International Conference at the College of Europe Natolin Campus in Warsaw
22-23 September 2016
You are cordially invited to the international conference titled: “The Fate of Freedom in Eastern Europe: Autocracy – Oligarchy – Anarchy?”
The aim of the conference is to ask whether the region between the Baltic and Black Seas, provisionally described as “Eastern Europe”, is historically fated to experience the failure of systems of government founded on liberty; whether the only stable state structures involve autocratic or oligarchic rule; whether dreams of freedom lead either to anarchy or dictatorship. This fate seems to be expressed by narratives about post-Soviet republics, especially in the context of the last Ukrainian revolutions. Many accept such narratives, but others contest them, defending these countries’ right to self-determination. This conference will consider the sources and appeal of such narratives. Are these nations are incapable or capable of maintaining forms of statehood based on liberty?
Leading historians, political scientists, public intellectuals and politicians will gather to consider whether ‘Eastern Europe’, understood for these purposes as the region between Poland and Russia, has from the Middle Ages to the present been historically fated to experience the failure of every form of government based on freedom. Or whether – au contraire – the nations of the region (not just the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also including the old kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary) have for many centuries sustained a rich potential for personal liberty and government by consent.
In this context participants will discuss the relationships between freedom and oligarchy, citizenship, diversity, autocracy, anarchy, sovereignty and democracy. These problems are of crucial importance to European civilization as a whole. Programme in English | Programme in Polish
Visit the conference website for more information.