the CEU Weekly An independent newspaper by CEU students and alumni
March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
Democracy and European Union Politics:
a talk with Philippe C. Schmitter Philippe C. Schmitter was at CEU and Florin Zubascu got an exclusive interview with him for The CEU Weekly. Prof. Schmitter‘s work on transitions from authoritarian regimes has been cumbersome in the field of political science, and students of social and political sciences across the globe often use his books and articles to analyze regime changes. His current work focuses on the political characteristics of the emerging Euro-polity, on the consolidation of democracy in Southern and Eastern countries, and on the possibility of post-liberal democracy in Western Europe and North America. Read the complete interview on
PAGES 2 & 3.
Madagascar - A Country in Crisis: The Controversies of a Paradise Island Ilona Ilma Ilyes is a CEU IRES graduate currently working as program assistant at the School of Public Policy, Executive Education at CEU. Ilona visited Madagascar for 3 months in the framework of a project by the Hungarian Volunteer Sending Foundation in cooperation with GLEN (Global Education Network).
Check the WasteFest program: PAGE 4 Pretending to be Green PAGE 4 Say “au revoir !” to bottled water at CEU. PAGE 5 “Bag-it: the Impact of a Single Plastic Bag” PAGE 5 HUNGARY
Why do we have a day-off on March 15? PAGE 8
Read about her experience in Madagascar on PAGE 6 GET READY: SPRING BALL IS
COMING! More details on PAGE 7 Student Tip # 73 Start to spend more time outside, your body needs sunshine after such a long winter (that can still return for some weeks).
Hungarian Expression of the Week Phrase: Szép mint a tavaszi reggel. Translation: [Someone] is as beautiful as a springtime morning.
the CEU Weekly March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
Democracy and European Union Politics: a talk with Philippe C. Schmitter Professor Philippe C. Schmitter was Professor of Political Science at the European University Institute in Florence, Department of Political and Social Sciences until September 2004. He was then nominated Professorial Fellow at the same Institution. He is now Emeritus of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute. His current work is on the political characteristics of the emerging Europolity, on the consolidation of democracy in Southern and Eastern countries, and on the possibility of post-liberal democracy in Western Europe and North America. Florin Zubascu: Since 2008 Europe faces a deep crisis that has many implications for how the EU and democracy in the EU will develop. Is this crisis an opportunity for improvement, and if so, what are the steps that have to be made in this direction? Philippe Schmitter: Crises are nothing new in the case of the EU. In fact, crises are precisely what have been driving the European integration. There were a series of these crises and in each case the answer was more integration. We call this in our jargon a spillover. So the EU has expanded, and at least in principle this crisis could be a good thing for the integration and for the EU itself. But it is not a good thing. What we should focus on is the relationship between the EU crisis, the Euro crisis, and the crisis of democracy in Europe. In principle, these crises are disconnected; at least historically they have not occurred in that sequence. Nevertheless, they‘re connected. FZ: But what is so different about the current crisis? PS: The first difference is that this crisis was triggered from outside of the European Union. This is not a crisis of European Integration, but it is a crisis of the world capitalist system that began in the United States, and then had successive impacts on other countries, especially on Europe. Whereas previous crises were more endogenous, they were more part of the integration process itself, and always the solution was to resolve the crises within the family. Crises came as a result of integration and unequal distribution of benefits. In this case the timing and the nature of the crisis came from outside. Secondly, this crisis has what we call in or jargon a cumulative impact. Previous crises of the EU, beginning with the open seat of Charles de Gaulle, were such that the main actors of the crisis were different. In our jargon, we call this a pluralist form of crisis: those who were in favor of expansion were not the same as the group against expansion. This time the crisis is cumulative. There is a bunch of winners, that happen to be there in the north, and there‘s a bunch of losers in the south, with Eastern Europe somewhere in between. In a cumulative crisis, Page 2
the polarization is much greater and it is more difficult to come to compromise type of solutions. In the case of the EU, the problem is that this crisis is exogenous, but even more important, the timing of this crisis and it origins are different. I think that there would have been a euro crisis anyway, because of the design of monetary integration: the monetary integration did not include financial and budgetary integration. The crisis would have happened, but much later had it not been for the timing of the American crisis. That set it off earlier. Monetary integration was not driven by the integration process itself. It was driven by the German unification. Monetary integration was the price that Germany had to pay for acquiring East Germany. It had to give up the Deutsche Mark. That was the deal that was more or less enforced by Mitterrand and Thatcher. Even though European institutions were not designed to resolve the problem of German reunification, but they were there and they were used for that purpose. FZ: The European institutions are able to deal with this crisis, and to make it a “good crisis”? PS: In its historical development, the EU did not replicate the usual institutional pattern that we find at the national level. The usual pattern is that integration occurs around a core area, Paris or London for example. And that doesn‘t happen in the case of the EU. As the EU builds institutions, the institutions are not all part of the same core. So you have the central bank with a great deal of autonomy, you have other regulatory agencies; you have also institutions that overlap with each other. The president of council of ministers, the president of the European council, the president of the European Commission, I forgot how many presidents. It‘s just ridiculous but it‘s there. The institutional structure of the EU is very badly designed to respond to this crisis. So the main question is not what you do, but how do you do it? Who takes these responsibilities or ―compétences‖? The answer of the euro crisis is to increase ―les compétences‖ of European institutions. But of which the European institutions will have its ―competences‖ increased? In the previous crises the issue of democratic deficit was relatively unimportant. After each one of these spillovers they increased the powers of the European Parliament. So the problem is that this answer was not a good answer. Nobody paid any attention to this and turnout in the European elections decreased. Therefore the paradox: you increase the power of an institution and less and less people pay attention to it. This time, not only that the increase of powers is much greater but it goes to the absolute core of what it means to govern, namely taxation, budgets and borrowing. ―No repre-
sentation without taxation‖ is kind of an American thing but it captures an universal democratic demand. All of the increases of ―competences‖ that are now being slowly put into place; but none of them includes an increase in democracy. Surely, people talk about the need for democratizing the EU, and Barroso even dared to pronounce the famous ―F-word‖ – federalism. FZ: Isn’t it that this democratic deficit might have something to do with the lack of a proper public sphere? PS: That is not entirely true. This crisis has produced an enormous public space. Everybody, at a certain level, is talking about Europe now. There is a public space, but the problem is that there are no public institutions in that space. And the main institutions that have to fill that space, or should fill it, are political parties. There are no political parties in that public space. FZ: Many argue that European political parties cannot function properly as long as EU MPs are still voting along the lines of their national parties. Now, at the EU level interest groups have taken the place of political parties in acting as proxies for political representation. In this context, what would be the next step for consolidating the European party system? PS: Your description is accurate. The question is, does it have to remain that way? European elections and especially the financing of European elections and the nomination of candidates for European elections have been very deliberately focused on subsidizing and encouraging national parties. There are such things as Euro Parties but they do no function as parties, possibly with the exception of the Greens and maybe the Pirate Party. There are confederations of parties in the EU parliament, but they don‘t have members, they don‘t raise funds themselves and they don‘t nominate candidates. But that doesn‘t have to be. That it is the way this system emerged because of the pressures at the national level, but you could imagine that someone had begun to talk about a common program, a nomination process for candidates that is supranational rather than national. But political parties are in a deeper crisis at the national level. So the idea of creating meaningful political parties on that scale is very ambitions, when the parties at the national level are losing members, are losing the loyalty of voters, and generally becoming the least trusted institution. Look what just happened in the Italian elections: a complete collapse of a national party system. The space is there whether or not it will be filled or it will be influenced by the mobilization of interest groups and social movements, or by proper political parties. >>
the CEU Weekly March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
INTERVIEW FZ: The parties are the problem? Or citizens become less and less engaged in the political process? PS: Traditionally, political parties have been based on a particular cleavage structure, mainly social class (left and right), also religion and other factors. Depending on the country, you get a variety of party systems because of the cleavage patterns. You have ethnic cleavages between Basques and Catalans. But the problem is that those cleavages are no longer as sensitive, as salient to citizens as they used to be. Forget about the cleavage between Catholics and Protestants; you can even forget about this center – periphery cleavage. These cleavages are not as salient as they used to be, but nothing has replaced them. What we have now is a much more fragmented cleavage structure. Certainly environmental issues could revive. But it is not clear where we are in terms of positioning ourselves as individuals on environmental issues, ad this is why this cleavage pattern does not encourage the creation of political parties.
tainly the EU is not going to have American style federalism. Almost everybody agrees that is going to be some kind of federalism that looks like the Swiss or the Canadian model rather than the American one. The question is what kind of infrastructure you can build on the present institutions. Whether you call it federalism or not I don‘t give a damn, and I argue that is a mistake to call it federalism. We need a new word and I have proposed a few but no one is paying attention, so we need something else. Because federalism has a history and it creates reactions which are not necessary. Let‘s forget about that word. There are of course these crazy proposals in my view to elect a president of Europe. That‘s a huge mistake.
I think that is pretty clear that the proper route is some form of parlamentarization of Europe in which the European parliament will be responsible for choosing the president of the commission and then maybe the European Council will be responsible for choosing the president of the Council, and somehow there will be a division of FZ: Wouldn’t it be necessary to develop a labor between the two. So, I think that it is true public space where more issues are dis- that you do need a more coherent if not centralcussed, beyond the crisis and environmental ized structure, simply for symbolic purposes. issues? What role do language barriers play in these matters? There are too damn many presidents and PS: I think that the language barrier has been they‘re tripping over each other, but presumaover estimated. Habermas when he started talk- bly that is just temporary and in the process of ing about that, assumed that you needed some democratization I suspect that it will take a kind of face to face space where people can more parliamentary route. Also, I think that the actually talk to each other in mutually intelligi- European parliament will choose a prime minisble languages. But he‘s changed his mind and ter of the commission. In a sense the council of he‘s absolutely right, because Portuguese and ministers will become a senate and the parliaFinns can talk to each other on the same issues ment will become a real parliament, in a parliaby talking in Finnish and in Portuguese in their mentary sense; something a bit like semirespective mass-media. They even can take presidentialism. similar sides or opposite sides in their respective languages. So that is what the European public FZ: What kind of impact this kind of arrangespace will look like. Not to mention of course ment would have on the hypothetical that when it comes to EU institutions everything is “European party system”? done in English. Let‘s face it! When you get into PS: Territoriality as a basis for representation a committee room in Brussels no one even men- remains pretty much important. You might imagtions that you have to use English; you just take ine the development of new kinds of territorial it for granted. At that level there is a language: units that are on the borders between countries. is English. Basta! But, at the mass level there is a You could imagine that these units could take public space in which people are engaged in some form of transnational regions. But what is taking positions and listening to arguments etc., desirable, is the emergence of a two party sysin different languages through the media and tem in Europe where you have low levels of through translation. So it is just possible that an internal discipline, in which one party is in favor article in a Finnish newspaper gets translated of more integration and the other favors less and appears in a Portuguese newspaper. It integration. In that system you can imagine some happens. other small and extreme parties. But how you get there? And this particular crisis is going to FZ: Also, the EU has the problem of represen- be a good crisis for this purpose? tation and contestation for political leader- I wrote an article forty years ago that describes ship. In short the EU is led by bureaucrats. something exactly like the present crisis and I How do we solve this problem? Do we opt called it the ―transcending crisis‖. This transcendfor a federal solution? Unimportant EU lead- ing crisis was supposed to be the crisis that ers, such as the Romanian president, talk a lot drove the EU from economic to political integraabout the United States of Europe. tion and part of that was supposed to be the PS: The Romanian president is stuck in a time formation of a genuine European party system, warp of the 1950s. Churchill mentioned the but it just hasn‘t happened yet. This crisis was United States of Europe but that was the fifties. not as good as I imagined it. Forget about that; that is just ridiculous. There are many kinds of federalism, but cer-
FZ: There are a number of separatist movements in places like Cataluna and Scotland. How these conflicts affect the EU and the European identity? Can “the European identity” solve these problems? PS: There was a brief moment in which lots of people, mainly academics, talked about l‘Europe des régions. So in a utopian Europe there would be no Germany, there would be Lander. The main problem of political integration in Europe is that some countries are too big. Every big country would divided in 15 of 23 Lander and those Lander have considerable autonomy and then you would put them together as a European political unit. That is not going to happen. Even if it would happen people would not trust it. Dividing Germany in 23 Lander and dissolving the German federal government is not going to happen and if it is going to happen people will not trust it. We have to deal with existing borders. The problem with les régions is that their definition varies so much. The so called Committee of the Regions has been a complete failure as far as I can tell. They have done nothing. We‘re stuck with those national borders and with the internal divisions of those borders. Basta! FZ: My last question refers to the expansion of the EU. How far do you think that the European Union should go towards the east? PS: There are two answers. Any academic who wanted to start something called European identity could get money from the commission, but no one found it. We don‘t know what European identity is. But then you could say that the identity is a bunch of principles. Those principles apply well outside of Europe. Rule of law, democracy, and the usual suspects are not European anymore. In that conception Europe has no boundaries and it simply should be a set of countries which accept and practice a certain set of principles: democracy, rule of law, capitalism and so on. But then Uruguay is more European than most of the members of the EU for that matter. The other conception is to stop where we are and just say that we have enough problems already: 27 states is a lot. To me those are the two alternatives. I cannot see an intermediate solution except of course for the Balkans, the membership of Croatia which I think is already decided, Serbia, maybe Macedonia, and I don‘t know what they‘re going to do about Kosovo. Obviously there is a part
there that poses serious security problems but at some point I don‘t see how those countries can be denied membership.
Florin Zubascu Department of Political Science Romania
the CEU Weekly CEU COMMUNITY—WASTEFEST 2013
Pretending to be Green Comments on Recycling Issues on the CEU Campus Recycling as an obsession Let me make this clear first – I am German. I want to get this out of the way before you make the inevitable comments about the Germans complaining on recycling issues. It is a stereotype, of course, but it does not change the fact that recycling in Hungary currently ―challenging‖ at best. As a German I of course realized that I am spoiled rotten in this regard because recycling back home is being made as easy as can be. Once the trash was separated all I had to do was walk down the stairs to the backyard and dispose of my trash bags in one of the six readily available containers for paper, plastics, organic materials, glass, anything else and a mysterious bin where you can leave stuff that is still useful but you no longer want. Searching for a bin I have lived abroad before, so I was prepared that Hungary might not offer the same easy options I knew from home. However, I have the impression the Hungarian really does not want me to recycle. I know that there might be more urgent issues but putting up a few recycling stations around the city feels more like a sloppy ―get it over with‖ than a real ―we did everything we could‖. When I am at the CEU campus I can see that we are at least trying to be a little bit more sustainable. I made the effort and checked the university‘s website and indeed, we do have a Sustainability Advisory Committee and there are a few recycling islands around the Nador Utca buildings. Soon, there will be more recycling bins installed in the Faculty Tower and hopefully, we will see better options implemented in the renovated campus. Yet, the overall situation still blows. Creating a greener campus?
March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
If you pass any of the class rooms at the end of a day, you get the impression that most of the trash around CEU could simply be avoided. While someone else may talk about how uneconomical it is to pay for bottled water when we get clean water for free at the water fountains, I wonder why so many of us use single use coffee cups? Most departments have their own kitchens that are accessible for their respective students. Why not store your own coffee mug in the cabinets or your locker? Some campus coffee machines have the option to use your own cup while DZSEM@CEU will even decrease the price of your coffee if you bring your own mug. All in all, I just want to see us do better because I know it is possible. We do use recycled paper to print, and most of the time we do it on both pages. Just the same, people are raising the issue of dripping water faucets (see Facebook ―CEU Incoming Students‖ Group) and I see people who run around with their own coffee mug or Nalgene bottle instead of creating more waste. In my opinion those are the first steps we need to take. It may start small on campus, but we can take those efforts here in Hungary as well as back home, wherever you are from. More Information: The website of the CEU‘s Sustainability Advisory Committee provides the ―CEU Sustainability Report 2012‖: https://www.ceu.hu/about/ organization/governance/committees/sustainability-advisorycommittee Looking for a recycling place near you? Check out the municipality‘s website: http://www.fkf.hu/portal/page/portal/fkf/Google_terkep Julia Michalsky Department of History Germany
CEU WasteFEST 2013 Schedule All Week, Dzsem Café, FT 10th Floor Participate in Dzsem’s Reusable Cup Contest: purchase coffee with The CEU Sustainable Campus Initiative and a reusable mug to score points for your Department. The DeDepartment of Environmental Science and partment which makes the most smart coffee purchases wins a Policy are proud to present a series of free breakfast. events dedicated to how we interact with waste on campus. How are we generating Wednesday, March 20, 10am-2pm waste on campus? How can we avoid Oktogon Area waste? Where does CEU's waste go? What Mini-Documentary and Short Film Marathon, continuous screening can be recycled at CEU and how? How does the choice of tap water Individual pledges: come demonstrate your commitment to being a vs. bottled water factor into this? All of these questions and more will sustainable citizen of CEU, and become part of CEU's sustainabe answered through interactive displays, and special events. bility campaign! On Tuesday, March 19, be confronted in the Nador 9 Octogon area with a special display of waste generated right here at CEU. On Wednesday, March 20, during lunch time stop by the booths and exhibits set up in Nador 9 Octogon and Laptop Area. Trust us, you won't be able to miss them! And why would you want to, when there's things like free coffee, information on smarter shopping and waste free living in Budapest, and up-cycling activities from items collected at CEU? The full activity list is presented below.
Waste Crafting and Up-cycling activity: learn how to give discarded items new life Laptop Area Information about the true cost of plastic water bottles and proposals to make CEU a water bottle-free zone Water Taste Test: Which really tastes better, tap or bottled water? Come test your perceptions! Learn how to avoiding waste while food shopping and have the chance to sample organic food items available at local markets
On Wednesday evening, join the SCI for delicious food prepared using Outside Library organic, local ingredients and a screening of a critically-acclaimed docuCoffee, anyone? Avoid single use plastic cups from the coffee mamentary at the Szatyor Food Co-Op in Budapest. chine; instead, have some of our organic and fair trade coffee 7pm-9pm — Szatyor Association, Gyulai Pal Utca 12 (Between Astoria in a reusable mug! and Blaha Lujza Metro Stations) If you've ever wondered why you should care about waste, or what you can do to avoid waste, or maybe just want to have a great time, join us!
Wednesday, March 20, 7pm-9pm Film screening: Enjoy a selection of local & organic foods and refreshments and watch an award-winning documentary on waste together with us at the Szatyor Food Co-op, Gyulai Pal Utca 12, VIII District, Budapest (Between Blaha Lujza and Astoria)
the CEU Weekly CEU COMMUNITY—WASTEFEST 2013
Water: Tap it! Say ―au revoir !‖ to bottled water at CEU. To be eco-friendly is the light, colloquial way to refer to be environmentally responsible. To be eco-friendly is, also, wanting to keep up the hopes of survival in a world that somehow has been suffering already for too long humans‘ extreme anthropocentric consumption habits. And, thus, in the small scale, to be eco-friendly has to do with petit initiatives, like the one a group of students of the Environmental Sciences and Policy Department has started: to change the consumption habits in campus of bottled water. Or, plainly, ‗bye, plastic; hi, tap water‘. LIQUID FIGURES For data is usually in command, in Hungary bottled water consumption has raised from 30 liters per person in 1999 to 111 liters per capita in 2010, according to www.worldwater.org. And, in CEU, the trend replicates. Recent on campus research tell us that the average weekly consumption of still and sparkling 0.5 liter bottled water at CEU cafeterias varies from 78 liters to 180 liters. Not only that: an estimated total of 4,830 water bottles are consumed monthly in CEU only for conferences, seminars, workshops et al. In other words, we have become unnecessarily plasticized. Yes, unnecessarily. In Hungary, tap water is not only tasty, but safe, too. And by ‗safe‘, we also mean ‗safer‘ than bottled water. Health issues arise for plastic bottles due to usual existence of chemical contaminants in the bottles. According to the Natural Re-
“Bag-it: the Impact of a Single Plastic Bag”
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sources Defense Council, some of these chemicals, like phthalates, can leach from the plastic into the water and end up causing health problems. Worst case scenario: carcinogenic risks. But, no need to get extreme to understand other concerns from this students‘ initiative, which will be shown in the upcoming Waste Fest 2013, to be held in Nador 9 building between March the 19th and the 21st. Straight to the pockets: while 0.5 liters of bottled water cost an average of 200 forints, 1,000 liters of tap water cost 230 forints. Feeling swindled already? PROPOSAL FLOW Thus, the anti-bottled water campaign will be aiming to raise awareness with events, information, documentaries, games and practical data during the three days that the Waste Fest 2013 will last, ending a day prior to the World Water Day, on March the 22nd. But they don‘t want to stop there. Their initiative contemplates a formal proposal to CEU authorities for them to consider the inclusion of better, more practical and more abundant water fountains on campus for the redevelopment of the University, which starts next year. And, yes, the proposal also includes the banning of sale of bottled water in campus —not to be confused with the consumption itself of bottled water, for freedom of choice is sacred. If it is achieved, the latter would make CEU the first University in Europe to prohibit bottled water sales, showing a degree of environmental responsibility. So, agree or disagree? Not convinced? Take a walk around the Waste Fest 2013, then, and make your choice. Thor Morante MESPOM, Peru
The story begins with a single plastic bag and one man‘s question: what happens to this bag once it has fulfilled its brief purpose? Plastic bags are disposable, meaning they are meant to be throw away after their use, right? But as Jeb Berrier admits, there‘s a dirty little secret that we as people do not like to admit: that even if you throw something away, there really is no ―away.‖ Everything has to go somewhere. And plastics last for a long, long time.
Bag-It focuses on the politics of plastic bags, the dangerous of single-use disposables, issues with waste and recycling and also looks at marine and human health in relation to plastics. Many US cities refuse to ban plastic bags, while numerous nations have banned the bags because of their adverse effects on human health and the environment. Bangladesh was the first nation to ban plastic bags in 2002 and many African nations – such as Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya – have also banned the bags. But the issue goes way beyond bags. Plastics fill the ocean and harm marine life. BPA in plastics are linked to breast and prostate cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, as well as many other human health problems. Do you think you use too much plastic in your life? Bag-it suggests numerous ways to reduce your own plastic waste: carry reusable shopping bags, give up bottled water, say no to plastic produce bags, buy from bulk bins, make your own seltzer water, pack food in reusable containers, choose milk in returnable glass bottles, use bar soap and shampoo, choose lotions and lip balms in plastic-free containers, make sure your personal care products are phthalate-free.
Jeb Berrier‘s Documentary Bag-It examines the global use of plastic products and what happens to them after they are created, used, and disposed. Many plastic products – bags, bottles, yogurt containers, etc. – are designed to be used for only days or hours, a very brief period of time in comparison with the rate at which they will decompose. Are these short-lived plastic products really worth their value to us in the long-run as they fill up our landfills for centuries to come?
Watch Bag-It on Wednesday March 20st at 7:00 at Szatyor Food Co-op, Gyulai Pal Utca 12, (Between Astoria and Blaha Lujza metro stations) and learn how to be more conscious of your purchasing decisions and how to make your life happier and healthier by understanding how your actions affect the world and what you can do to make each decision count. Ariel Drehobl MESPOM Page 5
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Madagascar - A Country in Crisis: The Controversies of a Paradise Island
March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
homes. Massive deforestation leads to the loss of a great part of the original rainforests, threatening the habitat of species living nowhere else on the earth. Working in Madagascar is just as exciting and adventurous as traveling. Schools are overcrowded teachers trying to teach classes of 50-60 students. The resources available to the schools are limited. Whole computer labs are packed with castoff computers from Europe, each of them troubled by numerous viruses. In the best case only 4 or 5 out of 20 – 30 are actually functioning. We have to wait long minutes before we are able to open even a simple Word program. Waiting time increases seriously when trying to open websites, at those rare times the internet connection is working. The excitement of our students compensates us though for the headaches caused by the technical troubles. They are listening attentively our lesson about how to use a blog, checking their Facebook account in secret when we are not attentive enough. They are thrilled when we share our Facebook contact with them, just to write us a ―hello, how are you‖ months after our departure and to make us smile on a busy working day.
If someone wants to learn how to smile in troubled times, Madagascar is a perfect destination. Helped by the genuine kindness and openness of islanders and by a strong religious belief, the Malagasy know how to live with problems never stopping to smile. For three months, I lived in Madagascar with local families working with school children and visiting some of the most amazing sites on the island. These experiences gave me insight into the daily life of the Malagasy people. I got to know the unique environmental beauties of the fourth largest island on earth and observed the problems and controversies of a paradisiac island in crises. While eating a typical Malagasy meal consisting of rice and zebu, my host family was recalling the events of the past three years with understandable sadness. By unconstitutional means president Marc Ravalomana was removed by Andy Rajoelina, the young mayor of Antananarivo in 2009, who took over power by leading what is now known as the High Transitional Authority, the government of Madagascar unrecognized until today. Following the coup d`etat the financial support and foreign investment coming to Madagascar from Western countries was suspended, leaving those living in one of the poorest countries in the world, where 2/3 of the population lives under the poverty line, in even more troubled conditions. People skeptically wait for the elections in 2013 not even dreaming of free and fair voting, saying that the country is wallowing in corruption. Many fear (or hope) for revolts before the elections. Signs of crisis can be seen almost everywhere. Infrastructure is old and in dangerous conditions. I think twice before taking a local bus, but in the end I have no other choice. I pray for a safe arrival jostled alongside chickens and roosters with other local travelers, while I cannot help but pause at the beauty of this country. Highlands of green rice fields framing red brick houses; seaside with wooden huts hidden among palm trees full of coconuts; fruit stands with mountains of mango and banana next to the roads; rain forests home to endemic plants and animals existing only in Madagascar. But the unique environment of the island is exposed to the whims of the weather and the irresponsible human activities. Cyclones sweep over the island each year destroying handmade Page 6
After living with locals and traveling around the island I realize that Madagascar is actually a very rich country in resources, but the majority of the population is very poor. Perhaps this is exactly what makes the poverty even more troubling: the richness of the island, the presence of abundant natural resources. Not only has Madagascar a very unique wildlife and flora, but the red island is the world`s first supplier of vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang. Other main products exported from the island are coffee and lychee. Besides agricultural products, Madagascar has important mineral resources including precious and semi-precious stones and reserves of oil and gas. Despite such wealth the majority of the population struggles. Some dream of leaving the country and living a better life in Europe or America, following the example of their family members or friends. Some learn and work hard to ensure a more secure future for their children on the island. Everyday people studying, working and dreaming of a better future like any of us. Patient and peaceful mothers, fathers, children, students, teachers, workers, living on this very unique and isolated island that keeps them calm and smiling even in difficult times. Ilona Ilma Ilyes IRES Almuna Ilona Ilma Ilyes is a CEU IRES graduate currently working as program assistant at the School of Public Policy, Executive Education at CEU. Ilona visited Madagascar for 3 months in the framework of a project by the Hungarian Volunteer Sending Foundation in cooperation with GLEN (Global Education Network). For more impressions and photos about Madagascar please visit ilonailyes.wordpress.com.
the the CEU Weekly CEU COMMUNITY
March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
Rock the Boat Why Spring Ball is more than just another party As you might have already heard from your GroupWise account or the posters strewn across the university, CEU's annual Spring Ball is coming up on March 23 on the Europa Boat, this year with the motto »Masquerade at Midnight«. A Ball? On a boat? With a dress code?? To those of you that came to CEU only this year or didn't attend last year, a few remarks on the event may help understand what it is (and also what it is not) about. As former Treasurer of the Student Union, I was closely involved in last year's organization of Spring Ball; I suppose that qualifies me to share some »veteran stories«. I think I am not going too far in calling Spring Ball the biggest social gathering that the CEU academic year has to offer apart from graduation; as far as budget and participants are concerned, it is definitely the largest event that the Student Union is organizing, in close collaboration with the Student Life Office. Last year's event, titled »Bring your flower spirit« and held in May 2012, attracted nearly 800 guests –current students, alumni, staff, as well as their friends and family– for an evening of music, dance, and drink. So far so standard; it's a party alright. Yet, there are two features that make this party stick out from your usual run-of-the-mill parties throughout the year. Party Sightseeing For one thing, there is the venue: last year for the first time, Student Union did not book a ballroom but a boat on the Danube, the »Europa«. Initially, this decision was made out of necessity; the place booked in previous years had closed down, forcing us to reconsider. When SLO presented us with alternatives, we were a bit skeptical about choosing a boat. Is it big enough to hold hundreds of people? Is it open-air, and if so, what about the weather? As this may have been on your mind too when reading our announcement, let me assure you: the boat was big enough to easily hold our 800 guests last year, and the inside area of the boat is quite extensive. On two inside floors, there was space enough for the dance floor and stage, two bars, tables for card games, a lounge area, and a cloak room. Additionally, and this is the boat's biggest asset, the upper deck gives you the opportunity to see Budapest from a perspective that you haven't experienced yet. During the cruise, the boat takes several rounds on the Danube, giving you the chance to take some gorgeous pictures of the Parliament, the various bridges, and other famous sights. Last year's guests enjoyed the view very much, and you can too; but don't forget, it's March, so bring your coat! »Suit up!« Speaking of coats, the vexed question of dress code. In my opinion, this is the other factor that makes Spring Ball special. In keeping with the terminology of Barney Stinson, it encourages you to »suit up!« at least for this one night during the year. Of course my opinion on this is a biased one, considering that I personally don't mind wearing shirt and tie even when there is no special occasion; but I also like the fact that an event like this prompts you to grab into the depths of your closet to drag out that fancy dress you bought years ago, or the suit you once wore for graduation and never since. Additionally, the theme of the night, the Masquerade, is meant to inspire you to add some detail or accessory to your outfit. For lack of a better word in the English language, we called it »dress code«. One thing I want to point out here, though, is that by no means do we hold this »code« to be an iron-clad obligation! If you don't feel comfortable in formal attire, we won't turn you down at the door for wearing a casual outfit. Or if you want to cross-dress, feel free to do so. Spring Ball is an event for all of us, and it is up to you what you make of it. Take our »dress code« is an encouragement to dress up, an inspiration for your possible outfit. We would be really happy if many of you took the Ball as a special occasion to dress up in a way that you usually wouldn't for a regular party. Considering the positive feedback we received after last year's Spring Ball, we are confident that it will be just as enjoyable this year. We are looking forward to a long party night with all of you there! Christian Pasche Department of Political Science Germany Ticket sales (1,500 HUF, incl. Welcome Drink): CEU Octagon, every day between March 18 and 22 from 12:00 to 14:00. The Ball: March 23, 21:00–04:00 on Europa Boat (Szilágyi Dezső tér, close to M2 Batthyány tér); cruise between 23:00 and 00:30 (no entrance during this time!) Page 7
he Weethe CEU Weekly
March 13, 2013, Year 3, Issue 30
Why Do We Have a Day-Off on March 15? On March 15 – although it is a classical national holiday – one commemorates a historical event very much connected to general European history. This spring-day of 1848 is the date of the Hungarian revolution that belonged to the series of revolutions constituting the ―Spring of Nations‖ also referred to as ―Springtime of Peoples‖. As an impact of the news about the revolutions of Paris and Vienna, a liberal fraction of Hungarian nobility took over the lead in the Diet and young intellectuals started to gather in the center of Pest (some led by liberal, some by national, many of them by both kinds of considerations). By the end of this famous day a list of 12 revolutionary demands were declared, among others the freedom of press and abolishment of censorship, establishment of a government and a parliament in Pest, equality before the law regardless of class status and religion. As it should be expected all the regimes leading Hungary since then found different interpretations for the revolution, and also the oppositions of all the regimes. For CEU students‘ purposes the most important information is where the major commemorating events will take place, so that one can decide where to go to be involved in passionate mass events – or on the contrary, which places to avoid for the sake of finding tranquility. It is noteworthy that in these years none of the national holidays are celebrated by any party in a(n eventually boring) contemplative way. All the celebrations are rather purely political events with political speeches and participants get excited about them. Apolitical inhabitants of the city tend to go out of
Budapest or stay at home, those whom you meet in the street on March 15 are likely to go to one (or more) of the celebrations. The prime minister‘s official celebration will take place in the National Museum‘s garden which is one of the symbolic places of the 1848 revolution. Not far away one can join the event of several opposition organizations, since Milla (One Million for the Freedom of Press in Hungary), DK (Democratic Coalition), MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) and Együtt 2014 will celebrate together in Kálvin square in late afternoon. Együtt 2014 is a new party, up until recently (March 8) it was an association of politicians, trade unions and private persons led by former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai. The joint celebration of all these opposition organizations will try to show up the unified nature (which is not really the case) of the opposition aiming to defeat Fidesz in 2014. Agnes Kelemen, Hungary, Nationalism Studies ―Kokárda‖: traditionally worn on March 15 to commemorate the revolution.
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About the CEU Weekly This is a student-alumni initiative that seeks to provide CEU with a regularly issued newspaper. The CEU Weekly is a vehicle of expression for the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints that integrate CEU‘s open society: free and respectful public debate is our aim. We offer a place in which current events and student reflections can be voiced. Plurality, respect and freedom of speech are our guiding principles.
Editor in Chief: Florin Zubaşcu Managing Editor: Justina Poškevičiūtė Editorial Council: Ágnes Kelemen, Olha Pushchak, Maryna Shevtsova, Sergio Rejado Albaina, Rodrigo Avila B., Erik Kotlárik, Alexander Minbaev, Thor Morante, Razi Zaheer. ceuweekly.blogspot.com Page 8