Magazine of the European Geography Association for students and young geographers
The European Geographer Many Cultures for Europe
10th issue October 2012 ISSN: 1605-6566
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Contents Colophon The EGEA Magazine is a publication from the European Geography Association for Geography students and young Geographers. The EGEA Magazine is published twice a year. The magazine is produced for the EGEA community, EGEA partners and all others interested in EGEA, Geography and Europe. Postal address: EGEA Faculty of Geosciences - Utrecht University P.O.Box 80.115 NL-3508 TC Utrecht Telephone: +31-30-2539708 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail EGEA magazine: email@example.com Website: www.egea.eu Editors of the 10th issue: Tobias Michl (Chief Editor), Colette Caruana (Chief Editor), Ciprian Caraba, Olga Chernopitskaya, Amanda Finger, Franziska Hübner, Annika Palomäki, Jakub Ondruch Graphic Design and Layout: Hans-Christian Höpcke Contributing authors: Anna Bilny, Sanne Heijt, Diana Kalajainen, Marek Kapusta, Teodóra Kristóf, Kristine Krumberga, Lucija Lapuh, Veronika Lazarenko, Gabriela Morosanu, Michael P. Poulsen, Svetlana Samsonova, Kristel Sieprath, Joanna Wawrynowicz, Wendy Wuyts Coverphoto: Camille Flückiger All authors are completely responsible for the content of their articles, their figures and the references made by them. The editors would like to thank: Sanne Heijt – EGEA BoE Secretariat Director 11/12 Hans-Christian Höpcke for helping out on the layout on very short term notice All authors EGEA is supported by: ESRI EUROGEO Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University This issue is supported by: The European Youth Foundation by the Council of Europe
Michael Philip Poulsen
Analysis of territory
Beneath the Surface of the Iceberg
Veronika Lazarenko Wendy Wuyts
12 Lucija Lapuh Geographical views on contemporary emigration
Impressions of the Many Cultures 4 Europe seminar in La Rochelle
20 Gabriela Morosanu The identity of the Jewish in the Dobrogea Region in
the context of the demographical and historical evolution
25 Anna Bilny & Marek Kapusta Polish-German academic cooperation.
The EGEA case
29 Diana Kalajainen Finland Fans 29 Kristīne Krumberga Get together to celebrate
- North & Baltic Regional Congress 2012
30 Teodóra Kristóf & Zsolt Molnár Many cultures at the Eastern Regional Congress
32 Board of EGEA
Board of EGEA
As EGEA grows bigger, Europe comes closer
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Editorial part. They are all educated in the facilitation of non-formal education. This means that the seminars did not intend to lecture, but rather to facilitate the participants’ self-realisation. Metaphorically, the trainers acted as a midwife in aiding the birth of ideas of the participants. The benefits of this way of learning are manifold. One aspect to highlight is that the acquired skills are developed by oneself and as such are rooted in one’s own personality.
The training seminar was called “Many Cultures 4 Europe”. But what does this 4 Europe mean? – Europe can be understood differently, as a community, as a space, but also as a cultural melting pot where many people representing all parts of the continent can contribute by putting something special into it. By accepting all of the “ingredients” we can achieve a Europe that is diverse and tolerant. Our different backgrounds are a resource that can be used to the benefit of Europe. The aims of the training seminars were to improve the competences to live, navigate and work in an intercultural world and to improve dialogue among the participants and their peers from other local communities by: • Improving the knowledge of the participants about cultural diversity and differences between European countries; • improving the skills and abilities of the participants in dealing with conflicts in a multinational and multicultural environment; • improving skills and abilities of the participants in how to live and work in a multicultural environment, how to understand different cultures and to be more tolerant; •m otivating young people to be active in the field of transnational cooperation, human rights and youth policy on the local, national and European level. The event included training seminars and as such the trainers played an essential
The program had a good progression starting with the exploration of culture and identity, then passing on to the simulation of conflicts and their mitigation. After additional sessions in between it came to an end with reflections on “me an active European” and “me - part of my association”. The methodologies used include discussion groups, games, simulations, and workshops. The outcome of the training will be of great benefit to EGEA as well as to outside of EGEA. The participants learnt about the specifics of multicultural environments as well as transnational communication and cooperation. Participants also gained new experience and competences and improved their soft-skills significantly. Many even expressed the wish to be more active on the international level by working in EGEA committees and organising events. This cultural seminar was the first EGEA event on this topic and of this scale where all the participants were chosen based on a letter they had written explaining their motivation to attend along with their level of activity in the association. Right after the seminar the activity level of all the participants increased markedly. This can be measured by the number of new projects launched in EGEA and by the number of posts on the EGEA communication platform (www.egea.eu) and the Facebook group. The eagerness of the participants for dialogue and open discussions such as those
which were experienced during the training event shows that there is a continuous need for similar ones. The topic of cultural diversity and intercultural interaction is essential for young Europeans in today’s world. The Board of EGEA would like to extend its deepest gratitude in relation to the training seminar Many Cultures 4 Europe: • To the trainers Dieter Huemer (EGEA Vienna), Marie-Luise Seubert (EGEA Munich), Maciej Radyno (EGEA Warsaw), Christoph Götz (EGEA Erlangen) and Catalina Ionita (EGEA Bucharest) who have all contributed to the preparation and execution of an interesting and truly valuable program for the participants. • To Sander van Der Klei (EGEA Utrecht) for helping with many practical parts of the organisation. • To the European Youth Foundation (EYF). The EYF is the youth branch of the Council of Europe and without their financial support and organisational consultations the training seminar would not have been possible. We can only recommend all readers of this special issue of the European Geographer to consult the website of the Council of Europe and read more about their work in the field of intercultural interaction, generally as well as specifically for the youth. • To the participants. You are the reason, the essence, the justification and the hope for this training seminar. You are the ones that are now going to use this in your active life. We truly hope you will use what you have learnt in your work in EGEA, but also outside of EGEA and after EGEA. Thank you for your participation, your involvement and your activeness. The Board of EGEA 2011/2012 Svetlana Samsonova, Joanna Wawrynowicz, Michael Poulsen, Henning Kronen, Kristel Sieprath, Sanne Heijt Participants of the Many Cultures 4 Europe Seminar La Rochelle, France - Photo: Jadot
From July 23rd to 28th fifty EGEAns from sixteen countries met in the French city of La Rochelle by the Atlantic coast. As an old seaport La Rochelle has always been an important gateway to different cultures. Some people have left La Rochelle as their starting point for their long voyages, while others have arrived in La Rochelle as a stop on the way or as the final destination. All in all, this historic city provided the perfect setting for a training seminar in intercultural interaction.
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Intercultural Interaction - A non-deterministic view Michael Philip Poulsen EGEA Copenhagen University of Copenhagen
Introduction In 1993 Samuel P. Huntington published his famous essay “The Clash of Civilizations?” in the magazine Foreign Affairs. With this essay Huntington presents his hypothesis: “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” (Huntington, 1993: 22). With this hypothesis Huntington touches upon a number of inherently geographical issues. These issues originate from the small but intrinsically complex notion that all interaction is conducted in space while being framed by place. The essay presented by Huntington has been revisited by him several times and discussed by a multiple of scholars, policy makers etc. The aim of this short article is not to reiterate these discussions but rather to use the hypothesis as a stepping-stone for a broader discussion about intercultural interaction from a geographical point of view. Geography of interaction Numerous models of interaction have been proposed in academia. Within this ensemble of approaches there are of course many differences relating to the differing aims and problems to be assessed. Nonetheless, by a review of literature cited within the broad subject of geography we find some important commonalities, that of the importance of space and place. In development studies, with which many geographers are occupied, the sustainable livelihoods framework is a popular approach to assess the decision making process of a given unit of analysis, e.g. households, and the interaction with nature and society (Scoones 1998). Within economic and development geography of business organisation and interaction the value chain approach is highly valued so to speak with its concepts of governance and place-situated economic nodes along the chain (Gereffi et al. 2005). Several additional theoretical and analytical approaches that put great emphasis on space and place could
be mentioned with regard to the subject of geography alone. However, if we venture into other social sciences we can also find an acknowledgement of the importance of space and place. Notably it is worth mentioning Anthony Giddens in this respect. With his structuration theory he argues that social practice is the result of an interplay between the agent (the one carrying out the act), the agency (the act itself) and the structure (Giddens 1984). The latter part, the structure, is the ensemble of norms, regulations and opportunities etc. that influences social practice. As such, structures are very much place-dependent. Place is in this relation not confined to a single scale, nor is it clearly demarcated. As a citizen in the northern German city of Flensburg you are subject to norms, traditions and regulations that are specific for the local area. They not only differ from those of other continents or other European countries but they also differ from those of other parts of Germany such as Bavaria. Due to the proximity to Denmark they might even differ significantly in some aspects to other German cities close by like Hamburg. In legal terms, you are simultaneously subject to regulations on the very local level (the city), on a number of intermediary levels (e.g. the constituent states) and the national level. It does not stop there though. Your daily life is furthermore regulated, directly and indirectly, by agreements and conventions made at the European and global level. Place is thus constituted by a complex of interrelations across a great number of scales, from the local to the global. The person is in addition to this also framed by his or her own history, which is in itself very much formed by the places where it has taken place. This person could for example have been born in the southern part of Belgium, gone to school close to the border of France, done an exchange in Berlin and then found a job in Flensburg. The character of this person would then be formed by each of these places and the persons he or she has encountered in these places. If we then concentrate on interaction we add a second person to the equation that is equally rooted in a specific place. The resulting social practice between the two persons must consequently be acknowledged as highly place dependent. That is, if we accept the impossibility of engaging in interaction with a tabula rasa, a blank slate. It is important to note though, that while interaction is ultimately a social practice by a person vis-à-vis another person, this person is often acting on behalf of or as
part of an aggregate unit. The agent, or what we might call the unit of analysis, cannot necessarily be perceived alone as the individual. As mentioned earlier, the households are often perceived as the decision-making unit in the sustainable livelihood framework. In international relations the state is perceived as the main authority with a mandate to negotiate. The states themselves are generally governed by a group of people that further represents other subgroups of people. In the thesis presented by Huntington the civilisation likewise represents an aggregate unit that is perceived as an actor, capable of interacting. He argues that the basis for this unit is culture, an argument that will be assessed in the following section. Evoking culture Culture is not an easily defined entity. Everybody has an idea of what the notion of culture includes. However, when drawing clear lines between what is culture and what is not, hesitation often sets in. In the European Cultural Convention adopted in the Council of Europe in 1954 the signatory states undertake to encourage the study of language, history and civilisation relating to their own country as well as the co-signers of the convention (Council of Europe 1954). Neither here in the Cultural Convention is the notion of culture thus clearly defined. In his thesis, Huntington argues that “a civilization is… the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species” (1993: 24). The common culture of a civilization is here based on “language, history, religion, customs, institutions and by the subjective self-identification of people” (Huntington 1993: 24). The important thing however is not how culture is exactly defined but rather how it is evoked or how it is utilised. This is especially interesting when the person that is formed by a specific culture is interacting with persons from other cultures. As argued above, place and space are very important. Culture is to a large extent rooted in a specific place and when one interacts with people from other places carrying a different culture it is likely to affect the interaction. This is very evident in the on-going immigration debate in many European countries as migration results in one of the most intensive interactions between persons from different cultures whether intended or not. However, even though culture is likely to influence interaction, the way it manifests itself is not given. Huntington (1993) presents a rather deterministic view upon intercultural interaction arguing that the conflicts of the future will be at
the cultural fault lines due to six reasons: 1) Differences among civilisations are so deeply rooted that they cannot be abstracted from; 2) The world is becoming smaller and interaction between people from different civilisations is increasing; 3) Global economic modernisation and social change are separating people from their local traditional lifestyles; 4) Civilisation-consciousness is enhanced as the hegemony of the West is making people look to their non-western cultural traits; 5) Cultural differences are less mutable and less easily compromised than economic and political ones; 6) Economic regionalism strengthens the sense of regional affiliation. As all this reinforces the civilizational demarcation and belonging, major conflicts will occur in the future between civilisations. Conflicts are in this respect not necessarily wars and smaller conflicts within civilisations are not ruled out because of this. Culture is deeply rooted, political and economic regionalisation has been intensifying and globalisation does foster more and deeper interaction between people from different places. That the outcome of this inevitably should be a conflict is however contestable. Scale is a central aspect in the fallacy of this deterministic view. As argued above, the unit of analysis can range from the individual to a civilisation. It is important though to recognise the interdependence of the different levels. The premise that the civilisation is the highest cultural grouping of people implies that it is constituted by people. A civilisation cannot be perceived as a homogenous entity acting on its own. It is the people on the local level that constitute the civilization. The other way around, the individual will also be affected by the civilisation as well as intermediary levels of common identity as place and individual heritage forms the social practice of a person as argued above. Acknowledging this we can approach the civilisation from the bottom, i.e. the individual. Case studies show that culture is evoked very differently according to the nature of interaction. With a long colonial history and a large immigrant population, France provides a good basis for such case studies. In his ethnographic study Rinaudo (2003) interviews a young Tunisian man, Nourredine. As a school kid in a neighbourhood in Nice, France, Nourredine was not immediately aware that he was different from the rest. Surely he knew that there were differences between his families and classmates’ background but that did not make him differentiating between him and the others. This only changed in the moment when
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
he for the first time was confronted with the act of racism. In the beginning he did not understand the pejorative terms used against him by some of his classmates but when he realised that it was an attack on his person he entered an actioreactio scheme, i.e. an action causing a reaction. The reaction to this offence was to protect his identity by reasserting and reinforcing his self-identification in his culture and especially ethnicity. In his study of a Parisian suburban school with many descendants of recent immigrants Lepoutre (1997) finds a similar actio-reactio pattern where culture is evoked and reinforced because of and via the interaction with others. These two studies indicate that identity and the inherent culture is not something given. Rather, culture is evoked in a context and identity is accordingly negotiated via the interaction. It is only when the identities of these young people in the two studies are challenged that they protect their culture by intensifying the affirmation and assertion of oneself. As is also argued by Rinaudo (2003), one has to differ between using culture internally in constructing one’s own identity and using culture externally in differentiating between oneself and the others. When evoked internally culture constitutes an inherent part of one’s identity. When evoked as a reaction to a threat to one’s identity culture quickly becomes a differentiating factor. This actio-reactio scheme is also what Huntington (1993) appears to be recognising at the civilizational level as he argues that the hegemony of the West is provoking a turn towards non-Western traits by other civilisations. As such, this seems to be the natural sequence. The fallacy in the argument however is the determinism and the ignorance of scale. If we accept the premise that the civilisation can be more or less identified as a group of people that shares a common culture then we also have to accept that the civilisation is constituted by exactly those people at the local and individual level. Culture in itself is not the important thing in the interaction. The key aspect that frames the interaction is how the culture is evoked, i.e. if it is used internally in self-identification or externally in differentiating oneself vis-à-vis the others. As the two case studies show this is very much dependent on how the initial interaction is commenced as the following interaction thereafter are reactions.
reminds us of the complex interdependence across scale ranging from the local to the global. It also reminds us that interaction is framed by more or less different places incarnated in the agents and their social practice. Exactly this places the individual persons in the centre. If the individual experiences a threat to his or her identity, e.g. by a negative act of differentiation, then he or she is likely to react with cultural self-assertion reinforcing this differentiation. Migration poses a very sensitive situation in this regard as it necessarily implies intensive interaction, intended or not, between people originating from different backgrounds. However, if the first action is accommodating and positive then the reaction is likely to be so too. The future interaction is thus not determined in advance. Rather, it is formed by the complex network of influences at all levels, including the person-to-person communication. Keeping this in mind in our daily life and applying it in our own interaction with others might thus facilitate a future without a clash of civilisations at all levels of society. References
Council of Europe 1954, European Cultural Convention, European Treaty Series - No. 18, Paris, 19.XII.1954. Gereffi, G. Humphrey, J. & Sturgeon, T. 2005. The Governance of Global Value Chains. Review of International Political Economy, vol. 12, no.1: pp. 78104. Giddens, A. 1984. The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge, Polity Press. Huntington, SP. 1993. The Clash of Civilizations. Foreign Affairs, vol. 72, no. 3: pp. 22-49. Lepoutre, D. 1997. Les Reunois, i’mangent du mafé. Tensions interethniques et acculturation dans une jeunesse de banlieue. Migrants-Formation, no. 109: pp. 168-183. Rinaudo, C. 2003. Une expérience scolaire. Récit . In: LORCERIE, Françoise. L’école et le défi ethnique. Paris: ESF Editeur: pp. 115-123. Scoones, I. 1998. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis. IDS Working Paper, no. 72.
Conclusion The aim of this short essay is not to make a criticism of the statement made by Huntington in 1993, although that inevitably follows by the argumentation above. Rather, it uses that statement as a stepping-stone to argue for a nondeterministic future. Keeping geography in mind is very useful in this regard. It
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Analysis of territory: sociopsychogeographical aspects Veronika Lazarenko
EGEA Kiev Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University Master in International Tourism The differences between countries and their people provide a variety of cultures. Each country has its own beliefs, culture and history. The similarity or distinction between countries explains where they are located. The perception of the country can be obtained in different ways. To understand foreign cultures people can research their history, try the food or try to live in a foreign environment. There are different methods to get to know the country and each person chooses his or her own way. Moreover, before going to new destinations in order to explore, people already have some expectations. It can be stories that their friends told them, some information from media as well as general knowledge or stereotypes. In most studies the brand of the country is perceived as a set of images and associations that arise when mentioning the country. Thus it is important to know how people imagine the country to keep a positive perception of it in the world. In order to learn and maintain new information about human perception of the countries I used “associative experimentation”. Experimentally applied psychology in geography can show interesting performance and results, which subsequently can be used in many ways. So you can see that each individual state has its vision, its perception and its own worldview. Depending on the preferences of the person in literature or music, each country is perceived in terms of its interest. From associative images you can see the interests of the person. A ‘stereotype’ is a belief that can be held by anybody about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things. That belief may or may not accurately reflect reality. However, this is only a fundamental psychological definition of a ‘stereotype’. Within different psychology disciplines there are already different concepts and theories of stereotyping that provide their own expanded definition of a ‘stereotype’ within particular psychological theories, let alone across all of these disciplines. For example, in online dictionaries we can meet that stereotype is: • A simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group: The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes (On-line dictionary 2012);
• A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image (Free dictionary 2012); • A term used to define all people of a certain belief into a mostly negative category that may only reflect a selected few of the racial demographics. All people of all nationalities have been victims of being stereotyped, even those whom have made most of the stereotypes of other people (Urban dictionary); • Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics to this group. These classifications can be positive or negative, such as when various nationalities are stereotyped as friendly or unfriendly (ChangingMinds. org 2012). In other words stereotypes are people’s perceptions of a territory or country impressions of information, which they had got earlier. It is possible to say that some times it is distorted information and many believe that there are lions walking around in the cities in South Africa. However, stereotypes can underline typical features of the country - Italy always reminds us of pizza and pasta. Therefore without hesitation I can admit that stereotypes make the perception of a territory easier. Where stereotypes come from in our minds? A few authors have been working on explanations of how our mind processes information. The idea of “associations” belongs to J. Hartl, H. Helmholtz, C. Darwin, I. Sechenov, G. Ebbinhauz, I. Pavlov, and on other methodological bases to the American behaviorism school (XX st.). Research into the topic of associations has a long scientific tradition. However, research into the theme of associations in geography is scientifically rather nascent. (Deese 1965) Aristotle was among the first to specifically examine the types of semantic relations, drawing attention to the “association of ideas” that are not dependent on logical laws. Aristotle made the first classification of association, which represents the principles of establishing links between words and images. However, the term “association” was first used by
Figure 1: Forming an image of the real world
J. Locke, who opposed the associative links to ties on the basis of reason. Wide studies of association were also conducted also by S. Freud and K. Jung. During my research I have arrived at my vision of how the process of perception works, by combining their research with my own view and by adding a model by Edward Brunswick. (Deese 1965) Everyone perceives the landscape individually, and it is almost impossible to find two different people who would perceive the landscape in absolutely the same way. Aesthetic perceptions cannot be attributed to our individuality, but to the fact that each of us experienced a unique influence of different cultures; we experience it - from an ethical culture of family and of those unwritten cultural norms that prevailed in the yard where we were brought up. (Fomin 2006) Taking this pattern into consideration, we can see that normally information, which passes through a person’s mind, is almost always distorted. In order to prove this I interviewed 200 international geography department students about 55 countries. The task was to assess their association about the countries and about the map configuration (the shape of each country) of the countries. After processing all of the gathered information I concluded the following: •M ost people have associations about countries with inanimate objects (for instance, most people associate a certain country with cultural monuments - such as France with its famous Eiffel Tower); • s ome countries are associated with natural objects (parks, reserves) which can be a specific brand (a name, sign, symbol, slogan or anything that is used to identify and distinguish a specific product) of the country or region (Plitvice lakes – Croatia, Grand Canyon – Arizona (USA), Black Hills – South Dakota (USA)); •o f a somewhat lesser significance, there are associations related to animate objects, for example some animate cultural symbol of the country or possibly an animal from that country (for example, China – panda, South Africa – elephants, etc.); •m ost people have abstract associations.
It should be noted that many associations accounted for the section ‘other’, which included abstract concepts (beach vacation, dictatorship, peace, poorly developed economy, flavour of coffee.). As people do not always associate a country with an animate or an inanimate object, travelling to some countries may cause an association with the smell of coffee or spices. During the research general scientific methods were used: comparison, generalization, systematization, analysis, synthesis, induction and deduction, special methods of mathematical-statistical, graphical and mapping (to visualize the results of research), ranking (for ordering associations according to their im-
Figure 2: The amount of associations mentioned about the country
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
portance), typing (to join associations by similarity). Moreover free association experiment, questionnaire, observation, method of textual interpretation, statistical method, method of comparison, descriptive method, analysis of the specialized literature were used. From Figure 2 it is clearly visible that most people associate countries with inanimate objects (48%), on second place are live or animate objects (32 %), 21% of respondents associate countries with other objects (taste, history emotions, etc.). In Figure 3 you can see what percentage of each type of association was mentioned during the interviews. It is clear-
Figure 4: The amount of associations mentioned about the map-shape of the country
ly visible that most people associate a country with its natural resources (21%), cultural heritage (20%) and national cuisine (18%). While speaking about map configuration or the shape of the country, the first associations, which come to people’s minds, are live objects. It can be explained by different shapes of the country, which remind people of these creatures. As has already been mentioned, most of the people see animals in the shape of the country, 14% of interviewees associate map-shapes with natural objects (e.g. leaves, flowers, branch), 13% with other items (crown, cap, pan, etc.). Therefore it can be said that some countries have a bigger associative range and that some of them are smaller. The following can be associated with a larger association range: Malaysia, Turkey, Austria, USA, Singapore, United Kingdom Republic of Korea, Ireland, Belgium, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Bahrain, USA, Poland, Egypt, UAE. The following had a limited association range: Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, Taiwan, China, Israel, Hong Kong, Norway, Belgium, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, Finland. It doesn’t mean that these countries have no associations or they are limited, it is just means that out of a large amount of associations some countries have a greater association range while others just repeated well-known facts and stereotypes. The list of countries that have small associative range can be explained by: • The country is rarely visited; • t he person does not know anything about the country, which is why there is no association relating to that country; • a ssociations about the country are usual, thus respondent uses several wellknown associative images. The list of countries that have a wide range of associations can be explained by: • T he country is frequently visited and occupies a leading place in the tourist market; • t he person is familiar with the culture and habits of the country, so the association of this country does not cause any problems; • t he country has an interesting culture, and a variety of information is mentioned in the world news; • t he country is not typical, it is interesting for respondents but never visited.
Figure 3: The types of associations mentioned about the country
It is believed that the image of the country on the international scene is created by information disseminated about it through official and unofficial channels, media, the internet, etc. In this context it may be noted that for forming the image of a country in the international arena,
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Figure 5: The types of associations mentioned about the map-shape of the country
the state information policy plays an important role. The media is an important platform through which elements of political manipulation, various images, patterns of behaviour, etc. are established and effectively used. (Anholt, 2007) Moreover, stereotypes have a significant influence on the image of the country. Thus, the stereotype is a relatively stable and simplified image consisting of a shortage of information as a synthesis of personal experience and often prejudiced submissions accepted in society. Stereotypes play an important role in assessing the world by the man; stereotypes help to simplify the response to changing reality, to accelerate the process of understanding and knowledge. However, the stereotype is strongly influenced by social mood and behaviour, and this should be considered. (Anholt, 2007)
Goroshko, E. I. 2001. Integrativnaya model svobodnogo asociativnogo eksperimenta. Moskava-Harkov: Ra-Karavella.
dictionary.reference.com (2012) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/stereotype (Accessed 23 August 2012)
Grodzinskiy, M. D., Savycka, O. V. 2005. Estetyka landshaftu: Navchalnyi posibnyk. Kyev: Vydavnucho-poligrafichnyi centr “Kyivskyi universytet”.
thefreedictionary.com (2012) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stereotype (Accessed 23 August 2012)
Fomin, P. B. 2006. Sovremennye podhody k ocenke efektivnosti reklamnogo izobrageniya I uznavaemosti Brenda: dis. Kand. Ek. Nauk. Moskva.
urbandictionary.com (2012) h tt p : / / w w w. u r b a n d i c t i o n a r y. c o m / d e f i n e . php?term=stereotype (Accessed 23 August 2012)
Anholt, S. 2007. Competitive Identity: The New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions. By PALGRAVE MACMILLAN.
changingminds.org (2012) http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/ stereotypes.htm (Accessed 23 August 2012)
Inglehart, R. 1989. Cultural Change. - N.Y. Kotler, P. 2006. Marketing and Brand interest. Los mejores artículos de Marketing y Ventas - Expansión.
Berlyant, A. M. 1986. Obraz prostranstva: karta i informaciya. Moskva: Mysl.
Deese, J. 1965. The Structure of associations in language and Thought. Baltimore. 1981. Handbook of Cross-Cultural Human Development. - N.Y.-L.
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Beneath the Surface of the Iceberg
An invitation to think about the cultural interaction and learning experiences about the visible and hidden parts of European cultures due to EGEA
EGEA Leuven Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven 1. Introduction 1.1. Globalisation and the need for cultural interaction The world is changing. The growth of the urbanisation, the increased transport of persons and products over the world for the last few decades, and other changes are manifestations of this globalisation. The cities have become mixtures of different cultures because of the immigration waves (the first generation is stimulated by the industrialisation from the fifties until the nineties). Additionally, globalisation has an effect on the cultural dimension (Pinxten, 2009). Immigrants and tourists brought their culture to new places and made them multicultural. I live in Antwerp, which has 172 different nationalities (May 2012). Every day I see Arabic people wearing head scarfs, black people with amazing haircuts, Indian people with colourful clothes and red spots on their foreheads, pass Argentinean steakhouses and Chinese restaurants, hear people talking Polish in the metro… and at some point in your life, you realise that, in fact, your culture is not the same culture as the one of your ancestors. They did not eat Turkish dishes for example, or celebrate Chinese New Year. They say that globalisation destroys cultures and our cultural identity. This scares “monoculturalists”, also called by some people “racists”, as they disbelieve that people from different cultures can interact (Pinxten, 2009). On the other side of the spectrum, one can find multiculturalists. They emphasize that culture is essential for human life. In fact, they claim that the human is a cultural creature in the first place. The consequence of this is that every person has the right to practice their culture (the one in which they are born into and grow up with), because it is part of their identity. (Pinxten, 2009). These people sometimes become “colour blind”. (Pinxten 2009) They do not see any differences of colour; they see everyone as the same colour because, in their eyes, all cultures are the same. I hope that people can see the different colours and cultures, but not in a negative way. I have the feeling that globalisation mixes cultures and let them be influenced by each other, but that even a phenomenon as powerful as globalisation cannot destroy the roots of a culture or the deeper, invisible parts of a culture. There will be more interactions, because
the world is becoming more globalised. We cannot avoid interaction with other cultures as we are confronted by different cultures every day: in our schools, at work, and in other relationships. If we want to have a better world, we need to accept the other cultures. This starts by trying to understand each other. Knowledge of other people’s culture helps you to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations, which is important in policy making, finding solutions for conflicts, or making and maintaining relationships with persons from other cultures. 1.2. The Media: one way to learn more about other cultures Unfortunately, most people are influenced by the media and have wrong, or incomplete, images of other cultures. “New media and cultural identity are the concerns for most of the global population today. Hence, they need to be given full attention, as the threads which bind the cultural identities are being replaced with new- alien, textured, colourful, attractive but weak threads of new media.” Singh (2010). As mentioned above, the media has brought us into contact with other cultures, and most of the time people absorb elements from other cultures into their culture, and/or mix cultures. Another consequence of the stories in the media is the support for the existence of prejudices and stereotypes. The Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie gave a speech about the danger of a single story about (another person or) country, and the risk of a critical misunderstanding (TEDGlobal, 2009). In her speech, she explains that the media, besides having some positive aspects such as interlinking the people with the world and topicality, it also has the power to manipulate people. In a lot of cases, the media gives one story about a culture. Most of the time, for example, the media shows images of poor Africans, all suffering of HIV, who are waiting to be rescued by the white man. Adichie told her African story, and from my own learning experiences and listening to other stories, I know that the story represented by the media is only one side of the prism. To understand each other, you have to discover other sides of the prism, rather than just the side, which is represented in the media; you have to face the whole of the iceberg - the visible and also the deeper layers. 1.3. A better way: participating According to Hall (1976) the only way to learn the internal culture, or the subconscious part, is to actively participate in their culture. By giving students the opportunity to attend events in different
countries where they also can meet other young people from different countries, EGEA gives us, as an outsider, the chance to go inside and learn more about that country, culture, and the people. EGEA gives you a diving course to go beneath the surface of the water and see the deeper and bigger part of the iceberg… 2. The learning experiences of EGEAns This article is an invitation to all EGEAns to become aware of the cultural differences, about the visible and the deeper parts or the roots, and also about their learning experiences due to EGEA. This is not a completed research, but just a think tank, or an invitation. EGEA is not only a student association to exchange geographical information, but also to learn more about Europe, and even beyond the borders of Europe. 2.1. The iceberg analogy of culture Hall developed a model in which he describes the culture of a society as the iceberg, with visible and tangible parts (the conscious part), but the largest portion is hidden beneath the surface (the subconscious part). The first part includes clothes, the language, the food, the drinks, the music, the art, fashion, holidays and other cultural artefacts. The subconscious part - the deep culture - is all about symbols, norms, values, beliefs, traditions, behaviours. It is the way a culture deals with family relationships, concepts of time and space, aesthetics, ceremonies, communication (verbal and non-verbal), ideas about death, change, rule, interdependence, beliefs, values and the thought patterns that underlie the behaviour of the individuals of a society (Hall, 1976). 2.2. Methodology I do not want to give only my story about learning experiences about other and my own culture due to EGEA, but I also told other EGEAns about the iceberg model of Hall and asked them to think about some “awkward” or “remarkable” memories or remarks about EGEA which were related to intercultural differences. The invitation and the task let them think and also become aware of differences. Some EGEAns shared their ideas and stories on the forum of EGEA, which caused an interaction effect, because some people only became conscious of these things by reading the ideas and experiences of others, and they furthered this interaction by completing each other’s information gaps and stories. This short talk also gave the participants the chance to learn more about each other’s cultures, and even to explain or clarify some things about their own culture.
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
2.3. The Surface Cultures The visible culture is what you can see, hear, touch, etc. These images are sometimes close to the stereotypes and the media image of a country, because it is obvious. a) My Learning Experiences If we think about the cultural events within EGEA we think in the first place about the cultural fairs and the national evenings. It is obvious that these events show us the tip of the iceberg. At cultural fairs we can taste the drinks and foods, sometimes people explain more about the gastronomy. Examples are the Minttu from Finland, Printen from Aachen, Rakija from Croatia, vodka from Poland and Russia… Figure 1 gives a good example of a collection of (visible) artefacts from Belgium: Bicky Burgers, beer, “jenever” (fruit gin), a chocolate version of Manneke Pis, chocolates, speculoos, the flag… Another visible element is the language. I learned that Romanian is more a Roman language than a Slavic. I experienced that most Germanic people give strong handshakes. During an exchange between Leuven and Groningen, I attended the arrival of “Sinterklaas” which is a holiday figure still celebrated annually in Belgium (on the 6th of December) and the Netherlands (on the 5th of December). He is an old man with white hair and a long beard, wearing a long red cape over a white bishop’s vestment, and a golden staff with a curled top. He is accompanied by his younger black servant, Zwarte Piet, dressed up like a seventeenth century page. During the event “Good Old Days in Denmark”, which took place on the Danish island of Møn, the EGEAns visited old burial mounds and the Fanefjord Church with old chalk paintings where they hang old ships on the roof of the church (figure 2). These artefacts refer to the time of the Vikings, something that we always associate with Scandinavia.
At the national evenings we can admire the clothes and traditions (mostly dances and music) of the hosting entity. During the exchange with Cluj-Napoca the EGEAns from Leuven could experience a traditional Romanian night. They showed us their dances, taught us the dance, and they wore their costumes. Someone even told me that each region has their own “dress”. We ate sarmale and other delicious Roman dishes, and drank palinka. Other visible cultural features which I have noticed are that most Scandinavians are blond, whilst the EGEAns from the Euromed are generally dark haired. In Ukraine, the girls wear beautiful flower crowns during their traditional evenings, and the Dutch people wear a lot of orange. b) The stories of other EGEAns In the forum the other EGEAns wrote experiences and impressions such as: • “Mediterranean people tend to be loud whilst Northern Europeans tend to be more reserved and polite.” • “I have the feeling that the Dutch, Belgians, and Germans drink mostly beer for alcoholic drinks whereas Eastern and Euromed countries drink lots of strong drinks (vodka, rakija etc.)” • “Everyone knows that Mediterranean people are always late and Germans are always on time. And I guess that is a bit of a stereotype... but again, true in my experience…” • “I learned a lot about other cultures at congresses, I always do. In this congress (Euromed 2012) I learned a lot about the Balkan culture, especially the cultures of Serbs and Croats. I discovered that hospitality is really a big part of their culture. They are also very warm people and traditional in a way.” The most interesting topic was about “greetings” in Europe. Someone had a discussion with other participants dur-
Figure 1: Belgian Table at the Annual Congress 2011 (Source: Wuyts)
ing the last Euromed RC about greetings: “How do you greet your friends? Is it the same for males and females? Do you use it for hello, goodbye or both? Do you hug them? Shake hands? Kisses on the cheeks? - If kisses how many and which side do you start from?” Also others told that the differences in greetings can lead to awkward and/or funny situations. Table 1 gives an idea of the intercultural differences in European greetings. 2.4. The Deep Culture The question is if EGEAns also explore the parts beneath the surface… The deep culture is the invisible part of the iceberg. The deep culture embraces symbols, norms, values, belief, traditions, behaviours... So we deal with family, relationships, communication (verbal and non-verbal), death, rules, authority, interdependence, concepts of time, aesthetics, ceremony … (Hall, 1977). The strong handshake of a German has some deeper meaning. If you share a strong handshake of a Germanic person, it means that he has respect for you. In other cultures, as in Japan for example, they receive a strong handshake as aggressive. This is already an important fact to know so that one can avoid misunderstandings. a) My own experiences During the procession of this article, I learnt more about the deeper culture of Malta. The participant of Malta told me about the Italian influence in her country, which explains that people in Malta greet each other by two kisses, as in Italy (table 1), and which can be facilitated by the geographic proximity. I remarked that their English is also from a very high level; a legacy of the fact that Malta has been under British rule until fifty years ago. At the last Euromed Congress, the Turkish people got other meat if pork was served, and the participant from Israel got kosher food. Their food is visually not very different, but someone who does not know which religions are connected with certain cultures will not understand the personal treatment, or will not serve the EGEAns the proper food. Religion is a deeper part of culture. If most Israelis get food, which is not kosher, they will not eat it because it is forbidden. In Israel, there is the phenomena of Sabbath. It is a weekly day of rest, from sunset on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. During the last Euromed congress, I talked with the Israeli participant a lot about her culture, and the problems for her, when she is in another country. During the Sabbath, they cannot use electricity, so she cannot, for example, switch on or off the light (they use a timer). For the Jewish people it is a day of rest. I asked if it not difficult for her to always remember that she cannot switch on and off the light, but she smiled and said that it was
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Number Countries 4
Netherlands, Belgium (if other person is 10 years older), Russia, Serbia, Switzerland
Malta, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Greece, some parts of France, Ex-Yugoslavian countries (except Serbia)
Belgium Close friends and family only: Germany
Table 1: Number of kisses (Source: Geoghegan (2007), and acknowledged and completed by EGEAns)
“integrated so fully. It became a habit, like eating. She doesn’t need to remember.” During the same congress, which took place in Serbia, the organizers simulated a Slava, a family bound feast, which is a christianised version of the old custom to celebrate the household’s god. In the old Serbia they believed in more gods and each traditional household has its own god, nowadays they have their own saint. “Sinterklaas” from the Low Countries is also a Christianised version of the shaman of the pagan cultures, which was a human manifestation of the harmony between the human and the nature. (Van Renthergem, 1995) I experienced that most EGEAns know a bit about the roots of their culture, but that they started to do more research into the subject due to the organisation of an event such as a congress or an exchange. I also learned more about my own culture because of EGEA, and also the connection and the influence of other’s cultures within your own culture. Cultural interaction is not just about learning each other’s culture, but also about understanding it, and living in harmony with everyone, even though the visible part and the highest parts of the deep part of culture are different from each other. Intercultural interaction and acceptance is making a family such as EGEA bigger and closer. b) Stories of other EGEAns It was visible that the other EGEAns wrote more about visible parts of cultures, because it is easier. Someone from Croatia remarked that everyone in ex-Yugoslavia kisses twice and that is has a Christian meaning. He remarked that the Serbs started to kiss three times, because according to some theories the Russian media passed through the custom. In Russia they kiss three times (table 1). A stranger will remark that Serbs kiss 3 times, but only some people might see the part under the surface, namely the power – the relationship between Serbia and Russia. It is not clear if he learned this due to EGEA, but the other participants of the EGEA forum did not know this (I derived this from their reactions) and learned this now, so this is further proof that EGEAns learn from each other. 2.5. One nation, one country, one culture An interesting observation is that most
participants, and also I myself, wrote about cultures of their country, and not about their region, or city. Most nations in Europe have lived with the idea that each nation has one people, one language and one culture. The hypothesis is that this is a legacy from the monocultural Christian ordination, which was rooted in Europe for more than thousand years. This was also the thought behind national wars, which probably ended with globalisation. Nations have many different cultures. In fact, even during the “nation” period of Europe, there were more cultures than nations. According to several anthropological classifications, there are currently more than 4000 living cultures in the world, which have their home in not more than 200 countries. If every culture was bound to a region and created its own nation because of the nationalistic idea, there should be 4000 nations. (Pinxten, 2009) A participant from Germany remarked that the Cultural Fair is difficult to organize for Germans, because every German region has different drinks and food. The Germans also mentioned that there is a difference between West and East Germany. The participant from Switzerland made a regional difference when she described the greeting kisses, and made a difference between French and German speaking people. These are the two only examples where they do not talk about a nation-bound culture. I have to note that I did not ask them to give regional differences, but that I asked for national differences.
3. Conclusion This article is an invitation to every reader to become more aware of intercultural differences, and also of the learning effects they can have, and not only in an EGEAn context. The research was not in depth, because there was not enough time to interview a lot of EGEAns from different entities to have statistical valuable and qualitative results. Although, I hope that this article can lead to more think tanks or talks between EGEAns about culture, and allow them to dive beneath the surface of their culture, and find the bricks working together to form these bridges in Europe. 4. Acknowledgements I want to thank all the EGEAns who taught me more about their culture in the last years, especially from Denmark, Israel, Serbia and Romania. I also want to acknowledge the input, ideas and stories from André (Trondheim), Camille (Bern), Colette (Malta), Henning (Aachen), Mihovil (Zagreb), Miri (Mainz), Orit (Israel) and Sanne (The Netherlands) References
Hall, Edward T. (1977), Beyond Culture, Anchor Books Van Renterghem, T. (1995), Het geheim van Sinterklaas en de Kerstman, Kosmos - Z&K uitgevers Pinxten, Rik (2009), Mensen, een inleiding in de culturele antropology, Lannoo Campus Singh, Charu Lata (2010), New Media and Culture, China Media Research Chimamamanda Adichie, (2009), The danger of a Single Story, TEDGlobal (video) Geoghegan, Tom (2007), Pecking Order, BBC News Magazine May, Lisa Akinyi, (2012), “New York telt 193 nationaliteiten”, www.gva.be
Figure 2: A small boat hanging in the Fanefjord Church (Denmark) (Source: Wuyts)
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Geographical views on contemporary emigration from Slovenia Lucija Lapuh EGEA Ljubljana
Abstract The aim of the article is to give a review of contemporary emigration trends from the Republic of Slovenia from after its independence up to 2010. Demogeographical characteristics of the Slovenians who emigrated abroad are described and valued. Results of the online survey, which was conducted in the contemporary Slovenian diaspora, are presented. Slovenia, again, is a country of emigration, but the main migration destinations cannot be determined. Introduction International contemporary emigration is linked with the process of globalisation and supranational integration. National countries have a strong influence on international migratory movements with migration politics. The internal open space of the European Union (EU) with the principles of free movement of people, capital and services has changed the borders of regional and daily movements of people, yet at the same time the structure of emigrants has changed. Slovenia has had two important turning points in the last two decades: independence in 1991 and joining the EU in 2004. Since then, mobility has become a part of our everyday life. The aim of this article is to give a review of contemporary emigration trends from the Republic of Slovenia, which gave Slovenia a role as an emigration country again. As the main migration destinations cannot be determined, the reasons for emigration are diverse. Despite the fact that all sciences use similar data to measure migration, each applies it differently. Geographers devote their attention to the interaction between human activities and their effects on the landscape (Genorio, 1981). The aim of geographers is to show spatial migration movements, their types and entanglement (Boyle et al, 1998). Methods and techniques The article was written on the basis of comprehensive fieldwork, which was the focus of my thesis. I attempted to answer the following hypotheses: - Emigration of citizens of the Republic of Slovenia is increasing due to economic reasons – citizens are looking for better opportunities; - the main immigration areas cannot be defined; - most of the emigrants of Slovenia are educated people. Different research methods were used.
Firstly, literature and statistical data were referred to as a source of information. Incomplete statistics were a hindrance for the research because particular categories, methods and techniques of population counts were changed; hence the data was not completely comparable. Additionally, citizens who migrated abroad for more than three months and did not inform the authorities about their (temporary) emigration, are not evident in the statistics. Secondly, the data about migration was gathered through an online survey (personal inquiries or inquiries by mail would not have been realistic) published on the website SurveyMonkey. I predicted that contemporary Slovenian migrants are e-literate. I got in touch with Slovenians who had moved from Slovenia after its independence and now live abroad. Since it was difficult to get in touch with these people, the survey was sent to Slovenian clubs and associations in the homeland and abroad, catholic missions, Slovenian embassies and consular missions, EU institutions, representatives of the Slovenian economy, students and individuals. The request was sent by email also in English, German and Spanish because I predicted that representatives of the Slovenian associations do not all speak the Slovenian language any more. I did not want the language to be the reason for non-participation in the survey. For this reason it had to be easily understood and should include as many associations’ members, who might fall within my target group as it possibly could. The participants of the Slovenian diaspora were asked to send the inquiry further––making use of the snowball method.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I conducted the research among Slovenians who emigrated abroad after the independence of Slovenia in 1991. The results confirmed that the participants are e-literate. 777 people from 46 countries took part in the online survey. They live abroad temporarily and moved there after the independence of Slovenia. The response to the survey was very good. We cannot extrapolate conclusions, which represent the entire population however the number of respondents is large enough for further conclusions and generalisation. Terminological determinations of contemporary the Slovenian diaspora An emigrant is a citizen of the Republic of Slovenia who moved abroad. Migration is the change of residence of that person. International migration rises because of geographical differences in offers and requests for work (Massey, 1993). The term “contemporary Slovenian diaspora” defines groups of Slovenians, spread all around the world, who have left their homeland after the independence. Emigration from Slovenian cultural territory through history Migration is something natural. People have been searching the land offering the best quality of living since prehistoric times: historically it was for food; today it is to earn more. The Slovenian national territory has always been a land of emigration. Slovenians were part of massive emigrations in the 19th and 20th century, when people migrated to the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Egypt. Emi-
Graph 1: The influence of the economic situation on contemporary emigration from Slovenia (Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2010)
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
GDP per capita (EUR)
Emigrated abroad – citizens of the Republic of Slovenia
The number of registered unemployed persons (on 31. 12.)
Table 1: The influence of the economic situation on contemporary emigration from Slovenia (Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia 2010) gration in the Austro-Hungarian period was mainly transoceanic, but after the First World War it became mostly continental (Drnovšek, 2007). The reasons for emigration were not only economic but also political, especially after the Second World War (Ravbar, 1974). The Slovenian territory was undoubtedly a place of emigration until the 1960s. Temporary work of Slovenian emigrants has been significant in other European countries for the last four decades (Zupančič, 1998). The influence of the economic situation on contemporary emigration from Slovenia The next section will show us that the connection between economic development and the dimensions of international migration is empirically proven in many studies. Borjas (1999) found out that the GDP per capita and emigration are linked with each other. On the other hand, the statistics show that unemployment is inversely proportionate with the number of citizens that emigrated. As the unemployment decreased, the emigration increased until 1998 (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2010), therefore unemployment is not one of the main reasons for emigration. The economic situation in the research period is described by using the GDP per capita in Euros (variables on Graph 1 are shown with the index based in 1995 that has a value 100). Slovenia went through
a phase of economic growth in that period. From 1995 to 2008, GDP per capita raised, unemployment rates declined, while emigration abroad grew rapidly. Registered unemployment is inversely proportional to the number of the emigrated abroad (shown on Graph 1) (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2010). The actual international mobility of Slovenians between 1991 and 2010 32,776 Slovenian citizens moved abroad from 1992 to 2008, according to data of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. The number of Slovenian citizens who emigrated from Slovenia has gradually increased after 1998, as can be seen in Graph 2. Most emigrants come from the Central Slovenian statistic region. Migrants are generally 32 to 37 years old – therefore at the peak of their creative career. Representations of both genders are approximately the same (Statistical Office ..., 2010). The contemporary trends of emigrations from Slovenia in the period 1991-2010 The next step was to find out whether the results of the online survey gave us more specific details about contemporary emigration from Slovenia. The following was discovered: as we shall see from results of the online survey, respondents come from 46 countries. They prevailingly live in European countries. Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Austria are
Graph 2: Slovenian citizens who have emigrated abroad (Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2010)
the countries where most Slovenians that took part in the survey reside (shown on Map 1). From non-European countries the number of respondents from Australia and the United States of America are noticeable (shown on Map 2) (Lapuh, 2010). Members of the contemporary Slovenian diaspora come from the urban environment and from rural areas. Therefore peripheral areas in Slovenia are not the origin regions of contemporary emigrants; emigration from regional centres prevails. 80 % of the respondents are currently living abroad in cities with a population bigger than 100,000. The Central Slovenian statistic region has the highest percentage of emigrants per statistical region (per 1,000 inhabitants), followed by the “Goriška” and the “Notranjskokraška” statistical regions (shown on Map 3) (Lapuh, 2010). The next question was to ask about the reasons for emigration. Studies and work are the main reasons for emigration. For those who went abroad because of work, the reason was a good opportunity for work and higher salary. For some it was a decision of the employee or diplomatic direction. The European Union is considered as the united market of the labour force and Brussels as the centre of Europe. Three quarters of respondents had an opportunity for education or work in Slovenia before they moved abroad. 42 % of the respondents have a job, which they were educated for, and less than half of the respondents have co-workers/ classmates of Slovenian origin at work or in their faculty. Other reasons are: marriage, a partner from abroad, self-interest, a life challenge or a change of a living place. The country of living was chosen on the basis of the study, work, a partner and language; climate, life standard, culture or relatives in that country were also mentioned as contributing factors. (Lapuh, 2010). The next question was whether they planned to return back to Slovenia. A quarter of the Slovenian diaspora said that they have moved abroad permanently. Some of them have not even thought about returning home and the period of living abroad at the time of emigration. Half of the respondents have lived abroad for less than two years. More than half visit Slovenia a few times per year. Thus we can conclude firstly that, those planning to return home want to come back to Slovenia because of a family, parents, the homeland or because they want to live long-term in Slovenia; they mentioned that the possibility and thought of returning home had helped them to move abroad. Secondly those who did not plan to return to Slovenia at the time of their moving mentioned their family and partner from that country as a reason. Others have no interest in living and working in Slovenia because
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Map 1: The global country of residence of emigrants (Source: Inquiry 15 March – 27 April 2010, N=753; Author: Lapuh)
of a better salary and different lifestyle abroad and working in international organisations - they would like to return to Slovenia only for business or to keep contacts with their family and friends (Lapuh, 2010). A huge number of emigrants, who temporarily or permanently moved from Slovenia after its independence, represent not only new Slovenian emigrants but also a new Slovenian diaspora. The results of the online survey show that more than three quarters of respondents are younger than 35. Half of them are employed, 36 % are students. It is worth mentioning that some of the emigrants occupy important positions in companies or are self-contractors. Half of them speak Slovenian on a daily basis with a partner or children (Lapuh, 2010). As we shall see, contemporary Slovenian emigrants are well educated. Emigrants predominantly have a university degree education, followed by those who have a high school level of education. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that in this last category there are students who will achieve a university degree in the next few years. It is worth mentioning the fact that some individuals have more than one Masters degree and that some are on currently undertaking post PhD studies. However, on the other hand we can talk about a “brain drain” of the edu-
cated that have moved abroad because of work. Those who are abroad for study reasons do not fall into this category. Economics is the most frequent field of education, followed by law and political studies (Lapuh, 2010). Only 20% of emigrants have reported their migration from Slovenia to official authorities, therefore it means that the rest 80% of the respondents are not included in the state’s statistics. Everyone who migrates abroad for more than three months has to inform the official authorities about their non-attendance. Migration flows inside the European Union are difficult to follow because of the rights received with the European citizenship and the opening of borders. Only 8% of the respondents have a citizenship of the country where they are living. The need for getting a state’s citizenship has decreased in the EU because of the European citizenship (Lapuh, 2010). As expected, more than half of the contemporary emigrants think that the quality of life is higher in the country which they have migrated to than at home. However, since the EU has a similar cultural environment to Slovenia, and since some respondents speak foreign languages well whilst also having a job and home in their new country of living, their sense of belonging to the Slovenian national citizenship is put to the test. The feeling of belonging to the Slovenian
nation is strong, the feeling of belonging to the country of living is weak, yet the sense of affiliation with the EU falls in the middle – which demonstrates that the feeling of the European affiliation has not expanded as was expected; some feel that they are citizens of the world. Furthermore, 75% of the respondents are not members of Slovenian associations or organisations in the country of living. However, Slovenians living abroad spend their free time with other Slovenians and other citizens as well (Lapuh, 2010). The Slovenian media devotes some broadcasts on the television and radio to the Slovenians abroad, and some articles are published about that in the newspapers (Pospeh, 2009). Slovenians abroad are not represented enough in Slovenian (daily) media, and consequently Slovenians are not informed enough about their compatriots around the world. The Slovenian diaspora receives most of their information about the homeland on the Internet (online radio, television and newspapers) (Lapuh, 2011). The Internet, as a medium of preserving national and cultural heritage between Slovenians abroad, represents a fast developed medium. New possibilities of communication and the idea of virtual communities have been developed. The perception of the space has changed (Mikola, Gombač, 2008). Slovenian media rarely publish any information about Slovenians abroad.
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Map 2: The European country of residence of emigrants (Source: Inquiry 15 March – 27 April 2010, N=753; Author: Lapuh)
Up until this point the characteristics of emigrants have been shown. Contemporary emigrants are individualists, who do not need a connection with the Slovenian community as traditional emigrants did. In fact, they have little in common with traditional emigrants apart from their nationality. Folklore does not connect them. People who moved abroad mentioned that their national awareness is stronger now than it was before they left Slovenia. Contemporary emigrants prefer informal meetings. More frequent connections with the homeland are available via Internet and low budget means of transportation. New forms of connections have appeared – e.g. virtual ones (groups of Slovenians abroad on Facebook) (Lapuh, 2010). Summary People all around the world are getting more and more interested in migration. The main reasons are globalisation and a new age of informatics, which brings remote countries and better opportunities closer to people. The time of mass emigration has already passed by; the number of Slovenians who yearly emi-
grate abroad is, however, not negligible. Contemporary emigration is an on-going process. As it is not a mass process, the impact on regions of origin is small. For the year 2008 statistics noted 4,766 emigrants (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2010), not including those who did not report their migration. Slovenia is, once again, an emigration country. People travel more often and farther than ever before. Economical reasons for emigration include the possibilities for a career and a good job (especially for people with high levels of education – a “brain drain”). However, economical reasons are not present in the case of emigration because of a partner, family and to study. The main territory where the emigrants live could not be determined. We can expect that more and more young people will decide to work abroad, especially if they already have an experience of mobility during their studies. The European Union stimulates mobility on the one hand, and regulates it on the other hand. In the near future mass migration from Slovenia is not expected, es-
pecially because of citizens’ attachment to their home environment. Opportunities and beneficial conditions for people who wish to return home should be provided and they should be able to use the skills they have obtained abroad (Lapuh, 2011). References Borjas, G. J. 1999. Heaven’s door: immigration policy and the American economy. Princeton, Princeton University Press: 263 pp. Boyle, P. J., Halfacree, K., Robinson, V. 1998. Exploring contemporary migration. Harlow, Longman: 282 pp. Drnovšek, M. 2007. Raziskovanje slovenskih izseljencev: stare paradigme in nove perspektive. Nova revija, vol. 26: pp. 225-233. Genorio, R. 1981. Geografsko proučevanje mednarodnih migracij: teoretski in metodološki okvir poučevanja na primeru slovenskega izseljenstva v Kanadi. Geographica Slovenica, vol. 12: pp. 193-210.
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Map 3: Emigrants per statistical region per 1.000 inhabitans (Source: Inquiry 15 March – 27 April 2010, N=611; Author: Lapuh)
Lapuh, L. 2010. Geografski vidiki sodobnega izseljevanja iz Slovenije: diplomsko delo. Oddelek za geografijo, Filozofska fakulteta v Ljubljani: 166 pp.
Mikola, M., Gombač, J. 2008. Internet kot medij ohranjanja narodne in kulturne dediščine med Slovenci po svetu: stare dileme novih rešitev. Dve domovini, vol. 28: pp. 39-56.
Lapuh, L. 2011. Geografski vidiki sodobnega izseljevanja iz Slovenije. Dela, vol. 35: pp 69-91.
Pospeh, S. 2009. Slovenska imigracija v Kanadi: magistrsko delo. Ljubljana, Fakulteta za družbene vede: pp. 280.
Massey, D. 1993. Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Poppulation and development review, vol. 19, no. 3: pp. 444-460.
Ravbar, M. 1974. Slovenski izseljenci po svetu. Geographica Slovenica, vol. 3: pp 168-178.
Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. 2010. Viewed 11 January 2010: www.stat.si. Zupančič, J. 1998. Zdomstvo. Geografski atlas Slovenije. Ljubljana, DZS: pp 170-171.
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Impressions of the Many Cultures 4 Europe seminar in La Rochelle. Pictures by: Berger, Heijt, Hรถpcke, Michl, Selฤan, van der Klei, Wuyts
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
The identity of the Jewish in the Dobrogea Region in the context of the demographical and historical evolution Gabriela Morosanu EGEA Bucharest
Introduction The goal of this study is to illustrate the evolution of the demographic situation of the Jewish community in the Dobrogea Region and how it was affected by the historical events and interconnections with the other ethnic groups. Based on the fact that the Jewish ethnicity corresponding to Dobrogea province is the least numerous minority within the provinces of Romania, the first challenge was to investigate the “social environment” in which the Jewish community preserved or not, its vitality and its cultural resources. Due to the very much proclaimed “cosmopolitanism” ever existing in the geographical area between the Danube Arms and the Black Sea, and due to the lower manifestation of their economic and scientific activities, the generation of such a small Jewish community in the Dobrogea Region has little favoured the emergence of political and ideological conflicts during the Antonescian regime (1940-1944), which is known as the most bitter period against the Jewish ethnicity in the history of Romania. Until the mid-twentieth century, the Jews living in Dobrogea formed a well defined, although a restricted community characterized by a peaceful communion with other cultures prevailing in this region. After the fall of the Communist Regime in 1989, we could notice an alarming decrease in their number, on
account of a mass emigration and the degradation of their worship and funeral monuments - without which the Jewish spiritual life became impossible. Methods and data used For this article, research methods from different scientific fields were employed, such as: research of historical documentations, statistical analysis and, finally, some interviews with some Jewish representatives from Constanţa - the only urban centre left in Dobrogea, which still hosts more than 10 Jewish families. Field surveys and testimonials, from 2010 to 2012, have further enhanced this work.
it is convenient to make some references to the political events that have affected Romania so far. Thus, in the last three decades of the 20th century, Romania was the scene of massive emigrations of Jewish population, which even exceeded the forced expatriations. Nevertheless, the earlier presence of Jews in the territory of Dacia and Roman provinces, which lie between the Danube and the Carpathian Mountains, can be understood as a part of the history of this ethnicity. More precisely: as an element of Jewish influence in the field of the religious and spiritual life of the population of Dobrogea throughout the centuries.
Preliminary observations about the Jewish identity in the socio-cultural tableau of Dobrogea Region The Dobrogea Region is located in SouthEastern Romania, and consists of the counties Silistra and Dorostor, which now are part of Bulgaria, and the Romanian counties Constanța and Tulcea. The concern for this study area is determined by its social-economic importance and by the fact that it is highly prone to accelerated decrease in the number of minorities’ representatives, compared to the normal proportions of the Romanian population. Dobrogea has always been a cross-road region and has always played the role of a “buffer-zone” at the level of ethnical and international conflicts in this part of South-Eastern Europe. Before proceeding to the presentation of the actual social-demographic situation of the Jewish ethnicity in Dobrogea,
Phases and ways in which Jewish population penetrated the Dobrogea Region One of the main uncertainties related to the beginnings of Jews living in the Dobrogea Region has been the lack of exact dating of their arrival in the DanubianPontic area. The difficulty lies in the scarcity of written data that could have been undisputed evidence for Jewish traces in this territory. From the historical and old travel books, particularly inconsistent and difficult to set in space, we can distinguish an insight into the beginnings of the presence of Jews on the territory of Dobrogea, dating back to early periods of Geto-Dacian and Roman Empires (Filderman, 1925). Looking through the economic development of the province and especially its trade and transit, Jewish people settled almost exclusively in or near the towns in Dobrogea. Jews used to live in the neigh-
Figure 1: The Jewish Population of Romania after the Census of 1930. Related map representing Jewish flows occurring in the territory of Romania in Antiquity (Source: Costăchie, 2004)
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Figure 2: Map of places of Jewish creed and culture in Dobrogea, still in existence or demolished/non-functioning (Source: Moroșanu)
bourhood of the groups of Christians and other faiths in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Greeks, Ragusans, Turkish and Bulgarians, the latter being carried into the action in order to supply duties and capital of the Ottoman Empire. In the book “Descriptio Moldaviae”, Dimitrie Cantemir (quoted by Feldman, 2004) writes about the ethnic picture of Dobrogea in the XVI Century, which had a cosmopolitan aspect, reflected especially in the writings of foreign travellers whose focus was retained by the urban life. The main statements and information relating to the presence of Roman Jews in Dobrogea appear in volume I of the “Springs and testimonies concerning the Jews of Romania”, pubished by Victor Eskenasy in 1986. The most important of them is the inscription ”Judaica” from Tomis (the actual Constanța City) in memory of a Jewish merchant from Alexandria, dating from the 4th century BC. All of these material traces indicate the presence of Jews from the time of the conquest of Dacia by the Romans, but this interaction may be linked with a spiritual and religious exchange between the two peoples (Colcer and Măgureanu, 1998). Indeed, the level of civilization found in Dacia and especially its culture, has attracted the ancient Jewish traders since antiquity. The root of the Jewish presence is closely related to the Romanization of Dacia in
the year 165 B.C., when Rome became a real refuge of the Jewish Diaspora. The strong Jewish community of Rome at that time influenced the actions of political and military leaders (Fig. 1), and at the same time, the ethnic structure of the troops to conquer the Dacian provinces. At the end of the XVI Century, the old descendants before the rule of the Christians yet anchored in the Turkish traditions, were fully spread throughout the province of Dobrogea, along with other ethnic groups (including Jews) who were a minority, living a peaceful economic and social life with Christians, without any intention to dominate. Indeed, the Jewish minority in the territory of present Dobrogea has a history that spans about two millennia, but became significant in terms of the sharing of social, economic and cultural life especially since the XIX Century. Evidence of that could be clearly stated in the information offered by the official Census of 1930, according to which, 756, 930 people from Dobrogea, out of 4,031,000 Jews in the entire country, declared Judaism as their religious affiliation. Social-cultural features Nowadays the traces of Judaism in Dobrogea are only visible at the level of the remaining (partially) functional synagogues, schools and cemeteries (Fig. 2). The research conducted in Constanța
shows not only the deteriorated aspect of the edifices, but also the changing of their function. An example could be the synagogue of the Așkenazi in Constanța, which is no longer used by the small Jewish community but has been abandoned and is in danger of collapsing. There are also signs that, during winters, it is inhabited by a family of Gypsies. Archival documents attest to the use of two of the seven synagogues, three prayer houses and a school of religion for 216 families in Tulcea County in the period 1920-1928. There were also five synagogues in Constanța County, one of these in Cernavodă and another in Hârșova. The Jewish cemeteries are also well represented, three of them belonging to Tulcea County and two of them to Constanța County. Before 1939, when the state started to enforce the anti-Semitic laws, all around Tulcea County there were 3,000 Jews and three synagogues, two of them being demolished when building blocks of flats in the area. The Jewish community in Tulcea County has two cemeteries, one in Tulcea, one in Măcin and the other one in Babadag. In the historical ”Cornelius” Cemetery (Babadag) there are still many very old tombstones, sarcophagus-type monuments, the tomb of Rabbi Jisul Ben (an important Jewish leader) and other vandalized monuments (Aristide and Lucian, 2009). The situation is even worse in
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Figure 3: The Great Synagogue of Constanta City. Comparative images showing how much its condition got worse in the last two years. (Source: a: Wikipedia, 2012; b,c,d: Moroșanu)
the case of Constanța City. For instance, the Great Synagogue on C.A. Rosetti Street (Fig. 4), built in 1911 in the honour of the Jewish community, is believed to have served as the headquarters for several activities: old asylum, Macabi sport club, Jewish school, etc. The architectural style of the Great Synagogue of Constanţa (a ruin in the true sense of the word) is structured on three horizontal registers: basement, ground floor and upstairs. The exterior windows and doors of the Moorish influence have decorations in Așkenazi style. In the 1930s, another two large synagogues were built in the city: the Sephardic synagogue, which was built in 1908 in the Gothic-Catalan style (Nicoară, 2006), and the Poland synagogue. Unfortunately, neither of them
has survived the test of time and they have also suffered from a lack of will to upkeep them from the authorities. During its “Golden Age”, Romania’s Jewish population contributed substantially to the “moulding” of Romanian society, through their physical presence in the cities and villages of the country and especially through their economic presence. Throughout the XIX Century and early XX Century, Jews managed to influence the development of Romania and its transition from an agrarian to a capitalist society. Thus, Dobrogea (known as “realm of waters”) with its intricate geographical landscape and spirituality, was and still is a valuable model of ethnical cohabitation for the other Romanian regions.
All works written around this interference between the forefathers and “guests” of Jewish origin start from the geographical position of Dobrogea, the Danube and the Carpathians, which had a mysticalreligious importance at that time. Other places of Jewish worship in Dobrogea lie in the town of Babadag (the synagogue from 1883), where a significant number of Jews are still living, although the population there can be characterized as an aging one. Table 1 shows the distribution of the Jewish religion followers throughout Dobrogea Region, as well as their percentage among the other religious practitioners in the period before the First World War.
Judaism’s survival was closely linked to the ability of the Jews to accept differences, a religious concept that allowed them to gain the protection of the Turkish authorities in Dobrogea, and to receive help for the construction of three synagogues in Tulcea and one in Sulina. The main obstacles to the proper conduct of the religious life were insufficient funds. Money is necessary to maintain religious buildings, and despite the financial support received from the Romanian Jewish Community, there were still insufficient funds. The few remaining Jewish architectural elements do not show their cultural expression of life anymore (synagogues, houses of culture), the Jews have not left behind significant historical artefacts, such as the Romans, Greeks and later the Turks. Thus, the main obstacles to the
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
was meant to help the regime in its anti-Semitic policy. The regime repressed the orthodox synagogues and more traditional communities, arranged for the expulsion of the Jews from rural areas and organised the deportation and killing of Jews in the country. They avoided those in the Eastern part of Romania, but banned them from practicing the rites of all currents. At the beginning of the XX Century, the views of the political leaders of Romanian Countries about Jews living in Dobrogea are very judgmental, as they used to characterise the Jewish minority as a plague in the body of this province. Great industrialists, excellent bankers, writers devoted to the truth, those were the concerns which altered the opinions of the Legionnaires about Jews, their attacks being concentrated in local merchants’ markets of Constanța, Tulcea, or
Table 1: The followers of the of the Mosaic Religion, from the urban centres of Dobrogea, according to the Census of 1912 (Source: Census of 1912)
proper conduct of the religious life were the insufficient funds necessary to maintain religious buildings, and also the absence of Heads of churches (in fact, there are only two in the whole country at the moment). Predicaments faced by the Jewish ethnicity living in the Dobrogea Region Sometimes the Jews’ fate was subjected to the influence of colonisation or emigration processes, religious structures and economic (in)stability, the Romanian State policy, etc. The defective spread of Jewish values, which was particularly wide between the 1930s-’40s, is not due to natural problems, but political demographic changes, which occurred during the Antonescian regime. The Antonescian fascist military regime disbanded the Federation of Jewish communities and replaced it with a body called “The Jewish Central”, which
Babadag. Before the Second World War, a massive migration began for political reasons. Although the Jewish mortality rate was lower than that of the general population, it soon outnumbered the deficit, with the values recorded after the year 1937 becoming more pronounced. The almost unbearable political and social situation required the Jewish community to resort to emigration and to give voluntary donations in order to repel frequent accusations of communism. But as their situation worsened it still did not include acts of violence or censoring of their behaviour in the general social climate of Dobrogea Region. The numerical evolution of the Jews in Dobrogea Region between the first and last Census with data available from1978-2002 The destiny of the Jewish community in Dobrogea is illustrated by the depriva-
tions endured by this minority. The most useful source of information for the interwar period proves to be the population census of 1930, structured at the level of the economic, demographic and religious state of all provinces of the country. It represents the point of gravity of all questions with demographic specificity, taking into account the presence of large numbers of Jews in all cities, including the Dobrogea counties of Caliacra and Dorostor (for which comprehensive information about the Jewish population was not found). As mentioned previously, it is believed that the decrease of the Jewish population in Dobrogea Region, starting with the second half of the XX Century has happened because of the ignorant politics against the Jewish representatives, which was practiced on a large scale throughout Romania. Graph 1 shows the development of the Jewish population in Dobrogea. From the geographical viewpoint, one can notice the scarce distribution of the Jewish population in Dobrogea Region. With regard to the demographic situation of the Jewish community in Constanța City between 1853 and 2002, we can speak rather of a decrease in the number of Jews, from more than 1,200 to less than 50 in the early 2000s. The information extracted from the census, in conjunction with the archival documents and the work developed by scholars, diplomats and foreign travellers during the XVIII, XIX and XX Century, forms the core of the demographic research for the period between 1800 and 2002. The number of Jews was greatly reduced in the period following this because of deportation and migration, so nowadays there are few Jewish families who are totally integrated and true to the tradition, the rest com from mixed marriages. The vitality of the Jewish population in Dobrogea has not registered values different from other provinces. As we can plainly see, the Jewish urban population of Dobrogea in the first decades of the XX Century features two major concentrations: Tulcea City (1,168 Jews) and Constanţa City (1,819 Jews) in 1935. As it can be seen in the graph, the year 1935 marks the most significant decline in the number of Jews in the capitals of Dobrogea counties. Still, an upward trend can be observed in the case of Constanța City just before the limit year (1935), where the increase in the number of the representatives can be put down to the rural-urban influx of population, or to the internal migration from poorer urban centres to the capital of the county. Compared with the period before the Second World War, the Jewish population in the two main urban centres of Dobrogea experienced a rapid decline, from a value of hundreds of thousands of people to less than 300 representatives in the first phase and less than 100
The European Geographer, 10th Issue Filderman, W., 1925. Adevărul asupra problemei evreiești din România în lumina textelor religioase și a statisticei, Tipografia ”Triumful”, București. Iancu, C., 1996. Evreii din România, 1866-1919: de la excludere la emancipare, traducerea: C. Litman, Editura EH Hasefer, București. Ionescu de la Brad, I. 1850. ,Excursion agricole dans la plaine de Dobrogea, Constantinopole. Ionescu, Șt., 1941. Yankeii, lorzii şi evreii…, Viaţa, Vol. I, nr. 259-260, pp. 1, 3. Limona, R., 2009. Populația Dobrogei în perioada interbelică, Editura Sămănătorul, București. Martonne, Em.de., 1919. Répartition des nationalités dans les pays ou dominent les Roumains, 1:1.000.000, Paris. Martonne, Em.de., 1920. Carte de la densité de la répartition des nationalités en Roumanie, Annals de Geographie, 158, Paris. Graph 1: The demographical evolution of the Jewish population in the cities of Constanta and Tulcea in the period between 1878 and 2002. (Source: Moroșanu)
Nicoară, V., 2006. Dobrogea. Spațiu geografic multicultural. Constanța. Editura Muntenia.
after the fall of the Communist Regime. The key element of this demographical approach (the situation according to the last Census on Romanian Population, conducted in 2011, but yet unpublished), although missing, can be added beginning with the next year. Graph 1 cannot be considered exhaustive without the data from the last Census made in 2011, from which we could certainly notice that the Jewish population in Dobrogea Region has decreased even more in the last 10 years and may account for less than 0,5% of the total population living in the two counties today. In the context of the numerical involution of the Jewish population in Dobrogea, with only the few families left, one cannot speak of a Jewish identity any more.
Jews, Romanians and other minorities in Dobrogea. Unfortunately, at the time of the 2002 census, only three cities in Romania (Constanţa, Babadag and Tulcea) have a significant Jewish population, and thus their representatives should be treated as a valuable minority.
Rădulescu, A. and Bitoleanu, I., 1979. Istoria Românilor dintre Dunăre și Mare, Editura Științifică și Pedagogică, București.
Tavitian, A., 1008. Dobrogea, mozaic etnic, model de conviețuire faără prejudecăți a minorităților cu populația majoritară, proiectul Academia Interculturală Constănțeană.
Conclusions There is a demographic basis for the decline of Jewish population between 1940 and 2000, after the extermination of the Jews during the Second World War, are not comprehensive for the study without taking into account the intermingling of the communist state with the socialcultural preoccupations of the Jews. This has allowed their emigration to Israel and to other countries in order to fulfil their lifestyle in a better way. The remaining ”not migrated” Jewish population in Romania, and especially in Dobrogea, is composed most of the single, elderly, retired, sick representatives and those who are in families composed of mixed marriages. An interdisciplinary approach, which is absolutely indispensable for such a study, has generated a more complex analysis concerning the Jewish ethnicity, which cannot focus exclusively on the historical perspective, but also emphasizes the causality and the networking between
Aristide S. and Lucian S., 2009. Sinagoga în România, Editura Hasefer, București.
National Institute of Statistics, 1913. Recensământul populației din 19 decembrie 1912, București.
Barnea, I. and Ștefănescu, Șt., 1971. Din istoria Dobrogei III. București. Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
National Institute of Statistics , 1994. Populația pe naționalități la recensămintele din perioada 19301992, București.
Bridger, D.,1962. The New Jewish Encyclopedia, Behrman House Inc., New York.
National Institute of Statistics, 2002. Recensământul populației și al locuințelor, Institutul Național de Statistică, București.
Acknowledgments I would like to mention the contribution of Adnan Zecheria, Faculty of Geography, University of Bucharest, on the work conducted in the Romanian Institute of Statistics, May 2012 and for his help during the field research.
Costachie, S., 2004. Evreii din România, Editura Universității din București, pp. 118-137. Crainic, N., 1941. După douăzeci de ani, Gîndirea, XX, nr. 10, decembrie 1941, p. 515. Colcer, I. and Măgureanu, V., 1998. File din istoria Dobrogei. Tulcea. Inspectoratul pentru Cultură al județului Tulcea. Esckenasy, V., 1986. Izvoare și mărturii referitoare la evreii din România, F.C.E. from R.S.R., București. Feldman, C., 2004. De unde am venit...Despre evreii din Tulcea, Editura Hasefer, București.
Rozen, M., 1998. Involuția Demografică a evreilor din România în perioada 1940-2000, Editura Matrix Rom, București. Rozen, M., 2001. 60 de ani de la deportarea evreilor din Romania în Transnistria, Editura Matrix Rom, București. Streja, A., Schwarz, L., 2009. Sinagogoa din România, Editura Hasefer, București.
Wikipedia, 2012. About Sinagoga Mare din Constanța. Last viewed 23.08.2012: http://upload. wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Jewish_ Temple,_Constanta http://www.istoria-evreilor-romania.ro. viewed 25.08.2012.
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Polish-German academic cooperation. The EGEA case Numbers can also be proof. In 1991 a sur- Association. Even though EGEA was Anna Bilny & vey for Der Spiegel magazine was made founded in 1987, before the reuniting of examining how (in -5 to +5 scale) the Germany and fall of communism in PoMarek Kapusta Poles are perceived by the Germans and land, and even though German academEGEA Warszawa University of Warsaw
The story of the hatred The Germans in their Nazi uniforms — this is still how many Poles perceive their western neighbours. The Second World War has made a huge gap between these two nations and developed a series of stereotypes that throughout sixty years has made any real reconciliation almost impossible. Such a situation is not surprising. Between 1939 and 1945 more than 16% of Polish citizens (both Jew and non-Jew) were killed in fighting or died in concentration or work camps - no other nation suffered more in relative numbers due to the war (Materski & Szarota, 2009). Blaming Nazi Germany for that loss cannot be more justified after September 2006 when Horst Köhler (contemporary president of Germany) in his speech during “Fatherland Day”, which was organised by the Federation of Expellees, clearly stated that Germans alone bear the responsibility for the death of Poland’s citizen during the Second World War (Köhler, 2006). He also said that history has to be treated fairly and that common contacts between our nations have to be driven by a strong will to reestablishing cordial relations. If someone does not consider the German president as a proper person to say such words, then lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song “With God on our side” can be mentioned: “We forgave the Germans […] though they murdered six million, in the ovens they fried”. Poles’ hatred for Germans was regularly encouraged by Soviet and communist Poland propaganda with i.a. the 60s TV series like “Four tank-men and a dog”, presenting German soldiers as intellectually disabled people, or “Playing for High Stakes”, a story of the Red Army spy who, as the Wehrmacht soldier, Hans Kloss, destroyed the Third Reich from the inside all on his own. Winds of change Today, after more than sixty years, a remarkable improvement in our relations can be noticed, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The winds of change have blown through the rooms of the Polish and German government houses and have resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation on 17 June, 1991. Although the document is supplementary to another treaty, the German-Polish Border Treaty (1990), which was obligatory for the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany to reunite, this can be considered as a new quality in the history of these two nations.
the results were far from positive. The Germans from the West gave the Poles the mean mark of -0.6 whilst those from the East gave -0.1 (Stiftung für DeutschPolnische Zusammenarbeit, 2011). Ten years later, these numbers have changed to +0.24, which had been the first positive outcome since 1991. In Poland a similar survey revealed mark of as much as +2.3. Someone may say that the results are not symmetrical with the Poles accepting the Germans more than the Germans accept the Poles, but these results have to be compared with another, regarding other nations. The most recent Allensbach Institute research showed that only the French are better seen in Germany than the Poles. An adequate addition to these numbers can be some other research which was performed also by the Allensbach Institute. According to this, 44% of the Poles have enhanced their opinion on the western neighbours and as low as 5% declare to have worsened their attitude in the recent years.
Cooperation blooming At the same time as the Treaty of Good Neighbourship was signed, a few organisations whose aim is to cement the cooperation between Poland and Germany were established. Two of them are “Polish-German Youth Cooperation” and “Polish-German Cooperation Foundation”. Whereas the first of the abovementioned units is responsible for financing projects that evoke common interests of both nations, the second one plays a key role in creating a positive attitude toward the another nation among the youth by organising exchanges in both directions. The other organisations that have burst into existence in the past twenty years are i.a. the House of The Polish-German Cooperation (1998), the Polish-German Association (many units) and GFPS (Gemeinschaft zur Förderung der Studienaufenthalten polnischer Studenten in Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Poland (1991). Moreover, there are plenty of organisations both in Poland and Germany, devoid of any specific cross-national character but providing a variety of possibilities for people from both countries. One of this article’s authors has benefitted from a DAAD-financed trip to Germany to cement their academic cooperation. This trip is believed to have led to the signing of a cooperation agreement between the University of Warsaw and some of the German units that had hosted the Polish participants of the project. In this article, we will focus on how academic cooperation takes place between Poland and Germany with closer look at the EGEA – the European Geographers’
ic units have not played any role in the creation of EGEA (University of Warsaw, University of Barcelona and University of Utrecht are the founders), its projects, such as congresses or exchanges or even such events as the Germany Weekend still have a certain influence on PolishGerman relations. What influence exactly? This is what this article is about. The bachelor thesis and the survey As a student of Central-European Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw, one of the authors has written a bachelor thesis on Polish-German academic cooperation based on the EGEA case. The research, which relied mainly on an on-line survey, as well as theoretical knowledge of the international and intercultural relations, has forged an undiscovered trail of examining EGEA in the cultural context. It is especially focused on the on-line survey which was addressed both to Polish and German EGEA members. The URL location where the survey was available was published on the official EGEA web forum, as well as sent directly to Polish and German units. Moreover, it was announced during the Germany Weekend event that took place between 25th and 27th May, 2012 in Ernsthofen, Germany. The idea of using an on-line survey instead of other data colleting methods was justified by the specification of the target group. The EGEA members are young people, living in almost every part of Europe, including such distant places as Tromsø in Norway or Izhevsk in the Russian Federation. They use the Internet to communicate and this is probably the only way to communicate in the utmost part of the year. Moreover, carrying out a classical survey would have proved extremely difficult due to the considerable dispersal of the units. The survey itself was programmed using standard HTML/CSS techniques with an addition of jQuery to enhance the interface and make it more convenient. Filled in surveys were sent using AJAX technique to a script saving data in the MySQL database, sending electronic mails to given address as well as creating appropriate CSV file on-the-fly. The individually created script allowed the use of non-standard functions such as sorting of blocks to express ranges of particular aspects. Also there were technical reasons which testified for the use of an on-line survey. A special algorithm which processed the input data straight to CSV format, which is easily readable by modern statistical software (in this particular case SPSS was used for data analysis). The survey consists of thirteen questions in two language versions: Polish
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
• Congresses: frequent meetings of large (100-200) groups of the EGEA members who discuss current problems of contemporary geography, such as climate change, GIS or population matters; • exchanges: a small-group of mutual excursions to the cities of other units, whose main objective is to widen the knowledge of the visitors about the hosts’ culture; • other events, among which we can mention country weekends, irregular meetings, seminars, etc.
Figure 1: Homepage of the survey (Source: Bilny, Kapusta)
and German (Figure 1). Each respondent was asked to choose their preferred language version. Both versions varied from one another by adjusting questions to specific target groups. Respondents who had chosen the Polish version were asked about the Germans and vice versa – German-speaking were asked about Poles. Moreover, the Polish version of the survey included a question about the parent unit with a list of Polish ones, whereas the German version included a list of German ones. The survey was available on the Internet for six weeks, from 27 April to 10 July, 2012. 76 people took part in the research, 31 of them being Polish and 45 being German (Diagram 1). The difference in the numbers reflects the fact that German units are relatively more active than Polish ones. The results The analysis of acquired data resulted in some remarkable information about Polish-German relations (Diagram 2). As much as 88.2% (67) (90% of the Poles and 86% of the Germans) marked that the EGEA has a positive influence on these contacts (Table 1). 11.8% (9) answered that it has no influence and nobody considers this impact negative. These numbers show clearly that, among its members, EGEA is widely thought to be enhancing contacts between the Poles and the Germans. This influence is a result of the projects, requiring co-operation between EGEA members of different nationalities. These projects include:
Does EGEA influence Polish-German Relations yes, positively
Table 1: The EGEA influence on the Polish-German relations according to the both nations (Source: Bilny, Kapusta)
In the survey we asked our respondents for their opinion about which of the fields of activity in EGEA has the strongest influence on the Polish-German relations. The above mentioned projects were the answers, along with the on-line forum (which creates the most important discussion panel between projects) and the answer “other”. The respondents’ task was to sort these projects from the most to the least significant one, according to their opinion. Therefore, obtained results are not a straightforward list of projects from the most frequently chosen to the most neglected one. The ranging method, applied in this question, produced information on how often the particular project had occupied a particular place in the respondents’ lists. Choosing the most important project did not pose any difficulty as 49 answers pointed to the exchanges. For the second place respondents mainly pointed to exchanges (23) and congresses (20 answers). It is worth mentioning that the respondents were asked to sort the EGEA projects from the most influential to the least one according to their opinion (ranging method). Therefore no un-
Diagram 1: The EGEA units where the respondents come from (Source: Bilny, Kapusta)
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Diagram 2: The influence of the EGEA on the Polish-German relations (Source: Bilny, Kapusta) How does your environment (family, friends) judge the Poles/the German Do you want to take part in the EGEA exchange in the future? total
Table 2: The environment influence on the will to take part in the EGEA exchange (Source: Bilny, Kapusta)
ambiguous ranking can be created, but rather an overview of tendencies can be observed, which is more objective. At the third place of significance are: the event with 39 answers and the congress with 28 answers. The answers regarding the fourth place presents some indecision on the respondents’ side (20 answers for the forum, 19 for otherevents, 18 for the congress and the other ax aequo). The fifth place is more justified with 53 answers for the forum and 19 for the other activities. This clearly shows that exchanges are thought to have the strongest impact on Polish-German relations among the EGEA members. Congresses have a somewhat weaker influence, but still greater than other events. The On-line forum and other activities are considered to have the least effect on the described relations. What is worth noticing is that, according to the answers, only four respondents had taken part in a congress. 17 had taken part in an exchange, 10 in an event and 13 in another activity, organised by EGEA, (allowing for the possibility that one person could have taken part in more
than one activity.) 44 of the participants had never attended any activity and an overall number of 61 people are willing to take part in a Polish-German exchange in the future. Table 2 presents that there is a simple correlation between the attitude by which a respondent’s environment judges the neighbouring nation and the will to take part in the exchange; those who come from badly disposed families answered that they are not willing to participate in such an event more often than those who came from other environments. Whereas these results based on the answers given by the EGEA members themselves can be considered optimistic, the analysis of respondents’ families seems less positive. The question “How does your environment (friends, family) judge the Poles/the Germans?” brought the answer that most people have no particular view on the neighbouring nation, with 16 answers from Poland and 30 from Germany to the answer “neutrally”. Surprisingly more people both from Germany and Poland perceive the other nation negatively than positively and, al-
though differences are not remarkable, it reflects some of the animosities between these nations. The new hope Nevertheless, the analysis of the data gives a positive outcome. EGEA is widely observed as one of the ways to improve Polish-German relations. Exchanges support the cross-national widening of knowledge about the culture of the other nation, whilst congresses, because of their formula, encourage their participants to work as a team. Similar geographic interests can prove stronger than family’s bias. There is an example of a person who, previously neutral towards the Germans, later changed their attitude to a better one after having participated in the 2012 Germany Weekend (Figure 2) in Ernsthofen as one of only four non-Germans present (two Poles, living in Poland,one Estonian and one Slovak, both studying in Germany). Someone may say that the EGEA is just a dozen or so people from both countries constituting 120-million group of people, which makes a fraction, but a few things have to be remembered: • t he EGEA members are young (20-30 years old) people, who, once positively disposed to their neighbours, will remain in that state, •we can assume that other student organisations, which bring Polish and German students together, such as the International Law Students Association, the International Students of History Association or the AEGEE Europe have a similar influence on their members, • t here is no way to change the attitude
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
of a whole nation towards another one in a short time; this is a process which has to take its time and affects different groups of people simultaneously. Organisations such as the EGEA, which have a positive impact on Polish-German contacts, are a natural counterbalance to the nationalistic or even neo-Nazi movements, becoming more and more influential in both countries. These are embodied in organisations such as the National-Radical Camp, the National Revival of Poland or football supporters’ environments in Poland, as well as the National Democratic Party of Germany in its western neighbour. Apart from these far-right movements, there is also the political discourse in both countries which has not supported the Polish-German reconciliation in the last years, with issues of the Federation of Expellees led by Erika Steinbach, or the antagonistic foreign policy of Poland led by the Kaczyński brothers. Summary Even though relations between the Poles and the Germans have not been easy throughout last sixty years as they were driven by remembrances of the war’s cruelty and bad impression that the Poles left after the People’s Republic of Poland
opened its boundaries (and the number of car thefts in the Western Europe rapidly increased); and even though many Poles and many Germans, both young and older ones, feel disgust toward the other; and even though they still consider German-raised football players in the Polish national team as traitors; a lot of positive can be seen amongst all the negativity. The experience from observations of such organisations as EGEA can bring essential and highly useful knowledge about how to activate reconciliation processes. The research, mentioned in this article, and performed by the Allensbach Institute also revealed that more and more Germans and Poles are changing their attitude to a better one. If we, that means geography students, students at all, as well as the civil servants. If we will let bygones be bygones and forget all of the past wounds, the blossoming future of both nations is possible. Nevertheless, we have to hope that all movements claiming to be patriotic, yet carrying slogans of hatred will not be able to make us choose that path. Taking the words of Guy de Maupassant: ‘patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched’ as a warning, we shall not allow anything to hatch out of that egg.
Figure 2: Participants of the 2012 Germany Weekend (Source: Rutert, 2012)
References BILNY, A. 2012. Polsko-niemiecka współpraca na poziomie akademickim na przykładzie organizacji EGEA. KÖHLER, H. 2006. Przemówienie Prezydenta Federalnego Horsta Köhlera podczas obchodów Dnia Stron Ojczystych zorganizowanych przez Związek Wypędzonych w dniu 2 września 2006 r. w Berlinie. MATERSKI, W. & SZAROTA, T. 2009. Polska 19391945. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami. STIFTUNG FÜR DEUTSCH-POLNISCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT. 2011. Polacy i Niemcy wystawiają sobie coraz lepsze oceny.
Finland Fans Diana Kalajainen EGEA Joensuu The University of Eastern Finland
I study human geography at the University of Eastern Finland. Along with Finnish students, our university has around a couple of thousand exchange students each year. You can pick them out in the street even from a distance by their puffer jackets, hiking boots (yes, even in town) and three beanie hats worn one on top of the other and pulled down over their eyes. Besides all that you will often find a Spaniard with a broad smile, considering himself to be an extreme traveller. But how on earth have these exchange students ended up in Finland? Foreigners generally explain that they pick Finland because of its high standard
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
of education. But among them there are also some like Griffin from Tennessee in the US who picked Finland for more unusual reasons. He explained to me that he came to Finland because he knew absolutely nothing about the country preciously. Secretly I was extremely pleased that he at least knew that Finland was a proper country! On the other hand, Hungarian exchange student Judith, a sport fan, commented (as if it was self evident) that “Of course, I came to Finland because you won the world championship in ice hockey!” You can judge from Judith’s reasons how the image of Finland is built up out of some very varied and surprising elements. At some point, during the exchange year, the seemingly endless Finnish snowfall can create a state of shock for these students. In November Tennessee boy Griffin was wearing one puffer jacket over another, when in February he finally understood that when the temperature hovers around zero, it feels like balmy tropical weather after a hard frost!
Once the ‘incomers’ get the hang of the dark, cycling in freezing temperatures and over-priced alcohol sold in special shops closing at six, they fall in love with Finland. It is so fantastic to hear Barcelonan Alba singing in Spanish-accented Finnish “I’m moving forever to Helsinki!” or to see French girls bearing their souls and proclaiming that “Finland is here”. So when is that moment when the image of Finland changes from the freezing blizzard to enchanting northern lights? Exchanges create permanent fans of Finland abroad who spread the word in their own countries about this Northern land. Fins still need national and cultural diversity, even though the world is facing multiculturalism and globalisation. We should recognize each other`s cultural style of living, learn to be open-minded and at the same time feel our own cultural beat. I hope that foreigners will see the original Finnish lifestyle and take on the culture with interest - just as we all should do while facing other cultural contrasts.
Get together to celebrate
North & Baltic Regional Congress 2012 “Quality of Life – Inequality of Europe”
Kristīne Krumberga EGEA Riga
From 19th to 24th April 2012 in Sigulda, Latvia, North & Baltic Regional congress brought together 81 geographers from 18 countries and 36 universities around Europe. The whole structure of the event was based on teamwork; cross-cultural cooperation; the exchange of knowledge, views and ideas; in one word: communication. This started with the division of the participants into rooms, workshops, games, etc. and ended with the evening activities and standing in queues to use the bathroom or for food. During the congress there were 3 trainings, one of which was related to teambuilding through creative arts by using mainly participants’ body language, facial expressions and voice but not language.
Figure 2: EGEA birthday cake
Therefore it was a chance to explore each person’s own unique character, communication skills and inner limits by using this kind of interaction. Additionally, excursions and field studies were the way to get to know and understand the congress location and Latvia in general, since participants had not only come to the congress, but they were also visiting Latvia. In 2 hiking and walking tours participants explored the Medieval towns of Sigulda and of Turaida, as well as their surroundings, and on the third excursion the participants visited three places that represent the heritage of the Soviet Figure 1: Human pyramid times. The most significant activity of celebration and exploration of During the congress a human pyramide European interculturality was the colour- (Figure 1) was made as a surprise presful and diverse Cultural Fair with coun- ent for Clarissa (EGEA Wien) and Florentries’ presentations – you could have a tina (EGEA Iasi) who both had a birthday chance to pass the immigration exam of at the same day (April 20th). At the same Denmark, see how bad at football Aus- time this can be considered as a present trians are, join traditional German every- for EGEA 25 years – a symbol proving that day life, challenge your jumping skills in a no matter how different we are, we alRomanian game, as well as many, many ways can be united for a good, common more small reflections of European diver- purpose and no matter how far we are, sity. we always can feel close to each other.
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Many cultures at the Eastern Regional Congress 2012 Teodóra Kristóf EGEA Szeged
Zsolt Molnár EGEA Budapest
For most people it is a nice opportunity and experience to meet people from different countries and cultures. Perhaps, it is not a coincidence that this is one of the most precious values of EGEA. A good example of when many cultures meet is an international congress. EGEA has five congresses every year, and each of them attracts many participants. When you organize a congress, it is very important to pay attention to every detail, especially if you have not attended and organized an EGEA congress before. Budapest is a candidating entity and it occured - due to some special circumstances - that we got a chance to organise the Eastern Regional Congress 2012. Being a newbie entity, we had some problems with how to manage our lack of knowledge of about EGEA traditions. We had one experienced EGEAn in the Organising Team, but the remaining nine members have never attended a congress or seminar before. This background resulted in some extra tasks which we had to solve (how to build the program, how to organise the CP day and workshops etc). Besides these unusual circumstances, our team faced many common challenges during the five month of the organisational period. We received tonnes of emails every day and spent lots of time managing all the tiny tasks we had. Sometimes we even ran out of time with deadlines concerning cancelling the invalid registrations and getting new participants. However, in the end everything turned out fine; every problem was solved and we
Figure 2: Workshop in the sun (Source: Molnár)
Figure 1: Opening ceremony (Source: Kristóf)
realized that anything can be done by a group of enthusiastic people. In the case of the ERC 2012, the participants came to join the congress from 13 countries - we could not have imagined a broader spectrum of cultures! Therefore we had three goals for the congress: to go on with the EGEA traditions as much as we could, to introduce something new into the congress, and to acquaint the participants with the Hungarian culture and spirit. To achieve these goals we prepared some rules. We did not organise the room schedule - participants pulled the number of their rooms out of a box so that the roommates’ nationalities were totally mixed. We also did not
forget about the Hungarian tastes, so we put Hungarian sweets into everybody’s welcome package. During the first night of the congress we presented a Hungaricum - a geography quiz game (called Nemerkényi competition), which is well-known in Hungary, but was new in EGEA. The structure of the game was the following: there were five participants in each team. During the context there were several questions to be answered. Some of them were related to geography, others were more like a fun addition to the scientific part (for example the participants got beer stickers and they had to figure out where the beer factory was located). We hope this was not the last appearance of such a game in EGEA history! Of course that was not the only new thing in our pocket! The best opportunity to get to know the participants’ culture was the second night’s main event, the Cultural Fair and EGEA Vision. During the Cultural Fair every participating country – except the organizing country - presented themselves by something special, from the Slovakian honeywine, to the Spanish tortilla, up to the Ukrainian cordials - everything you need to have a great culinary experience. You can imagine how it established the atmosphere of the evening. The EGEA Vision was a new activity in EGEA as well. As the date of the congress was very close to the popular competition called Eurovision Song Contest, we decided to organise our own ERC competition. We asked every country to choose and to sing a song from their country. The competion was won by the Russian team. The game was very popular and it was a great success, there-
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Figure 3: Enjoying the EGEA-Vision (Source: Kristóf)
fore we are sure that it was not the last EGEA Vision in EGEA history. During this evening everybody networked and got to know more about other participants’ culture, so it was no wonder that in the morning somebody woke up with a German flag in his bed. Of course we also included the ”Hungarian Night” in the program. It is not hard to guess what the main theme of this night was. We tried to present most of our specialties like the fruit juice, bread with lard and onion, túró rudi, salami, paprika, our famous Hungarian wines, and the participants made a close friendship with our pálinka. During the night, a local band played Hungarian and international music and we hope that some Hungarian songs will be familiar to the participants if they come to Hungary again. The unique feature of the band was that the lead singer was a member of the Organising Team of ERC. During the excursion day one group visited our beautiful capital and two groups had an ”easy” hike to the Visegrád Hills to see the gorgeous landscape of the Danube Bend. The homecoming participants were given a cold Hungarian beer which increased the satisfaction level of the participants.
Figure 5: The typical Hungarian Pálinka (Source: Kristóf)
We really hope that our participants enjoyed the congress as much as we - the Organising Team - did. It is a pity that as Organisers we did not have enough time to get to know all of the foreigners and have conversations with them. Still, it was a great experience for us to be involved in such an international event. During the congress lots of friendships were made and we hope that we can meet with all of the participants again as soon as possible. As a closing pharagraph, we would like to share some fun facts of the Organising Team: • Nora (or the coffee?) was the engine of the entire process. She plays the violin and likes watching soccer games. She might be German or Spanish. • Taki (born as Peter) is always smiling but always tired as hell! • Teodora is the one who knows the egea rules! She is an EGEA Dinosaur but we’ll never let her become extinct. • Zsolti Váry is a walking calendar and a calculator. He used to play American football and he likes fantasy books.
Figure 4: The participants perfoming a Hungarian dance (Source: Molnár)
Of course we also provided trainings for our participants, and those people who wanted to have some outdoor activity could join our bike excurisons. The excurison was an easy tour around the location of the congress. The speciality of the tour was the fact that the path led the participants through a nature reserve park that can only be visited with a designated tour guide. The last night was a very special event for all of us. We organized a Hawaiian theme barbeque for our beloved participants with hanging lanters all around. The dinner was followed by the traditional BDC. Most of the Organising Team members have never seen such a contest before, but they all got into the spirit of the event after the first few seconds and served the beer with gentle care.
• Chupi (Dóra) is a girl who sees the world through rose tinted glasses. Also, she is the queen of the dance floor. • Balázs was the leader of the sleeping workshop and the official organiser of the excrusions. • Pene is the most famous (or infamous!) geek geocelebrity of the recent student life of our University! He was also the music engine of the congress parties. • Berna is a hidden superstar with a golden voice, and our precious designer. • Zsolti Molnár is a professional photographer and he is an ice hockey fan (as are all the people from his home town Székesfehérvár -and we have four of them in the OrgaTeam!). • Anita is our most active member concerning the gossip box. No more information needed here.
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
As EGEA grows bigger, Europe comes closer Have you ever wondered why the Board of EGEA (BoE) has so many live meetings? What do they do during those meetings? And what it is like working together with people from 6 different countries and with a variety of cultural backgrounds? Especially for you, the BoE has kept a diary of their experiences. It is a unique insight into the lives of your board members. Enjoy reading it, and hopefully you will get inspired to live such a life as well one day! Utrecht, The Netherlands 17.09-20.09 2011 Welcome to EGEA headquarters! The Board of EGEA 2011/2012 was approved at the General Assembly in Ebermannstadt, Germany. The new team which was supposed to run EGEA through the year consists of 6 people from 6 different countries. We barely knew each other before the Annual Congress 2011. But one thing was obvious: we all have different cultural background. Sanne, Henning and Kristel are from one “neighborhood” – the cross border region between the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. They represent western region of EGEA in the team. Asia and I are from Eastern region, from the Slavic countries, Russia and Poland respectively. And Michael is the one representative of the Nordic culture as he comes from Copenhagen, Denmark. We were all curious about how to work in such a diverse team and how this year would turn out for us and for EGEA. Our first live meeting was set right after the General Assembly with the aims of launching all of our projects, the assigning of tasks, and getting to know each other better. For the location we chose the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands where the EGEA headquarters are based. It is obligatory for the Board of EGEA to have one of the first meetings in Utrecht. There are some formal procedures which should be followed in order to arrange the work of the board. These include: visiting the Chamber of Commerce and the Rabobank office to sign some official documents. Also the city of Utrecht is the residence place of the Secretariat Director, who runs the EGEA Secretariat and is responsible for all paper work and communication with our Dutch partners such as ESRI and Utrecht University and its officials. Sanne Heijt, EGEA’s Secretariat Director, hosted all of us in her nice twostorey apartment. She took care of everything, from arranging all of the meetings, booking a room in the library for meetings, to sharing her positive attitude and inspiration with us. One of the strongest feelings which I experienced while visiting Utrecht was the time spent in the EGEA room and EGEA archive in the university. I would say that each dedicated EGEAn should visit the heart and the system unit of our be-
loved association. I was impressed by the EGEA archive which has been already accumulated for 25 years. When you take handwritten letters, invitations, and editions of the European Geographer from 1994, you will have very strong feelings. You will feel how the past coexists with the present. You realise that just 15 years ago there were no e-mails, 10 years ago – no skype, 5 years ago – no facebook… How could students keep the connection amongst each other? I am still wondering how EGEA was managed without all these means of communication. In between work we had to find time for socialising and team building which was not a hard task at all because of the amazing people who make up the Board. Besides that, we had a great opportunity to learn about Dutch culture and to experience the Dutch way of living. The city of Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of about 300 000, and is famous for hosting the largest university in the country. The ancient city of Utrecht was founded by the Romans and was invaded by Germanic tribes in the 3rd century. Many years later, in 1579, the Union of Utrecht was signed. It was the beginning of the Dutch Republic. What are my cultural memories from the Netherlands? I like very much Dutch herring, fries and of course bicycles! During these 3 days of the meeting we were moving a lot, from one meeting place to another. But we did not walk at all, we cycled… Besides my personal experience, I have learned a lot while talking with local people about Dutch culture and habits. In our discussions we agreed that Dutch people are always loud (means, very loud…), but also punctual. And they all love to travel around with their caravans so that you can take all necessary stuff with you and feel like you are at home,
Figure 1: Aachen (Source: Poulsen)
wherever in Europe you are. But even during car trips, they always take their bikes with them! Eventually, 3 days in Utrecht passed and we had to leave the city. But we were not upset. We knew that in next days we would meet on Skype. And moreover, in four weeks only, we would meet in Aachen - this time at the Henning’s place. Svetlana Samsonova President (EGEA Moscow) Aachen, Germany 21.10-24.10.2011 The old capital of the Carolingian Empire provided a symbolic setting for our second live-meeting. Here, almost 1,198 years after the burial of Charlemagne in the Cathedral of Aachen, I attended a meeting between a Dutch, a German, a Pole, a Russian and a Dane, the latter being myself. Our last fellow board member was at the sea and unfortunately could not join us. Nevertheless, it was memorable experience. The month that had passed since the General Assembly in Ebermannstadt and the first meeting in Utrecht had allowed me to become familiar with many new tasks and to get settled with the whole Board of EGEA life. A live meeting is very different from communicating via computer. The one is not better than the other but they are different, and using both forms of meeting and communication allows for an important synergy. In order to have good livemeetings, it is necessary to have good and continuous communication between the meetings and in order to have good communication between the meetings, it is important to have good live-meetings. The result was evident in Aachen. Even though our acquaintance was rather
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Figure 2: Warsaw (Source: Berger)
vague before the Annual Congress that year, already after a month in the board it felt like a reunion between old friends. Although this was only the beginning, we were already an integrated team. I shall not pretend that we knew each other very well at this point. We had hardly had time to get to know each other. The team spirit, however, was very evident. Maybe this was due to the common project which we shared, all being in the board. Or maybe it was due to a constructive and open attitude with which we embarked upon the cooperation. Maybe it was a mix of both. If we talk specifically about culture the truth is that I did not notice any marked differences at this point. Sure we did not agree on everything from the outset, but we discussed and ended up agreeing on solutions that might divert more or less from our initial views. Of course it was evident that we would structure and work differently but this did not appear to be rooted in what might be perceived as cultural differences, but simply as differences that you might well find between you and your neighbour. One aspect, which I do find has an influence on our cooperation though, is the language barrier. We are all capable English speakers but it is not our mother tongue and no one of us has mastered it to perfection. The risk that our interpretations diverted from what the speaker meant to say was thus not negligible. With time we have learned to adjust ourselves to each other but in the beginning of an international cooperation this is something to be aware of. In order to sum with regard to the theme of this issue, Many Cultures 4 Europe, I would say that at our meeting in Aachen I did not experience any cultural differences. All I would say is that our different origins might have instigated a larger curios-
ity in each other. This is not to say that culture should not play a role and should not be practiced. What I do venture saying though is that the role of culture and cultural differences is something we decide upon ourselves. If we focus on the differences as a problem they will become a problem. If we focus on the synergies, they will be able to be used with great results. If we do not focus on them, they are likely to become subordinate. Michael Poulsen Treasurer (EGEA Copenhagen) Warsaw, Poland 02.12-05.12 2011 The capital of Poland. Around 50 EGEAns from all over Europe came together. It was time for the Organization and Strategy Meeting and our third Board of EGEA meeting in Warszawa. I was quite excited to see the city again after 8 years and of course I was excited to see my nice colleagues from the board again. To save money from the small budget EGEA has, I decided to hitchhike to Berlin and stay there for one night at a friend’s place. The next morning, it was pretty cold, and I took the bus to Warszawa: ten hours of bus riding including free wifi and a cat in the bus at one of the stops. Finally in Warszawa it was time to say hello to all of the participants who were having dinner in a restaurant. This time we, the Board, stayed at Asia’s place which is a nice flat very close to the city center. Day two, it was time for our Board Meeting so we went to the city to a café close to the university. During our discussions about the points in the agenda we got a feeling for the life of the coffee addicted students in the capital of Poland. After a dinner at Asia’s place and further discussions it was finally time to join the
evening activity in a classical student’s bar close to the university. With some beers and nice chats it was not that late again after this long day for the Board of EGEA - time to sleep as tomorrow would be an another long day. The Organization and Strategy Meeting was due to start in the early morning. This is why I like such events: Young people from all over Europe come together to discuss about committees, Regional Congresses, the upcoming year, the future and to get ahead of EGEA in general. Everybody has different background and has the chance to give her or his opinion in the discussion. It was a two day session where we could convince ourselves of the legendary polish guest-friendliness. Everything was well organized around this meeting: We had nice food, a nice evening program and I felt very comfortable in Asia’s flat. I especially have to remark about the good coffee and homemade cake we got to help us to stay awake for a whole day! On Sunday, Kristel and quite a few of the participants had to leave, but for me, two more days in the city where waiting. On the Sunday evening we explored the highest bar in Europe with the last participants. An amazing view! On Monday the rest of the board for left home. I took Sveta to the quite confusing central station, where she left back to Moscow. It confused me so much that I got lost in Warszawa. I forgot the door code for Asia’s flat, and the mobile phone was out of battery. I could not reach her. After a few hours of waiting and thinking I managed to reach her online in a internet café and could finally get my luggage. It was time to say goodbye to our awesome host and Vice-President Asia! Time to move to my next host in the quarter called Praga. The meeting point was the geographers bar. Again it was a nice and long night with talks and discovering another site of this city with many faces. Finally, the next day it was time to go home again. In the end special thanks goes to Sander from Utrecht as Santa Claus and to EGEA Warszawa for organising the best Christmas party ever. I never had such a great (geographical) secret santa EGEA karaoke party before! Henning Kronen Secretary (EGEA Aachen)
Figure 3: Moscow (Source: Sieprath)
The European Geographer, 10th Issue
Figure 4: Paris (Source: Wawrynowicz)
Moscow, Russia 29.01-03.02 2012 Russia through the eyes of a Belgian girl. Can you compare Brussels to Moscow, two cities which represent a culture, a continent, an ideology. Am I ready for what am I about to experience? I decided to leave all prejudices behind me and let Moscow tell me its own story. Our Russian president, Sveta, arranged everything so that our meetings could be held at the very impressive Moscow State University (MSU). Unlike any other university I have visited, this one is not just a place for lectures and practicals. It is an entire city! Thousands of people live in this building. You can find all kinds of shops and services, as well as several restaurants. Despite the cold outside, we spotted people wearing shorts. You can easily live in this building for weeks, without having to go outside. Besides the meetings there was also time for some sightseeing. A visit of Moscow is not complete without visiting the Red Square. What a wonderful feeling to be in a place with so much history attached to it! As a real tourist I bought a set of Matrioskas as a souvenir. Another true Russian experience is the Banja. You can compare it to a sauna, only you scratch each other with branches and leaves from a tree. This evening was accompanied by the proper amount of Russian vodka and other drinks and meals. On the way back home we took a typical Russian taxi. It’s like hitch-hiking, only you pay the driver for the ride. For some reason we decided to step into one car all together: 8 people! I was sitting in the front seat together with Michael and Henning. Nobody remembers how this was possible. Then, it was time to suit up! We were ready for a cultural break. We went to see an opera in a beautiful theatre. The opera was in Italian, with Russian subtitles, but still we could enjoy this experience. I forget to mention that most of us fell asleep for at
least 15 minutes. During our stay, most of the transportation was done by metro. The metro of Moscow is one of the oldest and deepest in the world. The network is very good and efficient. A strange sight are people sitting at the bottom of the escalator watching the people. The purpose of their job remains unclear to me, it is said to be a remainder of communism. In that time everybody would have a job and it didn’t really need to be useful. I must add that I never felt unsafe here, unlike the metros in most other big cities. On the last day of our meeting at MSU, we met a professor of the university of Tver, 200km from Moscow. She was very interested in EGEA, and soon after our meeting the entity of EGEA Tver was founded. This way our meeting was also successful for our public relations. After reaching the end of our stay in Moscow, it was time to take the night train to Saint-Petersburg. We were staying in a sleeping compartment but I didn’t get much sleep because the meeting continued in the train. Yes, we are very devoted! In the middle of the night the conversations became very intense and it even evolved into a discussion about Belgian politics. You might wonder why our BoE slogan is ‘Die Kuh macht Muh’? Well, it all started in a restaurant in Moscow with a cow themed interior. It inspired us to imitate the sound of a cow in our own language. The German one was our favourite, and so it was decided! (After a lot of drinks, in the Banja…) Kristel Sieprath Annual Congress Organiser (EGEA Leuven)
Paris, France 16.03-19.03 2012 Three days were not enough… The capital of France - venue of our 5th live meeting- is known far and wide as the capital of fashion, the City of Lights, or the City of Art. However, it is many times forgotten that up until the middle of the last century it was also the capital of the French Empire, which mutually impacted a significant part of the world, especially in Asia and Africa. When speaking about multicultural relations, Paris could be an exemplary city that can present its high degree of variety, like not many cities in Europe. Because of this fact it was location with the perfect background for our “Many Cultures for Europe” preparatory meeting. At the meeting we were again 5 people – 4 members of the board joined by Chris, one of the EGEA committee speakers. When people from 5 different countries meet, especially after a break, there’s always a lot to talk about. Since it was already our 5th live meeting and we already knew each other very well I couldn’t focus on any cultural differences anymore. It might sound funny that there seem not to be more surprising national features that I could find in my colleagues, but – the more time we spend together and the more interactions we have had between, the less “exotic” we are to each other. The differences blur or disappear the more time we spend together, but still some of them are essential part of our meetings. Our “western” friends, usually typical early birds are a bit more punctual than I (I can only speak for myself here) which, in the beginning, made me feel guilty of my normal way of not sticking exactly to the planned schedule. I don’t want to say that I’m not punctual at all, but I’m used to not usually being that stressed about being on time. Namely , what I’m accustomed to is thet when there is a 5 minutes delay it’s still
fine, it doesn’t cause any social pressure or dissatisfaction. According to the stereotypical way of thinking about West, being a “world” of people who are always very ahead of the deadline with the planned work, or at least they make all the others sure that they are going to be on time. I must agree that the stereotype is largely true, but in many cases in our group it turned out to be an exaggeration. There are different people even in West. Actually, some of my colleagues represent a very stressless attitude. After all these months we have learnt to accept each other and went on to be more relaxed, which also improved our relationships. We are a bit like a family. Our different approach impacted our reciprocal behavior. We even took over some of the others’ habits. Speaking for myself I definitely became more punctual and organised, but also much more resistant due to the possession of the ability towork in different environments with people with unknown expectations. I’m even more open minded and tolerant. Of course in the work there were not only positive aspects, due to differences in our lifestyles we often couldn’t agree on the activities which we planned, for example, for our leisure time. Some of us preferred to spend time in a more undisturbed places, just talk and relax while others preferred to go party. I usually enjoy sightseeing and like to visit extraordinary undiscovered or not so popular touristic places. It makes our meetings a bit more difficult as it is not easy to satisfy everyone. This time we were in Paris therefore I would have liked to focus on the way the city itself influenced us. I could say three days for sure were not enough to experience the charm of the city and what it is really like to live here. Spending a delightful evening in Montmartre, tasting original French dishes, including onion soup and tasting wine in a restaurant with a true local atmosphere was a good start of hopefully further future city exploration.
Many Cultures for Europe - October 2012
Mitrovac, Serbia 02.05-06.05 2012 Since I was coming from another EGEA regional congress held in Budapest, I am carrying my suitcase, as usual filled with papers, my laptop and office materials we might need during our meetings. I guess this is the faith of a Secretariat Director. I am on my way to ‘Mitrovac’ for our sixth Board of EGEA live meeting. We have planned one full day to meet each other for a very, by this time, usual meeting. From an update on the breakfast table to a late night discussion, we always seem to carry our laptops and be busy with our tasks in EGEA. The main reason we have planned our meeting on the EGEA Euromed Regional Congress though is to get more affiliated with the Euromed region in EGEA. There are many different cultures in one region since the Euromed region stretches from Portugal to Turkey. There are as many countries as there are cultural differences. These are evolving into some different issues in this EGEA region. It is a region which is very important for EGEA as an association but it requires a lot of attention because of these cultural differences and the distance between its countries. We are all ready to join a number of participants from the Euromed region on this congress. We would like to get to know their thoughts on regional matters, their feelings on their region, and most of all how to overcome these differences. As I have never been to Serbia before I keep my eyes open. It is the so called ‘relaxed’ atmosphere that brings us out of our daily lives of stress. As always we stay busy performing our tasks, since this is a perfect opportunity for participating EGEA members to ask us questions and discuss issues that are related to their entities or committees. We enjoy the Serbian traditional food, we experiences the so called ‘Slava’ and
dance to traditional Serbian music. Not only among us, but we share this feeling of all being together with everybody. I am feeling very lucky. I am making friends, having fun with old friends, working together with the board and discussing vulnerable topics with young people from all over Europe. Moreover we are studying the geography of Serbia from different aspects. Although we all speak a different language as our mother tongue and grew up in different countries under different circumstances there is not any tension to be seen. Most of the participants seem to be proud of the place they are coming from. They share their traditions and habits with other people. For example, during the traditional cultural fair when all the participants share food and drinks from their own countries with each other. It does not create a distance between anyone, I noticed when the congress had come to an end and we were saying goodbye to each other. I am happy we are all making use of the new social media and the EGEA forum on our website. This way we are never far away from our friends. Back home I am talking to my board members about the congress and evaluating our meeting back in the old way (by Skype). We are sharing the experiences that we have had during our meeting and topics we have come across. We come to the conclusion that distance and cultural matters are apparently not all the reason for the issues with the Euromed region in the past. What the other factor is, we are not sure about yet. I am happy to know that all these young people are the future of Europe. It is important for all of us to spread this experience among all young Europeans. Sanne Heijt Secretariat Director (EGEA Utrecht)
What impressed me the most was Paris at night and in the rain. Wine, cheese, baguettes, maybe also the Louvre and for sure the Eiffel Tower are the symbols of this Mecca of mass tourism but experiencing rainy weather let me feel the famous, romantic face of the city with its real identity. A lot can be said about Paris, its magnificent atmosphere, night live, and rich multicultural and artistic background. However, Our meetings and discussing weighty matters in cafés, sometimes located on lovely backstreets, will stay in my memory more clearly and for longer than the famous landmarks. Joanna Wawrynowicz Vice President (EGEA Warszawa)
Figure 5: Paris (Source: Wawrynowicz)
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ISSN: 1605-6566 ÂŠ EGEA, Utrecht All rights reserved
Issue 10 of the European Geographer with articles inspired by the EGEA Seminar Many Cultures for Europe in La Rochelle July 2012
Published on Oct 1, 2012
Issue 10 of the European Geographer with articles inspired by the EGEA Seminar Many Cultures for Europe in La Rochelle July 2012