Freedom Express Traces Back the Fall of Communism in Europe

The Forum 2000 Foundation has become a partner of the international project Freedom Express, organized by the Polish organization European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. Twenty-five years after the spectacular events that triggered the collapse of communism in Europe, the organizers of the campaign are once again asking questions about this watershed event. They aim to show young people what the world was like on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and they are asking a new generation of Europeans what, in their opinion, has survived of the spirit of community and solidarity of 1989.

For this project, a group of twenty young people aged 18–28 will go on a two-week journey from August 29 to September 14, 2014, across six countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Apart from the Czech Republic, the participants will visit Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The itinerary of the group includes meeting with former dissidents, visiting places of remembrance, street art projects, city games, joint filmmaking, and writing a blog.

“We are looking for twenty exceptional individuals born at roughly the same time as freedom in this part of Europe, who are creative, inquisitive, and passionate. They can be artists, they can be involved in social projects, and they can be humanities students,” explains Rafał Rogulski, Director of the Secretariat of the European Network.

The Freedom Express will get to Prague on September 9, 2014. During their two-day visit, the participants will explore Prague as the city of the Velvet Revolution, put themselves in the shoes of their peers who were beaten at Národní Street in 1989, and meet with former dissidents and underground members. How would they act in their forerunners’ situation? And what does freedom mean to them today? These are the questions the participants will reflect upon during their journey.

Candidates are welcome to apply to attend the journey at until the end of June. The applicants will be evaluated by an international jury.

Apart from information about the enrolment procedure and application form, the project website contains further materials connected with the 25-year anniversary of the fall of communism. It presents a calendar of the events of 1989–1993, interviews with witnesses of history, recent research by historians, political analysts, and sociologists from various countries on the impact the transformation has had on contemporary Europe, and texts on themes related to the Autumn of Nations in film, music and literature.

The project is thematically linked to the upcoming 18th annual Forum 2000 Conference entitled “Democracy and Its Discontents: A Quarter-Century After the Iron Curtain and Tiananmen” to be held October 12–15, 2014 in Prague and other Central European cities.