Alessandro Baricco (Italy, 1958) is a writer, director, and performer. His novels have been translated into many languages, and his theater productions and essays gained international recognition. In 2008, he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed film Lecture 21. His essay The Barbarians and his new book The Game (2019) describe the monumental advances of the digital revolution and analyze their impact on Western culture and the way we experience and interact with the world around us.
Anna Galas-Kosil is a theatre studies expert and the curator of the International Warsaw Biennale, which supports the role of art in shaping public debate. She is a graduate in theatre studies at The Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and helped prepare the first Polish exhibit for The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, an international exhibition in set design. In addition to curating the Warsaw Biennale, Galas-Kosil is the managing director of the On the Move network, which focuses on mobility in the cultural sector.
Alicja Gescinska (Belgium/Poland, 1981) is a writer, TV-presenter and philosopher. She has written columns for Trouw, De Morgen and Filosofie Magazine, giving philosophical commentary and perspectives on current events. She was the maker and presenter of Wanderlust, a television programme in which she discussed the large questions of life with numerous influential thinkers of our time. She is also the author of numerous books, including ‘Allmensch: Van middelmaat tot meesterschap’, about the nature of humanity and individual development.
Noreena Hertz (United Kingdom, 1967) is an English economist, author and broadcaster. Mrs Hertz gained a reputation as a leading thinker due to her impressive track record in predicting global trends and her activities as a strategic advisor to the world’s key figures in business and politics. Her best-selling books, which include The Silent Takeover, IOU:The Debt Threat, and Eyes Wide Open, have been published in 22 languages. Vogue named Mrs Hertz “one of the world’s most inspiring women.” Her upcoming book The Lonely Century argues that the advances of the modern age cause widespread loneliness across the globe.
Gideon Rachman (United Kingdom, 1963) is a British journalist, author, and commentator. He is the chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. Previously, he worked at The Economist where he served as foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington, and Bangkok. His main interests include American foreign policy, the European Union, and globalization. In 2016, Mr Rachman won the Orwell prize for political journalism and the European Press Prize. Rachman’s books include Zero-Sum World and Easternisation – War and Peace in the Asian Century. The latter argues that the 500 years of Western domination of global politics is coming to an end due to the rise of new powers in Asia.
Michaël Roskam (Belgium, 1972) is a film director who has worked extensively in both Europe and the US. After working as a journalist and copywriter in Belgium, he started writing and directing short films. His feature film debut Bullhead was released in 2011, and it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He continued this success with The Drop (2014) and Le Fidèle (2017), which continue his themes of organized crime and violence.
Árpád Schilling (Hungary, 1974) is a theater director. He began staging productions at the age of 19, and is now the artistic director of the Krétakör center for contemporary arts based in Budapest. With the center, he runs education programs and produces works of performing and media arts in an effort to address social issues, both in Hungary and abroad.
Wong Yik Mo is an activist from Hong Kong. He is one of the faces of the pro-democracy political party Demosisto and organised major demonstrations and assemblies in Hong Kong in the last years, including those with over 1.2 and 1.7 million participants.
Lisette Ma Neza is a slam poet. In 2017 she won the National Poetry Slam Championship in Belgium. She received various prices for her poetry that she describes as “a quest for identity.” She lives in Brussels and studies at the Luca School of Arts.
Priscilla Ludosky (1985) is an activist and one of the founders of the yellow vest movement. In 2018 she published an online petition about the need for ‘lower taxes on essential goods, the implemenation of citizens’ initiative referendum, lower pensions and salaries of senior officials and election officials.’ Although some political parties’ MP contacted her to see if she was interested in joining them, she refuses to participate in political parties.
Arnon Grunberg (1971, NL) is a Dutch novelist, essayist, and columnist, working in New York. His novels such as Blauwe maandagen [Blue Mondays] (1994), De asielzoeker (2003) [The Asylum Seeker], and Tirza (2006) have been awarded several prizes and have been translated in many languages. Grunberg writes frequently essays, columns, and reviews for Dutch and Belgian newspapers and magazines and contributed to international journals and newspapers such as The New York Times and Die Welt.
Greg Shapiro: Comedian. American. Dutchman. And the voice of Trump in the ‘Netherlands Second’ video with over 50 million views online. You may know him from Boom Chicago, Comedy Central, BNR, VPRO, ZDF, or from his YouTube show ‘United States of Europe.’
Kim Longinotto (United Kingdom, 1952) is a documentary filmmaker. Her work often focuses on female victims of oppression, discrimination, and rape. She makes her films in an unobtrusive way, sharing the stories of women from all over the world (e.g. Kenya, Japan, India) whose voice would otherwise not be heard.
“I want to make films which create a situation where the audience gets close to another individual, often from a completely different background, and feel a shock of understanding. I want the whole experience to be a strong and emotional one.”
Danièle Obono (Gabon/France, 1980) is an ecosocialist politician serving as a member of the National Assembly for Paris’s 17th constituency since 2017. She is a member of political party La France insoumise founded by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and as secretary of the Committee for European Affairs, she contributes to France’s European policy. With her party, she helps to organize meetings between residents of poor areas and activists, mobilizing people to engage in politics at a local level.
Jochum ten Haaf (Netherlands, 1978) is a Dutch actor and writer, notable for stage, film and television work including Vincent in Brixton, Nightwatching (2008), Bankier van het verzet (2018) and Dunkirk (2017).
Didier Eribon (France, 1953) is a sociologist, philosopher, and historian of French intellectual life. In his book RetouràReims (2009), he describes how the mainstream political left abandoned the interests of the people he grew up with, driving them into the arms of populists. His other notable works include Insult and the Making of the Gay Self and a biography of Michel Foucault. He is a professor at the School of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the University of Amiens.
Fien TROCH (1978, Belgium) graduated in 2000 from the film department of the Sint Lukas in Ghent, where she later returned as a teacher. She starred in the French feature film Saint-Cyr (2000) by Patricia Mazuy and has made several short films and television commercials. Her feature debut Another Happiness (2005) won the Golden Alexander for best film, best screenplay and best actress (Ina Geerts) in Thessaloniki. Troch’s feature films Kid (2012) and Home (2016) have also been awarded at various film festivals.
Johny Pitts (United Kingdom, 1987) is an author, presenter, poet, photographer, and musician, performing music with the Bare Knuckle Soul Collective. He recently wrote the book ‘Afropean: Notes from Black Europe’, part of the larger Afropean project which attempts to explore the interaction between black and European cultures in diverse ways including photography, performance and film. In the book, Pitts travels through a number of European cities, searching for a culture that embraces blackness and is yet fundamentally of Europe.
Bryan Doerries (United States, 1976) is a writer and director. He is the founder of Theater of War, a project which uses readings of Greek tragedies as a starting point and basis for discussions about social issues. While initially focused on veterans, service members and their families, the project now addresses a wide variety of social issues including domestic violence, racism & social justice, addiction and sexual violence. His work shows how theater can be used to discuss and address social issues.
David Goldblatt (United Kingdom, 1965) is a journalist, author and broadcaster writing on the history, sociology and influence of football in society. He has authored a number of books, including ‘The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football’ and ‘The Age of Football: The Global Game in the Twenty-first Century’. He won the European Press Prize in 2019 for his unique interview with Viktor Orbán about football. “Football creates solidarities, identities and the possibility of opposition.”
Taslima Nasrin (Bangladesh, 1962) is an international author, feminist, human rights activist, and Islam critic. Originally a physicist, Nasrin switched to writing poetry and prose. Her unflinching criticism of female oppression and Islam led to forced exile and multiple fatwas calling for her death.
Robert Putnam (United States, 1941) is an American political scientist. He is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. Putnam wrote fourteen books, including the bestseller Bowling Alone. The Collapse and Revival of American Community. His forthcoming book The Upswing explores the history and possible future of individualism and polarization in the US. The London Sunday Times has called him “the most influential academic in the world today.”
Jonas Staal (Netherlands 1981) is a Dutch visual artist. His work deals with the relationship between art, democracy, and propaganda. “…emancipatory politics should be collective and transparent; you’re building processes in which you create new stories. Not the false mythology of a return to a sovereign and “pure” People that never existed in the first place, but a future yet to be won as a people-in-the-making”.
Alberto Alemanno (Italy/Spain, 1975), sometimes referred to as ‘the busiest man in Europe’, is an author and political activist. Among his many public engagements, he founded eLabEurope, an organization promoting European civic engagement through academic research and consultancy, and he also founded the Good Lobby, which offers citizens new avenues to influence the EU’s decision-making process. Alemanno regularly contributes to The Economist, The New York Times, Le Monde, and Politico and is one of the key voices in the EU’s democratic deficit debate.
Kalypso Nicolaïdis (France/Greece, 1962) is a Professor of International Relations and director at the Centre for International Studies at the university of Oxford. She is currently engaged in the European Demoi-cracy research project, which seeks to redefine the European Union as a project of peoples rather than states. She has written and co-authored a number of books including Echoes of Empire: The Present of Europe’s Colonial Pasts (2014) and most recently Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit (2019).
Géraldine Schwarz (France/Germany, 1974) is a journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker based in Berlin. Her novel Les Amnésiques (“The Amnesiacs”, 2017) draws on her family heritage – her grandparents were a Nazi Party member and a gendarme under the Vichy regime – and pleas for a confrontation with our past in order to prevent the resurgence of right wing extremism in today’s Europe. It won her the 2018 European Book Prize.
Dessy Gavrilova (Bulgaria, 1968) is a cultural consultant and entrepreneur. She is the founding director of the Red House, a center of culture and debate in Sofia, as well as executive chairwoman of the pan-European network of debate houses Time to Talk. She also co-founded the Vienna humanities festival, and teaches at the faculty of arts and culture at the Central European University.
Francesca Melandri (Italy, 1964) is an Italian author, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. Her novels, such as her award-winning debut Eva Sleeps (2010) and Sangue giusto (2017, translated into Dutch under the name De lange weg naar Rome), deal with themes such as regional identity, Italy’s national identity, and its amnesia with respect to its fascist and colonial past.
Karolina Wigura (Poland, 1980) is a sociologist and historian of ideas. She has a particular focus on the interaction between emotions such as loss, guilt and empathy, and historical and political developments. She is a co-founder of Kultura Liberalna, a Polish weekly journal focused on cultural, intellectual and political topics. She is also an assistant professor of the department of Sociology at Warsaw University, and currently a visiting fellow at the institute for advanced study in Berlin.
Mathieu Segers (Netherlands, 1967) is Professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration, and the dean of University College of Maastricht. He writes columns for Het Financieele Dagblad and De Groene Amsterdammer and has a weekly radio contribution to NPO 1 on Europe. He wrote a number of books, including Reis naar het continent, Nederland en de Europese integratie 1950 – heden (2013) and Europa en de terugkeer van de geschiedenis (2016), as well as co-authoring the book Re:Thinking Europe, Thoughts on Europe: Past, Present and Future (2016) on the occasion of the first Forum on European Culture.
Simon Strauss (Germany, 1988) is a historian and author as well as a writer for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He is the initiator of the European Archive of Voices, an initiative to preserve the original vision and importance of the European project by talking to public intellectuals born in the first half of the twentieth century. He seeks to develop a vision that is focused on the promise and ideals of the European project, rather than the technocratic and material benefits it provides.
Réka Kinga Papp (Hungary, 1985) is a journalist specialized in environmental, feminist, civil rights and social issues. She is editor-in-chief of Eurozine, a network of European cultural journals that gather together, translate and publish some of the most promising articles and European culture and citizenship from all over Europe. She is also the anchor of the Hungarian social sciences radio program Professzor Paprika.
Tash Aw (Malaysia, 1971) is a writer, taking on subjects of immigration, multiculturalism, class and the development of Asia in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He won the Whitbread award for his first novel, The Harmony Silk Factory in 2005. Two of his other novels were included on the Man Booker Prize longlist. In addition to his novels, he also writes essays, and is an opinion writer and contributor to the New York Times. His latest novel, published in 2019, is ‘We, The Survivors’.
(c) Stacy Liu
Ulrike Guérot (Germany, 1964) is an analyst of European affairs. She worked at and directed research institutes and think tanks throughout Europe and the US. She served as the head of the Department for European Politics and the Study of Democracy at the Danube-University Krems, and founded the European Democracy Lab in Berlin. Guérot wrote a number of books, including The New Civil War: Europe and its Enemies (2017), and Europe Now! An Encouragement (2018), advocating the idea of a European republic made up of regions rather than nations.
Clare Farrell (United Kingdom) is the co-founder of the environmental action group Extinction Rebellion. This global environmental movement uses nonviolent civil disobedience to raise widespread awareness for climate change as an existential threat and to compel governments to immediately act on this. As a fashion designer and visual artist, she leads the XR Art team, which is responsible for the action group’s successful branding.
Benjamin Roll (Czech, 1985) is the co-founder of the movement Million Moments for Democracy. Benjamin Roll helped to draw over a quarter of a million people to a demonstration against Prime Minister Babis in June 2019. Those were the largest since the Velvet Revolution. But the aims of the Czech activist are larger: “If more and more people will find a moment for democracy — a small gesture — it will change something in society.”
Douglas Murray (United Kingdom, 1979) is a British conservative author, journalist, and political commentator. He works as editor for The Spectator and wrote multiple books, such as Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (2005), The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity (2019) and The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017). The latter argues that Europe civilisation is complicit in its own demise, allowing mass migration into its continent and lacking confidence in its “beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy.”
Flavia Kleiner (Switzerland, 1990) is the founder of Operation Libero, which in 2016 managed to defeat a proposal by the right-wing populist party SVP to deport immigrants who had committed any criminal offence, regardless of severity. Since then, she has continued her work with Operation Libero, defeating a number of populist initiatives and formulating strategies for opposing populist arguments and methods in Switzerland and throughout Europe.
Simon Kuper (United Kingdom, 1969) has written extensively on the history, sociology and economics of football. He is a general correspondent at Financial Times and has written for Het Financieele Dagblad, De Pers, and the literary football magazine Hard Gras. “Some people draw a rigid line between “low” and “high” culture. They regard sport as profane or stupid and opera or politics as sacred or adult. But I’m with the critic Walter Benjamin, who went from reading Goethe to reading popular culture.”
Lucas De Man (Belgium) is a Flemish artist, director, and TV-presenter who specializes in performance pieces. In his work, he tries to transform public space to facilitate openness and vulnerability. He was selected as the first artist in residence of the Rabobank in 2017-2018, and was guest curator for Theater aan Zee in 2019.
Claudia Roden (United Kingdom/Egypt, 1936) is a culinary writer and cultural anthropologist who specialises in Mediterranean cuisines and is best known for popularising Middle Eastern cooking. “A dish is not just a dish. For exiles especially, it is about roots and identity. It is charged with emotional baggage and gives comfort and joy.”