imagine. Defining their own goals, they will not
necessarily take ours into account. The genie is out of the
© Prof Dr Dr HC Jan DE MAERE
is not a revolution, it loses less time and creates less
upheaval then hyperspeed AI. The latter shows no signs
of developing ‘general intelligence, even if it’s unbeatable
at games. Silently it creeps up our spine and modifies
parameters, unknown to us, uncontrollable by humans.
The new cyborgs will not look like us, not think like us.
Will they one day achieve ‘singularity’ (self-awareness)?
We have to keep some of our long acquired advantages
such as the speed of application of information. Humans
function not only on the speed of data but on the speedy
implementation of novelty. In a crisis, action is required
immediately, aided not by reflection but by immediate
response based on deep rooted intuition. Who will
control them and how?
© Diplomatic World
All enlightened successful capitalists, such as Bill Gates
and Steve Jobs, benefited from brilliant early strategic
advantages, often innovations by others which they
exploited cleverly. This moneymaking gave Bill and
Melinda Gates time and money to pursue philanthropist
purposes. But technical superiority rarely lasts without
ongoing innovation, as Nokia and Ericsson experienced
lately. Continuous research and innovation are the drivers
of shareholder-capitalism in a democracy.
If ever economy is a science, it serves mostly to explain
the catastrophes and triumphs of the past. In the real
world, profitability always comes first. Therefore,
entrepreneurs must have a better sense of urgency
than their competitors. Trade only lives in the present,
projecting the future. Yesterday is irrelevant. That’s
probably why the science of economy learns so little
about the past, when it proposes theoretical reforms. The
fact that capitalists should be more responsible ethically,
socially and environmentally might be attractive, but
dividends are the main drivers of management and
In Asia and Africa, there are hardly democracies, but
recently, investment soared twice or three times more
than in old Europe. In our expensive social security
system, workers and staff want more pay, customers want
cheaper prices and investors seek the highest returns.
They invest mostly outside old Europe. Moral perfection
and local economic growth are hard to achieve in these
conditions. So in a global liberal economy animated
by new technology many are left behind. Slowly,
environmental and social awareness becomes a marketing
tool in the affluent Western world.
But how much will the consumer want to pay more for
the same, environmentally labelled ‘fair-trade’ product?
Emission-reducing measures are in need of a careful
analysis of cost and efficiency, otherwise the greening of
the Western economies will be unsustainable and overexpensive.
Rapid technological change ought to have a positive effect
on productivity, but this transformation will make many
redundant before new jobs are created. This new economy
will need highly skilled workers. In 2040 we will look at
the way we live now as quaintly old-fashioned. Innovation,
technical convergence, free-trade and economic openness
could be the ingredients of a rising prosperity; but will
The populist claims for deglobalization and protectionism
are rife and contagious. Sanctions, taxes and closedborders
are excellent remedies to balance unfair trade
relationships, but only in the short run. And only for
the powerful military nations, able to take the stand.
“Europe, how many divisions?” Stalin would have asked.
Today, a New York property tycoon represents a majority
of Americans, tired of being ruled by East-coastal elites,
ignoring their simple daily concerns. Jobs, jobs, jobs and
to dream again of a great future is the new utopia. To
everybody’s surprise, the American president does what
he promised during his campaign. Everybody is shocked,
this was never done before.
President Trump questions rightfully twenty years of
Occidental-Chinese uneven trade relationship, the
mandatory transfer of Western technology to Chinese
state firms and the non-respect of intellectual property
and human rights in China. It still clamps down hard
on all internal dissent, while bullying Hong Kong and
Taiwan. But he knows that import taxes cannot be
successful in the long term. In the end we all have to
collaborate in a global world, it’s the only pathway to
long-term prosperity. A lot of arm-wrestling is needed
to reach a new power balance with the Chinese and
the American president takes it up. Since we are all
convinced that he likes a good fight, he is believable
in his stand-off against the other macho powerbrokers.
But even a longstanding ally such as Europe is taken on
without mercy. Trumps complaints about Europe are ‘the
pot who calls the kettle black’. Trump aims angrily at the
European Central Bank director, Mr Draghi’s comments:
‘pushing the Euro down against the Dollar, making it
unfairly easier to compete against the USA’, but leans
himself heavily on the Federal Reserve.
Sneering on Twitter is easy, successful policymaking is
complicated. President Trump’s international politics are
based on ‘linkage’. The first aim is to force China to open
its markets. The second part is even more important:
technology and to fight Huawei. Europe is not inclined to
take part in this dispute, unless it is forced to. The third is
to rebalance Middle-East relations while reducing Iran’s
influence by isolating it. Europe is bound by its nuclear
agreement with Iran. Qatar, Israel, Syria and Iran have the
greatest natural gas reserves in the world, polluting much
less than oil. Israel became part of the Arab coalition
against Iran, unfortunately for the Palestinians and
This all should benefit to the American economy in the
long term. Europe can only hope to win also something
out of it, but not much. Trump’s ambition for re-election
in 2020 induces a timing for an agreement with China
in that year, not before. On the G20 summit president
Trump agreed to restart trade talks. American firms can
sell equipment to Huawei, its products still seen as a
national security issue. For the same reason oil prices
can’t rise before the election. Therefore war in the Street
of Ormuz is unlikely, unless by accident.
And what about America’s already swollen deficit?
Nevertheless, the American economy is booming,
employment is at an absolute high. An oil crisis could
ruin this. Economic sanctions are war by other means.
Tensions mount in many places, in the Chinese Sea,
Iran, the Middle East etc. The Romans said: “To keep
the peace, be prepared for war!”. A military dispute
will create serious long term damage, but uneven trade
relations do the same. Cowardice against Hitler during
the three years before 1940 only delayed the war, at the
price of many more lives later on.
Chinese Communist State Capitalism is still not able to
impose its views and its disrespect of human rights on the
world, but it aims at it. Hong Kong experiences it now.
The Little Rocket Man of North Korea is only a Chinese
manufactured toy. Manipulated at the right moment,
it obliges the West to give in on some of the Chinese
demands. The Chinese empire is fascinating by its culture,
impressive by the way it created progress for the hundreds
of millions of right minded communists since 1980 and
lethal for Human Rights since always.
Ask the Chinese Tibetans, Christians and Uighurs
how life is there, they love it! Through its success
against Communism, democracy created its own
decline. When people take their freedom for granted,
seduced by populists proposing miraculous solutions,
they forget what happened 80 years ago. They vote
for simple illusionary solutions proposed by macho
politicians. They forget that two thirds of the world lives
in difficult conditions, most of them in dictatorships,
where a personality cult veils the true nature of a dirty
Optimism is due, never was life better for so many, even
if much is still to achieve. Extreme poverty is reducing
almost everywhere in the world. Life expectation is
going up. New technology creates new opportunities.
High connectivity and reshoring will make services
more tradeable: look at Uber, B&B, Booking.com, etc.
Customizable products will be manufactured closer to the
place where they will be consumed through 3-D printing.
These flows of digital information will reduce pollution
and transport cost.
The aim of zero greenhouse gas emissions, no plastic, no
petrol cars, clean electricity production from carbon-free
sources and existing buildings retrofitted to save energy is
urgent to keep the earth as a self-controlling entity, even if
it is not certain that storms, floods and other plagues are
caused by human activity. Global warming is a fact, not a
product of the fertile imagination of leftists. It will need a
coordinated strategy on a global level. Europe does a lot,
but the rest of the world follows reluctantly.
European nation-states all have a rich history. They
learned a lot from the many wars they fought with their
neighbors. They know now that peaceful cooperation is
the only solution. After 1945, exhausted fading European
empires created a framework in which they can prosper,
believing in progress and in a common collective identity.
Decision making with 28 nations is not simple. The
project is far from finished. We lack a common defense
and foreign affairs policy, otherwise Russians, Chinese and
Americans will ‘Divide et Impera’, tackle us one by one.
The European Union is one of the greatest achievements
in history, even if the United Kingdom leaves. The adverse
consequences of blundering into a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will not
only bring temporarily empty shelves, queues at Dover and
a bad time for British farmers.
It means a heavy setback for UK trade, lasting for
decades. The overdimensioned ego of a character such
as Boris Johnson going for a World Trade Organization
(WTO)-Brexit could favor the slip into such a serious
long-term damage by accident, believing that GATT
(General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) article 24
would spare the UK from EU tariffs. Notwithstanding the
clear hardline strategy of the European Commission, an
amended withdrawal deal is due end of October solving
the problem of the Irish backstop.
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk
offered already a ‘Canada +++’free-trade deal, the UK
declined it. It will be hard to obtain a better offer. The
Irish border could be monitored in the same way as border
controls between EU and non-EU members of EEA,
except that there would be no fixed controls on the Irish
border. The European single market includes countries
inside and outside the EU, having signed the European
Economic Area (EEA) agreement, such as Norway,
Sweden, Iceland and Switzerland. The UK while leaving,
could participate as a non-EU member ‘provisionally’ in
it, as Croatia does since May 2014. The UK would regain
control of its agriculture policy and fishing rights.
But to think that the UK can leave without a deal and
then sit down to talk about trade is an illusion. First has
to be dealt with the amount the UK owes to the EU when
they were still a member. After that, EU and UK citizen’s
rights and the Irish backstop will come upon the table.
47 countries belong to the Council of Europe (CoE) in
Strasbourg, founded in 1949, a Pan-European defense
© Diplomatic World
organization promoting democracy, justice and human
rights. The CoE has 324 members representing the
different countries, plus 47 judges, a secretary general and
a commissaire for human rights. All countries signed the
1950 Convention on Human Rights.
The European Court for Human Rights (CEDH),
constituted in 1959, is there to sanction the non-respect
of human rights and justice. In 2014, after the annexation
of Crimea and the Russian military intervention in the
East of Ukraine the CoE had suspended the voting
rights of the 18 Russian representatives and proclaimed
sanctions. Since then, Russia captured in November 2018,
24 Ukrainian marines and Gazprom did not respect the
judgment of the CEDH in which it had to pay 3 billion
dollars to the Ukrainian Naftogaz.
Russia was condemned by the Maritime Court of Justice
of the UNO, but did not release the marines. Russia does
not respect international law and treaties. The ‘Russian
affair’ illustrates the difficult relationship between
democratic values and ‘Realpolitik’. Business has to go
on! France and Germany want to normalize relations
with the Russian Federation and to abolish the sanctions,
even if Russia did not make any concession. Obviously,
military intimidation is the new rule; treaties only engage
those who believe in them. Europe needs to talk to Russia
again and live alongside them, with a mingling of fear and
Even if most of us reject a moral and political equivalence
with them, since they are low upon personal freedom.
But, all dominant nations share moral failures today.
Russians remain embittered by their 1990’s humiliation
and accuse the West of hypocrisy for its denunciation
of Russian foreign policy. The CIA’s manipulation of
foreign elections is not much different of these of Russian
intelligence agencies. Otherwise, Russia will go on pressing
mercilessly to recover parts of its lost Russky Mir empire,
requiring hegemony over its own sphere of influence.
And this with the consent of the greatest part of the
Russian population; few rulers are locally as popular as
the Russian president still is, even if it declined lately.
The CoE opened talks with the Russian delegation
to normalize the situation and allowed 18 Russian
delegates voting rights without even having to apologize
for the mayhem their country created. The Ukrainian
and Georgian conflicts have indeed to be solved by
negotiations, but here Europe lowered its pants on
demand. The Russian Federation is culturally too close
to Europe not to be in a good economic and diplomatic
relationship with the EU. Otherwise Russia will turn
to China, in the ongoing power struggle with the USA.
The Georgians and the Ukrainians are upset and claim
rightfully that ‘Europe committed treason to its human
values, as it did in München in 1938, and again in 1945
while giving in to Stalin’. The coming months will be of
The feeble measures taken in the aftermath of the 2008
financial crisis unleashed a populist anti-elite revolt
everywhere. The populist temptation can only be solved
when traditional political parties show enlightened
leadership by taking into account the people’s needs, as
Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the 30’s with his ‘New
Deal’. In an exclusive interview in the Financial Times
(28/6/2019), Vladimir Putin claims with disdain in the
face of international criticism that: ‘the rise of Populism
signals the end of Liberalism, having outlived its purpose,
as the public turns against immigration, open borders and
Vladimir Putin has long harbored suspicions of western
conspiracies to undermine his regime. About the ‘Skripal
Affaire’, he says: ‘We need to just leave it alone and let
security agencies deal with it. But, spies who betrayed
their county and traitors must be punished, zero
tolerance!’. He can’t deny that the weakness of his regime
lies in the slow growth of the economy, higher taxes,
increase in pension age and years of falling incomes,
which make him less popular. The EU and US sanctions
against Russia since 2014 cut it off increasingly from
Western capital markets and create problems for the Nord
Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting it to Germany.
Tensions built up everywhere in this global power
struggle. An excessive demographic expansion is the main
reason of environmental problems. Would cyborgs and
intelligent robots behave less aggressively than ordinary
humans? Would they decide that less human presence is
the solution to climate change? Nothing is less certain
since we created them. Natural evolution is based on the
elimination of the weakest, an unforgiven competition
between the most able to adapt, only moderated by the
respect for human rights and culture. Will robots respect
human rights? We can’t take democracy and human rights
for granted. We have to fight for it every day, not lowering
our pants. Economic liberalism and political freedom
are not obsolete, but essential tools for happiness if their
excesses are under control.
He noted the ‘breakdown of the international rules based
order, the rise of China, the end of the liberal ideology
and the prospect of improved relations with the UK’.
He singles out American unilateralism in the tensions
created by the tariff war, in the Gulf and in Venezuela.
Moscow has to protect at all cost its sphere of influence
by viscerally opposing NATO’s eastward extension. The
Russian aid to the ‘so-called’ popular revolutions in parts
of Georgia and Ukraine is explained as ‘necessary to
protect the 25 million ethnic Russians living outside the
MONACO BETTER WORLD FORUM
PRESENTS A DAY FOR THE CARIBBEAN
AND AMAZON RAINFOREST DURING
UN GLOBAL CLIMATE SUMMIT IN NEW YORK
Chief Raoni Metuktire, Kiera Chaplin, Jazmin Grace
Grimaldi, Jerry Wonda and Jean-Michel Cousteau attend
The Monaco Better World Forum Mastermind and Gala,
to celebrate the United Nations Global Climate Summit
2019. The Monaco Better World Forum hosted on Sunday
September 22nd in New York City a full day of conference,
high level meetings, the screening of Jean-Michel
Cousteau's movie, “Wonders of the Seas 3D” — narrated by
Arnold Schwarzenegger, and its annual gala with proceeds
dedicated in support Ocean Futures Society and Green
Chief Raoni Metuktire, Prince Albert of Monaco's
daughter Jazmin Grimaldi, Music producer Jerry Wonda,
actress Kiera Chaplin, Jean-Michel and Simon Stiell
(Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment,
Forestry, Fisheries of Grenada) are among the guests
who attended the Gala dinner with Grenada selected as
“Country of Honor”, which was held at the Westin Hotel
During the Gala dinner in Westin Grand Central, Monaco
Better World Forum awarded: Best Commitment, Minister
for Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry,
Fisheries of Grenada, His Excellency Simon Stiell;
Best Achievement, Andrew Forrest, Chairman Minderoo
Foundation; Best Commitment, Chief Raoni, Figure of the
Amazon Rainforest; Best Achievement (posthumously),
Tribute to Kofi Annan with the presence of Kojo Annan;
Best Renewable Energy, Joby Weeks, CEO Zero Waste Group
ABOUT MONACO BETTER WORLD FORUM
Created by Founder and President Manuel Collas de La
Roche in 2015, Monaco Better World Forum is a global
platform of thought leaders and influencers committed
to innovating the traditional thinking and standard
approaches to humanitarian action, business innovation
and environmental security.
Previous award winners and attendees include Nobel
Laureates, Academy, Globe and Grammy Awards winners
such as: Prince Albert II, Sharon Stone, Forest Whitaker,
Wim Wenders, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Mary J. Blige, Akon
and Yann Arthus-Bertrand. MWBF is especially grateful to
its sponsors OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC
tech company (macsales.com), Relight and 3.14 Cannes.
The Monaco Better World Forum:
Larry O'Connor CEO OWC, Manuel Collas de La Roche, Simon Stiell,
Minister of Climate Grenada, Kiera Chaplin © Monaco Better World Forum
Manuel Collas de La Roche, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, Chief Raoni
© Monaco Better World Forum
“PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT”
The necessity to eliminate the negative effects
on nature following the use of fossil fuels is no
longer point of discussion. Grown-ups and now
even children are demanding to make changes to
safeguard a future for them.
Marten van Haren, owner of the Dutch wealth management
company EBC Plus, has decided to actively support
enterprises with innovations which can contribute to a
healthier environment, while being based on a model for
a sustainable economy. Marten has called his investment
philosophy “Investing in tomorrow’s leaders”.
Even in the most recent climate summits, politicians
still continue to talk about what should be done,
which measurements can be taken, instead of actually
implementing new types of power generation which are
effective, and available in the market.
Research has proven that windmills and solar panels
cause harm to animals and humans and just recently the
European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)
has declared that Biomass is a really bad source of energy.
Consequently in the Netherlands alone, for the adaptation
of power plants to biomass, subsidies to an amount of 11,4
billion euros, are being wasted and this proves alternative
investments will have to be made.
As it is known, power plants, specific industries and
transportation produce most of the CO2 exhaust. Therefore
it is not difficult to stop polluting nature, we only have
to decide to rearrange our financial structures and some
companies and people have to be willing to change their
core business and develop new earning models.
pollution. Even local regulations to minimize the exhaust
of CO2, like forbidding the use of fireplaces for example,
will not prevent the production of too much CO2 and these
regulations can be obsolete when the important producers
of CO2 are replaced.
THE COMBINATION OF NEW AND PROVEN
TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES THE NEW
SUSTAINABLE CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTION
The Geo2Energy power plant is a new generation
supercharged geothermal plant that unlocks the Earth’s
unlimited underground energy. The power that comes
from deep inside the earth, is used to produce electricity
with zero emissions. The closed circuits of the power plant
guarantee that the plant has no polluting effects on the air,
land or sea. It is power generation without the exhaust of
CO2 or other toxic vapours.
The new combination of proven techniques of geothermal
energy is a cost effective, reliable, sustainable and
environmentally friendly source of power. In combination
with its recent technological innovations Geo2Energy has
dramatically expanded viable resources, resulting in an evergrowing
CONVERT EXISTING POWER PLANTS TO CLEAN
ENERGY POWER PLANTS
During the New York City’s Climate Week 2019 EBC Plus
presented his Green Energy Plus fund which represents the
newly designed power plant of the company Geo2Energy.
Since power plants and specific industries are the largest
producers of CO2, by changing to geothermal power plants
the exhaust of CO2 can seriously be reduced. They can also
render energy generation from windmills and solar panels
obsolete, whose production and functioning still causes
Because the power plant is designed as a modular system,
Geo2Energy can also change existing power plants into
non-polluting power plants, just by changing their front end.
The modular system enables the capacity of a Geo2Energy
power plant to be adapted to the demand of each customer,
from an individual industrial company to all the households
and industries of an entire region or country. As the
temperatures within the power plant don’t exceed 40
degrees Celsius and it uses seawater for cooling, it comes
without a cooling tower or cooling ventilators. Because of
the relatively low temperatures and its closed systems, there
are no dangers of explosion or exhaust of toxic vapours. As
a consequence, the above ground part of the power plant fits
into a relatively small building, no higher than 7 to 9 meters,
and it can be build next to, or in the middle of residential
The building cost of a geothermal power plant may seem
relatively high, but one needs to take into account that the
plant needs little maintenance, and will generate power for
a very long period of time using the unlimited resources
geothermal heat, and seawater for cooling. Due to a specific
technology, the power plant produces 15% more pressure
and therefore 15% more capacity than other comparative
The technology used by Geo2Energy counters the negative
arguments ventilated against geothermal energy. The
power plant does not disturb the earth, does not trigger
earthquakes, because cooler fluids are not pumped back
into the earth to mix with hot fluids. For the same reason,
no greenhouse gases, sulphur dioxide and silica emissions,
toxic heavy metals (mercury, arsenic and boron) will be
emitted into our atmosphere, also because the power plant
consists only of closed circuits. It is also believed that good
thermal reservoirs are hard to come by. This may be true for
those who don’t use the techniques Geo2Energy uses.
Marten van Haren, CEO EBC Plus and a great fan of coastal rowing.
© Alyssa Sideroff
herbs, all of them with a constant and toxic free quality
fit for human use and consumption), and cool buildings
(e.g. datacentres), and to produce oxygen (to be used in
hospitals) and hydrogen (to be used in transportation).
All of these products made from this energy, will be health
giving, and life enhancing.
• The geothermal powerplant of Geo2Energy enables an
energy transition while guaranteeing affordability and
energy comfort for the customers and citizens.
• The geothermal powerplant of Geo2Energy can
contribute to a secure, affordable and carbon free future
which has the least impact on nature.
THE NEW POWER PLANT ALSO PRODUCES
CLEAN DRINKING WATER, AND CRUCIAL GASES
IN THE PROCESS
In its ultimate form, the power plant of Geo2Energy is
more appropriately called a chemical factory, because its
power is also the means by which several by-products can
be produced. As the power plant uses seawater for cooling,
the electricity generated by this plant can also be used to
change seawater into pure drinking water, to produce salt, to
warm buildings (indoor plant growing facilities, producing
natural active substances for medicines, and vegetables and
TO PRESENT THE CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVE
TO EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
EBC Plus has singled out the power generating innovations
of Geo2Energy to make an actual contribution to making
our planet a healthier place to live in. Marten van Haren
is determined to inform as many countries, companies
and people as possible about how to generate power at
absolutely no cost to the environment. With the help of
political leaders and ambassadors he would like to make as
many countries and regions as possible independent of the
grid and to make the environment healthy again.
If you are interested in helping your country by investing
in this new clean energy program, Marten van Haren can
be contacted at EBC Plus by phone +31 (0)20 2442857 or
(EBC Plus is an AFM Registered Investment Company
under Dutch Regulatory Law)
YITSHAK & INBAL KREISS:
A SCIENTIFIC POWER COUPLE
THE DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENTS OF HUSBAND
AND WIFE PROF. YITSHAK AND INBAL KREISS
HAVE DRAWN THE WORLD’S GAZE
IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Yitshak Kreiss, the director-general of awardwinning
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer,
dedicates his days to managing the largest hospital
in Israel and the Middle East. Inbal Kreiss, deputygeneral
manager of the Space Division at Israel
Aerospace Industries (IAI), has enjoyed a year
of making lunar history. All that is, of course,
in addition to raising three children.
In May, Sheba Medical Center was named as the tenth
best hospital in the world by the American weekly
Newsweek. The hospital, which treats more than one
million patients annually, was described as “a leader in
medical science and biotechnical innovation, both in
the Middle East and worldwide.” Over one-quarter of
all Israeli medical clinical research takes place at the
Today, he is leading Sheba’s ambitious “City of Health”
project, combining state-of-the-art medical treatment with
innovation hubs for medical start-ups and an academic
research center for medical professionals and scientists.
His dedication to medicine has also served those in need
beyond Israel’s borders, with Yitshak leading and acting
as the executive authority in humanitarian missions for
Kosovan refugees in Macedonia, earthquake victims in
Haiti, victims of the Syrian civil war and those affected by
a typhoon in the Philippines.
“Being chosen this year to be amongst the top 10 best
hospitals in the world compels us to be a world leader in
helping to create the hospital of the future, using stateof-the-art
technologies from our new ARC innovation
concept, which will anchor our new flagship ‘City of
Health,’” Yitshak told The Jerusalem Post.
“These new technologies will impact the world by
changing the way we treat patients — not only curing what
ills them, but also providing them with a roadmap to
living longer, healthier lives.”
While Yitshak is developing the future of Israeli
healthcare, Inbal played a critical role in the
development and success of Israel’s Beresheet
spacecraft, designed by SpaceIL and IAI. Although
Beresheet failed to land successfully on the moon, crashlanding
in the Sea of Serenity on April 11, the mission
captured the imagination of children and adults alike
For 48 days, Beresheet’s ground crew watched, monitored
and executed every maneuver of the spacecraft from a
control center at IAI’s Yehud headquarters.
Vered Grinboim, chairwoman, Israel Friends of Sheba; Sheba director-general Yitshak Kreiss and his wife, Inbal; the chairwoman of Sheba’s Circle of Friends and her
husband, Galia and Yehoshua Maor.
© Avi Hofi and Rafi Delouya
Once in position to descend, the landing maneuver
commenced but failed after contact was lost with the
spacecraft’s main engine in the last minutes before
touchdown, leading to a loss of altitude and subsequent
Prior to her current role, Inbal headed IAI’s development
of Arrow-3, an anti-ballistic missile defense system
designed to intercept & destroy incoming threats. The
system was awarded the prestigious Israel Security Prize
in July 2017.
While sometimes reluctant to appear in the media,
Inbal’s achievements have both amazed onlookers and
contributed immeasurably to the security of the State of
PROF. YITSHAK KREISS
NAMED AS ONE OF
THE WORLD'S MOST
The Jerusalem Post, one of the most widely read
publications in the world, has recognized Prof.
Yitshak Kreiss, Dir. Gen. of Sheba Medical Center,
as a global mover and shaker for its annual Top 50
“World's Most Influential Jews” print and digital
magazine, which is published on the eve of Rosh
Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). The Jerusalem
Post's editors maintained that Prof. Kreiss and his
wife Inbal, represent Israel's most dynamic scientific
power couple and have “drawn the world's gaze during
the past 12 months”.
SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER'S
DR. TALIA GOLAN
HELPS DISCOVER A POTENTIAL
NEW TREATMENT FOR
METASTATIC PANCREATIC CANCER
Dr. Talia Golan, the head of Sheba Medical
Center's Pancreatic Cancer Center, who has been
conducting on-going research and clinical trials
with Astrazeneca and MSD (Merck), two of the
world's largest biopharmaceutical companies, to
evaluate the safety and test the efficacy of a new
drug treatment regimen known as POLO in order
to treat a specific type of metastatic pancreatic
cancer in carriers of the BRCA 1 & 2 mutation)
within patients around the globe, has reported very
promising results in the prestigious New England
Journal of Medicine.
“The POLO trial using the medicine Lynparza offers
potential hope for those who suffer from metastatic
pancreatic cancer and have a BRCA mutation,” Dr. Golan
revealed. “This treatment also exemplifies the advent of
'precision medicine' based on a specific genetic biomarker,
BRCA 1 & 2.”
Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer
worldwide, with 458,918 new cases in 2018 alone. It is
the 4th leading cause of cancer death, and less than 3%
of patients with metastatic disease survive more than
five years after diagnosis. Early diagnosis of pancreatic
cancer is difficult, as often there are no symptoms until it
is too late. Around 80% of patients are diagnosed at the
cells. When either of these genes is mutated, or altered,
such that its protein product either is not made or does
not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired
properly, and cells become unstable. As a result, cells are
more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that
can lead to cancer. A significant number of Ashkenazi Jews
(European origin) around the world are carriers of the
BRCA 1 & 2 genes.
WHAT ARE BRCA MUTATIONS?
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce
proteins responsible for repairing damaged DNA and play
an important role in maintaining the genetic stability of
© Sheba Academic Medical Center Hospital
ABOUT DR. TALIA GOLAN
Dr. Golan is a medical oncologist, specializing in
gastrointestinal malignancies, and is recognized as a
world-renowned specialist and researcher in the field
of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Golan is also the director of
Phase I clinical trials unit at Sheba's Pancreatic Cancer
ABOUT SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER, TEL HASHOMER
Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer is the largest and
most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East.
Sheba is the only medical center in Israel that combines
an acute care hospital and a rehabilitation hospital
on one campus, and it is at the forefront of medical
treatments, patient care, research and education. In
2019, Newsweek magazine named Sheba one of the
“Top 10 Hospitals in the World”. To learn more, visit:
ABOUT THE POLO TRIAL AND LYNPARZA
POLO is a Phase III randomized, double-blinded,
placebo-controlled, multi-center study of Lynparza
tablets (300mg twice daily) as maintenance
monotherapy vs. placebo.
The trial randomized 154 patients with gBRCAm
metastatic pancreatic cancer whose disease has not
progressed on 1st-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
Lynparza (olaparib) is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor
and the first targeted treatment to block DNA damage
response (DDR) in cells/tumours harbouring a
deficiency in homologous recombination repair (HRR),
such as mutations in BRCA1 and/or BRCA2.
PROF. DR. FRANÇOISE MEUNIER
For over 22 years, Françoise Meunier has held the
reins of the European Organisation for Research
and Treatment of Cancer as its Director General,
and under her direction this premier European
cancer research organization has successfully met
the challenges posed by a new regulatory framework
and requirements for international collaboration.
Dr. Meunier’s contribution consisted of the coordination and
administration of all EORTC activities in order to promote
the EORTC as a major European organization in the field
of cancer research and treatment and is responsible for the
implementation of scientific activities, public relations and
medium term strategies as defined by the EORTC Board as
well as for internal and external communication.
Early diagnosis, innovative drugs and integrated therapeutic
strategies combining chemotherapy, surgery and
radiotherapy have resulted in dramatic increases in cancer
survival rates. In fact, EORTC trials have led to long term
survival and cure for children with leukemia and patients
with Hodgkin’s lymphoma or testicular and breast cancers.
This success is good news, but it brings with a host of
unanticipated issues facing cancer survivors, who are
frequently excluded from insurance, mortgages and jobs.
Prof. Dr. Meunier explains. “Cancer is here to stay. One
man in three, one woman in four, will be faced with the
diagnosis. And, by 2020, 15 million citizens of this planet
will be confronted with the disease. Cancer is the result of
ageing populations. We are victims of the success of other
fields of medicine. We die less of cardiovascular diseases, of
diabetes, of measles, of tetanus, and we survive to develop
cancer. Cancer is the result of ageing of our cells, which
acquire genetic alterations, a misfunctioning.
They are not hereditary, only 5% of cancers are hereditary.
But I have good news for you. Cancer is no longer a death
sentence. We have made tremendous progress. I was
graduated as a medical doctor in 1974. I remember vividly
how heart breaking it was, or difficult, with great emotion,
to pose a diagnosis of cancer and to tell a patient that he
Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier
© Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier
had cancer, causing for that person, but also for his or her
entourage, tremendous distress, anxiety, apprehension, fear
That is the reason why, in 1974, I decided to dedicate
my professional life to the improvement of quality of life
and survival of patients with cancer. The good news is
that over 40 years of my medical career, I have witnessed
such tremendous progress. Look at the decrease of cancer
mortality in Europe over the last 40 years, for both men and
Why did we make so much progress? First, because we
better understand what causes cancer thanks to basic
research. We understand what is going on on a cellular level.
It is philosophically very interesting to realize that all our
cells are programmed to die. It's the phenomenon that we
call apoptosis. And if we develop cancer, it's because one
of our cells has found the secret of immortality and does
not die but multiplies in an anarchic way, disseminates, and
The second reason why we are making so much progress is
that we have much better and earlier diagnostic tools, it is
much easier to treat cancer today.
And the third factor is that it's thanks to thousands of
patients who trusted us, clinical investigators, and all who
accepted to participate in what we call clinical research or
human experimentation. Indeed, curing mice and rats in
laboratories does not help the patient at the bedside. We
need to do clinical research by bringing the research results
to the bedside.
Treating cancer is not an easy way for the patient. He has to
go through a very difficult path, himself and his entourage
as well. To get surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy,
immunotherapy and so on. It's an ordeal. It's painful. It's
requiring strength for the patient but also for the family and
THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN
The day the patient hears “you are cured, you don’t need to
come in for frequent follow-up tests anymore,” the patient
expects to enjoy a better life, a normal life. But they can’t.
They are confronted with a lot of social new problems,
totally unexpected. This is totally unacceptable.
It's outrageous. At the workplace, try to think how you
would react in front of somebody that you need to hire, and
you tell that he has cancer. To get a job, to get a promotion,
the stigma still remains. It still is very difficult to get back to
a normal life. Those former patients also face tremendous
difficulties to get loans and mortgages, they suffer an extra
Because of their illness it is hard to get a loan to buy a
house, some even get denied. Patients also face problems
getting all types of insurances, medical ones, that either are
denied or provided at astronomical cost.
In France, there is a law, “Droit à l’oubli”, “the Right to be
Forgotten”, which is a very good law. It means an adult does
not have to declare to an insurance company that he had
cancer ten years after the end of treatment. For a child it
is five years after the end of treatment. This law should be
expanded to all countries.
We are also facing a paradigm shift for the business world.
There are 32 million cancer survivors. “Survivor” meaning
no reoccurrence, no relapse, from five years after the end
of treatment. And many, many more will come every year
thanks to the progress that we are making, we medical
doctors and clinical investigators. So, society has to move,
speed up the paradigm shift, be the promoter of the
evolution. The patient should not be left alone, go through
a second ordeal. You should not have to pay extra to be a
Although there are other countries, regions and especially
legal cases where the right to be forgotten plays or played,
it has been predominantly a European matter. The right to
be forgotten really entered the EU privacy sphere with the
2014 judgement of the Court of Justice of the EU under the
predecessor of the GDPR
What the GDPR essentially does is detailing, broadening
and defining the scope of the right to be forgotten, making
it that fundamental data subject right and requiring data
controllers to enable EU citizens to exercise the right.
The right to erasure or right to be forgotten grants data
subjects a possibility to have their personal data deleted if
they don’t want them processed anymore and when there is
no legitimate reason for a data controller to keep it.
Enabling data subjects to exercise the right to be forgotten
is a duty of the data controller with an additional
responsibility of communication/information and erasure
by third parties, other recipients and other controllers
with specific exceptions and stipulations regarding, among
others, feasibility of the requested erasure in a proportionate
Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier
© Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier
HPV, in many different types, is a highly contagious
virus. Some of these types are transmitted through
sexual contact, while others are transmitted through
daily skin contact (e.g. hand shaking). A condom
cannot prevent the transfer, so it is so important that
people are vaccinated before their first sexual contact.
The vaccination cannot prevent the infection, but it will
prevent the infection from becoming chronic. As a result,
the likelihood of warts or cancers is greatly reduced.
However, there is still a small risk, because vaccination
cannot protect against all HPV types.
Routinely parents and children are informed at the
beginning of the school year and their consent is
requested for vaccination, which is not compulsory but
recommended by the Cancer Foundation.
Vaccination has been available for girls since 2011, more
so, until recently, vaccination was only recommended for
girls. That changed recently, whereby also boys can be
vaccinated. Since the start of the new school year 2019-
2020, boys from the first year of secondary education
(11-12 years old) can be vaccinated against the human
Stichting tegen Kanker / Fondation contre le Cancer
Dr. Meunier received her Medical Degree summa cum
laude from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where she also
earned Master’s Degrees in both Medical Oncology and
Internal Medicine and a PhD, (Agrégé de l’Enseignement
Following her studies and inspired by Prof. Henri Tagnon,
she pursued a Fulbright Fellowship for two years at the
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
She is certified as Pharmaceutical Medicine specialist by the
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in the United Kingdom
as well as in Belgium, is a Fellow of the Royal College of
Physicians in the United Kingdom and has been a member
of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine since 2006.
Before joining the EORTC in 1991, Dr. Meunier was Head
of the Infectious Disease Department at the Institut Jules
Bordet in Brussels, Belgium.
She has been a member of the Belgian Royal Academy of
Medicine (Académie Royale de Médecine de Belgique) since
2006 and was awarded the Belgian Laureate “Prix Femmes
In 2009, she was honored with the ‘Pezcoller-ECCO
Recognition for Contribution to Oncology’ for her
outstanding contribution as a scientific leader and mentor
and in 2011 she became a Fellow of the European Academy
of Cancer Sciences.
Since 2012 she has served as a member of the Innovative
Medicine Initiative (IMI) Scientific Committee of the
Prof. Dr. Françoise Meunier, EORTC Director General,
received the ECCO Lifetime Achievement Award at the
2013 ECCO–ESMO–ESTRO European Cancer Congress in
THE RIGHT TO ERASURE OR RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN
UNDER THE GDPR EXPLAINED AND VISUALIZED
After the new right to data portability in the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ‘right to be forgotten’,
a.k.a. right to erasure, proves to be the hardest data subject
right to operationalize and even the second most difficult
GDPR obligation in practice overall as the IAPP-EY
Annual Privacy Governance Report 2017 showed.
The ruling recognized the right of EU data subjects
to request the removal of links by search engines, who
are data controllers. This right, now called ‘the right to
erasure’, is a fundamental data subject right in the GDPR,
in and beyond the context of publicly available personal
The notion of ‘the right to be forgotten’ isn’t new. And so
isn’t the principle. Just ask Google (among others). You
undoubtedly already conducted a search query somewhere
in Europe to read “Some results may have been removed
under data protection law in Europe” with a link to a page
explaining why this is the case.
Although there are other countries, regions and especially
legal cases where the right to be forgotten plays or played,
it has been predominantly a European matter. The right to
be forgotten really entered the EU privacy sphere with the
2014 judgement of the Court of Justice of the EU under
the predecessor of the GDPR (Directive 95/46/EC), in
case C131/12, indeed involving Google.
What the GDPR essentially does is detailing, broadening
and defining the scope of ‘the right to be forgotten’,
making it that fundamental data subject right and
requiring data controllers to enable EU citizens to
exercise the right.
During last week’s ECCO2019 Summit Prof. Dr. Meunier
argued a hard case pro ‘the right to be forgotten’ with
arguments and stories we all can relate to. Not being able
to get a loan, nor insurance nor a job because you had
cancer, even though you survived it, Prof. Dr. Meunier
labels this ‘having to pay twice’. She will not rest until this
injustice is set straight and asked us all to support her.
THE EVOLUTION OF
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Celebrating BIG's 20th anniversary, Professor
Martine Piccart, President and Co-Founder of BIG,
gathered experts and supporters to present the
evolution of breast cancer treatment at a conference
followed by a reception.
More than 150 participants attended the conference held
at the ‘Palais des Académies’ in Brussels, a conference
enhanced by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen of
the Belgians, Honorary President of BIG.
Speakers included Professor David Cameron (UK),
Dr Alberto Costa (IT), Professor Martine Piccart (BE),
Princess Amaury de Merode as Chair of the BIG Ambassadors
Committee and Betty Baligant, breast cancer survivor.
The underlying message of the event was to show the
progress of breast cancer treatments. Women facing the
disease now have a better chance of survival and receive
more personalized, less toxic, more targeted and less
invasive treatments. Tomorrow's treatment options have
been addressed through the possibility of immunotherapy
that would activate the immune system to destroy breast
Many of BIG's studies are purely academic and noncommercial,
which means that funding is often limited, but
the results of these studies are very promising for patients.
If you would like to learn more about BIG's research and
Please visit https://www.bigagainstbreastcancer.org/fr/
© Diplomatic World
BIG AGAINST BREAST CANCER is the general-public
name of the Breast International Group used for outreach
and fundraising activities. BIG against breast cancer aims
to reach out beyond the scientific community to potential
donors and partners, explaining to them the importance of
BIG’s research and engaging them in our fight against breast
cancer. The “Breast International Group” name and logo
are used with scientific audiences, and the “BIG against
breast cancer” name and logo are used in communications
with donors, supporters and partners.
LEADERS IN THE FIELD OF
BREAST CANCER RESEARCH
For 20 years BIG has been conducting international
clinical trials and research programmes to find better
treatments against breast cancer. Several of BIG’s trials and
programmes are considered to be landmark, introducing
particularly innovative designs, contributing to significant
breakthroughs, or paving the way towards more personalised
treatment of the disease.
More than 20 years ago, it was only an idea discussed
by two oncologists desiring better chances to find a
cure for breast cancer. Today, BIG is the largest global
research network dedicated solely to breast cancer. In
the early 1990s, breast cancer research in Europe was
highly fragmented, with academic groups running many
similar trials, but not yet interacting in a way to facilitate
collaboration. Together, Dr. Martine Piccart and Dr. Aron
Goldhirsch shared a different vision for the future: groups
debating the latest research findings, sharing ideas for new
clinical trials and working in harmony to conduct these
Global collaboration is crucial for making significant
advances in breast cancer research. It reduces unnecessary
duplication of efforts and costs, accelerates our
understanding of breast cancer, contributes to the faster
development of better treatments and increases the
likelihood of finding a cure. Based on this vision, they
created the Breast International Group (BIG) in 1996.
The not-for-profit became a legal entity in 1999, with its
headquarters in Brussels (Belgium). In the past 20 years,
over 40 trials have been run under the BIG umbrella,
including several landmark trials that have had a real impact
on breast cancer treatments. So far, approximately 70.000
patients have taken part in BIG trials all over the world.
RESEARCH SAVES LIVES.
TOGETHER, WE CAN CURE BREAST CANCER.
A GROWING NETWORK
OF WORLD CLASS EXPERTS
While initially expected to address a critical need in Europe,
the idea of BIG quickly attracted academic breast cancer
collaborative groups working in other parts of the world:
Breast Cancer Trials — Australia/New Zealand (formerly
ANZ BCTG) and Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG)
have been involved from BIG’s very first days; GECO Peru
from Latin America joined as early as 2002; the Japanese
Breast Cancer Research Group (JBCRG) became a member
in 2004; and in 2017 the network welcomed new research
groups from China, Thailand and Georgia. In recent years,
BIG has also attracted the attention of groups based in
India, Pakistan, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.
TODAY BIG HAS THE ABILITY TO UNITE UNDER ITS UMBRELLA THE OPINION LEADERS FROM
OVER 50 COUNTRIES WHO SHARE A COMMON VISION ABOUT THE OPTIMAL CONDUCT OF
BREAST CANCER RESEARCH.
BIG BREAST INTERNATIONAL GROUP
BIG against breast cancer is the philanthropic unit of
the Breast International Group (BIG), a not-for-profit
organisation and the world’s largest international network
of academic research groups dedicated to finding cures
for breast cancer. For 20 years BIG has been conducting
international clinical trials and research programs to find
better treatments against breast cancer.
Global collaboration is crucial to make significant
advances in breast cancer research, reduce unnecessary
duplication of efforts, share data and enable collaboration
between scientists across borders, contribute to the
faster development of better treatments, and increase the
likelihood of finding a cure for breast cancer patients.
Based on this vision, the Breast International Group BIG
was created in 1996. This not-for-profit became a legal
entity in 1999, with its headquarters in Brussels (Belgium).
In over 15 years, more than 55 trials have been run under
the BIG umbrella, including several landmark trials that
have had a real impact on breast cancer treatments. So far,
approximately 70.000 patients have taken part in BIG trials
all over the world.
Today, the BIG network unites 59 groups and reaches
across more than 50 countries and 6 continents, connecting
thousands of hospitals and world-class breast cancer experts
who collaborate on pioneering breast cancer research.
We design, conduct and facilitate international clinical
trials. The money we raise is directly invested into
innovative academic research that makes a BIG difference
for patients and their loved ones. Our goal is to improve
patient survival and quality of life, by finding the right
treatment for every patient.
VISION AND MISSION
WE WILL FIND A CURE FOR BREAST CANCER
THROUGH GLOBAL RESEARCH AND COLLABORATION
We believe it is possible to cure breast cancer through global research and collaboration. Global collaboration is crucial
to making significant advances in breast cancer research: reducing unnecessary duplication of effort, sharing data,
enabling collaboration of scientists across borders, contributing to the faster development of better treatments, and
increasing the likelihood of cures for patients. This shared vision of BIG's and our members combined with their
expertise, make it possible to conduct high quality, credible research.
Our mission is to facilitate and accelerate breast cancer research at the international level. We are proud to be both
global and local, helping breast cancer patients from all over the world. We achieve this by stimulating cooperation
between our member groups and other academic networks, and collaborating with, but working independently from,
the pharmaceutical industry. Linked to over 3.000 hospitals, BIG is the largest international network dedicated solely
to breast cancer. Working together towards one goal: to cure breast cancer!
OUR PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH CONDUCT
We operate according to a series of principles of research conduct focused on ensuring scientific integrity in trial
design and governance. These principles aim to eliminate bias from the research process, and maintain integrity
vis-à-vis patients, both when working with pharmaceutical partners or when working alone. Furthermore, all BIG studies
are governed by committees and policies to ensure that patients’ best interests stay in focus at every step of the way.
ARON GOLDHIRSCH, M.D., PH.D. (H.C.), CO-FOUNDER
Dr Goldhirsch is currently director of the Breast Health
Program at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO),
Milan, Italy, and Consultant for senology at the Regional
Hospital of Lugano, Switzerland. He is Co-Chairman
of the Scientific Committee of the International Breast
Cancer Study Group (IBCSG, formerly Ludwig Group)
and Professor (by title) for Medical Oncology at the
University of Bern, Switzerland.
Dr Goldhirsch’s areas of research include new treatments
for breast cancer, definition of biological features that
predict responsiveness or resistance to anti-cancer
treatments, and quality-of-life-oriented approaches. He
has received several international prizes and recognitions
among which a PhD Honoris Causa (University of
Gothenburg), and, more recently, the Gianni Bonadonna
Breast Cancer Award (San Francisco). He is author of
nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles in reference books and
editor or co-editor of 10 books and is on the editorial
board of several oncology and breast cancer research
MARTINE PICCART, M.D., PH.D.
Martine J. Piccart is a professor of oncology at the
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and scientific
director at the Jules Bordet Institute (Brussels/Belgium).
Earning her medical degrees at ULB and oncology
qualifications in New York and London, she is also a
member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine.
Prof. Piccart is a past president of the European CanCer
Organisation (ECCO, 2014-2015). She has also held
presidencies of the European Organisation for the
Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the
European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and
has served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology
A strong advocate for and leader of international
research collaborations, Prof. Martine Piccart, together
with Prof. Aron Goldhirsch, co-founded in 1996 the
Breast International Group (BIG) to foster collaboration
and accelerate the development of better breast cancer
She graduated as a medical doctor at the Université
Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 1978, where she also met
Michael Gebhart. She obtained her internal medicine
certification at the ULB in 1983. After she graduated she
worked as a fellow for two years with Professor Franco
Muggia at New York University Medical Center
Afterwards she returned to Brussels, where she worked for
Professor J. Klastersky, head of internal medicine at the
Jules Bordet Institute. She became certified in European
medical oncology in London in 1989, and earned her PhD
from the ULB in 1993.
She continued working at the institute and specialized in
breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In 1996, she founded
the Breast International Group (BIG) and since 2006
she is president of the EORTC until 2009. She is chair
of the VZW — BCWG (Vereniging zonder winstoogmerk,
Breast Cancer Working Group). She is chair of the World
Congress on Controversies in Breast Cancer (CoBRA).
Author or co-author of more than 470 peer-reviewed
publications, she has received numerous prestigious
awards, including the Jill Rose Award, the William
L. McGuire Award, the Umberto Veronesi Award for
the Future Fight against Cancer, and 2013 David A.
Karnofsky Memorial Award.
She is co-founder and Chair of the Breast International
Group (BIG), uniting 49 academic research groups
from around the world and running over 30 trials under
its umbrella. BIG’s research programmes include the
European Commission supported TRANSBIG consortium
of 28 institutions in 11 countries (running with the
EORTC the MINDACT trial) and NeoBIG, an innovative
biomarker and drug development programme focused on
Prof. Dr. Piccart and her team have been focusing on
understanding the origins of metastatic breast cancer
(MBC) and how it evolves, the molecular alterations
in metastatic breast cancer that correlate with disease
progression and/or therapeutic resistance.
Prof. Dr. Piccart is studying tumor tissue, metastatic
lesions and blood samples from women with metastatic
breast cancer, seeking to understand the biological
underpinnings of metastatic breast cancer. The goal is to
gain insight into gene changes that occur from the time
the tumor develops to when it spreads to distant organs.
This international effort will provide important clues to
the development of targeted prevention and treatment for
metastatic breast cancer. Having made exciting discoveries
about how tumors evolve and spread to other tissues, Prof.
Dr. Piccart and her colleagues will now analyze additional
tissue and blood samples to confirm their findings.
While primary breast cancer is very well understood at the
molecular level, far less is known about the genetic changes
that cause it to metastasize and spread to other tissues in
the body. Using advanced technologies, Prof. Dr. Piccart
is conducting laboratory studies of samples taken from
primary tumors and metastatic lesions that she hopes will
reveal the nature of these changes and how they might be
targeted to prevent or treat metastatic breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer is one of the leading causes
of cancer-related mortality among women in the Western
world. Prof. Dr. Piccart and her team of cancer experts
and bio-informaticians are analyzing tumor tissue and
blood samples collected from patients enrolled in the
AURORA study for metastatic breast cancer. She hopes to
identify changes in tumor DNA that affect how the tumor
responds to treatment.
genetic change, considered a dominant genetic change in
breast cancer and, therefore, this can represent important
targets for new cancer therapies.
The team will complete the extensive molecular
characterization of the remaining patients included
in AURORA and expand the bioinformatics analysis
performed so far. Analyzing data from all AURORA
patients will be essential to validate initial findings and to
allow the study of rarer subtypes of breast cancer. This will
enable a better understanding of the origin and evolution
of metastatic breast cancer.
In the last decade, the characterization of breast cancer
at the molecular level has allowed a better understanding
of the disease biology and allowed a personalization of
its management and treatment. While primary breast
cancer is very well understood at the molecular level, the
molecular underpinnings of metastasis are only beginning
to be explored. Prof. Dr. Piccart and her international
collaborators are studying gene changes that occur
between the tumor forms in the breast to when it becomes
a metastatic tumor in a distant organ to identify potential
new targets for prevention or treatment.
A patient's response to therapy depends on many interacting
factors, including the patient’s physical characteristics, the
genetic makeup, and the environment. Response to cancer
drugs is impacted by the uniqueness of every tumor and the
genetic diversity of cells within the tumor.
Dr. Piccart is leading the effort on BCRF Founder’s Fund
AURORA EU initiative. The objective of AURORA EU
is to conduct precise molecular analyses of primary and
metastatic breast cancer samples to better understand
the evolution of metastasis and the mechanisms of drug
resistance that allow tumors to grow and spread.
The team is conducting deep molecular analysis of
samples taken from the primary tumor and/or from the
metastatic lesions of patients included in the AURORA
molecular screening program. The initial analysis
has identified genetic changes correlated with tumor
progression and resistance to cancer treatment. They have
completed the molecular profiling of the first 381 patients
included in the AURORA program and have started to
characterize the samples from all other participating
patients. Their analysis has identified a particular kind of
In AURORA, targeted next-generation sequencing is used
to identify aberrations in cancer genes in patients’ primary
and metastatic tumors. Among other abnormalities, this
technology can identify large Copy Number Alterations
(CNAs), in which whole genes or chromosomal regions
are deleted or amplified. CNAs are important for
understanding the disease and implementing treatments.
Thus, this year, Dr. Piccart and team will expand the
analysis of CNAs in the primary and metastatic tumors of
the first 400 AURORA EU patients.
When BIG kindly invited me to their 20th Anniversary conference with the
presence of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde. I was truly honoured to attend.
Having myself recently lost a dear friend through breast
cancer meant it was all the more important to be there.
After the conference, a reception was held in the marble
room. Here a 3 tiered cake, topped with the logo 20BIG,
was presented to the 150 guests. Making this celebration
cake for BIG was also a celebration to my friendʼs life, a fine
person who supported my dreams. The cake was made from
her favourite flavours, of lemon and vanilla and was much
appreciated by the guests.
The sun shone brightly and enhanced the beauty of
the occasion and I knew my friend was there with us.
CAN PANCREATIC CANCER
BE FOUND EARLY?
New onset of
If you persistently experience two or more of these symptoms which are
not normal for you, you should get checked by your GP because these
symptoms may indicate pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is hard to find early. The pancreas lies
deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by
health care providers during routine physical exams. People
usually have no symptoms until the cancer has become very
large or has already spread to other organs.
For certain types of cancer, screening tests or exams are
used to look for cancer in people who have no symptoms
and who have not had that cancer before, nor anyone in
the family. But for pancreatic cancer, no major professional
groups currently recommend routine screening in people
who are at average risk. This is because no screening test
has been shown to lower the risk of dying from this cancer.
Some people might be at increased risk of pancreatic cancer
because of a family history of the disease or a family history
of certain other cancers. Sometimes this increased risk is
due to a specific genetic syndrome.
Genetic testing looks for the gene changes that cause
these inherited conditions and increase pancreatic cancer
risk. The tests look for these inherited conditions, not for
pancreatic cancer itself. Your risk may be increased if you
have one of these inherited conditions, but this doesn’t
mean that you have, or definitely will get, pancreatic cancer.
Knowing if you are at increased risk can help you and your
doctor decide if you should have more tests to look for
pancreatic cancer and find it early, when it might be easier
Know the 10 Signs
Depression is not uncommon after diagnosis
In the case of pancreatic cancer however,
depression can also be a symptom of the
cancer prior to diagnosis.
The most common signs of jaundice are that
the skin and the whites of the eyes turn
Jaundice can also be associated with itching
and dark urines.
Jaundice can also be caused by other
non-cancerous conditions, such as
Nausea (feeling sick) and sickness can occur
for several different reasons.
It often starts with discomfort or pain in the
abdomen, which can spread to the back.
A tumour can block the bile duct or press on
the duodenum, which obstructs digestion.
It may also cause inflammation around it in
the pancreas, or jaundice.
Pain can be worse after eating or when lying
The pain may come and go at first, but may
become more constant over time.
The body burns more calories than usual.
You may notice a decreased appetite or
desire for certain foods.
This cancer induced weight loss is called
cancer cachexia and affects the way calories
and proteins are used by the body.
Persistant diarrhoea can be a sign of
something more serious even if it is not
Six or more loose bowel movements a day
for more than two days can be described as
This can occur without any noticeable pain.
If diarrhoea starts to interfere with your daily
activities consult your doctor.
This causes fatty, whitened or foul smelling
It can occur as a result of the bile duct
becoming obstructed and can be due to a
cancerous tumor in the pancreas.
About 7 out of 10 people with pancreatic
cancer first go to their doctors because they
have back pain.
This mainly occurs if the tumor is located in
the body or tail of the pancreas and puts
pressure on the nerves.
Pancreatic cancer destroys the cells of the
pancreas that produce insulin. This can lead
to the onset of diabetes mellitus.
Symptoms include blurred vision, extreme
fatigue, cuts/bruises that are unusually slow
to heal, feeling very thirsty or hungry even
though you are eating and drinking.
Shortness of breath or pain can be caused by
blood clots in a deep vein such as legs,
pelvis or arms.
This in turn can be caused by problems related
to pancreatic cancer.
The European Multi Stakeholder Platform on Pancreatic Cancer is composed of European experts, academics, patients, journalists,
clinical practitioners and policy makers who are committed to raising awareness around pancreatic cancer with a view to improving
standards of care, diagnosis and data collection for patients suffering from pancreatic cancer across Europe. For more information,
please consult our website (www.pancreaticcancereurope.eu).
to treat. But determining whether you might be at increased
risk is not simple.
For people in families at high risk of pancreatic cancer,
newer tests for detecting pancreatic cancer early may
help. The two most common tests used are an endoscopic
ultrasound or MRI. These tests are not used to screen the
general public but might be used for someone with a strong
family history of pancreatic cancer or with a known genetic
syndrome that increases the risk. Doctors have been able to
find early, treatable pancreatic cancers in some members of
high-risk families with these tests.
CAN PANCREATIC CANCER BE FOUND EARLY?
The position of the pancreas makes it difficult to detect any abnormalities either by the patient as well as by the doctor.
Patients usually only recognize symptoms in an advanced stage, that is why we want to stress the signs and symptoms and
make sure the early warning signs are well known.
EXACTLY THIS TIME 12 YEARS AGO I RECEIVED
THE NEWS I HAD A MASS ON MY PANCREAS.
THIS MASS TURNED OUT TO BE PANCREATIC
CANCER, SOMETHING I’D NOT HEARD OF
BEFORE THAT MOMENT. I, IN 2007 WAS
FACING A 3% 5-YEAR SURVIVAL RATE AND,
AT THE AGE OF 41 WITH TWO YOUNG BOYS,
THIS WAS A TERRIFYING PROSPECT.
Ali Stunt is the founder of Pancreatic Action UK and we
are colleagues in Europacolon that has now grown into
Digestive Cancers Europe. She is a 12-year survivor this year
and an avid patient advocate. In 2006 she was diagnosed
with type 2 diabetes but noticed that the medication wasn’t
“What I didn't know was that this was actually an initial
symptom of pancreatic cancer. About six months later I
started becoming symptomatic of the cancer with back
pain, with pain on eating, a change in bowel habits and
continuing to lose weight without trying.” Indeed we now
know that sudden onset diabetes could be one of the signs
“Eventually I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and now
we know that that diabetes wasn't type 2 diabetes but in fact
type 3c diabetes induced by the pancreatic cancer and not
through any other sort of lifestyle factors.”
“I wish I had known what type I was initially. It wasn't until
a couple of years after my pancreatic cancer diagnosis that
they said I had type 3c. My first reaction was ‘what's that’?”
People are aware of the two main types of diabetes, type 1
and type 2 and the complications that these involve.
However, not many are aware that there exists another type
of diabetes known as Pancreatogenic diabetes or type 3c.
This is a type of diabetes which is mainly associated with
the exocrine pancreas.”
It also has to do with the digestive functions of the organ.
The Pancreatogenic diabetes is actually considered to be
a secondary form of diabetes. When you have problems
associated with the exocrine pancreas, you more often than
not suffer from what is known as chronic pancreatitis.
Pancreatogenic diabetes, which is also known as type 3c
diabetes mainly results from destruction of the normal
functioning of the pancreas that is a result of inflammation
of the pancreas, surgery, as well as various types of tumors
caused in the pancreas.
© Ali Stunt
“My doctor is retired now but when I told him that I had
type 3c diabetes he told me I was not only making it up but
that I was attention-seeking which is quite appalling really.
Type 3c diabetes is quite a brittle form of diabetes and it is
it is quite tricky to control it. I take insulin and I religiously
count carbs. I also have a continuous glucose monitor,
linked to my phone and my Apple watch. It will give me
alerts when my glucose level is going too low or
“It doesn't always work perfectly because I still have 20%
of my pancreas left following surgery for pancreatic cancer.
That little bit of pancreas decides to work sometimes and
pump out insulin.”
“When this happens and I've already counted the amount of
insulin I need for the food that I'm eating, it is possible that
I can rapidly go low into hyperglycemia. The hardest part is
maintaining that control and getting the balance. Diabetes
impacts everything because it's uppermost in your mind all
the time. You get up in the morning and the first thing on
your mind is what is my blood looking like. I'm about to
eat breakfast so how much insulin do I need. The beauty
of continuous glucose monitoring is the fact that you can
check it without it being too obvious, so you know where
you're at any time of the day”.
After undergoing a ‘distal pancreatectomy’ and
‘splenectomy’ where 80% of the pancreas and all of the
spleen is removed, Ali received 6 months of combination
chemotherapy and then 6 weeks of chemo-radiotherapy
She put this new available time to good use. Having been
astounded by the dismal survival rates of pancreatic cancer
patients and by the little or no improvement in these rates
over the last 40 years, Ali joined forces with others to set up
the UK’s very first Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Week in
Her passion to encourage early diagnosis for the illness
prompted Ali to found Pancreatic Cancer Action (PCA) in
Unlike 90% of the patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
Ali was lucky: her illness was detected early enough to allow
a life-saving operation.
In fact, Ali was just one of the 10% of people who are ever
able to have life-saving surgery.
Follow Ali’s blog on her website www.alistunt.org
Director Health and Prevention
© Ali Stunt
H.S.H. PRINCE ALBERT II
INSTALLS ISRAELI AIR-TO-WATER
TECHNOLOGY IN PALACE
THE COUNTRY'S PRINCES HAVE LIVED
IN THE PALACE WHERE WATERGEN
WAS INSTALLED FOR OVER 700 YEARS
Monaco's Prince Albert II has installed an Israelimade
WaterGen machine, which turns air into water, in
his family's 700-year-old legendary palace.
The prince is known for his efforts to combat plastic
pollution and global warming, and was therefore presented
with the technology by WaterGen's chairman, Israeli-
Georgian businessman and philanthropist Mikhael
Mirilashvili. The two met at an event organized by Tel
Aviv University together with investor and philanthropist
Aaron Frenkel that marked the launching of the “Combat
Pollution Initiative,” which aims to use various Israeli
technologies to battle pollution in the Mediterranean
The event was held at the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco,
where several leaders in the fields of energy and the
environment signed the Principality's National Energy
Transition Pact to mark their support for the actions of
the Principality of Monaco in the field of energy efficiency
and the promotion of renewable energies.
environmental pollution as a result. Our technology
completely solves this problem.”
WaterGen was created in Rishon Lezion in 2009 and has
developed WaterGen that can turn atmospheric water
into safe water. GEN-350, the water generator created by
the company, can produce up to 900 liters of water per
day. It weighs a mere 800 kilograms, making the system
transportable and easily installable.
“Our main target is to save and improve people's lives all
around the world,” Mirilashvili told The Jerusalem Post
in March. “We also aim to remove plastic from earth, to
reduce the global carbon footprint, and of course make
our planet cleaner and safer.”
“We created a product that can really be the next source
of drinking water,” Pasik told the Post in 2017. “All these
countries that have the water shortages have a humid and
hot climate. We take all the humidity from the air and
extract the water.”
The Monaco princes have lived in the palace where
WaterGen was installed for over 700 years.
“One million plastic bottles are used every minute around
the world,” said WaterGen executive chairman Maxim
Pasik. “More than half a trillion bottles are used every
year. In thirty years we are going to have another two
billion people around the planet.”
He added that “we are moving towards astronomical
numbers of plastic waste and a significant amount of
The technology has since been brought to the places most
lacking in clean water throughout the world, including
South Africa, Vietnam, Sierra Leone and Uzbekistan.
WaterGen additionally partnered with the community of
Flint, Michigan, hoping to help out with the Flint water
crisis, where the city's water was polluted with lead.
The company developed a disaster response vehicle in
January for providing fresh water to disaster zones in a
partnership with the Red Cross.
How does the system work? First, WaterGen’s built-in
blower draws air from the atmosphere into the system’s
atmospheric water generator. There, an internal filter
cleanses the air by removing dust and dirt. Once clean,
the air is directed through the GENius heat exchange and
cooling process, and condensed into water.
The water is then filtered again to remove impurities and
add minerals, resulting in fresh drinking-quality water.
Once produced, the water is continuously circulated in a
built-in reservoir to preserve its freshness.
The company’s large-scale generator can produce up
to 5,000 liters of clean water every day, requiring no
infrastructure other than a standard electricity supply.
Its medium-scale generator can produce up to 900 liters
of clean water every day. The “Genny,” a plug-in home or
office generator, can produce up to 27 liters per day. “We
are already saving thousands of lives and we are aiming to
expand all over the world as soon as possible. Our greatest
problem is that we cannot supply the growing demand,”
Scaling up production is now one of the key objectives
of the company, in addition to its three existing
manufacturing facilities in Israel and the United States.
“Only this year, we are planning to build manufacturing
facilities in Vietnam, India, China, Brazil, Hungary and
Ukraine,” said Mirilashvili. “and another factory just to
manufacture the GENius — the patented heat exchanger —
which will be built in Israel.”
In January 2019, WaterGen announced that it had
partnered with the Red Cross to develop a new Emergency
Response Vehicle (ERV) for providing fresh water to even
the most challenging disaster zones. Equipped with a
water generator capable of producing 900 liters of water
per day, the ERV can be at the scene of an emergency in
“Our scientist developed the vehicle-integrated
atmospheric water generator. It can be integrated in cars,
buses, trains, yachts and ships. Now we are left just with
airplanes, but we’ll manage this too,” said Mirilashvili.
“Recently, we had a visit from the Brazilian Minister
of Science, former astronaut Marcos Pontes. He asked
whether we can produce something to send into space.
Monaco's Prince Albert II and Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili
I hadn't considered it, but we will try and think of
Prior to Mirilashvili’s arrival at the company, its Israeli
founders initially aimed to use the technology to reduce
home appliance power consumption.
“They didn’t see the potential in generating water,” he
said. “They already had collaborations with very large
companies like Bosch and Siemens to implement the
products inside their home appliances. There was money
on the table. Personally, I can understand them, because
tackling such a global issue without our strength and
vision is very hard.”
While the technology is now firmly focused on tackling
the global water shortage, the company has maintained
the energy-efficient edge of its early-day designers and
boasts the world’s most energy-efficient atmospheric water
Whereas other commercially available water generators
rely on conventional air conditioning and dehumidifying
technology to generate drinking water at rates ranging
from 650 to 850 watt hours per liter, WaterGen produces
safe drinking water at only 250Wh/L — or, in financial
terms, a mere two to four cents per liter.
“My first priority is not how to make money but to help
people, the planet and make kiddush hashem (sanctify
God’s name),” said Mirilashvili. “Regarding the revenues,
only God decides who makes money and how much.”
By Tamar Beer
FOR THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY
HISTORY AND RECENT EVOLUTION AT THE EDGE OF
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION OF ONE OF BELGIANS
FINEST RESEARCH INSTITUTES. INTERVIEW WITH DERRICK
Prof. Dr. Ir. Derrick Gosselin is the 10th Chairman
of SCK.CEN since its establishment in 1952.
He is full professor at Ghent University, and
associate fellow at the University of Oxford (Green
Templeton College). He was elected Fellow of the
Royal Academy of Belgium (KVAB) and appointed
Member of Merit of the Royal Academy of
Sciences of Jordan. He is Honorary Chief of Staff
of the Prime Minister of Flanders and Governor
of the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dinamycs,
where SCK.CEN started as STK in 1952.
• Origins of a world-class research centre SCK.CEN:
From Belgian Congo to Mol via the USA: 1952-1962.
In the 1930’s uranium was primarily used for making
radium in medical applications. The Belgian company
Union Minière (currently UMICORE) and its subsidiary
Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK) were the
largest of their kind in the world. Nobody could have
expected that the uranium reserves in the Congolese
mine of Shinkolobwe, located in the Katanga and owned
by UMHK, would play such an important role in the
development of the nuclear sector in Belgium and the
the Shinkolobwe mine (Congo). In September 1940, the
Belgian CEO of UMHK, Edgar Sengier (1879-1963)
ordered that half of the uranium stock available in Belgian
Congo (about 1,050 tons) be secretly delivered to
In 1942, the USA started the development of a newfangled
weapon, for which uranium was highly suitable,
resulting in the production of the first atom bomb, which
actually was made of uranium delivered by UMHK from
© Prof. Dr. Ir. Derrick Gosselin
New York in order to prevent it from falling into enemy's
Thus, the UMHK's uranium stockpile remained in
a Staten Island warehouse waiting to be used. In 1942,
the USA learned to their surprise that the uranium they
needed to build the first atom bomb was already waiting
in Manhattan, the harbour of New York, thanks to
the foresight of Edgar Sengier. The choice of the code
name for the development of the weapon was obvious:
the Manhattan Project. For his actions, Sengier was to
become the first non-American civilian to be awarded
the Medal for Merit by the United States government after
Belgian Reactor BR3
In the following years, the Americans attempted to
persuade the Belgians to sell the Congolese uranium
reserves. Years before that, Einstein himself had been
brought in to negotiate with the Belgian royal family in
order to secure American control over these reserves.
This eventually led to the USA, the United Kingdom and
Belgium signing a “Memorandum of Understanding” on
September 26, 1944. Belgium would supply 1560 tonnes
of uranium ore to the allies, the USA and the United
Kingdom obtained the exclusive rights over the uranium
stocks for a period of 10 years, and in exchange, Belgium
was given access to nuclear expertise for commercial,
non-military applications. In 1946, when the Americans
approved the “Atomic Energy Act”, better known as the
“Mac Mahon Act”, Belgium was no longer privileged.
The Act prohibited the distribution of scientific knowledge
and technology on nuclear energy to other countries. This
clause was at odds with the agreement concluded with
In 1949, Belgium demanded a revision of the 1944
agreement. Pierre Ryckmans (1891-1959), a former
governor general of the Belgian Congo from 1936 until
1946, played a crucial role in the talks. The compromise
reached in 1951 finally settled on a tax of 12 million
dollars, which would be levied on the export of uranium.
This money would be paid to the Belgian Congolese
treasury. The Belgian Congo in turn would transfer the
money to Belgium to fund nuclear research.
Consequently around 8,5 M€ (BEF 350 million) went to the
new institution “Studiecentrum voor de Toepassingen van de
Kernenergie (STK) — Centre d’Etudes pour les Applications
de l’Energie nucléaire (CEN), established in 1952.
Count Pierre Ryckmans would become its first chairman.
In 1957 a new royal decree would establish the centre as
an organization of public benefit in its current legal form,
and give it its current name: SCK.CEN — Studiecentrum
voor Kernenergie SCK — Centre d’Etudes de l’Energie
The Atomium under construction © Dolf Kruger, 1957
In 1953 STK purchased 190 ha of land in the region of
Mol, Dessel and Retie from the Royal Family for about
€ 350 000 (BEF 14 million), while in 1958, another
382 ha were acquired by SCK.CEN. The centre would
maintain a close relationship with the royal family during
its long history.
In 1955, the STK (Dutch abbreviation as mentioned
above) had 245 employees; in 1963, their number had
risen to 1299. The workforce consisted of people from
different regions of Belgium and abroad. The Mol foreign
register counted 28 different nationalities at a certain
point in time.
© Prof. Dr. Ir. Derrick Gosselin
In view of the leading role in nuclear technology Belgium
has played through SCK.CEN in Europe and in the world,
the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal, magnified 165
billion times, was selected as the symbol of the 1958
World Exposition, as a tribute to scientific progress: the
Atomium remains to this day one of the landmarks of
By 1962 SCK.CEN had built three nuclear reactors
dubbed Belgian Reactor (BR): BR1 (1957), BR2 (1961),
BR3 (1962). BR1 is a reactor used to train future Master
of Science (MS) students in nuclear engineering. BR2
is still the second most powerful research reactor in the
world and produces about 25% of the world production of
medical radioisotopes. BR3 was the first energy reactor to
function as demonstration unit for the construction and
operation on industrial power plants, and acted as the
prototype for nuclear fuels. BR3 enabled the electricity
producers to train their operating personnel for the
application of nuclear energy in Belgium.
The reactors at Doel and Tihange would not have been
possible without BR3, and would not have given Belgium
its energy independence for over 40 years. BR3 and the
PWR type reactor were operational between 1962 and
1987. BR3’s dismantling was managed as a research
project with a view to learn from the experience, and
use the acquired expertise in the dismantling of nuclear
The workforce reached a maximum of 1402 employees
in 1982. After the demerger of the non-nuclear research
activities to the Flemish institute for technological
research VITO (Vlaams Instituut voor Technologisch
onderzoek) in 1991, as a result of the Belgian state reform
allocating non-nuclear research to the regions, the number
stabilized at around 650 in the years 2000. SCK.CEN
remains to this day a federal and national research centre,
indeed the biggest federal research centre of Belgium with
over 850 employees.
During that period, the centre also became active in
space research, working for NASA and ESA, and aided
in preparing missions to Mars. Successfully surviving in a
radioactive space environment for months and even years
requires a good understanding of radiobiology.
In 2004 new laboratories to further expand in the fields
of radiobiology, radioecology and astronautics were
As of 1974 and up until today SCK.CEN has been
engaged in a research program into the possibility
of storing radioactive waste in layers of clay deep
underground. Starting in 1999 the MYRRHA research
project was launched, leading in 2010 to the inauguration
of GUINEVERE, the scale model of MYRRHA. With the
European GUINEVERE project in 2011, SCK.CEN
realises the world's first demonstration model of an
accelerator driven system with a complete lead core. The
federal government is supporting the MYRRHA project,
while Europe views MYRRHA as a priority research
• The Following 50 years: Building a World Class
Research Centre (1962-2012)
Over the following 50 years, SCK.CEN would become
an international research centre of world renown, in the
process also surviving some major political challenges.
infrastructure for energy security and the fight against
As of 2009, SCK.CEN became the coordinator of
all Belgian research on fusion, while 2012 saw the
establishment of the Academy for Nuclear Science and
Technology. The Academy combines all nuclear education
and training activities in Belgium, working with all Belgian
universities, to deliver an international Master of Science
in Nuclear Engineering.
• Preparing the Future: the MYRRHA Project
MYRRHA enjoys international recognition, and has been
listed in December 2010 by the European Commission as
one of 50 projects to make Europe the leader in high-tech
research in the next 20 years.
MYRRHA is a research reactor aiming to demonstrate
the feasibility of the accelerator driven system (ADS)
and the lead-cooled fast reactor concepts, with various
applications from spent-fuel burning to material
MYRRHA is slated to be fully operational in 2033, with
a first phase (100 MeV accelerator) scheduled to be ready
The three-phase implementation plan starts with the
construction of the particle accelerator and PTF station
(Proton Target Facility). This fully modular facility, called
MINERVA, will be operational by 2027. During this first
period (2018-2026), the research and development needed
to develop the 600 MeV particle accelerator (phase 2) and
to construct the reactor (phase 3) will also be carried out.
Phases 2 and 3 will be carried out simultaneously between
2027 and 2033.
H.M. King Philippe, Chairman Derrick Gosselin, Minister
of Energy Marie-Christine Marghem, Governor of Antwerp Cathy Berx,
and Vice Prime Minister Kris Peeters during the royal visit to
SCK.CEN in June 2019 © SCK.CEN.
The MYRRHA research facility will be operational by
2030. MYRRHA has a total budget of 1.6 billion euros.
The Belgian government has financially supported the
project since 2010 and has committed itself to financing
40% of the total infrastructure cost.
A budget of 100 million euros has already been allocated
for the R&D period, for the design of the facility and for
the implementation plan (2010-2017). In March 2018,
the Federal authorities confirmed the allocation of 19.5
million euros this year in the construction of MYRRHA,
as well as its commitment to the project from 2019
onwards. On 7 September 2018, the government decided
to invest another 558 million euros in the MYRRHA
The funding will be used to complete phase 1.
In addition to the Belgian state support, MYRRHA will
be financed through the creation of an international
consortium of investors, as well as by the European
Investment Bank (EIB). A large number of partners
have already expressed interest, including France, Japan,
Sweden, the USA and Germany.
By strategically investing in SCK.CEN and MYRRHA,
the Belgian government recognizes the world-class level of
the nuclear research performed at SCK.CEN, and upholds
its ambition to maintain Belgium, after more than 67 years
at the world top in nuclear technology and engineering, in
the front ranks. This vision was endorsed by the visit of
HM King Philippe to SCK.CEN on 26 June 2019.
© Prof. Dr. Ir. Derrick Gosselin
BIG IMPACT FROM TINY THINGS
At school, you were taught how everything is made of
atoms. This idea goes back to the Greek philosophers, and
is often attributed to Democritus. In the late 20 th Century,
with powerful microscopes, it became possible to “see”
atoms. This is observation at the nanoscale. One nanometer
is 1 billionth part of a meter or 10 –9 meter. Look at the
millimeter size on a ruler, and imagine that being divided
into a million smaller parts: that’s a nanometer.
Figure 1 shows the scale of objects from the nanoscale
upwards. The nanoscale is hard to visualize because
everyday life interacts with objects millions of times larger.
Even a typical human hair has a diameter of 100,000
and tiny building blocks from proteins to viruses all the way
up to crystals like diamond that have near-perfect structures
down to the atomic level (figure 1). Everything is made
from nano-particles. The world at nanoscale is comparable
to Lego bricks from which cathedrals or trains or complex
articles can be built.
Nanoscale materials are the building blocks of nature.
Complex chemical processes occur throughout Nature
with astonishing levels of efficiency. Nature uses nano-scale
effects to achieve everything from the digestion of food
to allowing a gecko to hang upside-down from the ceiling.
By studying natural processes, we can engineer industrial
coatings for water-repellence or microbial resistance.
Once we could see atoms, we could begin to move them
around one at a time. Advanced imaging techniques,
coupled with understanding of the properties of materials
Introduction to nanotechnology
at the nanoscale, are what are enabling the nanotechnology
Big Impact from Tiny Things
revolution: the next generation of science-driven
applications that will revolutionise products across every
At school, you were taught how everything is made of atoms. This idea goes back to
the Greek sector philosophers, of industry and and is often domestic attributed application. to Democritus. The In the ability 20 th Century, to
with powerful microscopes, it became possible to “see” atoms. This is observation at
the nanoscale. observe One and nanometer image features is 1 billionth smaller part of than a meter 100 or nanometres,
10 –9 meter. Look at
the millimeter size on a rule, and imagine that being divided into a million smaller
to the atomic level, using microscopes: electrons,
neutron and X-ray beams or atomic forces, has enabled the
Figure 1 shows the scale of objects from the nanoscale upwards. The nanoscale is
hard to development visualize because of modern everyday electronics life interacts with and objects understanding millions of times of larger.
Even a typical human hair has a diameter of 100,000 nanometres.
the structure of viruses and proteins that were unknown
Once we even could 10 see years atoms, ago. we could begin to move them around one at a time.
Advanced imaging techniques, coupled with understanding of the properties of
materials at the nanoscale, are what are enabling the nanotechnology revolution: the
next generation of science-driven applications that will revolutionise products across
every sector Our world of industry is made and domestic up from application. nanoparticles: The ability starting to observe with and image
to the atomic
microscopes, neutron and X-ray beams, and atomic force microscopes, has enabled
the development of modern electronics and understanding of the structure of viruses
and proteins that were unknown even 10 years ago.
Figure 1: Visualizing the nanoscale
Figure 1 Visualizing the nanoscale
© Marcel Van de Voorde
Our world is made up from nanoparticles: starting with atoms, that are then
assembled into molecules (like water), and tiny building blocks from proteins to
viruses all the way up to crystals like diamond that have near-perfect structures
down to the atomic level (figure). Everything is made from nano-particles and the
method is comparable, on a nanoscale, with the Lego bricks from which cathedrals
or trains or complex articles can be built.
The goal of nanotechnology research is to be able to
artificially design and construct materials and devices that
exploit nanoscale mechanisms in the same way as natural
processes have evolved to do.
We already use nanoparticles in paints and varnishes,
in sun cream and cosmetics, in packaging, clothes,
pharmaceuticals, foods and agriculture, electronics, and
sports equipment. Everyday applications such as lightweight
metals and cloud storage of data are done with the help of
Nanotechnology exploits the fact that materials have
different properties at the nanoscale. Nanoscale dispersions
of oxide materials in steel can increase resistance to hightemperature
deformation and radiation resistance for
applications in nuclear power plant. Drugs can be developed
with surface functionality so they only begin to act when
they reach a cancer cell. Smartphones rely on electronics
that are engineered at the nanoscale. Depending on its
application, a material will be selected for its mechanical,
magnetic, electronic, chemical or biological interaction
Nanoscale materials have very large surface areas, much
greater than can be obtained with conventional materials.
How is this? Think of the surface area of a football.
The combined surface area of an enormous number of
grains of sand of the same volume of the football is much,
much higher. This effect makes nanomaterials much more
effective in applications that require high surface area, such
as catalysts for industrial processes, and components in
results to a doctor without having to wait days for samples to be sent to a
distant facility for processing.
• Novel coatings that can be applied to teeth in order to protect the enamel
against decay by changing the chemical interaction with the saliva: ref. the
figure 2. showing the use of nanotechnology in dentistry.
Scientists and engineers are using fabrication at the
nanoscale to create new technologies and products that will
help to tackle some of the most important global challenges,
• even more powerful portable electronics with more
capabilities and storage capacity.
• medical techniques to perform operations with
procedures that are much less invasive: the “injected
• novel drugs that are more effective with fewer side
• filters for producing clean drinking water in the
developing world, and to help with remediation and
clean-up of industrial pollution and toxic chemicals
• techniques to clean up hazardous chemicals in the
• sensors to provide detailed information on the
environment, helping everything from irrigation of crops
to pollution monitoring in cities.
EXAMPLES OF APPLICATIONS
It should be mentioned that for some of these applications;
benefits exist already today (chips, bio-medical, tissue
engineering scaffolds), and for others it is more speculative,
like immunity agents, injected surgeons, ... In addition, for
some nanobased matrerials or compounds like for the
anti-ageing cosmetics, certain countries banned already
• In medicine: nanoparticle-based vaccines may one day
provide permanent immunity to the common cold and
influenza, by being constantly adaptable to new strains.
• Artificial replacements for body tissue such as skin,
muscle, tendon, and even organs can be produced by
nanoscale fabrication, mimicking natural processes and
Figure 2. Nanomaterials in dentistry
Figure 2: Nanomaterials in dentistry
© Marcel Van de Voorde
• In consumer products. Smart textiles with nanodevices built in to the
cloth • will Microscopic provide functions devices that as diverse contain as a host medical of nanotechnology
control, functions monitoring seek of air out quality internal and disease, even energy provide harvesting detailed for charging of
mobile devices. Even properties as simple as stain resistance can be
diagnosis, and even undertake surgery or drug delivery.
greatly enhanced by nano-enabled coatings.
• Nanoscale • Rapid etching blood/urine of a surface testing with using a “laboratories-on-a-chip”
laser can affect the reflection of light
in a way to give that near-instant creates vibrant results colours to a on doctor a metal without surface having without to using any
wait days for samples to be sent to a distant facility for
• Anti-ageing cosmetics use active ingredients that are encapsulated in
nano-carriers, processing. stabilising them and enabling penetration through the
epidermis. • Novel coatings that can be applied to teeth in order
• The current generation of smartphones could become even thinner, and
will swap to protect strength the and enamel stiffness against for flexibility, decay by changing being able the to be folded or
rolled chemical like paper interaction for easy storage. with the More saliva: memory ref. the and figure functionality 2. will be
available through advances in nanoscale fabrication.
showing the use of nanotechnology in dentistry.
• In consumer products. Smart textiles with nanodevices
built in to the cloth will provide functions as diverse as
medical sensing, temperature control, monitoring of air
quality and even energy harvesting for charging of mobile
devices. Even properties as simple as stain resistance can
be greatly enhanced by nano-enabled coatings.
• Nanoscale etching of a surface with a laser can affect the
reflection of light in a way that creates vibrant colours
on a metal surface without using any dye.
• Anti-ageing cosmetics use active ingredients that are
encapsulated in nano-carriers, stabilising them and
enabling penetration through the epidermis.
• The current generation of smartphones could become
even thinner, and will swap strength and stiffness for
flexibility, being able to be folded or rolled like paper
for easy storage. More memory and functionality will be
available through advances in nanoscale fabrication.
• Nanoscale effects will enable the future generation
of “quantum computing”, with algorithms based on
probabilistic outcomes rather than the absolute results
given by conventional computing. At this stage, the
possibilities are still theoretical but potentially extremely
• Nanosensors can be integrated into food packaging to
detect bacteria and provide a visual warning if the food
is spoiled; or alternatively whether fruit or vegetables
are ripe and ready to eat. Nanomaterials can be used to
keep foods fresh for longer. Nanotechnology systems
can be integrated with blockchain technology to provide
integration of sensing, location, tracking, and remote
control of food products to increase efficiency and
security of food transportation.
• Sensor networks based on arrays of nano-sensors can
be used in crop fields to provide localized information
on water, sunlight, and the delivery of fertilisers and
pesticides, offering a high level of control to farmers to
deploy chemicals only where they are needed.
• In industrial applications. Nanomaterials can have
unique catalytic properties, drastically reducing the
energy required and process complexity for the synthesis
Figure 3: 3. Deceases associated associated to nanoparticle exposure to nanoparticle © Marcel Van exposure
Nanoparticles can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, and by direct contact
of important chemicals. Nanomaterials hold the key to
with the skin. Nanoparticles may lead to toxicity or disease, either through causing
successful carbon capture and storage, and the inflammation, recycling by interfering with the normal operation of body or organ chemistry, or
of carbon dioxide back into fuels such as methane. even leading to the may generation lead to toxicity of cancers. or disease, Figure either 3. shows through the causing diseases probably
• Nano-strengthened materials can be used to
effect of nanoparticles.
by interfering with the normal operation of
lightweight alloys for cars, allowing reduced Entry fuel by Inhalation body or organ chemistry, or even leading to the generation
consumption. Tyres can be fabricated with better Once grip inhaled, nanoparticles of cancers. Figure are either 3. shows simply the exhaled, diseases probably or can be associated deposited
anywhere in the respiratory the effect tract of nanoparticles.
from the nose, mouth, and larynx, down to the
bronchi and alveoli of the lungs. This could lead to exacerbation of asthma
• Electrode materials for rechargeable batteries
cardiovascular effects, and possibly carcinogenicity.
greatly enhanced through nanotechnology, reducing
ENTRY BY INHALATION
weight and improving performance in the next Entry by Contact
Intact skin can effectively block the penetration of micro- and nano-objects. However,
generation of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Once inhaled, nanoparticles are either simply exhaled, or
if the skin barrier is compromised by injury, sunburn, or skin disease, this can
• Paints can use nano-fillers that will prevent fading provide and a route for can foreign be deposited particles anywhere to enter in the the body, respiratory Figure tract 4. from
even provide self-repair for small scratches. Nanocoatings
can provide scratch-resistance, dirt-repellence, alveoli of the lungs. This could lead to exacerbation of
the nose, mouth, and larynx, down to the bronchi and
and automatic control of lighting for window glass.
asthma symptoms, cardiovascular effects, and possibly
Alongside the benefits of nanotechnologies, attention
must be given to possible risks to human health and the
environment, along with social and ethical issues. In
most nanotechnological applications, the nanoparticles
or nanostructures are entirely inert and are constrained
within a larger device. However, when the technology
relies on nanoparticles, we have to understand the
possibility and consequences of release into the
environment so that the risks are fully understood and can
Nanoparticles can enter the body through inhalation,
ingestion, and by direct contact with the skin. Nanoparticles
Figure 4: Mechanisms: Figure entry 4. Mechanisms: by contact entry by © contact Marcel Van de Voorde
Entry by Ingestion
Nanoparticles can be ingested directly (e.g., with food and drink) or indirectly (e.g.,
through the nose due to the postnasal drip). Once in the digestive tract, the particles
can be transported into the circulatory system.
At present, there is limited understanding of the human health and safety risks
ENTRY BY CONTACT
Intact skin can effectively block the penetration of micro- and
nano-objects. However, if the skin barrier is compromised by
injury, sunburn, or skin disease, this can provide a route for
foreign particles to enter the body (Figure 4),
components of natural ecosystems, farming, and waste
For all these reasons, it is advocated that nanotechnology be
closely regulated by governments during the initial stages of
its introduction into the marketplace.
ENTRY BY INGESTION
Nanoparticles can be ingested directly (e.g., with food
and drink) or indirectly (e.g., through the nose due to the
postnasal drip). Once in the digestive tract, the particles can
be transported into the circulatory system.
At present, there is limited understanding of the human
health and safety risks associated with nanotechnology.
Public health agencies are actively conducting research
on the potential health effects of unintended exposure to
The use of some nanoparticle products may
have unintended consequences. For example, silver
nanoparticles are used in socks as an antibacterial
coating that reduces odours. However, these particles
may be released in the wash, then flushed into the waste
water stream and may destroy bacteria which are critical
Figure 5 shows an overview of challenges (left side) and
risks (right side)
The world of nanotechnology will change all elements of
industry and society. Many jobs will disappear and new ones
will be created. There will be very many applications that
at present we cannot conceive, and a new interdisciplinary
education model will be required to bring together the
knowledge to best take forward these new idea. Revolutionary
developments are expected in human health with diseases like
cancer, Alzheimers, etc. being detected earlier and treated
more effectively. The issue that needs urgently to be addressed
is to understand the safety aspects so that the industrialists and
the consumer can utilize nanotechnologies without any danger.
Marcel Van de Voorde
Prof. Dr. ing. ir. Dr h.c.
- water purification
- elimination of pollutants
- reduction of CO 2 emission
- smart immuno-agent delivery
- smart drug delivery
- cancer diagnosis and treatment
- heart disease diagnosis and treatment
- tumor localization
- tissue and organ growth
- enhanced imaging
- low energy consumption MPU and
- low voltage displays
- LED lighting
- high-density energy batteries
- high efficiency photovoltaic cells
- autonomous vehicles
- car tires
- car structure
- self-cleaning windows Safety, security:
- sensitive sensors for: pressure,
gases, motion, position
- impact of nanoparticles,
nanomaterials and by-products
on animals and plants
- particle accumulation in the
- transportation in water, soil, and
- waste disposal
- nanotoxicity issues
- food contamination
- invasion of privacy
- spread of spying sensors
Information, communications, computing:
- efficient and fast MPU
- wireless transmission
- high-density data storage
- quantum computing and communications
Figure 5: Potentials and risks in the nanoworld
© Marcel VAN DE VOORDE
UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN CRISIS?
TRANSDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES IN THE ARTS,
HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES
Abstract—The modern approach to University education
and research cuts across traditional boundaries. In order
to obtain maximum benefit from research effort globally,
Universities need to adapt their approaches to the
management and organization of research and teaching,
to foster transdisciplinary working and promote global
mobility for the next generation of students.
This millennium will see revolutions in a range of technologies,
from medicine to transport, that will have transformational
effects on society. With new tools, new insights and
understanding, and a developing convergence of the disciplines of
physics, chemistry, materials science, biology and computing, we
will realize novel and superior products and systems that were,
until the 21st Century, the stuff of science fiction. This will not
be possible without collaborative working between disciplines.
Up to now, academia has been strongly oriented towards
specific academic disciplines. However, most of the problems
that research and education are supposed to solve are not
defined in terms of disciplines, yet these problems are precisely
the ones that are urgent: viz the environment, energy, and
health. There is a disconnect between the development of
problems and the development of disciplines. This disconnect is
growing as we observe that discipline development increasingly
tends towards hyper-specialisation.
There is a challenge for Universities in addressing this, in
formulating degree programmes without losing intellectual
depth while delivering the broad range of subjects required:
while avoiding a proliferation of pathways to final qualification,
confusing for both students and teachers alike. Growing fields
such as nanotechnology, bio-intelligent materials, biomimetics,
cognitive informatics and cognitive computing etc., will not
prosper without intensive crossover and interaction between
The University has to change because its environment (social
as well as institutional and regulatory) is changing. Many
conventional jobs will disappear in the near future, certainly by
the time pupils currently in primary education have graduated.
The transformed job market also means that many new jobs
will be created; premium will be available for candidates with
flexibility and an open mindset.
Governments now realise that new scientific knowledge holds
the key to our future wealth and health: many new medical
drugs and industrial products are based upon discoveries made
in universities. In the USA the focus of wealth generation has
shifted from steel in Pittsburgh and car making in Detroit to
high-technology companies based around MIT and Silicon
Valley. Companies based around Stanford University and the
University of California. If Europe is to compete successfully
with the USA and now China, it has to focus on high
technology products and the intellectual contributions from
our universities. Governments around the world are currently
intensively interested in their universities, making it timely to
advance on the advancement of a trans-disciplinary agenda.
A key feature of the university-of-the-future must be flexibility:
we must make it easy for an engineer to learn Chinese or an
Indian language, history and culture without this being an
additional burden. We must acknowledge that much of the
most exciting and useful research is occurring at the boundaries
between traditional disciplines. Many biologists who design new
medical drugs were trained as physicists. Many new materials
for next generation mobile phones, computers, cars and planes
are designed and developed by materials scientists working with
chemists, physicists and engineers. University departmental
structures are not geared to prepare students for this New
World. They may be the barrier to, rather than a catalyst for
II. ENHANCING THE EDUCATION, RESEARCH,
AND INNOVATION BASE
Societal challenges are becoming more complex. Their solutions
require new thinking that has to gather influences from multiple
intellectual sources. University education is integral to the
welfare and well-being of global society, and it is recognized that
good education systems underpin prosperity and stability. The
challenges are to now provide trans-disciplinary education that
can be a model for use around the world.
A. MULTI- INTER- AND TRANSDISCIPLINARY
A Discipline is a sub-field of science, engineering, humanities,
etc. with a specific approach, fundamental concepts, language,
methods, and tools, that aims to analyse, understand, and
describe parts of Nature.
Multi- disciplinarity is where several disciplines come together
in parallel to tackle one subject.
Interdisciplinarity is where the concepts and methods of one
discipline are used in the work of another discipline.
Transdisciplinarity is a holistic approach that sees all aspects
of the world inter-related through patterns of interdependent
systems. These include natural, social, economic and political
systems. Transdisciplinarity research integrates knowledge and
methods from any source that can be of value in addressing a
particular problem or research question. Essential requirements
for any transdisciplinary work are an innate curiosity and
patience; and understanding of other disciplines and their
languages takes time and commitment. Transdisciplinary
research and teaching cannot to traditional boundaries.
B.CHALLENGES FOR I/T (INTER- AND
• Language: Each discipline creates its own jargon. I/Tdisciplinarity
requires the appropriation and accommodation
of different languages, meaning communication of I/Tdisciplinary
research and teaching can be difficult since
it requires the use of technical terms borrowed from one
discipline but that are not well understood by the specialists
from the other discipline(s).
• Methods: Disciplines are often devoted to their own methods
of investigation. This may lead to misunderstanding and
• Institutional constraints: Institutions are mostly disciplinarily
organised. This creates barriers for I/T- disciplinarity;
though strong, well-defined disciplines are necessary as any
© Marcel Van de Voorde
interdisciplinary activity starts with a deep understanding of
• Cognitive constraints: It is very difficult for an individual
to become expert in two or more disciplines. An in-depth
knowledge of different disciplines is however the requirement
for genuine I/T-disciplinary research. This raises the question
of the impact of these difficulties on education and on the
institutionalisation of interdisciplinary training programs.
• Assessment: Experts (reviewers) for evaluating the results
of M/I-disciplinary research and education are lacking.
Standardised bibliometric information is scarce and not
representative. New ways of quality assessment need to be
• I/T-disciplinarity requires mastering of more than one
discipline in depth. Superficial learning of several disciplines
does not lead to meaningful I/T-disciplinary research and
corresponding solutions of complex problems.
• Experience has shown that learning the essentials of several
disciplines has to be done consecutively, not in parallel: for
example, doctoral studies in one discipline and post-doctoral
work in another.
These challenges are the very reason that a concerted effort
needs to be made to create the very conditions that engineer
trans-disciplinarity. There is a need to start early — at secondary
school stage — where the early integration of topics creates
undesirable specialisation. A wider choice of subjects, with
less early specialism, will prepare the student to accept transdisciplinarity
as a valued norm and not as an inferior generalism.
The guiding principle would be an alloying of physical,
biological and arts subjects. Excellence can be equated therefore
with versatility and not with narrowness, that often masquerade
as depth in existing systems. Motivation for this needs to come
from the Universities and industry jointly to recognize and
expext the added value for flexibility and a future ability to move
careers in a world where the job for life concept is disappearing.
Without industry and University leaders presenting a convincing
case for the intellectual, economic and personal benefits, the
status quo will remain; and a student will not seek the adventure
Multi-domain education to a high level poses greater learning
challenges for the individual and it will not be suitable for
all candidates. With and intellectual openness a University
students continually take new education methods in their stride,
feeling enriched by added dimensions, and transdisciplinarity
will be no exception.
The optimum way to avoid this is to embed strong disciplines
in entirely new environments — physics into biology, chemistry
into medicine, robotics into bioengineering etc. Precise choice
is not critical it is the juxtapositions alone that will fire up a new
culture. Beyond the taught elements, any research project would
be a transdisciplinary one. The outputs are both a graduate able
to accommodate other disciplines and a teacher able to absorb
concepts from another domain.
At postgraduate stage, sequential MScs or Professioinal
Doctorates, of equal prestige to PhD could be developed where
over three years students are exposed to different topics, with
a breadth such as biology, physical/computation science and
core engineering. Such a graduate direction would have to be
accommodated within the current ecosystem that prioritises a
single PhD focus and its focus on the generation of publications.
C. IMPORTANCE OF INTER-TRANS DISCIPLINARILY
Inter/Trans-disciplinarity is important because, in the real
world, most scientific, technological, and social problems do
span different disciplines: so in future, graduates will operate in
a multi-disciplinary environment, very different from what has
existed in the past. The present generation of students must be
convinced that they will have good careers if they take a research
route in their early years, and that University research leads to
careers other than in academia. Today, someone with inter/transdisciplinary
expertise might be viewed as a generalist, but n the
future this could be regarded as a different type of specialism.
For example, a graduate with three Master’s degrees in biology,
informatics, and engineering, may, in future, be better off than
with one PhD in biology etc. Interdisciplinary degrees need
to be defined in a sensible way that does not simply double
the workload and content. It should be possible to opt for a
full MSc inter-disciplinary postgraduate degree enveloping
various Faculty disciplines. Industry will be keen to hire these
graduates who have mastered the challenge of studying different
fields with success and who will also be able to perform transdisciplinary
work and research.
The real need is for the next generation of scientists to know
how to move forward when faced with a real-world problem on
a technical topic they have never met before, on a realistic timescale,
and with a realistic budget. Future research is aimed to
solve problems where an interdisciplinary approach is essential.
The structure of our universities has changed little in the past fifty
years. Inter-departmental barriers are often very high, particularly
in “traditional” institutions based on small Departments of 10-20
academics focused on a single narrow area.. A modern approach,
that has been shown to be more useful, flexible, and efficient, is
to have teaching activity based in larger Schools, of up to 100
academics, that can be broadly based and which allows for a more
comprehensive range of discipline specialists.
Research can then be focused either within the School around
particular themes. It can also be linked to cross-cutting University
Research Centres that can span Schools and even Faculties so as
to further exploit the opportunities that already exist but which
remain latent in current structures. Single Faculties of Engineering
and Science, with large Schools that span disciplines, will become
the norm in the future, allowing for closer working between
specialisms and a reduction in the number of academic “silos”.
The primary functions of universities are to educate students,
perform innovative and horizon-broadening research, and
transfer new knowledge for the benefit of society. Universities
need to be flexible enough in their structures, management and
culture to constantly establish new interdisciplinary models for
the scientific fields of tomorrow.
D. THE ROADMAP FOR THE INTER-TRANS
DISCIPLINARY UNIVERSITIES OF THE FUTURE
There is a need for a change in approach, and a revisitation
of recent trends, in fully enabling Universities to become
incubators of successful inter/trans-disciplinary research.
For University Leaders, there needs to be:
• Recognition that teaching is primarily for students who will
not become future academics, and who will be pursuing
careers that do not exist yet;
• Recognition that research and teaching must be closely
linked, so that students will benefit from the new ideas of
knowledge that research will provide;
• Recognition that research changes very rapidly. It is therefore
good practice to develop teaching within large Departments
with strong vision for curriculum and have research
institutes into which it is easy to bring people from various
departments for the span of a project. But this does not
imply a separation of the people who will be delivering the
teaching and conducting the research.
For Funding Agencies, there needs to be:
• A diversity in approach to funding at all levels, since the
challenges of interdisciplinary science are so diverse.
• Better integration between funders and those who conduct
the research, so that funding decisions are informed by
• Successful models that reward and encourage success, and
have a low management burden.
• Active encouragement of interdisciplinary approaches in the
solution of research challenges.
E. GLOBAL UNIVERSITY MOBILITY
In ensuring the move towards globalisation is meaningful and
successful, University education plays a vital role. To facilitate
collaboration between universities worldwide, it is important
that the curriculum and degrees of the various universities are
unified. Europe, with its 30 countries and multiple University
systems with different curricula succeeded in realising a uniform
University education system called the “BOLOGNA Ministers’
declaration”. The United States have a system quite similar to
Europe. Other continents as South America and Asia should
move towards a global unified system in the future.
An intercontinental University education system demands great
efforts from Universities and governments. A global, uniform
education system which facilitates contact between students
and academics from universities and nations on a global scale
will result in multiple benefits in education quality, mobility,
and cultural understanding. The mobility of young students and
scientists demands knowledge of foreign languages and cultures
and this should also form part of the curriculum.
It is very clear that the necessary changes in our Universities
education will need entrepreneurship of our institutions and the
Governments should set ambitious targets for overcoming the
big problem of education we will be facing and guarantee job
assurance for the welfare of our society.
F. MOBILITY OF STUDENTS AND SCIENTISTS
It is important to encourage greater mobility of students and
scientists between disciplines and countries. This would be
aided by standardised qualification recognition procedures,
world-wide training courses, and official exchange programmes.
An interdisciplinary culture must be implanted through
educational and funding initiatives. As an example, in the
European Union the ERASMUS programme was developed in
which possibilities were offered to students and scientists from
all countries throughout Europe to study at the faculties of
universities of their choice with recognition of their obtained
degrees all over Europe.
G. GLOBAL UNIVERSITY CURRICULA
The criteria for a high-level education could be formulated as
• Multi-disciplinary skills
• Literacy in complementary fields
• Exposure to advanced research projects
• Basic knowledge in social science, management, ethics,
foreign languages, coupled with activity-led learning based on
exposure to real technological problems
• Interlinkages between education, research and industrial
• Sharing of post-docs, Masters and PhD students to foster the
mobility of permanent researchers and academics between
different institutions to create extended, global teams.
III. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: ACADEMIA TO
INDUSTRY BASED ON INTER-TRANS/DISCIPLINARY
Technology transfer has become a new buzzword in the
academic world. Everywhere in the world, research institutions
within universities look at their American counterparts with
envy and respect. The goals of research are to explore new
frontiers. Creators of industrial innovations that lead to
global success rank alongside Nobel Prize winners in their
universities. The academic entrepreneur is, however, a very
rare species and likely to remain so. It is, therefore, essential
to promote collaborative research between universities and
The inter/trans-disciplinarity aspects, together with the
exchange of ideas and inspiration to innovate, will