Independence of the Mind: Europe in a Changing World

Led by J. Peter Burgess
Jan 2005 - Dec 2006


A seminar series sponsored by the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), the French Embassy and the French Cultural Centre.

In observance of the 100th anniversary of Norwegian independence PRIO and the French Embassy are pleased to present a series of learned talks by some the world’s most prominent thinkers of religion, politics, and identity in Europe. Political independence is the lifeblood of the European political cultural heritage.

Modern philosophies of the state, culture and society have their origin in the European past. Yet all indicators suggest they will not end there. The destiny of European thought in the age of global inter-connectedness, global economics and global war seems far away from Europe.

Where do the paths of European thought lead? What is Europe? Who is the European?


  • 27 January  05      Alain Finkielkraut on European Identity. Read Finkielkraut's talk here (French)
                             Aftenposten on the Finkielkraut seminar
  • 7 March 05    Gilles Kepel on Europe and Islam
                            Interview with Kepel in Aftenposten.
                            Interview with Kepel in Dagbladet.
  • 28 April 05     André Glucksmann: West Versus West 
                             Op ed by Glucksmann in Wall Street Journal
                             Aftenposten on the Glucksmann seminar.
  • 24 May 05      Pascal Bruckner: European Masochism
                            Interview with Bruckner in Aftenposten
  • 14 June 05    Simone Veil on Europe and Peace
  • 27 January 06: Luc Ferry  on Secularism

  • 22 May 06: Bernhard Kouchner on the Right and Duty of Intervention

  • 07 Sept 06: Olivier Roy Islam in Europe - or European Islam. Read op ed by Olivier Roy in Dagbladet.

The seminars will be in French with simultaneous translation into Norwegian. The time and place of the seminars will be announced at and


Edited Volume

Burgess, J. Peter (ed.) (2006) Europeisk identitet / L'identité européenne [European Identity]. Oslo: Press. Tankens uavhengighet I.