Istanbul forum mulls creation of ‘European soul’

Istanbul forum mulls creation of 'European soul'A “European soul” can be created by combining cultures and encouraging commerce, participants in a forum on global challenges and cultural visions heard Monday in Istanbul.

The city is the ideal setting for such a discussion, the head of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency said.

“Culture and commerce are the two wings of a bird,” said Şekip Avdagiç, chairman of the agency’s executive board. “If one of these doesn’t exist, the bird cannot fly. If the bird called Europe wants to fly toward new horizons, it should consider Istanbul.”

Organized by the initiative “A Soul for Europe,” the Istanbul forum addressed ways that individuals should, as members of civil society, take responsibility for the future of their cities. The group brought together international politicians, high-level academics and students during the opening ceremony at Istanbul’s Tophane-i Amire Cultural Center.

The initiative, which aims to achieve concrete results by integrating the creative power of culture, was originally established by seven individuals in Germany with diverse professional backgrounds, co-founder Nete Hertling said, adding that they worked to spread the organization to other countries because they see culture as essential for the full development of Europe’s potential.

The “Soul for Europe” initiative is currently made up of 55 civil-society actors from 21 countries.

A European soul can be created with culture that is melted in a pot, Avdagiç said, adding that Istanbul represents this characteristic very well as it has a history dating back 8,000 years as part of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Highlighting the significance of commerce between Turkey and European countries, he said creating economic links is a key way to eradicate differences and disagreements between nations.

“The thing that cannot continue with war is commerce,” Avdagiç said.

The Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency head said he thought the city was ideal for a meeting of this kind. Quoting Rumi, Avdagiç said things grow wherever the river flows. Istanbul represents that river, he said, adding that it should be given plenty of water so Europe’s future can be that much more fertile.

In his remarks, Avdagiç also touched on Turkey’s candidacy for European Union membership, saying the obstacles put in front of Turkey should be removed so as not to leave Europe lacking Istanbul in the long run.

The Istanbul forum held Monday through Wednesday focusing on topics such as the economic crisis, climate change, citizens and responsibility, the responsibilities of civil society, the business sector and policy makers and empowering younger generations.

The project fostering international dialogue was realized with the cooperation of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, the European Cultural Association, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, or TÜSİAD, and the Cultural Committee of German Business, or BDI.



Sursa
2010-10-12 21:25:56



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