September 30, 2017
The Fall Meeting 2017 was the first event in a series initiated by the German-Russian Exchange in St. Petersburg, dedicated to current European problems, similar to the regular public Fall Meetings in Berlin, organized by the German-Russian Exchange for 20 years (https://www.austausch.org/herbstgespraeche.html).
The goal of the event was to engage the broader public in reflection on the current challenges and changes in contemporary Europe. This is in response to the visible need and interest of the Russian public to understand better, the fundamental changes which are taking place in Europe, in spite of a lot of negative information and news about European developments presented in the Russian mass media.
The first Fall Meeting included the open podium discussions on the following topics:
- • How is European Multiculturalism Changing: The influx of migrants, nationalism, and activism for migrants
- • How is the European Idea Changing in Europe: The basis and the limits of European integration in the past and now, the meaning and role of European values in the integration and disintegration
- • How is European Civil Society Changing: The role of NGOs, civic initiatives, and protests
- • How is Activism Changing in Europe: The role of activism in the European life styles, popular and influential types of activism, limits and inspirations for everyday social, urban, and cultural initiatives
In the discussions, 13 speakers and four moderators from nine European countries participated in the event, including seven speakers who came from EU countries to St. Petersburg especially for the Fall Meetings. In total, about 150 people participated in the event as audience, discussion participants, speakers, volunteers. The feedback from the participants was very positive and showed that such public events are a useful way to provide the broad Russian audience with more information and space for discussions on Germany- and Europe-related topics and developments.