Trudy Rubin, the Worldview Columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, visited Bryn Mawr College on Tuesday, Oct. 2, to deliver the opening session of Europe on the Rocks.
Europe on the Rocks is a collaborative effort led by the Departments of French and Francophone Studies, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and the International Studies Program, to discuss European affairs in an informal forum. The roundtable will meet twice each semester.
In this opening session, titled “What Is Europe? What Is Left of the EU?” Rubin described her thoughts on the chaos of modern European politics and the rise of populist movements.
Rubin is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 2016 and 2001. She was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting in 2008, and in 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.
Much of Rubin’s talk focused on historical memory and its deterioration. She began by speaking about her personal experience as a student in Prague in the late 1960s. She explained how such experiences have influenced her as a journalist.
“If you grow up during the Cold War, if you were told to hide under your desk because the nuclear war was coming…that shapes your perspective.”
Rubin spoke extensively on the current threats to the values of postwar Europe, including freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.
“There are very few leaders in Europe who are able to stand up and make a firm case for the values that my generation has taken for granted,” she said. “Right now, Macron, though he has many problems at home, appears to be the only leader in Europe who stands up and supports those values.”
Her lecture was followed by a lively discussion prompted by questions from faculty and students.
Assistant Professor of Italian and Italian Studies Alessandro Giammei will lead the next roundtable, scheduled for Nov. 29.