13 November 2009. Two days were devoted for a path-breaking conference at ESPI on how to strengthen the European identity through the manifold opportunities, space can contribute to this goal. Prominent speakers and a multidisciplinary set of contributors made this event an outstanding contribution to the analysis oft the impact of space in a development of Europe.
Under the auspices of the Swedish EU Council Presidency, ESPI organised this conference on “European Identity through Space” on 12-13 November 2009 at its premises (programme download here). Keynote speaker were the Director General of ESA Jean-Jacques Dordain (keynote speech transcript) and Etelka Barsi-Pataki, former member of the European Parliament and now President of the Hungarian Chamber of Engineers. In their inspiring interventions, both pointed out how space can contribute in a variety of ways to raise European identity, opening the ground for the presentations of the first day of the conference. During these talks the state of the art was addressed such as technology, applications, security and global politics.
During the conference, front row from left: Jean-Jacques Dordain, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Harald Posch, Jacques Blamont
For the public evening event, ESPI welcomed Thomas Reiter, record holding ESA astronaut and member of the DLR Executive Board. In a lively presentation he shared his own experiences and promoted a clear message: research is our future, space needs to be understood as a possibility to cross geographical and cultural borders.
Thomas Reiter with the Chairman of ESPI's General Assembly Harald Posch (left) and ESPI Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl (right)
Thomas Reiter with conference organiser Blandina Baranes and Kai-Uwe Schrogl
The second day focused on the input from the humanities, especially how the arts, educational programmes, science communication and philosophy reflect and inspire the joint European efforts towards space. These topics as well as the fields of economy and industry were discussed critically. The international and interdisciplinary approach shed, that was summed up in the concluding roundtable, a different and unique light on space policy issues and space efforts as well.
As Sally Jane Norman, one of the speakers, emphasised: “This is a dialogue you cannot find anywhere else in the world but at ESPI.”
Speakers of the conference from left: Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Mathias Spude, Sally Jane Norman, Jacques Blamont, Alan Belward, Wolfgang Rathgeber, Blandina Baranes, Stephan Lingner, Moniel Verhoeven, Johannes von Thadden, Nina-Louisa Remuß, Jörg Kreisel, Werner Balogh and Peter Habison
Panel: (from left) Ulrike Landfester, Johannes von Thadden, Moniel Verhoeven, Blandina Baranes, Jacques Blamont and Kai-Uwe Schrogl
Emanating from the conference will be a flyer containing messages on Space for European Identity for decision makers, conference reports in journals of different disciplines and an edited volume on articles based on the presentation to be published in the series “Studies in Space Policy” prepared by ESPI at Springer WienNewYork.