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Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman and Founder of the Berggruen Institute, today welcomes the public to the first activities for Berggruen Institute Europe at Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice, Italy—and introduces the Italian philosopher, writer, and social entrepreneur Lorenzo Marsili as its inaugural director. From provocative public conversations to workshops and international gatherings—the June events will be a historic nod to the spirit of the palazzo as a hub for thinkers and intellectuals, giving new life to Tre Oci as a place where ideas can flourish.
The Berggruen Institute announced its plans to establish a European presence in September of 2021 with the purchase of the historic palazzo from the Fondazione di Venezia by the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust. With locations in Los Angeles and Beijing, the Berggruen Institute Europe in Venice will now link the Institute’s work in the East and West and provide an environment that will foster a more open and constructive dialogue between Chinese leadership and the West.
In centering its European program at Casa dei Tre Oci, the Berggruen Institute will preserve the historic function and identity of the historic palazzo as part of the cultural fabric of Venice. Berggruen Institute Europe will attract local and international guests, policymakers and political thinkers, artists and architects, authors and scholars, scientists, and technologists—across cultures, disciplines, and political boundaries—to develop and promote long-term answers to the biggest challenges of the 21st century.
“We see Venice as a gateway between East and West but also for those seeking answers to the most pressing questions and challenges of our time,” stated Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman of the Berggruen Institute. “We have chosen Lorenzo Marsili to lead our work in Europe. Marsili’s written words and actions have the capacity to challenge and inspire communities—even Europe itself—to redefine its role as a laboratory for new planetary politics.”
Lorenzo Marsili’s career—both in his writing and political work—has focused on defining and advocating for a future beyond the nation-state. As a former Berggruen Fellow, Marsili is the founder of transnational political NGO European Alternatives, of the cultural institution Fondazione Rizoma, and was one of the initiators of the pan-European political movement DiEM25 cofounded together with Brian Eno, Slavoj Zizek, and Yanis Varoufakis. An active contributor to international newspapers such as The Guardian and The Nation, Marsili is also the founding editor of the independent journal Naked Punch Review in London and Beijing. His books include Il Terzo Spazio (Laterza, 2017), Citizens of Nowhere (Zed Books, 2018), La tua patria è il mondo intero (Laterza,) 2019.
“I thank Nicolas Berggruen and my Berggruen Institute colleagues, in Los Angeles and Beijing, for their welcome and continued collaboration. In our increasingly divided world, intellectual and cultural dialogue between the US, China, and Europe is indispensable. Spanning three continents, the Institute is uniquely placed to advance a planetary conversation on the major challenges of our time. From democracy to technology, Venice will become a place of creation for new ideas and new visions emerging from Europe and addressing the world,” said Lorenzo Marsili, director, Berggruen Institute Europe.
June events include:
- Public launch on 3 June featuring opening remarks by famed Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben followed by a minimarathon of provocative dialogues with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Agamben, Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Bria, Lea Ypi, Rana Dasgupta, and Marina Garcés.
- Private workshops (4-5 June) with philosophers, technologists, economists, and writers entitled Europe as a Planetary Laboratory. Sessions include The Transnational Democratic Odyssey with Kalypso Nicolaïdis and Niccolò Milanese. A European Political Economy with Lorenzo Marsili, Lea Ypi, and Fabrizio Tassinari; The Designer Economy with Pascal Lamy and Gary Gerstle; Visions of Technological Sovereignty with Francesca Bria and Denis ‘Jaromil’ Roio; Europe, China, and a New Planetary Ethos with Wang Hui and Mi You.
- The second annual convening of the Tre Oci Council (5-7 June), a private gathering of international leaders and thinkers including Guy Verhofstadt, Gordon Brown, Ronnie Chan, Helen Thorning-Schmidt; Susan Thornton, Bruno Maçães, Pascal Lamy, Kai-Fu Lee, Evan Spiegel and more on topics such as the deteriorating relationship between China and the West, Ukraine, and climate change.
- A public Aperitivo and Architectural Tour with Venetian architect Silvio Fassi on 8 June at 17:00. Raise a glass to the future of Berggruen Institute Europe in Venezia. Explore the neo-Gothic Casa dei Tre Oci and learn more about its storied Venetian past before it closes for restoration in preparation for its grand reopening in 2024.
Designed as a private home and studio by the artist Mario De Maria and built on the Giudecca in 1913, the neo-Gothic Tre Oci has a long history of hosting artists and intellectuals and serving as a venue for cultural meetings and debates. When it opens to the public in 2024, it will be a gathering place for global dialogue and new ideas housing an international program of summits, workshops, symposia, and exhibitions.