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Participating in Europaeum Events

1. One of the Europaeum’s guiding principles is ethical leadership. We therefore expect participants at our events to conduct themselves ethically and to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. We also believe that Europaeum events should be spaces for the free exchange of ideas.

Please ensure that you engage with other participants politely and with respect, even if you disagree with them fundamentally. We encourage everyone to be open and honest with one another. Please do not take offence if someone comes across as brusque or if you feel that they have been a bit too blunt – it takes us all a bit of time to get to know one another and to adjust our ways of communication, especially when we come from different institutions and diverse cultural environments.

2. The Europaeum invites a wide range of people with a wide range of political positions to discuss issues. This means that you may from time to time hear from and discuss issues with people with whom you are deep disagreement. We do not endorse the positions of all speakers at our events. However, we believe that it is important to understand where people with other perspectives are coming from and the arguments they use/beliefs they hold – both in and of themselves, but especially for those who want to tackle that position. We will, however, not knowingly give a platform to anyone who we believe will use that platform to promote hate or discrimination.

3. What is said above about people equally applies to materials set for reading. Teaching materials used by the Europaeum are viewed by us, and by the partners with which we work, not as programmatic but as “tools for thinking with.” We believe they will help you figure out what you think about the issue, whether or not you agree with ideas in the piece in question and whether or not we endorse any of their opinions.

4. We do not want to suppress freedom of speech, but we do want to avoid discussing contentious issues in contentious ways, especially when they are not relevant to the aims of the event in question. The Israel-Palestine conflict, environmental issues, and transgender rights, for example, provoke strong emotions in many people. If such topics come up in discussion, we suggest the following rules of thumb:

  • if the controversial topic is not relevant to the matter in hand, return the discussion to the main topic. If it is relevant, try to ensure that everyone remains focussed on the aspects of it that are relevant to the main discussion (e.g. European policy);
  • if the group is going to discuss the controversial topic, then remember that some in the group may be more directly impacted by issues that surround it than you are.
  • respect one another’s opinions. Someone can feel passionately about a subject but someone else may feel just as passionately about it while taking a very different view;
  • avoid using terms that are derogatory (e.g. anti-Islamic or antisemitic). Some phrases that seem innocuous may have other connotations and so are best avoided; equally, avoid using terms that group people who have disparate views or identities together. Such an approach is more likely to lead to prejudicial and uninformed statements.
  • recognise that there is a spectrum of opinions within the larger groups involved and these change over time;
  • acknowledge that this is a very complex situation that more experienced people than them have failed to solve for decades. It’s unlikely that they can solve it in a short discussion and it’s unlikely that they are experts on the topic;

In the event of disagreement, the opinion of the Europaeum staff member present or other faculty member moderating discussion about what constitutes acceptable speech is always final.

5. Many of the Europaeum’s talks and workshops are completely open and the speakers/participants will not claim any confidentiality. In other cases, particularly where speakers are either in a difficult situation and talking about it (e.g. if claiming asylum) or where they are in an ongoing policy role, they may ask for you to keep what they have said confidential. We will always ask them to make it clear if this is the case. Please respect their requests in these circumstances and be especially careful what you post on social media.

In some cases we will operate under the Chatham House Rule. Under the Chatham House Rule you can use the information you hear in a general sense and act upon it. But you cannot disclose where or how you heard it or in any way give any clue as to the identity or affiliation of the person from whom you received it, nor can you reveal anything that might allow other participants in the discussion to be identified. It is imperative that you observe it when we do as our speakers/guests will usually have only agreed to speak under condition that the rule is observed. Often this will apply to the whole session; sometimes the speaker/guest will specify that it only applies to part of the session.