Arenberg Foundation

Prize award Arenberg Coimbra, Groningen, Netherlands
Laureate: Mr Steven Otterman from the University of Göttingen June 20th

Duke Leopold d’Arenberg

“Europe is a fascinating place. Not simply because of its enthralling past, but also because of the interplay among the diverse cultures that coexist there today. Although modern Europeans enjoy a degree of peace and unity that is unprecedented on their continent, there is still much work to be done in the project of uniting Europe, and some, Euroskeptics, even believe that this European Union is bound to fail.”
These sentences were written by the laureate of our Arenberg Coimbra Group Prize 2014,  Steven Otterman.

He is right. Europe is a fascinating place and shows an example to the world.
We have learned - so far – to live together in peace and to resolve conflicts at the negotiation table instead of hastening to try to solve them - as before - on the battlefield.  We understand the vital importance of good working institutions and of the rule of law, the indispensable prerequisites for a prosperous social market economy.
But if you look at the world at large, we see that very old conflicts suppressed by colonialism come back to haunt us in an unsurprising way if you know your history, be it in Africa or in Asia.
New powers emerge in a multipolar world and 2014 has shown that not everybody has the same priorities as ours.

Some want to replace the concept of “human rights” with the concept of “rights for religions” or “might is right”, a bad omen for our individual freedom and creativity.
This year, two big players have seized and/or claimed territories in a way reminiscent of the nineteenth century. Is this the real beginning of the twenty first century? The future will tell.
It is yet another and good reason to build a peaceful, but strong Europe that has enough weight to convince others to listen very carefully to our wishes and respect our point of view.
Because we are showing the way. Not only because we can live together peacefully and respect each other’s cultures but also because we are building, slowly but surely, a federal structure at a continental level, a little bit like the Swiss did after 1848 when a rather loose confederation of 22 cantons became a genuine federation with a common defence and foreign policy as well as a strong currency, the Swiss Franc.

A unique adventure like the world had never seen before.
We are also more and more environment conscious and understand that we cannot go on wasting precious resources like we have done in the past.
Better, we are acting and showing the way, be it in solar, wind or geothermic energies.
The Arenberg Foundation is promoting Europe, its history and culture as well as European democracy at grass root level to help fostering true European citizens as so well represented by Steve Otterman.

Steve Otterman, un jeune étudiant de l’Université Georg-August de Göttingen, s’est inscrit pour un programme de maîtrise  en arts  et culture européens « Erasmus Mundus », d’une durée de deux ans, à son Alma Mater.

Ce programme prévoit un échange universitaire lors de la seconde année et c’est la raison pour laquelle notre lauréat s’est rendu à l’Université de Groningen, aux Pays-Bas, pour y passer un semestre au courant du printemps/été 2012.

Cet échange a été fructueux car il lui a permis, non seulement de mieux connaître la culture et la langue de van den Vondel mais également de compléter avec succès son programme de maîtrise.

En effet, c’est aux Pays-Bas qu’il a eu l’occasion de comparer les processus d’intégration en Europe avec ceux d’Asie du Sud-Est dans le cadre d’un séminaire offert par l’Université de Groningen.

Dans le cadre d’un autre cours intitulé ‘Compétences Européennes’, Steven Otterman a organisé un symposium sur la crise économique en Europe et son impact sur le futur de la construction européenne.

Un troisième cours ‘Théorie et Méthodologie’ lui a permis de se familiariser avec les méthodes de recherche pratiquées dans le domaine des sciences sociales.

Son mémoire s’est intéressé à la question de suivante : « Les citoyens européens peuvent-ils remédier au déficit démocratique de l’Union Européenne ? » à l’occasion de l’introduction d’un nouveau droit au référendum proposé aux citoyens du continent par la Commission européenne dans le cadre de l’Initiative Citoyenne Européenne.

Ce souci rejoint ceux du Groupe Coimbra et de la Fondation d’Arenberg qui sont les initiateurs de ce prix européen.

Nach dem erfolgreichen Abschluss seines Masterprogramms im vergangenen Jahr, hat sich Steven Otterman jetzt entschieden seinen Studiengang in den Vereinigten Staten fortzusetzen und an einer guten amerikanischen Universität internationales und europäisches Recht zu studieren.

Wir gratulieren dem Laureaten sehr herzlich und wünschen ihm viel Erfolg für den nächsten Schritt.

 

 

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