Regions as agents of civilisation


IDuring the kick-off event of EUROPA NEU DENKEN (31 May – 2 June 2012 in Trieste) the relation between „regions, innovation and culture“ has been discussed. The analyses undertaken in this regard clearly showed that cross-border regionalism is, for Europe, a forward-looking recipe for success. But some criticism has also become evident. What do we really want? A united Europe or focus on national structures? What does the differentiation between culture and civilisation mean today? When it comes to the community life, to civilisation and its economy enemy images appear quickly. This is less the case for cultural issues.

As „agents of civilisation“ regions play a mediating role; they perform facilitating functions; and they are generators of cross-border innovation and creativity. In this respect, Trieste represents a unique experimental ground for different linkages and frictions, but also for the strength of Europe‘s symbolism as a regulatory tool which helps to create unity.

Therefore we have to ask ourselves specifically how the powers in the field of civilisation – democracy, freedom, human rights (as fundamentals of community life) and individual happiness – can be deployed and which dangers there are. The term culture draws a bridge between origin and future, creating a field in which hopes, fears and desires can be articulated. People are striving for identity, feeling of security and the achievement of their goals and ambitions via a differentiated lifestyle. Today, the living diversity of regional cultures is the pivotal prerequisite for the European understanding of civilisation.


Michael Fischer