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International Conference Antwerp, September 2004
23 September 2004 - 25 September 2004
After decades of Cold War a new era of reconstitution and transformation dawns on Europe . The enlargement of the European Union, increased migration and the process of globalisation challenge Europe in all its aspects − cultural, political, economic, social and spiritual.
How to cope with such diversity when striving for more unity? What is the cement of European civilization and how is the Union to build a community based on common good and shared values?
What are the fundamental values underlying the construction of the European Community in full respect of human dignity? How exclusive and inclusive are these values?
Starting from the idea of a ‘European Social Model’ as the basis for a common European identity, the conference focused on the necessity of the construction of a more social Europe based on human dignity, social justice and solidarity open to new member states and capable of coping with migrant influxes.
The conference aimed to contribute to an inspired vision of a European civilization leading the way to a peaceful and just world.
The conference intended to activate a multidisciplinary, international and pluralist network of scholars, policy makers and field workers to discuss and reflect on the quest of redefining European civilization and its basic underlying values and on the role and function of Christian values in this process.
The emphasis of the conference was on the key role of fundamental values as the cement of a renewed European civilization and how these values may shape spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social developments in the new Europe . Two central themes were be elaborated at the conference: the issue of enlargement (diversity from within) and the issue of migration (diversity from without) and how they challenge the concepts of human dignity, social justice and solidarity as the cornerstones of the future Europe.
Within the enlarged Union different and diverging interpretations of human dignity, social justice and solidarity exist side by side. What are the different discourses? What effect do they have on minority communities from other religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds?
How is this perceived from the outside? What is the border-line perspective from non-EU countries? The precise definition and practical implementation of the concepts of human dignity, social justice and solidarity will be the central issue in the construction of a renewed European civilization.
The conference consisted of two parts: three public sessions open to the broad audience and eight specialized round table debates in which scholars, policy makers and field workers participated on invitation of the organiser.
These eight round table discussions were centered on the following issues:
Ethics and Faith, East Meets West, Legal and Illegal Migration, Citizenship, Regular and Irregular Labour, Civil Society, Poverty and Social Exclusion, Tolerance, Xenophobia and Nationalism.