The Future of Freedom and Walls in Europe and Globally-Campus Weeks Events at UF in Fall 2017

Filed under Academic, Events, Newsletter on October 1, 2017.
The Future of Freedom and Walls in Europe and Globally
In 2009, UF participated in the Campus Weeks “Freedom without Walls” commemoration, and our events had broad visibility on campus, locally, and globally via Facebook and YouTube publications of our events. The focal point of these events was the nexus between Freedom, poetry, music, drama and the arts. An article that appeared in the Gainesville Sun in early November of that year provides an overview: http://www.gainesville.com/news/20091108/will-hasty-uf-students-commemorate-Walls-fall.
Currently, one of the most pressing cultural and political issues for Europe and the world regard the millions of people who have been uprooted from their homelands and who are seeking new homes where they can be free (whether Freedom is understood in political, economic, or other terms).  It seems that European nations (and the United States) which aspire to Freedom have an obligation to try to help these people in the greater interest of freedom, just as it seems clear that such huge movements of peoples with different cultural backgrounds and languages bring risks and dangers as well as possibilities and that no single nation or smaller number of nations is in a position carry the burden involved (at least initially) in giving these people a new home and a new start.
The title above suggests the ongoing applicability of the Campus Weeks theme of 2009 for current cultural and political developments — and for the political choices European Nations are making this year. It provides a general cultural, historical, and political framework for our proposed 2017 UF Campus Weeks events, which can be summarized this way:
With the Fall of the Wall in 1989, a path to greater Freedom seemed to have been opened — as commemorated and celebrated in the “Freedom without Walls” Campus Weeks in 2009.  Now, in 2017, we seem to have reached a juncture when new Walls are being constructed along the lines of nationalist (or even imperialist) pasts. Is this necessary? An alternative to such Walls might be continued concerted action on the part of advantageously-positioned societies in the interest of greater global Freedom (which could be seen as one of the purposes of the European Union).
What are the opportunities and pitfalls involved in alternatives such as these? In view of recent (and historically more distant) European and global developments, is “Freedom without Walls” possible, and if so how?  Assuming “Walls” are unavoidable, or perhaps even inherent in defining what is free (vis-à-vis what is not), what sort of Walls might continue to exist even within ostensibly free societies? Toward/against what sort of internal/external Walls might we try to work to achieve the most Freedom? These and others are among the many possible questions and themes to be considered under the above rubric.
The events will begin with a “European Elections Recap and Commentary” on September 25 in Pugh Hall 201.
The following events will be scheduled for October:
-Essay/Project Contest.
-Film Festival.
All films in the Reitz Union Auditorium at 7:30 pm and introduced by UF faculty:
The Other Europe – 10/4 introduced by Barbara Mennel
Who is Dayani Cristal? – 10/10 introduced by Gillian Lord
Fire at Sea – 10/17 – Introduction TBA
Europe or Die – 10/24 – introduced by Will Hasty
The events will culminate November 6-10 with a guest lecture by and panel discussion with former Vice-Commissioner of the European Union, Günter Verheugen, and a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and our own UF “Freedom without Walls” commemoration in 2009 on November 9. Guest speaker Günter Verheugen and Vice Consul Axel Zeissig from the German Consulate in Miami will speak. Students will present their projects. Winners of the writing contest will be announced.

In 2009, UF participated in the Campus Weeks “Freedom without Walls” commemoration, and our events had broad visibility on campus, locally, and globally via Facebook and YouTube publications of our events. The focal point of these events was the nexus between Freedom, poetry, music, drama and the arts. An article that appeared in the Gainesville Sun in early November of that year provides an overview: http://www.gainesville.com/news/20091108/will-hasty-uf-students-commemorate-Walls-fall.

Currently, one of the most pressing cultural and political issues for Europe and the world regard the millions of people who have been uprooted from their homelands and who are seeking new homes where they can be free (whether Freedom is understood in political, economic, or other terms).  It seems that European nations (and the United States) which aspire to Freedom have an obligation to try to help these people in the greater interest of freedom, just as it seems clear that such huge movements of peoples with different cultural backgrounds and languages bring risks and dangers as well as possibilities and that no single nation or smaller number of nations is in a position carry the burden involved (at least initially) in giving these people a new home and a new start.

The title above suggests the ongoing applicability of the Campus Weeks theme of 2009 for current cultural and political developments — and for the political choices European Nations are making this year. It provides a general cultural, historical, and political framework for our proposed 2017 UF Campus Weeks events, which can be summarized this way:

With the Fall of the Wall in 1989, a path to greater Freedom seemed to have been opened — as commemorated and celebrated in the “Freedom without Walls” Campus Weeks in 2009.  Now, in 2017, we seem to have reached a juncture when new Walls are being constructed along the lines of nationalist (or even imperialist) pasts. Is this necessary? An alternative to such Walls might be continued concerted action on the part of advantageously-positioned societies in the interest of greater global Freedom (which could be seen as one of the purposes of the European Union).

What are the opportunities and pitfalls involved in alternatives such as these? In view of recent (and historically more distant) European and global developments, is “Freedom without Walls” possible, and if so how?  Assuming “Walls” are unavoidable, or perhaps even inherent in defining what is free (vis-à-vis what is not), what sort of Walls might continue to exist even within ostensibly free societies? Toward/against what sort of internal/external Walls might we try to work to achieve the most Freedom? These and others are among the many possible questions and themes to be considered under the above rubric.

The events will begin with a “European Elections Recap and Commentary” on September 25 in Pugh Hall 201.

The following events will be scheduled for October:

-Essay/Project Contest.

-Film Festival.

All films in the Reitz Union Auditorium at 7:30 pm and introduced by UF faculty:

  • The Other Europe – Oct. 4 introduced by Barbara Mennel
  • Who is Dayani Cristal? – Oct. 10 introduced by Gillian Lord
  • Fire at Sea – Oct. 17 – Introduction TBA
  • Europe or Die – Oct. 24 – introduced by Will Hasty

The events will culminate November 6-10 with a guest lecture by and panel discussion with former Vice-Commissioner of the European Union, Günter Verheugen, and a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and our own UF “Freedom without Walls” commemoration in 2009 on November 9. Guest speaker Günter Verheugen and Vice Consul Axel Zeissig from the German Consulate in Miami will speak. Students will present their projects. Winners of the writing contest will be announced.