How to Survive a Democracy?

The Fall of the Wall Mini-Festival: a recovery brunch and reflection on young European democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Keynote speaker Polish activist and journalist Karolina Wigura: Want to save Europe? Learn from Poland!

In Cooperation With
Iron Curtain Project

Let op: dit programma is in het Engels.

The fall of the wall sparked a moment of hope and prosperity, things could only become better. This morning we will discuss how things stand in young European democracies in Eastern and Central Europe. Polish journalist and keynote speaker Karolina Wigura will reflect on current democratic backsliding in Poland. Her credo: ‘Want to save Europe? Learn from Poland’.

After we commemorated the fall of the wall Saturday evening in De Balie, we shake off the hangover during a recovery brunch. Together with Karolina Wigura and other panellists we discuss struggles in young European democracies as Poland, Hungary, Romania and Serbia. Why did democracy became a concept for many to distrust? Karolina Wigura calls for a move from politics of fear, which has seen the rise of the far-right, to a politics with a positive vision based on hope.

During brunch we serve scrambled eggs, toast, croissant and yoghurt. And of course, essential for a Sunday morning, coffee and tea. Note: you can also buy a ticket without brunch!

About the speakers

Karolina Wigura is a sociologist, historian of ideas and journalist. She is the Head of the Political Section of Kultura Liberalna (Liberal Culture), one of Poland’s leading weekly magazines. She is also an assistant professor at Warsaw University’s Institute of Sociology. Dr. Wigura has published two books and is a frequent commentator in the Polish and international media, featuring in The New York Times, Die Tageszeitung, Gazeta Wyborcza, and many other press outlets.

Michiel Luining is lecturer at Leiden University at the Institute of Public Administration. Luining’s research interests include European integration in general as well as specific European developments, such as the rule of law in the EU and Central-Eastern Europe.

Ivana Ivkovic does research and teaches in the field of political philosophy. She is owner of NoWhisfulThinking, which aims to bring philosophy to a broader audience. Ivkovic was born and raised during communist Yugoslavia under the reign of Tito, but also experienced the breakup of Yugoslavia and upcoming nationalism.

Foto Ivana Ivkovic: Sas Schilten.


Karolina WiguraSociologist, historian of ideas and journalist.
Michiel LuiningLecturer at Leiden University, specialized in Central-Eastern Europe, specifically Hungary.
Ivana Ivkovic Political philosopher
Mirthe Frese Moderator