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Category: Interviews

Nurturing a Jewish revival in Poland

An interview with Shana Penn, executive director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. Interviewer: Daniel Gleichgewicht

DANIEL GLEICHGEWICHT: You have worked in support of Jewish cultural revitalisation in Poland for many years now. How would you describe the way Jewish life in Poland has changed over this time?

The end of state socialism in 1989 made it possible to reimagine Poland as a place where Jews might live openly, in relative freedom and security. The options were manifold, drawing from the cultural vibrancy that once made Poland the centre of the Jewish world, to one’s exposure to Jewish life in the US, Israel or other parts of Europe, to the extension of one’s own Jewish upbringing in Poland.

March 4, 2019 - Daniel Gleichgewicht Shana Penn

There are just too few of us

A conversation with Konstanty Gebert, Polish journalist and Jewish activist. Interviewer: Maxim Rust

MAXIM RUST: You have been helping to build Jewish life in Poland for decades now. If you were to assess what were the main changes that have taken place in this regard since the collapse of communism in 1989, what would you say they were? What were the achievements and what were the failures?

KONSTANTY GEBERT: Actually, the biggest change that has taken place is that that we now do have Jewish life in Poland. It erupted suddenly right after communism fell in 1989, after the long decline of the few officially sanctioned organisations which existed under communism. Since the early phase of the transformation, new Jewish organisations, initiatives and clubs began to emerge. Naturally, along with them also came disputes and quarrels.

March 4, 2019 - Konstanty Gebert Maxim Rust

Estonian elections: A crucial test for political stability

"Many of the dimensions you can see at the European level or even global one are present also in Estonia. I would say that the main leitmotif here is a macro clash between closeness and openness," says Stefano Braghiroli in an interview for New Eastern Europe.

March 1, 2019 - Maciej Makulski Stefano Braghiroli

Domestic violence in Russia: Interview with Yulia Gorbunova

Smith Freeman and Olivia Capozzalo of the She’s In Russia podcast interviewed Yulia Gorbunova about the latest Human Rights Watch report.

February 13, 2019 - Olivia Capozzalo Smith Freeman

Ukrainian society struggles to define its heroes and honour them

Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University and former Ukrainian dissident Myroslav Marynovych shared his views on developments in Ukrainian history and memory politics. Interviewer: Kateryna Pryshchepa

January 17, 2019 - Kateryna Pryshchepa

Local governments are the foundation of democracy

A conversation from 2016 with Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of the city of Gdańsk. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

January 15, 2019 - Iwona Reichardt

Crimean crisis reignites resistance

An interview with Ayla Bakkalli, a Representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an Executive Member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine on Indigenous Matters. Interviewer: Jim Blackburn

January 9, 2019 - Jim Blackburn

Where there is word, there is responsibility for mankind

A conversation with Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk. Interviewers: New Eastern Europe.

NEW EASTERN EUROPE: For today’s meeting you brought with you a book authored by the late Lord Ralf Dahrendorf…

BASIL KERSKI: Yes, this is his 2006 work titled Versuchungen der Unfreiheit. Die Intellektuellen in Zeiten der Prüfung. Ralf Dahrendorf wrote here about the breakthroughs which we experienced in the 20th and early 21st centuries. These were the events of 1945, 1968, 1989 and 2001. The most interesting in this book is the chapter where Dahrendorf analyses the challenges that still await us. Reading this piece today, we can see how much of his forecast is confirmed by reality.

January 2, 2019 - Basil Kerski

Intellectuals need to compete in quality, not quantity

Interview with Marci Shore, associate professor of history at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Interviewers: Kate Langdon and Jordan Luber

KATE LANGDON AND JORDAN LUBER: What does it mean to be a public intellectual in 2018?

MARCI SHORE: I can answer this only for myself. For me, it has been important to learn to speak at different registers, to reach out to different people beyond the university and beyond my own academic field. This is a kind of translation: can I express in essence the same ideas, the ones I feel it is most important to convey at a given moment, in different kinds of language? This demands a kind of empathy with the audience, a figuring out of what is and what is not self-evident at a given moment to a given group of people. And it involves taking a risk to leap out of one’s disciplinary comfort zone.

January 2, 2019 - Jordan Luber Kate Langdon Marci Shore

Human rights as a weapon

An interview with Ivan Lishchyna, the Ukrainian deputy minister of justice, and government commissioner of the European Court of Human Rights. Interviewer: Tomasz Lachowski

TOMASZ LACHOWSKI: Since 2014 part of the Ukrainian territory has been constantly occupied by the Russian Federation and Kremlin-backed troops, widely referred to as pro-Russian separatists. Among the many different diplomatic, political and military instruments undertaken by the Ukrainian authorities, Kyiv also uses strict legal tools to succeed in its effort to dispose of the occupants on Ukrainian soil. How can human rights help in achieving this goal?

IVAN LISHCHYNA: First of all we need to come to some general terms with what we are discussing. We have to distinguish two territories that are currently occupied by the Russian Federation: Crimea and a part of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (referred to as ORDLO in Ukrainian law). From the point of view of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and from the Ukrainian standpoint, there is no difference in the legal regimes between them: they are both occupied by Russian forces and unlawfully held by the Kremlin.

January 2, 2019 - Tomasz Lachowski

Like in the good, old American movies…

A conversation with Nijolė Oželytė-Vaitiekūnienė, a prominent Lithuanian actress. Interviewer: Linas Jegelevicius

LINAS JEGELEVICIUS: In recent interviews, you have labelled yourself Homo Sovieticus, a sardonic and critical reference to the average conformist person living in the Soviet Union. How is this compatible with you being a woman who has spoken out many times on woman rights and who has travelled the world after the restoration of independence in 1990?

NIJOLĖ OŽELYTĖ-VAITIEKŪNIENĖ: All of us who were born during the years of Soviet occupation are Homo Sovieticus, more or less. In fact, we – that generation – shouldn’t be ashamed of it, deny or repudiate it. When I think of the past, I like to use the example of the victims of Stockholm syndrome.

January 2, 2019 - Linas Jegelevicius

The business case for climate action

Interview with Adam Koniuszewski, co-founder of the Bridge Foundation. Interviewer: Adam Reichardt

ADAM REICHARDT: The organisation which you co-founded with your wife Margo Koniuszewski, the Bridge Foundation, advocates for a greater awareness and implementation of a circular economy. How would you envision this in the future? And what steps can and should be taken to move in this direction?

ADAM KONIUSZEWSKI: As revolutionary and innovative as the circular economy may appear, the concept is as old as the world. In a figurative and literal sense. Nature has always worked in cycles where nothing is lost or wasted. This is very different from how our linear take-make-waste economy works with programmed obsolescence at its core.

January 2, 2019 - Adam Koniuszewski Adam Reichardt

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