French-German Workshop Series on “European Democracy and Integration" in Islamabad & Lahore (22nd and 23rd of May 2013)
Taking the historic 50th anniversary of the French-German Friendship Treaty (the ‘Elysée Treaty’), the Embassies of France and the Federal Republic of Germany in Islamabad supported a workshop series on “European Democracy and Integration”, on 22nd and 23rd of May 2013.
Organized in cooperation with the DAAD Long Term Guest Professorship and the Alliance Française in Lahore, this event brought together French, German, and Pakistani social scientists, specialized in European Studies. The aim was to foster public debate on European Affairs and to enhance academic interest in European Studies in Pakistan. The two half-day conferences consisted of keynote lectures and panel discussions.
The first event was hosted by the School of Politics & International Relations (SPIR) at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad on Wednesday 22nd of May where the participants based their discussions on the topic “Challenges to European Democracy Meets South-Asian Realities”. After welcome notes from Quaid-I-Azam Vice-chancellor, Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai and SPIR director Prof. Dr. Jaspal, the presentations began with Mr. Pierre Mayaudon, Deputy Head of Delegation of European Union (EU) who presented the historical and political roots of the construction of the European Union. Dr. Daniel Pinéu, Guest Lecturer at SPIR discussed some aspects of the EU as a security community in the process of regional integration. A panel discussion, including PD Dr. Claudia Wiesner, from the Finnish Research Centre in Political Thought and Conceptual Change, and Sylvie Jacquot-Barrault, Maître de Conférence at the Université Paris-Sud, debated notions of State, Power, Citizenship and Human rights in the European Union. The workshop was attended by over ninety students and faculty members of various social sciences departments of QAU.
The second conference titled “How far can European (Democratic) Integration Travel?” took place in Lahore at the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, LUMS, on Thursday 23rd of May. Following the welcome remarks by LUMS Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr.. Adil Najam and Prof. Dr. Waseem, the first panel started with the French Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Philippe Thiébaud, and the German Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Dr. Cyrill Nunn. Addressing the audience of students from various universities in Lahore, the Ambassadors their discussion on the importance of dialogue in a reconciliation process, in order to move forward and reach a compromise despite the differences. They emphasised the fact that the beginning of the European Union, and therefore the Franco-German reconciliation, was based on an economic integration to foster / underpin political integration and reconciliation in a step-by-step approach. As Asia doesn’t have a continent-wise regional organisation similar to the European Union, there is a need for a new model in Asia with the participation of all the countries in the region. During the second panel session dedicated to the economic aspects of the European Union, Mr. Thierry Schwarz, Head of Intellectual Exchange Department at Asia-Europe Foundation in Singapore, presented the findings of a survey on the perception of Europe in Asia; despite the absence of Pakistan in the study, he informed that the country could included next year. Then, Dr. Claudia Wiesner reviewed some aspects of the current Euro Crisis and debated in how far the Euro Crisis represents a challenge to European Democracy at the EU as well as member state levels. The vivid and controversial discussion included input from rtd. Ambassadors Sharyar Khan and Iqbal Khan, among others, which highlighted the importance as well as challenges of South Asia’s regional integration and lessons to be considered from the European case.
The workshop was attended by over seventy students and faculty members from LUMS, Government College Lahore and Foreman Christian College Lahore as well as members of the Pakistani youth parliament, among others.The proceedings of both conferences will be published in trilingual brochure (English, French, and German).
The workshop series concluded with a reception hosted by the French and the German Ambassadors in the premises shared by the French and the German Cultural Centres in Lahore, the Alliance Française and the Annemarie-Schimmel-Haus. The function was attended by academics, members of civil society, private sector, and government representatives including the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Najam Sethi.