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The shocking and dramatic fire that destroyed a significant part of the Notre-Dame cathedral last week in Paris, France, has sparked an outpouring of emotions and debates about cultural heritage around the world, and especially in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron has since announced his wish to create a “cooperation mechanism” involving European Union Member States to improve the protection of “European heritage.” President Macron also made cultural headlines last year when he announced that 26 artifacts would be returned to Benin and asked two prominent scholars to reflect on the issue of repatriation and restitution of African art held in European museum collections.

This week we will consider the historical, political, societal and economic implications of the very notion of European cultural heritage. Is there a European collective memory, and what is it made up of? What would you expect to see in the House of European History in Brussels, Belgium? What is Europe’s shared cultural responsibility, especially regarding Europe’s colonial history and the question of artwork repatriation? What can the EU do in terms of cultural policy? Is cultural heritage a national matter? And how do we feel about spending to preserve versus spending for the future?

This Wednesday at 8pm, join us in 607 Hamilton Hall to discuss cultural heritage and the notion of a European collective memory.


European Wednesdays
Second Series | Eigth Session

European Wednesdays are a student-led weekly debate. No debate experience or political background is necessary, we encourage walk-ins, and we value diversity of perspectives.

Co-organized by Columbia European Society and GEG Columbia (a chapter of Groupe d'Études Géopolitiques).