Oleksandra Matviichuk Holds Speech to Europe on 9 May 2023

Event announcement

“Those who survived the Second World War mourned the dead, rebuilt what had been destroyed, and established institutions to ensure international security. The recurring refrain of “Never again!“ evoked the dramatic lessons of history. Yet today, a war of aggression, destruction, and bloodshed is again raging in Europe, confronting us with the same question we asked ourselves eight decades ago: Are we willing to accept that military power dictates the rules of the game, or will we fight to protect people and their freedom through law?“ – Those are the key questions of this year’s Speech to Europe, which will be held by the Ukrainian human rights lawyer and activist Oleksandra Matviichuk on Europe Day 2023 at 19:00 CET.

After a three-year hiatus, the event, which simultaneously marks the beginning of this year's Wiener Festwochen program, returns to the Judenplatz in Vienna. The Speech to Europe allows public intellectuals to provide food for thought about the future of the European Project. Yale historian and IWM Permanent Fellow Timothy Snyder delivered the first Speech to Europe in 2019, in which he argued that Europe must face its history and shed the oft-repeated myth of innocent nation-states banding together in unity. Only if it comes to terms with its history as a congregation of failed empires will Europe become the beacon of hope it amounts to be, he contended. Watch the full speech by Timothy Snyder here:

This year, Oleksandra Matviichuk will address the European public under the banner “No Peace without Freedom, no Justice without Law.“ Time Magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2023. Her organization Center for Civil Liberties, which aims to protect human rights and establish democracy across the OSCE region, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

A joint event by Wiener Festwochen, ERSTE Foundation and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM). In Cooperation with the Jewish Museum Vienna.