Begegnungen... Crossroads... We have chosen this title for the periodical, the regularly published volumes of the book series launched by the Europe Institute Budapest. It wishes to promote the European integration process in such diverse fields as culture, science and political thinking. Further, it offers Hungary and the Central and Eastern European region ample help in finding its place within the integration process, economically, as well as in terms of its human relations. It wishes to provide the intellectual circles of the region assistance in finding those institutional frameworks which make everyday political and social life compatible with the rest of Europe’s political and social institutions. – These were the aims which guided the founders when deciding on the goals of the Institute.
Crossroads... It wishes to provide the intellectuals from Hungary and Europe a forum for international discussion in Budapest. For those who, following the fall of the Soviet system, wish to contribute to the European integration of the region. A forum, to which scholars from abroad and from Hungary are invited to hold lectures; a venue for the organization of conferences intended to discuss the definite tasks related to the integration process within Europe in general and to the integration of Hungary in specific. A place intended to become the venue of the encounter between intellectuals, where they can exchange views and get to know each other. The Institute shall thus become a humble and miniature motor of the “intellectual integration of Europe”...
Crossroads... We shall subdue the tensions which threaten to blow up the social constructions of Eastern and Central Europe. During the Soviet occupation, many have believed that once we introduce market economy and a multi-party political system, in not time the “East will catch up with the West”. “This is simply not how it goes”, – we said in the autumn of 1989. There has to be a change in the heads and minds – in the way of thinking, in the system of habits and customs – before a cultured and civilian society will emerge in this part of Europe. Unless we manage to resolve the social, national (i.e. ethnic), and other grievances which have been accumulated over the past centuries in Central and Eastern Europe, the European integration process as such may endangered and come to a standstill! –, we claimed.
Following 1991-1992, the attention of the world was caught by the emerging ethnic, religious and social conflicts in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the partition of Czechoslovakia, and even more intensely by the outbreak of the civil war in Yugoslavia. We shall create a forum within the Europe Institute Budapest which offers the leading intellectuals of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe a place of encounter, where they can meet each other. We envisaged this forum as a place where the leading intellectuals of the region are willing to sit down jointly at a table, even at times when the politicians withdraw from negotiating with each other.
Crossroads... We shall create a place in Budapest for the encounter of the members of the youngest generation of future scholars. We shall set up an institute where they can actually live together for a time (student residence), attend lectures on topics with European relevance and participate in seminars, where they can meet scholars who come to Budapest from all across the world. The Europe Institute Budapest shall be the place of encounter and a second home for young scholars of social sciences and for postgraduate students. The Institute shall become the shaper of those skills which are still prevalent in the young generation, namely intellectual openness and openness towards fellow humans, and it shall contribute to mutual recognition among the young. After being the Europe of igniting wars, the continent shall become the Europe of tolerance – and the Institute shall take its due share in these changes.
Crossroads... This is the title we chose for the publication series of our Institute. All our designed plans and grand scale investments are, though, only as much worth as many people and human intentions and willingness we are capable of mobilizing for our present incentives. And as to the question, whether our goals are realistic enough, it is once again up to the people to decide: Do our aims match what the people are interested in an their personal interests? The Europe Institute Budapest is a place of encounter between intellectuals (teachers, students, politicians, scholars) who deal intensely with a topic, become involved in round table talks and debates, exchange views on a given
subject matter – by allowing others to shape their views and by shaping themselves in the course of discussion –, thus contributing to the emergence of a new generation of European intellectuals...
“Begenungen” is the German term for “crossroads”. The first volume of the book series was published in spring 1995 and the above words are quotations from the foreword to the volume. Following the decision of the Board of Trustees and the Scientific Council of the Europe Institute Budapest, each year the Institute shall publish one volume within the publication series. It shall include the text of the lectures held at the conferences, the summaries of the articles written by the professors and students of the Institute, and the shortened version of the annual report on the scientific activity of the Institute (Jahresbericht über die wissenschaftliche Tätigkeit des Institutes), after having been presented to the Board of Trustees and the members of the Scientific Council by the director in the previous year. The articles published in the volumes of the book series shall be in any of the world languages (German, English, Russian, French) or in Hungarian.
The genre of a Year Book by definition attracts mainly the attention of a narrow audience made up of scholars of a specific scientific field. And it gives account of the activity of an institute. Thus, our volumes are also intended for a narrow circle of scientists and scholars, for those who wish to contribute to the embetterment of the quality of life of the Hungarian society, for “Europeanizing” its level of culture and material well-being, so as to meet European standards.
Budapest, April 1994