Dear members of the Coimbra Group of Universities, dear Professors, dear students,
Time is flying and this is already the seventh Arenberg Coimbra Group Prize Award for European Excellence.
I still remember the first Prize Award at the Finnish University of Turku as if it were yesterday.
In the meantime though, and this is the merit of Dr. Inge Knudsen and her team in Brussels, the Prize has become better known among the European Universities of the Coimbra Group.
The Prize Award was the idea of the President of the Arenberg Foundation, Minister of State Mark Eyskens, former Belgian Prime Minister and of Professor Guido Langouche from the University of Leuven that has very old ties with Ireland and the Irish culture.
I made the long trip and came here today to encourage this remarkable effort, this week being my „Marathon week“ to promote the cultural activities of the Arenberg Foundation in Belgium, Holland, France, Ireland and Germany.
Never before, did we receive so many applicants and very surprisingly from many and varied disciplines, especially from the scientific sector.
Once more, proof is given that vision, stamina, a long term view and improved communication in a positive spirit between Europeans can produce results on the ground.
I came to Galway for the first and until now last time in … 1978 with my group of twenty youngsters to discover your enchanting island .
During our stay in Ireland, we hitch-hiked through the country, visited the beautiful Aran Islands, discovered that the Gaelic language was still spoken in the area and that rain was our best companion when we hiked to the Dingle Peninsula, Mount Brendan and the Blasket Island.
At that time, roads were very narrow and, while driving, you had to remain in the middle of them to avoid going into a ditch.
This was shortly after Ireland joined the EEC, as it did exactly forty years ago in 1973 and this event is celebrated here at the conference. I didn’t recognize the country, especially the airport and the road network, when I came back here for a short fly fishing trip to lakes located between Dublin and Belfast in 2011.
2013 is also the 25th birthday of the first Coimbra Group meeting here in Galway.
The Arenberg Foundation is promoting Culture and History in a European spirit and I can imagine very well that Irish people, especially in this part of the country, the cradle of the often threatened Gaelic language, understand me much better than people belonging to majority cultures where less effort is required to keep identity, language and customs alive.
Culture is of paramount importance as also underlined by the Coimbra Group on many occasions, and the current difficult discussion about the Euro is only emphasizing the different European cultures, the Northern and Southern countries having clearly different ideas about what a currency should be and how a national economy should be managed.
A lively debate about those issues is advantageous as long as courtesy and a will to find positive solutions remain on the agenda of the decision makers.
Indeed, the European Union is not about a common market and economic advantages. It is above all a common project of the European peoples to shape a common destiny.
The original idea was to make a third world war between our countries impossible and the Founding Fathers have largely succeeded in this, although younger generations often take for granted what is not evident at all.
Today, the idea is to be together, to join forces and become stronger, to face future challenges, good or bad, coming from the big players, current and aspiring ones, namely the United States of America, China, India, Russia, Brazil as well as the ASEAN bloc.
The first step to learn to live together is to address the concerns of the peoples of Europe, living within State boundaries often shaped over the last millenium and willing to keep this heritage alive as well as their languages and cultures.
This is possible. The fact of living in Switzerland has taught me that different peoples can live together in prosperity without losing their collective identities when these identities are protected by a territory – read : the canton, an official language or languages – read : Swiss German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romance and institutions that cater to the specific needs of these cultures.
Instead of not addressing these concerns at all, instead of promoting a ‘whishy washy’ multiculturalism or only emphasizing economic advantages, read subsidies from Brussels, decision makers could stress more the concept of ‘interculturalism on a territorial basis’, good fences making good neighbours, in order to give to the peoples of Europe a clear sign that the European project will respect the different identities to be successful in the long term.
Many people would like to get involved in the European project, mainly in a positive way, but do not see how to do it and feel impotent in face of a bureaucracy only tolerated when it dishes out goodies paid for by others.
As European citizens, it is our challenge to keep up with the famous sentence of this Irish American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who once said to the American people : ‘Instead of asking what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’ in the typical entrepreneurial spirit so often displayed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Yes, what can we do for Europe, a unique project that no other continent has brought so far yet in such a peaceful way ?
Our answer was manifold :
We have opened our family archives to the public and created links between our family archives in Enghien, Belgium, the seat of the Arenberg Foundation and other national or university archives in Brussels, Leuven, Liège, Düsseldorf, Koblenz, Osnabrück, The Hague, Paris, Douai, Lille, Vienna, Krumnov, Simancas where Arenberg archives can be found. In total, imagine more than 2.5 km encompassing 1000 years of European history in eight countries.
We restore the family archives with the help of the German State Archives in Düsseldorf and Koblenz; this year for instance, we shall get back 385 parchements „put back in shape“ thanks to the help of Dr. Frank Bischoff and we shall decide upon a digitalisation programme.
We publish books ; this year, three new books will probably hit the stores ; the first about a trip of a blind duke to Italy in 1791, the second about a business woman in the Renaissance and the third about a city palace in Brussels ; we are working on three more books due to appear in the next three to five years.
We have three Prize Awards and currently work on a fourth project ; the Prize Awards are two Prizes for History since 1992, our Prize Award Arenberg Coimbra Group for European Excellence since 2007 and a new Prize Award since 2013 in collaboration with the College of Europe, Bruges in order to further the studies of federal mechanisms in a historical and comparative perspective.
We started our Chamber Music Concerts 10 years ago in the Bernese Oberland in collaboration with our Japanese partner, Joji Hattori and many private sponsors.
We organize conferences and events ; this year for instance, on June 10th, we shall have a debate in Berlin about « Europe, where do you want to go ? » in partnership with the German Stifterverband ; on November 15th, we shall present an exceptional document about the Crusades (1095-1187) together with Professor Jacques Paviot and the Société des Bibliophiles François in Paris. This document was found in our archives. Later on, we shall try to team up with the Brazilian Embassy and the Chamber of Commerce to plan a debate about « European Union – Federative Republic of Brazil, a partnership for the future ? »
We organize historical seminars as well ; this year, our seminar prepared by Prof. Martin Wrede in collaboration with the German Historical Institute in Paris will examine the links between the European nobility and Nations, « Adel und Nation ».
We are also trying to set up a public museum since years but the fight is not over yet.
To achieve those goals, we have the support of an exceptional board - former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens is its President - and of two scientific committees composed of university professors and archivists from five countries.
To know more about us, have a look at our website : www. arenbergfoundation.eu
Je m’excuse de vous avoir parlé seulement en Anglais. En effet, le projet européen est un projet interculturel et le premier témoignage de véritable respect pour l’Autre est l’apprentissage de sa langue, ce qui implique un effort soutenu de plusieurs années.
Die Menschen und die Völker wollen Respekt. Der erste Schritt um Respekt kundzutun ist die Sprache des anderen Volkes zu lernen mit dem man die engsten wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen pflegt oder mit dem man gemeinsame Grenzen teilt. Taten sind wichtiger als Worte.
De taal van een andere gemeenschap te leren is een bewijs van respect en de Vlamingen die gedurend honderd jaar voor hun taal moesten vechten hebben een zeer grote sensibiliteit voor het woord “cultuur“. Bijna waren hun dialecten, hun talen verdwenen en toch vonden zij in zichzelf de kracht om hun culturele doelen door te zetten en naar bijna een eeuw hun gewest op te bouwen.
In Paarl hebben hun afrikaanse verwante, de boers of Afrikaners, een taalmonument 1975 opgebouwd, een uniek monument gewijd tot een taal, symbool en ruggegraat van een bedreigd volk dat niet will uitsterven.
Se puede decir la misma cosa cuando se habla de la peninsula iberica donde algunas décadas atràs no se hablaba el catalan, el gallego, el valenciano, el mallorquin, el vasco. Los pueblos de Europa quieren mantener sus culturas regionales y nacionales y luchan por ellas cuando no es posible hacer otramente.
Na realidade, este fenômeno pode-se encontrar em cada parte do nosso mundo, de maneira mais e mais pronunciada no assim chamado terceiro mundo onde velhas culturas estào a pedir novo respeito e reconhecimento como se pode constatar em Turquia com os Curdos, em Peru com os Aymaras e Quechuas, no Canada com os primeiros ocupantes do pais, nos paises balticos com o renascimento das linguas locais.
Questo é anche successo in Italia dopo la seconda guerra mondiale e la cadduta del fascismo. Quello che era proibito é divenuto autorizzato, per esempio nel Trentino Alto-Adige dove la minoranzza austriaca ha dovuto lottare per i suoi diritti culturali e la sua autonomia prima d’ottenere il riconoscimento dello Stato Centrale.
Toje na Ukrainie, bozmojno videt kak russkoe nacelenje doljet borotsa chtoboui derjat prava govorit po rouski ve stranje kotoroja bila ranshe doma e kotoraja jest sitjas za granitsou uz perestroiki e glasnosta.
But let us talk now about the hero of the day, about our laureate, Juho Terrijärvi, from the University of Turku, a student in biotechnology who went to Heidelberg, the host university for the second or third time since we started the Prize Award, a clear proof that Heidelberg is an excellent host university.
Juho Terrijärvi was born in Tuusula on January 28th, 1987.
He graduated the Upper secondary school at the High School of Hyrylä in 2006.
Thereafter, he studied electronic engineering at the Helsinki University of Technology as a bachelor student for one year.
Between 2008 and 2012, he studied at the University of Turku, Finland where he became Master of Science in Technology.
His major subject was biotechnology and as a minor subject he studied process engineering, commerce and … German.
He is employed by his University as a Teacher and his duties include educational planning and research.
He teaches biotechnology laboratory exercise courses and manages project based learning courses with different universities and companies from the Turku area.
His research focuses include novel luminescent materials and device development for the detection of them, his research having not yet been published.
Juho Terrijärvi always wanted to stay some time abroad and get out of his comfort zone. At school, he learned several languages and one of them was German.
When the opportunity presented itself at the University to spend an exchange semester, he grabbed his chance and spent the winter semester of 2010 at the University of Heidelberg.
His main motivation was to study the language and to learn from another culture. He had some trouble in learning German in Finland since it isn’t an easy language but a stay in the country itself made quite a difference.
Besides the language skills, he also studied biotechnology and chemistry. One of his projects, was to study the effects of glucose on wound healing.
For this purpose, he learned the principle of growing human cancer cell lines, Western blots and other cultivation techniques.
The platform used to study wound healing was an impedometric cell sensor and using that platform awoke a novel concept of doing DNA analyses, which he tried at the University of Regensburg.
When his departure back to Finland in the beginning of 2011 became imminent, he realized that he didn’t want to go.
This is the reason why he applied for Master’s thesis positions in different German pharmaceutical companies and landed a job only 45 minutes after sending out his résumé to his boss to be.
He started to work for Merck Serono in Darmstadt, a city located not very far (30 km) from Heidelberg.
His group was researching autophagy, a means for mammalian cells to eat themselves during times of starvation. The idea was to stop autophagy from functionning to cause deaths during starvation to cancer cells, since in cancer cells autophagy is often activated due to their increased metabolism.
He worked for Merck Serono for six months until november 2011. During this time, his group had an impact with anticancer drugs and blockage of autophagy.
Juho Terrijärvi thinks that the Erasmus Exchange Programme was very important for him :
First, he had no experience of how to function in another culture; to work in Germany, he had to develop a taste for German culture.
Second, he thinks that Merck Serono would not have hired him without the laboratory experience at Heidelberg University.
Third, he could learn German by interacting with German as well with non-German people. All the written work, like in any other multinational corporation was done in English, but all the actual interaction with his colleagues and laboratory assistants was in German. Without knowing the language, he would have missed a lot of conversations in the laboratory environment.
Fourth, there is life after 4 o’clock and during week-ends. Thanks to his stay at Heidelberg, he could meet other young people and met them again while working for Merck Serono.
In a nutshell, he does not think that he could have achieved his Master’s thesis in Turku without the Erasmus exchange programme and enjoyed his time at Heidelberg.
For all these good reasons, the jury has decided to give him the 7th Arenberg Coimbra Group Prize Award 2013 and we wish him well in his future career. We congratulate him and ask him to come to the fore to receive his diploma.
Galway, May 23rd, 2013