By Antonio Longangi
His Excellency Ambassador Stefano Dejak, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya was on campus on Tuesday, July 17 for the European Film Festival Plus screening of the documentary “Europe at Sea” on Tuesday, July 17, hosted by USIU-Africa’s Young Diplomats Forum.
The event was part of the European Film Festival Plus aiming at providing a different image of Europe to the rest of the world through films and documentaries.
The documentary produced by award-winning film maker Annalisa Piras, features the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ms. Federica Mogherini, who provided a unique insight into challenges threatening European security. “Europeans need to take responsibility for their own defence,” she says, expressing her concern that if Europe did not wake up to its global position, “we could sleepwalk into a conflict”.
The documentary explores issues of migration, terrorism, cyberwarfare and the instability of the European Union, which in her defence strategy demand an historic shift in European security and defence cooperation.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion featuring Ambassador Dejak, Professor of History and International Relations Prof. Macharia Munene, Assistant Professor of Film Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Chair, Department of Cinematic Art), and Ms. Joan Kimani (International Relations Lecturer). Associate Professor of International Relations Dr. Fatma Ali (Young Diplomats Forum Club Patron) moderated the discussion.
The panelists shared historical, diplomatic, cinematic and gender perspectives on the documentary, followed by an engaging, interactive question and answer session that mainly dwelled on the European Union’s attitude toward Africa in light of its colonial past and aftermath. Addressing that issue, H.E Ambassador Stefano Dejak urged Africa to take charge of its future, which he felt every citizen should do by asking the question “What am I doing for my country?”
On the other hand, he emphasized the need for European Union partner states to understand the priorities of the European Union and its foreign policies - an objective the documentary attempted to achieve.
“Europe at Sea” had earlier been screened during the Eighth Toyin Falola Annual International Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora (TOFAC) held at USIU-Africa from July 3-5, 2018.