The books can only cover a part of reality: interview with Luc Martens

Miesięcznik Społeczno-Kulturalny MUTUUS
Nr 03, KWIECIEŃ 2017 r,



Introduce yourself. Who are you and what are you doing in this project?

- I’m Luc Martens, I’m by my education a professor and lector in greek. But after 10 years I went in politics and from that time I’m in politics. I was a director of a training center for politicians. I was member of parlament. I was member of a danish government. I was in majority, I was in the opposition so I know both sides of the politics. I was mayor of my city, the city of Brussel. I now have my responsibilities in the frame of the european platform with all the different associacion where local and regional authorities come together but I’m also a member of the Congress of the Council of Europe where I’m in the chamber of local authorities.

 And from there you came to this project?

 - Well, in my own city we have a knowledge center who is making very interesting work and also making many class works for youngsters. It’s also the place where our participation in this project started. They said, they need an expert, someone who have some experience in politics, who works still. So the youngsters asked me if it could be me and now I’m partially retired for these youngsters.

 Will you take part in this project in the future?

 - Surely. They asked me the same question and I said yes. It’s very interesting, it’s very motivating. We see that during these days the youngsters are blowing up and throwing hope. They are thinking, they are creating and they have much potential for the future. This experience for the youngsters will also be for the rest of their lives.


These youngsters have indeed a lot of potential but do you think that their opinions really matter? Can they really change the EU?

 - I think so. I’m even sure of that. We, in Belgium, when they come to us, we’ll make a meeting with one or two european commissionaires so they can listen to these youngsters. And I see at the same time that we have different opinions on creating this European Union and we feel the need to save the EU. But there is also a new mindset. I see on Twitter that one of the european commissionaires said that it’s great success that a lot of youngster party is interested in volunteering and they are creative and he wanted to have some ideas and he got a lot of them. I think what’s happening here and in the different places in the similar way have the positive influence to create the EU.

 Do EU have plans for more projects like this?

 - I hope so. I think that there are a lot of politicians who want to be the porte parole, the speaker of that idea. We have to insist on European commissionaires to give more means to have more this kind of projects. Tomorrow I’m in Amsterdam, I have a meeting with two European commissionaires about the role of the local authorities in the immigration and I will use that moment also to speak about this seminar.

 This project is also about different way of thinking about libraries. Do you think it’s good that people think that libraries are only places with books or should libraries be a social place where people meet and have a good time?

- Yes, even in my own city, when I started eleven years ago or even twelve, I was a newly elected mayor and first decision was to place three different libraries and make one big knowledge center and there was great dynamics in this knowledge center. We see that all people, from youngsters to elders they come together. Not only to find books but also to discuss, to learn by other ways. Library is not only the place where you can find books but also where you learn, where you can meet people, where you find other means and other ways to become more a person. And that’s I think the mission for the libraries. The libraries use all the ages of the books but they can cover only a part of the reality. When we want all reality so we have all the other. Always change library to build new knowledge, news skills, to have discussion, to have debates, to meet people. All things inspire us.



Interviewed by Piotr Sadłowski- EYIA reporter

Photo by Weronika Szpucha- EYIA photographer


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