Dissent, Conscience and the Wall 1989-2014 – Pre-1989 Tolerance of Dissent and Freedom of Conscience on Either Side of the Iron Curtain

29 November 2014

The first in a series of three symposia examining developments in freedom of conscience and dissent in public in Europe before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Keynote speaker: Edward Lucas, senior editor at The Economist.

Edward Lucas, is a senior editor at The Economist. An expert in energy, intelligence and cyber-security issues, he covered Central and Eastern Europe for more than 20 years, witnessing the final years of the last Cold War; the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet empire; Boris Yeltsin’s downfall and Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. As a foreign correspondent he has lived in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Moscow and the Baltic States. He speaks five languages besides English: German, Russian, Polish, Czech and Lithuanian. From 1992 to 1994, he was managing editor of The Baltic Independent, a weekly newspaper published in Tallinn. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he studied Polish at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow. The New Cold War (2008) was his first book; Deception, about east-west espionage, was published in 2011; The Snowden Operation was published as an e-book in 2014.

‘The Power of the Powerless’: Past Struggles and their Current Lessons

A video of this paper is available here.

Panel 1(Historical)

Alvaro Perez is a native of Spain, currently studying for his Master’s degree in history and critical thinking at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, in London.

Opening the Gates of Eden, On the Physicality of the Wall

Gianluca Costamagna is from Italy and studies medicine at the University of Pavia.

No barriers to dissent – the Girmann Group

Ulrich Nagel is from Germany, and is pursuing his PhD in early modern history at the University of Bonn.

Joachim Gauck: Freedom as leading principle of German Friedliche Revolution

Panel 2 (philosophical)

Andrei-Tudor Man is a native of Romania, and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in philosophy at Babes-Bolyai University, Romania.

Intellectuals and Romanian Communism

Clara Watson is from England, where she is reading for a Master’s degree in bioethics and medical law at St. Mary’s University.

Exploration of Wojtyła’s ‘The Acting Person’ and Kołakowski’s ‘Theses on Hope and Hopelessness’ as possible philosophical foundations of the Solidarity Movement in Poland

Gustel Warnberg is from Sweden, and is studying for one year at Queen Mary University of London, as part of his Bachelor programme in historical sciences at Uppsala University.

Secularism in late socialist societies

Nathan Pinkoski is Canadian, and completing his D.Phil at the University of Oxford.

Between Freedom, Tyranny, and Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss on Preserving the Moral Difference between East and West

Panel 3 (Cultural)

Gaia Coltorti joins us from Italy. She is a published novelist and recently graduated from La Sapienza University, Rome, with a Bachelors degree in English language and literature, with minors in Russia.

Censorship on the two sides of the Curtain and literary reactions in capitalist and communist worlds.

Maja Fabijanic is from Croatia, where she studies molecular biology at the University of Zagreb.

Science development on both sides of the Iron curtain

Alina Strelkovskaia is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in the theory and practice of contemporary art.

Soviet Nonconformist Art: Functional and Social Stipulation


This series has been organised by the Thomas More Institute in partnership with the European University Colleges Association and is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.