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Focus of the Year 2020/2021

What keeps Europe together: the European knowledge

The Focus of the Year 2020/2021 entitled “What keeps Europe together: the European knowledge” defines the theme of the Villa Vigoni programme for the next two years and, in addition to the already established formats of Villa Vigoni [Vigoni Students’ Forum, VigoniForEurope or the Vigoni Lecture], it includes events within the framework of the new BMBF-funded special project of the same title. The aim of the special project is, firstly, to establish and expand networks of strategic stakeholders with an European orientation who are active in Italy and Germany in the fields of science, education, politics, culture and business, and secondly, to raise awareness of the value of European knowledge traditions and innovations in the global world.

Knowledge as the cornerstone of democratic societies in Europe

All contemporary societies are “knowledge societies”, which regard access to education, training and knowledge as existential goods for social, economic and sustainable progress. With the focus for 2020 and 2021, Villa Vigoni would like to take a closer look from a German-Italian perspective at the genesis, circulation and diffusion of knowledge as the cornerstone and perhaps the most important capital of democratic societies in Europe.

Knowledge has never been as easily available as it is today, but its dissemination often appears chaotic and patchy. In particular, the intergenerational transmission of historical knowledge and political awareness, and the acceleration of the spread of unverified information represent a challenge for stakeholders in European politics and culture. This gives rise to new tasks: for example, the search for mediation channels that are suitable for a modern, “contemporary” dissemination of knowledge, or the obligation to critically examine the changes in liberal democracies as conceived, developed and defended in the Western world.

With its “knowledge programme” Villa Vigoni can refer to its “founding father”, Heinrich Mylius (1769-1855), who was convinced of the universal right to education. Throughout his life Mylius was committed to the accessbility of education and to the dissemination of knowledge, understood as a social, cultural and economic asset that forms the basis for the progress of a modern society.

Programme of the Focus of the Year

The Focus of the Year 2020/2021 particularly appeals to the younger generations; methodically and in terms of content, the major topic “knowledge” is developed in a multi-perspective and interdisciplinary manner. Villa Vigoni is convinced that the topic of knowledge is highly relevant to the future of a united Europe; the engagement with knowledge as a topic and the examination of the foundations and perspectives of Europe itself is the forum that the German-Italian Centre wants to work within, ideally by creating opportunities for experts and a broad audience to discuss the political and cultural self-image of Europe.

The Focus of the Year “What keeps Europe together: the European knowledge” includes seminars, panel discussions, publications and round table discussions with the following five focal points:

  • German-Italian education and training
  • scientific views on “knowledge“
  • Individual studies and research work
  • establish and expand networks of strategic stakeholders in Italy and Germany
  • Knowledge transfer for a wider audience

Focus of the Year: Projects

Focus of the Year: Events

Focus of The Year: Archive


Creativity, Sustainability, Progress: 250th Anniversary of the Birth of Enrico Mylius


Villa Vigoni for the European Year of Cultural Heritage