8 – 12 March 2023, Kraków/Poland
In our Spring Seminar 2023 we will focus our work on questions surrounding plurality and diversity in Central and Eastern Europe. Against the backdrop of the historical complexity and current challenges facing this country, DialoguePerspectives has chosen Poland as a “case study”. Shaped by the impact of historical, political and cultural conflicts of the 20th century, Poland has over the past two decades become one of the most important countries in Central Europe today. Poland’s importance for Europe has also been recently increased by its strategic role in the war in Ukraine, which was started by Russia.
What is the significance of this gain in influence for Polish and European civil society? Polish society has become increasingly divided in recent years: While one part of society has been significantly shifted to the right, another part continues to advocate for civil liberties, minority rights and the values and law of the European Union. And in Poland in particular, the relationship between religion and politics is currently being renegotiated – the Catholic Church has formed an almost symbiotic relationship with the rightwing governing parties, which results in an increasing restriction of fundamental human rights and a threat to many parts of the Polish society.
In Kraków – the historical capitol of Poland and spiritual and intellectual center of the country – we will explore the intertwining of past and present in Polish society, and the role of religious communities in shaping current debates and discourses. We will have an opportunity to study the centuries-old religious heritage and today’s interreligious coexistence as well as meet with local and national scholars and activists from religious communities, civil society and academia to examine the interactions between EU law, Polish politics, civil society, and activism regarding women’s rights, gender equality and queer and minority rights.
˝The programme makes possible something that is all too rare in our society these days: speaking and having discussions across borders, not about each other, but with each other. That can be a hard slog at times, but at the same time the format makes space for follow-up questions and deeper conversations that are only possible through trust on all sides.
Felix, DialoguePerspectives alumnus