Press Release

The tenth Central European Forum will be held in Bratislava and two other
Slovak cities from 16 to 19 November 2018. As usual, we are proud to present
a number of outstanding speakers, some of them for the first time: such as
the French literary sensation Edouard Louis, the British journalist and author Misha Glenny, the Nobel-prize winning author, Svetlana Alexievich,
or the acclaimed anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

For the first time, the forum will inaugurate the title of Honorary Central European, bestowing it on Svetlana Alexievich. On 17 November, she will speak to a Slovak audience at a discussion moderated by noted Guardian commentator Natalie Nougayrède.

The central theme of this year’s Central European Forum is “Demand the impossible!”. This slogan of the Paris street protests of 1968 has recently acquired a new and urgent meaning in our part of the world. Sadly, Slovakia is not the only European country to be shaken by an unprecedented murder targeting an investigative journalist as well as his fiancée. We will examine the effectiveness and objectives of civil mobilisation in Slovakia and elsewhere in Europe. These days the democratic public is faced with an impossible choice between the cynicism of corrupt governments and the cynicism of populists. Our guests, who will try to seek a way out of this conundrum, include Yale historian Timothy Snyder, political scientist Ivan Krastev, German writer, lawyer Bernhard Schlink, author of the legendary novel “The Reader”, Polish sociologist Sławomir Sierakowski and Marci Shore, the American historian who has been mapping the Central European experience. We are also proud to introduce to the Slovak public also the Polish poet and essayist Bozena Keff, and Hungarian writer and poet Gábor Schein (to be confirmed). Central European Forum 2018 will further present economist Paul Caruana Galizia, son of the murdered Maltese journalist, writer and philosopher Daphne Caruana Galizia, and Radu Vancu, a leading figure in the mass protests against corruption in Romania, as well as Norwegian activist and politician Erik Kursetgjerde, a survivor of the 2011 Utøya massacre.  

Ten years ago Václav Havel wrote:  “I am happy that Central European Forum has been launched and will continue in Bratislava, because Slovakia enjoys a special position in our region: being the only country to share a border with every other Central European nation has in a way predestined it to be the locus of discussions about Central Europe, its relationship with other regions of Europe and with the world as a whole.” Václav Havel was among the guests of the first Central European Forum held in 2009, which was also to be his last public appearance in Slovakia.

For the first time this year’s Central European Forum has been partly crowdfunded via www.startlab.sk