Time and again, the Schengen Agreement comes under pressure from daily political events: For instance, during the migration and refugee crisis in 2014 and 2015 as well as during the current Corona crisis. The retreat to national borders and reflexes shows how fragile our, so laboriously created, common space of freedoms is. Reason enough to consider the value of the agreement. There are at least three good reasons to revitalise the spirit of Schengen and to campaign for the maintenance of the four freedoms of goods, services, labour and capital: Continue reading →
2018 marks 60 years of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). This occasion was commemorated with a festive celebration on the 19th of November in Brussels. The event under the title “Ignite Europe” was meant to not only look back at what has been achieved by the foundation, but also look into the future by sharing a vision and ideas for a more open and liberal Europe.
With “Animate Europe” we are bringing Europe to life through comics. Our international comic comeptition is currently running in it’s third round (you can enter until 5. February). However, within the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, we’re not the only ones using the “Ninth art” to spread ideas and messages. Find out what our colleagues in the Philippines are doing:
19 young artists from all over the Philippines shared their dreams for the country in a comic strip!
The Philippine Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) launched its very first comics competition dubbed as ‘I Am Free To Dream’ on 22 June 2015, which aims to exhibit Filipinos’ dreams and aspirations for the Philippines, especially those wishes that ordinary citizens can contribute to making real.
“Filipinos are very creative, not only in drawing but in everyday life – they find ingenious ways to enjoy their freedom!,” said former FNF Country Director Jules Maaten. “The aspirations that the artists sketched for I Am Free To Dream contest are realizable because there is freedom in the Philippines that allow people to pursue their dreams. This is why we should always value our freedom especially when it is challenged,” he added.
The comics contest was organized under the banner of FNF Philippines’ Freedom Project, an annual search for initiatives that promote freedom in the Philippines. The top three artworks, along with the eight finalists’ were printed in a book as a chronicle of how Filipinos would like to see the Philippines in five years. The common theme of the winning entries turned out to be a ‘nation that has greater freedom, and Filipinos that are more responsible.’
On January 12, 2016, the results were released proclaiming the following winners: the entry by Harold Dela Rosa of Talavera, Nueva Ecija (northern part of the Philippines) emerged as the best artwork. Patrick Acma’s (Iloilo) comics on transforming communities through education, and Freddie Vicente’s (Bulacan) illustration on preserving culture and tradition were awarded as second and third place respectively. “They were all very well done, and speak of practical action,” commended Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina, who was a member of the contest’s jury.
Medina, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Kael Co, and top advertising agency Lowe Philippines Creative Director Rene Dominguez sat as judges.
The young and talented participants were grateful to have been given a platform by which they could voice-out their dreams for themselves and for the Philippines. FNF Philippines recognizes the power of both the youth and the arts in transforming societies.
Participants were required to submit comics entries that are at least two pages, and a maximum of four pages. The text could be either be in English or Filipino. The entry must be submitted together with a one line description. Professional and amateur artists, teachers and students were eligible to join. National and international entries were welcomed. Aside from seeing the best artworks published in a book, the finalists received cash prizes.
Following the success of the I am Free to Dream Comics Competition, FNF Philippines collaborated with the comics genius and member of the jury of ‘I am Free To Dream’ Comic Competition, Mr. Pol Medina, in compiling his comic strips on Martial Law in one Marcos Special comic book.
“FNF is lucky that Polgas, the famous character of the Pugad Baboy Comics series, is joining the bark against Martial Law. Pol Medina cleverly illustrates the threats of an authoritarian comeback. This book is a smart analysis of what have become of people’s attitudes – their forgetfulness of the atrocities of the past, and their unconscious willingness to give up their freedom,” said former FNF Country Director Jules Maaten.
“We should do what we can to preserve freedom while we are still free,” said Medina at the launch on 14 April 2016 at Plaza Ibarra, Quezon City. In the cover page of his book he wrote: “It wasn’t really my plan to come up with a compilation of anti-Marcos comics, but people kept posting on my facebook page about the glory days of Martial Law. To me, this is like spitting on the victims of atrocities, and this itched me to do something, hence this book.”
Medina first published Pugad Baboy in 1988, and has since become a representation of Filipinos sentiments on political and social issue, and a reflection of the pop culture.
“FNF Philippines looks forward to more initiatives and partnerships that the ‘I am Free to Dream’ Comics and the Pugad Baboy Marcos Special Comics have already started. Filipinos’ talent, ingenuity and love for freedom are astonishing and should be no less than promoted,” adds the current FNF Philippines Country Director Mr. Wolfgang Heinze,