Rémi Brague to be awarded 2016 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values

Bild RB 2To commemorate his extensive scholarly work on religions in Europe and his reflections on European society, the French philosopher Rémi Brague will be the third scholar to be awarded the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values; a prize initiated by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities with the friendly support by Stiftung Mercator.

The prize will be awarded to philosopher Professor Rémi Brague by EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, in the premises of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna on 18 April 2016. His research is an important reference point for the comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam today. “Rémi Brague uses his extensive historical, philosophical and theological expertise to study the question what makes Europe a distinct cultural entity”, quotes Professor Günter Stock, ALLEA President and chairman of the prize jury. “He exposes the deep relationship between religion and culture, between the roots and the concepts of today. He is an eminent scholar of medieval theology, philosophy and culture of the three main religions bridging knowledge and beliefs of former times with contemporary problems.”

Rémi Brague, born in Paris in 1947, is professor emeritus of Arabic and medieval philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and holds the Romano Guardini chair of philosophy (emeritus) at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Professor Brague’s work provides an invaluable wealth of analysis on the interplay between Judaism, Christianity and Islam as they progressed through history. His best-known works are Europe, la voie romaine (1992) (E: Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization (2009), Au moyen du Moyen Age: Philosophies médiévales en chrétienté, judaïsme et islam  (2006) (E: Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (2009) and La Loi de Dieu. Histoire philosophique d’une alliance (2005) (E: Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea (2008) and Du Dieu des Chrétiens et d’un ou deux autres (2008) (E: On the God of the Christians (and on one or two others) (2013).

The All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values is co-sponsored by Stiftung Mercator and endowed with 25,000 EUR. ALLEA established the prize to pay tribute to the boundless intellectual and cultural diversity and richness of Europe, and to highlight how outstanding scholarly work, particularly in the fields of the humanities and social sciences, contributes to the understanding of Europe as a cultural and intellectual entity. The first laureate, Professor Luisa Passerini, received the prize from former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in 2014 to honour her work on European cultural identity. In 2015, Professor Dame Helen Wallace was awarded the prize by EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas for her outstanding work on political studies and policy in Europe.


Click here to visit Rémi Brague’s website
Click here for more information about the All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values.

SAM High Level Group meets in Brussels for the first time

On 29 January the seven leading scientists who make up the European Commission’s new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group met for the first time in Brussels to discuss issues the advisors will tackle in the near future and to decide on the chairmanship of the Group. The meeting was also attended by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation as well as Andrus Ansip, the Commission’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

SAM is designed to assist the European Commission with high quality and timely advice. As of the end of the meeting, SAM is officially considered to be fully operational.

Chaired by Carlos Moedas, the first point on the agenda saw the designation of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the group. Henrik C. Wegener was subsequently appointed as Chair, with Elvira Fortunato as Deputy Chair. In the following, the group laid out, how cooperation with the wider scientific community, and especially with European academies and learned societies, will take place. Carlos Moedas was pleased with the outcome and said, the group’s “experience, expertise and plans to consult European Academies of Sciences and the wider scientific community, will make an important independent contribution to science advice for European policymaking”.

The group agreed that its first advice to the Commission will be on the topic of cybersecurity. The given advice is intended to support the Commission’s efforts to build trust in the development of the Digital Single Market.

In addition, the group will also focus on CO2 emissions testing from cars and vans, in order to improve future policies regulating their measurements.
A first document where the group will work out in more detail the scope of its future work will be published in a few weeks.

For more information on the Scientific Advice Mechanism please click here

Turkish academics: ALLEA supports declaration of International Human Rights Network of Academies

ALLEA fully supports the following declaration of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies, as published on 19 January 2016, on the recent developments involving Turkish academics:

‘The International Human Rights  Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (H.R. Network) supports and defends the rights of fellow academics, anywhere in the world, to peacefully express their lawful opinions and concerns. We, the members of the H.R. Network’s Executive Committee, are alarmed by the increasingly repressive and inflammatory reaction by Turkish government leaders, many university officials, and other intolerant individuals toward hundreds of our Turkish colleagues, solely because they publicly expressed humanitarian concerns about the grave crisis in south eastern Turkey. Surely, citizens of a democratic country such as Turkey, and its academics in particular, have a civic duty to remind their government, when deemed necessary, of its obligations to respect Turkey’s constitution, adhere to humanitarian standards for all of its citizens, and give priority to peaceful solutions in crisis situations.

We condemn any threats, false accusations, and incitement to violence against our colleagues by the government of Turkey, which is obligated, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to allow its citizens the “freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” In addition, we urge the government of Turkey to protect the rights of its citizens, to desist from threatening academics who are performing their civic duties by participating in governance, and to call its operatives to order – thereby discouraging hostile action against our colleagues.’

The original declaration of the International Human Rights Networks of Academies and Scholarly Societies can be accessed here.

To download this press release please click here.