Democracy is controversy plus solidarity: Sierakowski, Shore, Snyder in NY

Discussion in memory of Krzysztof Michalski.

Saturday, May 4, 2013, 6:30 PM

Austrian Cultural Forum

11 E. 52nd Street, New York, NY


The event is free, but RSVP is required.

The Austrian Cultural Forum and the Polish Cultural Institute are joining for a discussion in memory of Krzysztof Michalski, a public intellectual who founded the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna in 1982, leaving a significant mark on the political and cultural discourse between Eastern and Western Europe and the US. He celebrated controversy as a necessary aesthetic form of democracy and yearned for solidarity as a primary characteristic of humanity.

A passionate philosopher and political activist with the democratic opposition before 1989 in Poland, he later created places and moments for engaging debates between former enemies within Central and East European societies. He helped to transform enemies into opponents engaged in a common struggle; to build bridges between East and West, rich and poor, old and young; and to develop a forward-looking network of intellectual excellence searching for a new, more equitable global order in the spirit of solidarity.

Andreas Stadler, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, and Jerzy Onuch, Director of the Polish Cultural Institute New York, will moderate the discussion featuring former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, editor-in-chief of Krytyka Polityczna and leader of the „new left” in Poland – Slawomir Sierakowski, Marci Shore – author of The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe (Crown, 2013), Yale historian Timothy Snyder – author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, 2010), and journalist Cynthia Haven – author of An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czeslaw Milosz (Swallow Press, 2012).

Organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Polish Cultural Institute New York as a sidebar event to the PEN World Voices Festival.

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