Today marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of Re-Imagine Europa. Five years of building bridges and finding solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our time, working with an extensive network of researchers, civil society organizations, industry experts, media partners and policymakers. Our shared goal: to make possible a more prosperous, sustainable and fairer Europa.
Our late President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing founded Re-Imagine Europa in honor of his partnership and friendship with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as a non-partisan think-tank that would tackle big societal challenges and find solutions that go beyond personal, national, or partisan interests. Since then, Re-Imagine Europa (RIE) has developed an extensive work through its three Task Forces (Democracy in a Digital Society, Sustainable Food Systems and Innovation and An Ideal Fiscal System for the 21th Century), under the leadership of Erika Staël von Holstein, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “In just five years, we have become a recognized and respected actor for a wide range of stakeholders, as we have built a solid reputation as an innovative, independent and solutions-oriented think tank. We will continue using these strengths and capacities for the benefit of a stronger and more courageous Europe, working together with our growing network of strategic and knowledge partners”, declared the CEO on the occasion of RIE’s anniversary.
To fully understand our most pressing challenges and build consensus around them, Re-Imagine Europa works with the Narratives Methodology developed by Professors Andrzej Nowak, RIE’s Chief Narrative Scientists, and Contemporary Mythologies Scholar Marcin Napiórkowski. This innovative approach was successfully tested by the RIE PLANET project and its Sustainable Food System and Innovation Task Force, led by former Principal Administrator of the OECD Peter Kerns, and has received widespread interest among the research and policymaking communities.
RIE’s narratives approach facilitates building consensus and finding shared solutions even in such highly polarized debates as global food security. The next big milestone in this area will be the celebration of a Global Conference on Sustainability in Agriculture & Food Systems organized in collaboration with the OECD, the Institute of Agroecology, EUSage, the European Food Forum and ALLEA.
Narratives also play a great role in our democratic institutions. Digital technologies democratized the dissemination and access to information, but also allowed the massive dissemination of false or highly polarized information, impacting society and democracy in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. It is necessary to rethink our disrupted media landscape, including both social and traditional media.
At Re-Imagine Europa, we believe that there is potential for a digitally enabled media ecosystem able to reinforce the democratic process. This was the starting point for the work and the launch of Re-Imagine Europa’s task force on “Democracy in a Digital Society”, under the guidance of Professor Manuel Castells, and the creation of a new centre for Media Ecology Research (MER), under the direction of RIE’s research director Luca de Biase. Providing pragmatic socio-technical solutions to enable a more inclusive, transparent and trustful deliberative democracy in Europe is the key goal of Orbis, one of the projects in which Re-Imagine Europa is working together with Politecnico di Milano (leader of the initiative), the Athenian Agora for Democracy and Culture, the Center for European Political Studies (CEPS), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Center for Social Innovation (CSI), Associazione Copernicani, Novelcore, The Open University, the Prefecture of Western Greece, Rob de Matt, Unisystems, Université Côte d’Azur and Universitá della Svizzera Italiana.
New technologies are multidimensional and are also challenging existing fiscal systems. Building on the need to develop innovative and pioneering proposals to build a blueprint for an ideal fiscal system and a fairer and more competitive economic model for Europe in the 21st century because, Re-Imagine Europa also launched the Task Force on an Ideal Fiscal System for the 21st Century.
Over the last five years, we kept faithful to our unique perspective which allows to look to the future with a mind free from any pre-established scheme and to think about the long term instead of tomorrow, challenging conventional ways of thinking and proposing visionary and out-of-the-box solutions.
Challenging the way we think about essential topics of humanity is precisely the motto of the new Re-Imagine TALKS, a video podcasts series cohosted by Staël von Holstein and De Biase soon to be launched in collaboration with some leading European media. The series, coordinated by the journalist Lydia Aguirre, co-founder and COO of RIE, interviews great thinkers to reimagine some universal topics of humanity (Reimagine Power with Manuel Castells, Reimagine Capitalism with Rebecca Henderson, Reimagine Trust with Lisa Gansky, etc).
In the present and the future, with the constant guidance of our Advisory Board, chaired by Professor Maria João Rodrigues, Re-Imagine Europa will continue working with its immense network of strategic and knowledge partners, experts and collaborators on building solutions together to create a stronger, more competitive, and fairer Europe. And we want to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their constant support and inspiration!