We are back in Jena. Our journey through Central and Eastern Europe has come to an end. To summarize our experiences and adventures in one sentence is impossible. The places and people we visited were too different and diverse. A diversity that not only defines the transformation in Europe in recent decades, but would also characterize the work of a Future Center for German Unity and European Transformation.
We visited places where the political, social and economic upheavals since the collapse of state socialism are particularly evident and talked to a wide variety of people about their personal experiences of transformation. Our goal was to visit places and people in 10 countries in 10 days with “a camera, recording equipment and a backpack full of questions.” In the end, we traveled to 14 countries in 14 days: Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, including the autonomous Republic of Gagauzia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the autonomous Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany.
In total, we drove almost 6,000 kilometers, crossed 20 borders, published 26 texts with 72 photos and had countless exciting conversations. Of course, it was not possible for us to visit all the countries in Central and Eastern Europe in such a short time, and our reports on the places and people we reached are only excerpts that give an insight into the diversity of the people and their stories – and into the possible subject areas in a Future Center for German Unity and European Transformation in Jena.
The future must be understood and shaped from a European perspective – also in view of current developments. We can only do justice to German unity as well as European unification by taking into account their diversity and heterogeneity. Time and again, it is not the differences that are the cause of the problem, but the lack of mutual understanding.
At the end of our journey, something new begins: Our campaign for the application of the city of Jena and the Friedrich Schiller University for the Future Center for German Unity and European Transformation will be launched today. A campaign that will only be filled with life through your and your participation.
Text: Tobias Schwessinger
Photo: Christian Faludi