This is Not a Goodbye, by Jacob Bilabel, of Germany’s Green Music Initiative.

With UK getting it finally done and leaving the EU today, it seems a good moment to take a deep breath and widen our daily business’ scope for a minute. Collaborations in Europe have been through turbulent times before; Europe has overcome many severe crises and has bridged deep divisions in the past. And today, now that United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has become a reality, we, foundations & cultural institutions working in Europe respond by strengthening our ties.

Brexit is a symptom and not a cause, and it is an indicator of social and cultural fault lines in British society. Moreover, ‘Brexit’ is a Europe-wide, even global phenomenon in it representing growing gaps between communities, between citizens and their political representatives, and between political ideas. We consider Brexit an igniting moment in time that creates a new positive sense of urgency and forges a renewed commitment to building and strengthening shared European cultural spaces, of which the UK has always been and will always be part.

We are convinced the ongoing political and institutional alienation between the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU must not lead to a more cultural and societal separation, neither in the UK nor in other European societies. We want to look beyond the institutional realities and emphasise the importance of relating to each other in person, through both everyday encounters: at work, while travelling, in libraries, cafés and pubs, and also online interaction.

True cultural exchange and European experiences can counter the widening gaps between people and can help to overcome political divides. We believe in an open, democratic and inclusive Europe. Culture plays an important role in that, as the space for exchange and dialogue about differences, and the goal is to unearth frictions – we don’t need to all agree but we do need to talk to each other.

Based on our experiences, long-standing cooperation and broad networks, we are committed to creating even more European sentiment, through shared European experiences and more European exchanges. For all Europeans: in the countryside or in cities, living in the East or in the West, in the North or the South, born here and arrived here. We need to work, learn and live together.

Therefore, we will intensify our activities and efforts to enable communities and individuals across Europe to co-shape their dreams, their futures, a common cultural space, with creativity and in cooperation. We will develop new initiatives and programmes that will maintain and regenerate institution-to-institution, network-to-network, but most importantly people-to-people contacts. With this we will engage as many people from different walks of life and divergent opinions as possible.

We invite you – citizens, socially engaged practitioners, opinion makers, cultural workers and representatives of institutions – to join us in co-shaping a European cultural space!

Let me finish with a beautiful piece of music which fits so well my mood today:
Neither one of us wants to be the first to say goodbye (Gladys Knight & The Pips)

 Sincerely yours,
Jacob Sylvester Bilabel (Take a Stand & Green Music Initiative)

More infos on the network of cultural actors & initiatives here:
Allianz Kulturstiftung [Esra Kücük, Managing Director]
British Council
[Andy Mackay, Regional Director EU, and Kate Arthurs, Director Arts]
Compagnia di San Paolo [Matteo Bagnasco, Head of Goal Culture, and Paola Sabbione, Goal Culture] 
European Cultural Foundation [André Wilkens, Director]
Goethe Institut [Elke Kaschl-Mohni, Regional Director Southwest Europe, Delegate for European Affairs, and Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Director, Head of the London Office and the Northwestern Europe Region]

ASSIFERO [Carola Carazzone, Secretary General]
Balkans Beyond Borders [Konstantina Karydi, Co-founder and Non-executive Director]
BOZAR [Paul Dujardin, CEO and Artistic Director]
Brave New World producties [Claudia Woolgar, Creative Producer]
Circostrada Network [Stéphane Segreto-Aguilar, Coordinator]
City Proms Festival [Margot Hoiting, Director]
Culture Action Europe [Tere Badia, Secretary General]
Culture Liverpool [Claire McColgan, Director]
Dutch Culture [Cees de Graaff, Director]
ECHO – European Concert Hall Organisation [Andrew Manning, Secretary General]
ENCC – European Network of Cultural Centers [Sara Turra, Coordinator]
Europa Nostra [Sneška Quaedvlieg – Mihailović, Secretary General]
European Choral Association – Europa Cantat [Sonja Greiner, Secretary General]
European Community Foundation Initiative [Anja Böllhoff and James Magowan, Coordinating Directors]
European Creative Business Network [Bernd Fesel, Director]
European Economic and Social Committee [Luca Jahier, President]
European Foundation Centre [Gerry Salole, Chief Executive]
European Music Council [Ruth Jakobi and Simone Dudt, Secretaries General]
Erste Stiftung [Boris Marte, Deputy Chairman of the Board and Franz Karl Prüller, Senior Advisor]
Evens Foundation [the Evens Foundation team]
Fondazione CRC [Andrea Silvestri, General Director]
Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli [Massimiliano Tarantino, Director]
4Change [Sandra Oliveira, President of the Board]
4iS – plataforma para a inovação social [João Pedro Sousa Rosa, Director]
Green Music Initiative [Jacob Sylvester Bilabel, Founder]
Head 4 Arts [Kate Strudwick, Creative Director]
IDFA – International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam [Cees van ‘t Hullenaar, Executive Director]
IepenUP [Jacco de Boer, Editor in Chief]
Incorporated Society of Musicians in the UK [Jeremy Huw Williams, President]
Leeuwarden-Friesland, European Capital of Culture 2018 [Sjoerd Bootsma, Artistic Director]
Leeuwarden UNESCO City of Literature [Marleen Nagtegaal, Artistic Director]
Literature Wales [Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive Officer]
Madeleina Kay [#EUSupergirl]
MitOst [Jotham Sietsma, Managing Director, and Naomi Martin, Program Manager Actors of Urban Change]
Moleskine Foundation [Adama Sanneh, Co-founder and CEO]
More Europe [Sana Ouchtati, Director of ‘external culture relations’]
NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations [Julia Pagel, Secretary General]
New Noardic Wave [Joris Hoebe, Director]
On the move [Marie Le Sourd, Secretary General]
Oranjewoud Festival [Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, Artistic Director]
Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds [Adriana Esmeijer, Director]
Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture [Emina Višnić, CEO]
Rosetta Arts [Sanaz Amidi, Chief Executive]
Schwarzkopf Foundation [Anne Rolvering, Executive Director]
Sense of Place [Joop Mulder, Artistic Director]
Teatro dell’Argine [Micaela Casalboni, Co-Art Director]
The Green Room [Gwendolenn Sharp, Director]
Trans Europe Halles [Mieke Renders, Managing Director]
Voorheen de Gemeente [Agnes Winter, Artistic Director]
World Cities Forum [Genevieve Marciniak, Relationship Manager]

It‘s time to take a stand for Europe, and indeed for the whole world. To create a movement encouraging social cohesion in our society, promoting awareness and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins. To motivate people to participate in politics and social activities, speaking up for peaceful dialogue, humanism, tolerance and mutual understanding, to make the world a better place for every single individual and for all of us.
Take A Stand is an Awareness Campaign for Civic Engagement in Europe launched by Yourope – the European festival association.