"A Soul for Europe" organises Istanbul Forum on “Global Challenges - Cultural Visions”

7 October 2010

Europe faces a process of tremendous changes. Politics and economy have to deal with major global challenges of unprecedented dimensions like the financial and economic crisis, environmental issues as well as the demographic change. Religious tensions and the difficult integration of minorities in different countries contribute to the success of xenophobic movements and parties. And despite of the successful ratification of the Lisbon treaty, the EU looks for its role in Europe and the world. Culture and an active civil society can support politics and economy to accomplish the transition to a new European age. Especially civil society plays an important role regarding solutions of the urgent European problems and challenges of the 21st century. “A Soul for Europe” Istanbul Forum – Global Challenges - Cultural Visions on October 12/13 tries to boost the cooperation between decision-makers from politics, business and representatives of civil society institutions. The participants will assess culture as a catalyst for creativity and a considerable element of international relations. Istanbul Forum will be put in context of genuine collaboration between people engaged in the cultural and the business sector and will be a step forward to constitute a common working platform of Culture and Economy within the next A soul for Europe projects planned. “Forum Istanbul is in line with the European Commission’s Agenda for culture in a globalizing world and the Unesco Convention on Cultural Diversity”, says Mahir Namur, President of the organizing European Cultural Association. In five roundtable discussions high ranking representatives of politics and society, leading intellectuals, as well as artists and cultural managers from all over Europe and Turkey, will discuss the positive effects of culture on European structural and economical development. The discussions will also concentrate on the questions whether and how alliances between the public and the private sector on the one hand, and civil society on the other, can lead to an effective and sustainable urban cultural policy – and what Istanbul as the European Capital of Culture 2010 is able to contribute to this concept. Another panel evaluates the much discussed chances of Turkey to act as a political and cultural mediator between its neighboring geography and Europe. Among the numerous invited prominent speakers are: the mayor of the city of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay, President of Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency Şekib Avdagiç, the MEPs Doris Pack and Hannes Swoboda, Turkish business man and former MP Vural Öger. Forum Istanbul – Global Challenges, Cultural Visions is organized in close cooperation with Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency. It is a joint project of the European Cultural Association and the civil society initiative A Soul for Europe. The aim of A soul for Europe E.E.I.G, founded in 2004, is to implement concrete steps and conduct projects to ensure that Europe makes greater and better use of arts and its cultural assets, positioning culture more than in the past as a strategic factor for its development. Partners of Forum Istanbul are the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TÜSIAD), BDI-Cultural Committee of German Business, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, The European House for Culture, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, and Felix Meritis Foundation. The conference is part of the A soul for Europe-Forum X series that is held across Europe to develop new forms of cooperation between civil society and top-ranking political decision-makers. Similar conferences have been organized throughout Europe with concrete results. The outcomes and consequences of the Forum Istanbul will be deepened during the 4th Berlin Conference of A Soul for Europe scheduled for the 20th of November 2010, Berlin that will be dedicated to “Towards a Citizen’s Europe”. Programme, further information and online registration for Forum Istanbul: Contact: European Cultural Association / Avrupa Kültür Derneği Mahir Namur, President of European Cultural Association ( Ms Aytül Bilen, Project Manager ( Fenerli Ahmet Sok. Fener Apt. No.12 Da.1 Feneryolu 34724 Istanbul, Turkey T: + 90 216 338 37 80 /F: -06 For further information on the Berlin Conference 2010 and online registrations: