Brussels, 16-19 October 2018
On 16 October 2018, the Committee of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union (CROCEU) had the honor to host the opening session of the 3rd Young Leaders Summit of the Asia-Europe Foundation (3rd AS.E.F.Y.L.S.), a conference of dialogue on “Ethical Leadership”. The event took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel (Ecumenical Patriarchate) in the heart of Brussels, where young participants from 51 countries gathered to exchange their views.
The Very Reverend Archimandrite Aimilianos Bogiannou, moderator of CROCEU, welcomed the participants on behalf of CROCEU and His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, with whose blessing the venue was offered.
The first part of the conference was a dialogue session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) with European statesmen and EU officials. The second part of the event-included speeches on the question “Where do Ethics stem from?” by distinguished academics, namely Prof. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers (Univ. of Karlsruhe), Prof. Amareswar Galla (International Institute for the Inclusive Museum), Dr. Razwana Begum Bt Abdul Rahim (Univ. of Singapore), and Reverend Fr. Prof. Dr. Sorin Selaru (Orthodox Theology at the Univ. of Bucharest).
Rev. Fr. Sorin Selaru, who represented CROCEU, shared some Christian Orthodox reflections on the topic. He tried to briefly explain how the Christian vision of the human being and its special concept of love (agapé) influenced in fact the modern ideas of democracy and human rights. A Christian understanding of society, as an interdependent communion or fellowship is based not only on service of the others, but also on the need of the other, he said. We need each other as God Himself accepted to need us when He has been in a position to depend on our mercy, to enjoy our love, and to suffer for our indifference. This idea of needing the other in order for one to grow and fulfil oneself as a human person in communion was then embodied in a concrete example of the history of the European Union. Fr. Sorin highlighted the fact that the statesman Robert Schuman (1886–1963), who is one of the founding fathers of the European Union, was also a religious person. His faith gave him the spiritual input to conceive a policy of reconciliation and efficient co-operation. Schuman’s original dream of a “community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian basic values” continues to be an impulse for Christians to believe and get involved in the project of a united Europe.
The conference concluded with a reflection session, where the young participants had the chance to intervene, pose questions, and share their views.
The Asia-Europe Foundation is a multi-cultural international organization based in Singapore, which promotes knowledge and mutual understanding among people and institutions of Asia and Europe, while CROCEU is the Committee of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Institutions which articulates with one voice concerns and contributions of the Orthodox Churches and its role in the world.