The Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou, described the footprint of the current crisis and how we can shape the future in terms of social cohesion and solidarity, during the Graduation Ceremony at the University of Essex where she received an Honorary Doctorate.
On Thursday morning, the University of Essex (UK) conferred an Honorary Doctorate upon the Regional Governor of Attica, Rena Dourou.
During this special ceremony, Rena Dourou had the opportunity to talk about her experience of enriching the knowledge offered by the University, while describing the footprint of the crisis that Europe is currently going through, and giving her thoughts on how we can intervene to shape the conditions that will help improve the present and the future on the basis of promoting policies and interventions of social cohesion and solidarity.
“The proper tools for understanding and analyzing the current crucial times”
“This is not a personal but a collective honor. I owe it to the University of Essex, which gave me the proper tools to understand and analyze the current crucial times in Europe in general and in Greece in particular,” remarked Rena Dourou making a reference at the same time to her late Professor Ernesto Laclau:
“I treasure my memories of Ernesto Laclau, who directed the graduate programme in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex. His ideological and in-depth analysis concerning the key issue of emancipation changed my way of thinking and acting,” she observed.
“Greece,” Rena Dourou continued, “is currently facing a multi-faceted crisis together with other southern European countries. The economic crisis has highlighted all the inherent weaknesses of the Eurozone while the nationalist far right is on the rise. The widespread identity crisis that followed the economic crisis has now crystallized into a crisis of Democracy.
The migration / refugee phenomenon we are dealing with reveals the triple deficit characterizing the EU today: a democratic legitimacy deficit, a political leadership deficit and a lack of a common plan for the future,” the Regional Governor of Attica pointed out.
“The European project is tarnished by rising populist voices expressing simplistic and dangerous alternative views”
“Europe, faced with the images of people in distress who were in search of a better life, ought to respond to the crucial challenges based on fundamental values such as democracy, social inclusion, and solidarity. Values that made Europe great as a land of cultural diversity, freedom and hope,” Rena Dourou remarked and added that:
“Sixty years after its launch, the European project lacks unity and attractiveness - tarnished by rising populist voices expressing simplistic and dangerous alternative views.”
“It is up to us, women and men acting in the public sphere to act accordingly, in order to stop these dark forces and give hope for the future,” said the Regional Governor, who also wondered: “Does being a woman, ladies and gentlemen, give automatically more credibility to politics and political commitment?” I believe that things are much more complicated, and as contemporary gender theorists, like Judith Butler have established, we should emphasize on the changing variable, depending on the social context and the period of time. These two conditions, the social context and the special period of time, play a significant role nowadays both in Greece and in the case of the Region of Attica.”
“Do not accept anything less than you deserve”
Lastly, addressing this year's graduates, the Regional Governor, Rena Dourou, stressed:
“From the same desks of this prominent university to the front-bench of the Greek Parliament and the front line of political life in Greece during its most crucial period of the 21st century.
If I made it, I give you a single advice; No less.
Because you have the exceptional raw material regarding science and theory, the ideal working conditions and the vital source to start changing your microcosm and in the same time our little world. Go on then, even better and no less!”
Video with an extract from the Regional Governor’s speech, here.