Truth and Love – Central European Forum, Bratislava 2012

Editors: Julia Sherwood, Andrea Puková
Publisher: Projekt Forum, Bratislava
Content: 65 pages, incl. 1 DVD
Year: 2013

The Central European Forum met from 15 to 18 November 2012 for the fourth time, bringing together writers, social scientists and civil society activists from Europe and worldwide at the Astorka/Korzo Theatre in Bratislava. This forum was organised by the Bratislava non-profit Project Forum together with the Prague-based Václav Havel Library – with ERSTE Foundation as a main partner – as one of the events marking the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Eight panel discussions, two exhibitions, film screenings and a concert were held in the course of the conference.

The publication Truth and Love presents 37 illustrious guests who reflected on this year’s main theme “Truth and Love” and on the issues of lies in the form of corrupt structures thriving in the countries of Central Europe. The panellists also dealt with old and new forms of hatred, racism, xenophobia and collective egotism. The speakers included: Jáchim Topol (CZ), Andrzej Stasiuk (PL), Oksana Zabuzho (UA), Vladimir Arsenijević (SRB), Drago Jančar (SLO), György Konrád (HU), Radka Denemarková (CZ), Zygmunt Bauman (PL), Anna Jermolaewa (RUS), Robert Menasse (AT), Adam Michnik (PL), Ivan M. Havel (CZ) and others.

The first panel, “Lies”, discussed in which ways lies manifest themselves in the respective countries of the speakers, as well as some universal mechanisms of lying and their impact on democracy. The second session, “Hatred”, opened discussion on the homonymous topic, while the third panel, “Stupidity”, focused on issues ranging from stupidity, the advantages and disadvantages of the computer, internet anonymity and the future of journalism. The fourth session, “Change”, dealt with the causes and effects of the worldwide street protests of the past two years. The fifth discussion, “Experts”, explored the power of experts today, the sixth, “Fear”, focused on freedom and democracy, while the seventh, “Love”, tried to answer the question: Do old people deserve our love and respect? The eighth and last panel, “Protest”, dealt with the relationship between power and free artistic expression.

This publication is available at ERSTE Foundation Library.

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.