On 2nd of October 2019 the annual European Cultural Foundation Princess Margriet Award honored Ahdaf Soueif (Cairo/London) and City of Women (Ljubljana) as inspiring examples of people and organizations who, with courage and creative power, offer hopeful visions of democracy by redefining our understanding of culture and its capacity to improve a common European social reality. Learn more about the laureates in this trailer, or via the clip on City of Women, or the longread on Ahdaf Soueif.

The ceremony also celebrated the 65th anniversary of the European Cultural Foundation by looking back at the foundation’s history and work through the launch of the publication “Stories of Europe”. The European Cultural Foundation Director, Andre Wilkens looked ahead, giving insights into the foundation’s plans for the future, presenting the Amsterdam Manifesto for Europe.

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2nd Round democracy Needs Imagination call Great Success

The second round of our Democracy Needs Imagination grant call closed last Friday 27 September at noon. Thank you for sending in such bold proposals, we look forward to reading all of them in detail. With our call we want to support people that work for European democratic values, fight for their rights as citizens, for their right to public space and personal freedoms, and for their right to creative expression. Because we are seeing the rise of more democratic unrest in many European Union countries, we can’t just sit back and watch this happen. We need to act now. We received a great number of applications - more than 900! - showing us we’re not alone. That should give all of us hope.

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Open letter by Osman Kavala

We have been reporting on the detainment of our friend and colleague Osman Kavala, chairman of Anadolu Kultur, ever since he was detained by Turkish police. On October 2nd we celebrated our Princess Margriet Award for Culture ceremony, and Osman Kavala his birthday. In prison. We dearly missed him.

Earlier this week Osman Kavala published an opinion piece in the New York Times: “My collaboration with government institutions around several cultural projects continued under the government of the Justice and Development Party, which has been in power since 2002. That allowed me to be optimistic about Turkey’s future and retain my confidence as a citizen despite our fraying democracy and individual liberties.”

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‘Bring Back Culture, Ms. President!’

“Perfect timing, great audience, clear messaging. You’re doing exactly the right thing!” This is how a participant qualified the policy event “Act for Europe through Culture”, organised by the European Cultural Foundation and Culture Action Europe, in cooperation with the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 and BOZAR. The event brought together members from across the political spectrum of the European Parliament, including the Chair of the Culture Committee, Ms. Sabine Verheyen, and over hundred representatives of arts, cultural and heritage organisations and networks who collectively called upon the new EU leadership to prioritize culture in their agenda.