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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow ERC Head Bourguignon to EF on Scientific Research Impact to Society, key of EU Funds Future Strategy

ERC Head Bourguignon to EF on Scientific Research Impact to Society, key of EU Funds Future Strategy

Ecrit par ACM
Saturday, 25 November 2017
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*Strasbourg/European RDV 2017/Angelo Marcopolo/
- While EU Political Leaders nowadays Prepare a New Multi-Annual Program for EU Funds to Scientific/Technological Research in the Post-2020 Future of Europe, the President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre  Bourguignon, Replying to "Eurofora"s Questions, (for Other Replies of ERC's Head to our Quesiions at a Previous Press-point, See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ecrheadoninternationalrelations.html) acknowledged the Growing Importance of the competing projects' "Impact" on Society, where Public Debates with EU Citizens' involvement, Before crucial Decisions affecting their Lives and/or Society at large, are a Must, according to EU Council's current Strategy, (which Surprisingly approaches "Eurofora"s Wider Project, in a Key area).    

Indeed, EU Council is due to decide, Next Week in Brussels, on an "Interim Evaluation of (EU Research Funding pre-existing Program) Horizon 2020", and the New, "9th Framework Programne", starting from 2021. And, already on May 2015, the EU Council has urged, to "Assess" the Funded Projects, by putting "Emphasis" also "on their ... Impact".

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"Eurofora" refered to mentions made on the "Impact" of Scientific Research, as well as to the European "Synergy" Program (See Infra) with PluriDisciplinary Cooperation among Human/Social and Natural Sciences, in order to raise a Classic, but also Topical and Political Question  :


- "Why some (even among the Best Researchers) might eventualy look a bit Reluctant vis a vis the Clarification and Valorisation of the Social Issues at Stake in Scientific Research ?".


- However,  "their Interest for the Society, which could, sometimes, even make People Dream with Science, and Strengthen it Politically, while being also a Responsibility, given that Public Funds are spend for it, but often even a Pleasure and an Opportunity, for real Intellectuals, to develop a Profound Thinking on the real Meaning that has for the Society what they are doing, and the Choices that they are making", we observed, in this regard.


 => "Instead of some Reluctances, on the Contrary, don't you think that it would be Useful to Develop Further the Clarification of what is really at Stake in Scientific Projects, in the Choices made by Scientific/Technological Research, their Potential Interest on what we could Hope to Achieve, presenting an Horizon, interesting also for the Future of Europe, which another Topical Question", Eurofora wondered.


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 - "I'd prefer to speak about the issue of the "Impact" of Scientific/Technological Research, "because I am concerned, also since I'm Often Incited to Address that "Hot" Issue, several Times, including in Public, even by State Secretaries, Ministers, etc., so that" it cannot be ignored at all, started to Reply to "Eurofora"s Question ERC's President, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.


 - "The main Reply" to this Question, basically "is always the same : Certainly the Impact (of Science/Technology) is Interesting for us", he clearly Confirmed.


 - "But, that does not mean that it should also be a determinant factor, a necessary Criterium for the Choices due to be made between various (Scientific/Technologic Research) Projects" to Fund, or not, he went on to add, (obviously defending the Autonomy and Freedom of Science, at least in Principle).


 - "So that, for us (ERC), for example, "it's Out of Question to Choose (among various Projects) Exclusively on the Unique Basis of the Impact, particularly the Economic (Financial) Impact only", he Warned Carefully, (while also making things Clear on which Concrete points, some among the main Objections are Focusing, among the Scientific Community).


 - However, "we Must, certainly, Develop further the Visibility of what is the Outcome of the Projects", the Experienced ERC's President stressed, as far as the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question was concerned.


 - "And that's one of the Reasons for which I find that ECR's Administrative Budget, used in order to Make an Analysis of the Impact of Projects, Needs to be Enlarged", he advised, given the growing Importance of that aspect, (See Infra).


 - "Because, it's absolutely Legitimate (but often, not so Simple) to Explain what could be the Real Results of the Projects", President Bourguignon pointed out.


 + By the way, "concerning Human and Social Sciences", (i.e., which can, precisely, be used also in order to examine the Socio-Economic a.o. Impact of Projects, even of Natural Sciences, as "Eurofora" had highlighted: Comp. Supra), "the Rules applied by the ECR are very Simple : There is Strictly an Autonomy:  We let Receive what the Researchers present to us".


 - "And, from this point of view, the Budget spend during the Last Year for Human and Social Sciences is quite considerable : It's about 400 Millions €, i.e. a very Significant Amount of Money", he observed.


 -  "It concerns almost All the Domains of Human/Social Sciences, and, particularly, something which is not generally well known, is that, in fact, the Researhers are very Keen into chosing Important and Topical Issues", (i.e. avec a Serious Potential Impact in Nowadays Society) :


 - "F.ex., when we (ECR) examined the series of Projects concerning Migration, during the last years, we saw that there was a absolutely Remarkable Augmentation of the Number of Projects", in this area, "and simply at the Initiative of Researchers themselves", he pointed out.


 - Indeed, "they found that this was an Issue on which it was Necessary, Nowadays, to dedicate More Research, Serious and Rock-Solid Studies".

 

  - "This goes almost for All Issues of Topical Importance, as, f.ex., also on Energy, where the ECR has, now, in its Files, almost 300 Projects on Energy, and about 600 Millions € spending on Energy Issues", he revealed.


  - "So that, when we spoke, recently, about that, with the EU Commission's vice-President responsible for Energy, Mario Sefcovic, he was Astonished to find out that there is So Much Research on Energy"...


  - "Simply, the Researchers are spontaneously Interested, by themselves, on what is More Important", nowadays, "so that there is No Need to push them for that", he found.


 - "It doesn't mean that there might not be, in addition, a Need for some More Focused Programs", ECR's Head admitted.


  -  "But I think that (European) Researchers are doing so, in Their own Way, and with Their Agenda", he Concluded on this point, optimistically.


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EU's EVOLVING PRINCIPLES :
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    On this regard, more Recently, a July 2017 relevant Opinion of the ERAC, "requires that the (Science and Technology Research Programmes, "Should Contribute to Other (EU) Sectoral Policies, and Promote Better and Continued Dialogue with European Citizens".


    And a subsequent, "Tallin Call for Action", on the Results of a Conference organized by the Estonian EU Presidency, on October 2017, launched a Call to "Increase the Impact of Research and Innovation Investments, and Buid Trust between Research and Society" (See also Infra).


    Comming also After EU27 Heads of States/Governments' Summit's "Rome Declaration", last March 2017, in Italy, (which Marks a Change in overall EU Policies, for a Future of Europe closer to EU Citizens, (See Relevant "Eurofora"s NewsReports from Rome, f.ex.: .... + ...), a Draft Decision on EU Research Programs, due to be Examined and Endorsed Next Week in Brussels, Significantly Adds to "Economic Growth" and "Industrial Competitiveness", also "Social Inclusion and Addressing Major Societal Challenges", i.e. "Wider Societal Issues". 

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     More Important: The above-mentioned Estonian EU Presidency's Official "Statement" on "Research and Innovation matter for the Future of Europe", made on October 2017 in Tallin, (Comp. Supra), also Known as "Tallin Call for Action", "presented to Stakeholder Representatives at a High-Level Conference on "European Research Excellence : Impact and Value for Society", which came Timely during the Preparations of the Forchcoming EU Heads of State/Government Summit in Brussels, 14-15 December 2017, "has been Drawn up in Close Cooperation with EU Stakeholdrs, via On-Line (Web) Consultation and RoundTable Discussions", in the wider Context of "the current Debate on the Future of Europe".


     - "The overall Impact and Value of Research and Innovation is much Wider" (than its mere Economic Benefit), "Bringing Long-Term and Transformative Benefits to Society, most notably through Educated and Competent People, and Improvementrs to our Everyday Life". It "Gives us a real Chance to Build  Better Future", and "we Need Research to Deepen our Understanding of our Changing Societies", it Observes.


    >>> - That's why, "there is a Need to Act Urgently ... to ensure Broad Political Commitment for Increasing Research and Innovation Funding, Impact of these Investments, and Public Trust", it stresses from the outset. For that Purpose, "Stronger efforts are needed to Make the Benefits of R&I Visible and Understandable by all, and to achieve Wide Citizen Involvement, ...as well as Engaging People" (i.e. "Both with Stakeholders and the Public"), not only "to Explain our Needs", but also "in Shaping our Common Future".


    >>> Indeed, "Increase the IMPACT of R&I Investments", and "Build TRUST between Research and Society", are set as 2 out of 3 "Priorities", (another one concerning the "Investments" themselves).


    - This implies to "Recognize a Broad Notion of Impact", including "the Societal Value of Research", and a "Dynamic Approach to Impact Assessment", through a "Necessary Cultural Change", EU Presidency urged :


    => In particular, the relevant "Decision-Making" must become "More Transparent", "Consider Potential Applications and Societal Impact" of Research, "Clarify and facilitate Understanding of the Issues", and "Communicate the Impact and Results of (R&I) Work", by "Inform(ing) Public Debate" and "Develop(ing) Dialogues with the Public", (i.e., a Move Strikingly Near "Eurofora"s wider project !)...


    +Naturally it also Includes, eventually, a "Constructive Criticism", and possible "Limitations of Scientific Research", EU Presidency's Text adds.


    >>> The Main point being, for all Scientific/Technological "Researchers, Research Organisations, Research Funders", to "Engage the Public", and particularly "the People", at "All Levels of Government", "with Research that Affects them", "in the Co-Creation of the Future", looking for "Possibilities to Co-Design and Co-Implement Solutions to Societal Changes, based on Science and Innovation", while Also "Explaining the Work you do", and "Following ... the Principles of Integrity and Good Research practices".


(I.e. strikingly Similar to the "Good Administration" Legal Principle, for Public Authorities' Decisions affecting EU Citizens, according to EU's Lisbon Treaty, which has notoriously Entered in Force since 2010 already)...


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STRASBOURG's EUROPEAN RDV's DEBATES ON EU FUNDS FOR SCIENCE :
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    + Meanwhile, when ECR's President Bourguignon, spoke with "Eurofora", it was just After a Debate on EU Funding of Science and Technology, organized by the European Rendez-vous of Strasbourg, in Cooperation with the CoE and the EU, thanks to the University's Pole of Public Law, headed by Professsor and former Dean, as well as f. EU Commission's Legal Services' Director in Brussels, Jean-Paul Jacqué.


    ----------------------


    - "Each Pluri-Annual EU Framework Program for Science/Technology has a Duration of about 7 Years" : "Today, We are in the Middle of EU Program "Horizon 2020", and "already in the process of Thinking about the Next one, which will Start from 2021", ECR's President reminded Earlier.


    - "Last Time, we passed from the Previous, "7th Program", to "Horizon", with almost No big Change : Something that is Good for Scientists, who are fond of Stability".


    - "Horizon" is Composed of 3 Pillars : The 1st is about "Excellence in Science" (ECResearch, Marie-Curie on Education, Big Infrastructures, "Future Emerging Technologies"), the 2nd is named: "Industrial Leadership" (Airspace, Pharma, etc), and the 3rd : "Social Challenges".(such as Food, Cyber-Security, Health, Climate, etc).     


     - "ERC represents a signiificant part of that Program : about 17 %, which has, this Year, almost 1,2 Billions €, Divided for 1/3 to each one of its 3 Pillars" (Comp. Supra).


     - Until Now, Less than 10% of the Total of Funds spend in Europe (by the Public and Private Sectors) for Scientific/Technological Research are Decided at EU Level (precisely more than 8%+), compared to almost 60% for the Federal Level in the USA, he Regretted. And, even on that Total, Only ...Finland has just Reached the Target of 3% of the GDP, heading for 4%, while Germany has just Bypassed the 3% (as Few among EU's Member States), but France is Following with 2,22%, and most Other EU Countries are in a Worse situation currently, (some having even Regressed), ERC's Head criticized.    


 -----------------------------


    - "It's True that, in Europe (Contrary to the USA : Comp. Supra), Most Funds for Research are at the National level of Member States, but EU Funds play an Important Role, and, f.ex., the "Horizon" Program helped create Networks of Scientists across Europe", observed the Experienced, former President of Strasbourg's University, and currently Director of Research at the French Ministry for Universities and Research, Alain Beretz.

 

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    - Thus, it's important for the European Countries to create a Coherent Policy in Strategic, key areas, between them, he stressed, inter alia.


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    + Advancing "Beyond the Amounts of Funds, and Beyond Politics", from the pure point of view of Scientists, World-Famous NOBEL Prize Winner for Chemistry, Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, Director of Strasbourg's Institute on MacroMolecular structures, praised ECR's role particularly for his Support to a "Science withOut Borders", by Helping  "Not Structures or Organisations" (which are also necessary), "but Individual Persons, who have certain Ideas", and need "Time" to Work on them, as well as the "Autonomy" that ECR's Funding gives them, as he characteristicaly said : F.ex., 3 or 4 Millions € during 5 Years is OK for such a "Culture of Projects", allowing them to be Developed, as never before, he observed.


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    ++ However, regrets were expressed, by the European Science Foundation's new Secretary General, Jean-Claude Worms, for the Interruption of the initial "Synergy" Programs, where EU Countries cooperated for the Funding of Trans-Border Networks of Scientists, on ambitious Pluri-Disciplinary Projects : Something which had worked, Back on 2012-2013, but does Not Exist Today, no more in Europe, (except, perhaps, of the COS Program in Brussels, etc).


    - Nevertheless, ECR's President, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Announced, in Reply, that, after a Careful collective Evaluation of those "Synergy" Programs, which Concluded with quasi-Unanimous Positive apraisals, even, by those who previously were rather Critical, it has just been Decided that New European "Sunergy" projects will be Launched for 2018 and 2019, with 250 and 400 Millions €, respectively.


    - A Challenge to face will be (in Addition to the Financial Amounts required) to succeed to Find really "Strong" Projects, Maximising the "Cocktail" of Competences contained in a Network of Scientists across Borders, and a fruitful Inter-Disciplinary approach (f.ex. between Human/Social Sciences, Life and Natural Sciences, etc), so that they can seriously Justify a considerable Funding which may be something about 6 to 16 Millions € during more than 6 Years, without Excessive Administrative Costs, (f.ex. +3%; as the Initial "Synergy" Networks had provoked in the Past : Comp. Supra), so that Accounts don't deprive Science from necessary Funds, as he Warned.


----------------------------------------------------------------------

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    - An at least partially Similar Example, has already started at Strasbourg's University, with a Collective Project, which created a Trans-European Network, bringing Together Specialists in Law, Finance, Security, etc., in order to Fight Against International Organized Crime, mainly through a New Investigation System, which was set up, between 2009-2017, by Strasbourg Universiity's Professor Chantal Cutajar, (also the City's Deputy Mayor responsible for Citizens' Participation), with the Help of 90% European Funds, added to 10% Grants from Local/Regional Authorities, resulting also to PanEuropean Conferences, several Doctoral Thesis, etc, that she described, previously, Introducing a series of 5 Concrete Science/Research Projects realized here thanks to European Funding.

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    + With an ERC Grant of 1,5 Million € during 5 Years (2012-2017), the Young German Scientist Wiebke Drenkhan, a Physicist, Researcher in Strasbourg's Bio-Tech. Institute "Sadron", who managed, on the Contrary, to Travel for Studies and Research, from Germany to France, the UK, Japan, New Zeland and USA, said that she Focused on "Cellular Materials" Shaped like "Foam", which, inter alia, might help in a Wide Area of Various eventual Applications, including, f.ex., to create "Walls which Capture Traffic Noise, but let Hear Birds Sing", as she symbolically joked.

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    ++ Professor at Strasbourg University's Labo for Optical and Digital Engineers, Sylvain Gioux, also used European Funding in order to Invent a New Tool Helping  Surgeons to get a Better and Clear View of all the Area of a Patient's Body and Organs where they have to Operate.


    +++ Last, but not least, Professor Anne-Sophie Korganow, also a Practicing Medical Doctor, organized, thanks to EU Funds, an original Data-Base with Genetic and Other Health Data from Patients located in the Franco-Germano-Swiss Euro-Region of Superior Rhine (OberRhine), concerning mainly Rare illnesses, named "RARE-NET". In Parallel, "Eurofora" was Glad to learn that she had also Succesfully Operated f.ex. a person that we know, Healing her from a thorny Health Problem in the Past, as she told us, with Gratitude.

 

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     A fact which reminds that, sometimes, supporting Science, might Help to Find UnExpected Solutions also to very Differend Issues, Affecting People's Lives....


    After all, didn't Medical Dr. Pasteur, notoriously, do something partly similar, when he UnExpectedly invented the Vaccines, in the Past ? And what about Physicist Newton and his Apple Tree ? Or Philosopher Eratosthenes and his Shadow under a Hot Sun, compared to the Earth ? Not to mention Inventor Archimedes and his Bath-Water...

 

(../..)


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Benedict's "Source" to revitalize Europe : - "The World needs Hope", Pope says, calling to relaunch E.U. via Human Rights !

Paris - Lourdes - Strasbourg : 12 - 17 September 2008.

The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People, said Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently chairs the EU.

Sarkozy replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics.

- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.

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- "It's important that during France's EU Presidency, there is, indeed, a desire for the Church to contribute to protect Human Person's integrity, and I think that there is also a growing Conscience, beyond any polemics, to defend Human Rights, and, thus, contribute to ensure respect for Human Dignity", added to "EuroFora" the Pope's Spokesman, Vatican's Press Director Federico Lombardi.

- "Nobody really told us here that Lisbon Treaty was good for this or that reason to the People. They only told us that we "had" to ratify it, and tried to scare us, but failed", said 2 Irish pilgrims to "EuroFora", after 2 Majority Abstentions in 1999 and 2004 EU Elections and 3 "NO" to Referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, followed by the Irish "No" in 2008, during a Decade of EU Crisis since the controversial Turkey EU- bid (1999-2008).

More than .."224 cases of Murders, Torture, "Disappearancies" or Destructions" by "agents of Turkish Security forces", where all those responsible for so heavy Crimes still remain scandalously unpunished, despite regular condemnations of Ankara by Strasbourg''s European Court of Human Rights from 1996 to 2008, were examined the same week by CoE's Ministers, who decided to launch a fresh call "urging" the Turkish Authorities to end this dangerous "virtual Impunity" of criminals, without comparison to European countries.

- "Why not Ukraine, instead of Turkey ?", asked EuroFora a Journalist from "Kiev : the city where it's enough to cross the streets in order to realize that it's a European town", as Sarkozy recently said, before solemnly declaring this week, together with Ukranian President Jushenko and EU Commission's chair Baroso, EU's "recognition that Ukraine is a fully European Country, linked to Europe by culture and History".

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Europe's "Christian roots" and Values, with "openess and mutual respect" to other cultures and beliefs, were highlighted by Sarkozy in harmony with Benedict XVI.

The Human person should be protected "from his inception until his natural death", added the Pope, faithful to BioEthic principles defended by his predecessor and collaborator, John Paul II, of topical importance in France, Europe and the World today, as Sarkozy announced :

- "Fast and important progres in Genetic Science and procreation raise delicate BioEthical Questions to our Democracies", which "involve our view of Humans and Life, and can lead to Social Mutations. That's why they cannot remain only a business of experts", hestressed.

- "It's Politician's responsibility to set a proper framework for such Public Debates", as "France will do on BioEthics in 2009". "Religious and Philosophic traditions must take part, with their ideas and centuries' long experience : A positive Laicity is an open invitation to Dialogue", he said.

- "France engaged in Europe at another Debate on how to make Financial Capitalism more moral", and the "Social doctrine of the Church fits well what is at stake in modern Globalized Economy"

- "But, a "Real Dialogue is not for an elite of a Globalized world : It penetrates deep into the People : That's why Churches should actively participate : .. It's bringing New Oxygen to Public Debates", stressed Sarkozy.

- "Democracy must not be cut off Reason", which is "compatible with Faith", thanks to "the meeting between Christianism and Greek philosophy ", he added, referring to Pope's views. "It means to advance with logic arguments, search what's best and respect common principles of thinking :... It's an everyday need for Public Administration and the Political Debate", he added.
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Pope Benedict's 1st visit to France looked like the start of a brillant, manifold demonstration that this was well-founded and could become true in the lives of the People : After its Theoretical foundations unfolded at a "speech to the world of Culture", inaugurating Bernadins' cultural centre, and its dogmatic instrument shaped at an address to the Clergy in the Historic Notre Dame' Cathedral, he started to resolutely reach out to the People :

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The move went upwards like Bach's music : Begining with a call to more than fifteen thousand enthousiastic Youngsters gathered at Notre Dame's parvis with overnight celebrations, it gained strength in an impressive open-air Mass at Paris'central Invalides'area facing Alexander III's bridge, attended by more than 150.000 people, French Prime Minister Fillon, many Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors, etc, and culminated in a series of pan-European Mega-meetings at Lourdes 150th anniversary, together with all French Bishops, EU Commission's vice-Chairman Barrot, and some 200.000 enthousiastic People from all over Europe and beyond : After a Sea of Lights astonishingly braved Saturday Night's rain, an open-air mass at riverside fields among Pyrenees' Mountains Sunday Morning, was followed on Monday by a Sea of "Compassion" to those facing Health or Life threats, surrounded by an endless gathering of People, whose gigantic dimensions obviously surprised the organisers..

Meanwhile, Benedict had the occasion to speak to the French Priests at Notre Dame of Paris, and with the Bishops at Lourdes, where they prepare a crucial November plenary meeting, due to take important decisions on imminent EU debates and choices about Europe's identity, BioEthics, etc.
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- "A new way of thinking about Laicity has become necessary", agreed the Pope with President Sarkozy at Elysee. While keeping the "distinction between Politics and Religion, to guarantee Citizens' Liberty", "religion is important for shaping Consciousness and contributing, together with others, to create a basic Ethical Consensus in society".

- "Searching Essential realities", (as "God" for christians), needs "Speech : "Logos" in greek, i.e. Reason", "able to shape a Community","with creative work transforming Human History". But "Dialogue" is instrumental for "Reason", because it's the way to "search" for Truth", in "Liberty", according to Greek Platonic Philosophy, with Socrates' dialectics. "Reason" implies "Spirit and Liberty", hence the polyphonic "Music" of "Dialogue", in a responsible, "well balanced" way, to avoid "destruction".

Starting with a "Dialogue between christians and intellectual or artistic movements" highlighted at Bernardins' Cultural Center. with former Presidents Chirac and Giscard d'Estain, UNESCO's chair Anastassopoulos, etc., as well as representatives of Muslim Communities, (including a separate Turkish), after contacts with Jews at Vatican's Embassy, the Pope turned towards the People :

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To French Priests : "Church built on the rock" !
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- Speaking to thousands of French Priests at Notre Dame's Cathedral, Benedict highlighted a solid "Church built on the Rock" of conscious and active persons, transmitting "a lively, energetic and sharp" "God's Speech, actively working on Human History".

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"Praying together" with "representatives of Christian Churches and ecclesiastic communities", (as Orthodoxes, Armenians, Protestants, etc), he called "to reinforce the Unity of the church", against "any form of Division", around Holy Spirit', "the Word","Christ's Justice", and "Love" to fellow- humans : Essentials which "resume all holy scripts", as he said.

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To Young People : "New Horizons"
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To some 15.000 enthousiastic Young People at Notre Dame's parvis, along Seine's river, Benedict spoke about "the Energy of the Holy Spirit" and "the Mystery of the Cross" : - "The Holy Spirit opens New Horizons to Human Intelligence .. and makes it conscious of the real greatness of Christ's sacrifice, dying and resurecting for World's life".

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Some "may slander you as crazy, laugh at you, or even persecute you. But, "the Holy Cross is a symbol of God's love", and "givesmoral strength" : "Witness of People's pains, it's at the same time, a precious, unique expression of their Hopes", he told them at Paris' dawn.

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Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
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At the 1st open-air Mass in Paris' center area of Invalides, facing the Grand Palais, along the river Seine, during an impressive gathering of more than 150.000, French Prime Minister Fillon, Ministers Alliot-Marie, Bachelot, Dati, Jouyet, Assembly's President Accoyer, Senate's Chair Poncelet, former 1st Lady Bernadette Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin, many foreign Ambassadors, and other political personalities were present. (While earlier, from the Socialist opposition, Paris' Mayor Delanoye, artist Robert Hussein a.o. assisted at the Elysee meeting).

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But the "Entry Song" focused on the "People chosen to become God's Friends". The September 11 mass was Dedicated to "Saint Chrysostomus, that great priest of Constantinople", with his "wonderful eloquence and great courage to face challenges", who "made out of despaired and godless people, a people of brothers", opening a possibility to "become all one complete entity", as Pope Benedict reminded.

- "Reason never enters in real contradiction with Faith", stressed Pope Benedict, who prepared his speeches for France during a short Summer rest at Brixen/Bressanone's Seminar, whose Library honors both "Faith and Science".. - "We must use not only our Reason, but also our Faith" : "Get away from Idolatry", "cupidity", "avidity for money, power or even knowledge deviating from essential aims", and other "falses appearances". and "build your Home on the Rock", "with the force that Holy Spirit gives to those who let it act in them", he said to the People of Paris.

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Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
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- "Our World needs Hope", stressed Pope Benedict, addressing an impressive TorchLight procession at Lourdes' sanctuaries, where a Sea of Lights held by Hundreds of Thousands of People gathered at Pyrenee's Mountains from all over Europe astonishingly kept their flames despite a heavy Rain at a windy Dark Night...

- "150 years earlier (1858 - 2008), ..here, in the cave, ... a simple young girl, Bernadette .. saw a Light". "The everyday life of her Family was, however, made of Misery, Sadness, Sickness, Misunderstandings, Rejection and Poverty... It was hard to live in Jail". Today, "we think to all Human Beings who suffer : The innocent Victims who face Violence, War, Terrorism, Hunger, Injustices, Catastrophes, Hate and Oppression, Violations of Human Dignity and of their fundamental Rights, of their Liberty to act and think. We also think to those who face Familial problems, sufferings from Unemployment, Sickness, Infirmity, Isolation, or their situation as Immigrants, without forgetting those who suffer and die for the name of Christ", he said.

- "But the Shadows of the Earth, did not hinder Sky's Light to shine : <<The Light shines in the Dark>>" ..."A Way full of Light opens in Human History even in its Darkest moments" : ..."As Night falls, Christ tels us : <<- Keep your Lamps alight !>>."Hold a Light while walking in the Night .. sums up our condition as Christians on their way : "We need light, and we are called to become Light !", Benedict stressed to People setting in motion Lights, Flags and Songs with enthousiasm.

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"<<- She looked at me as a Person, who speaks to another Person>>, the poor girl had noted."Light emerges from such a Dialogue", stressed the Pope : "A small Flame called Hope, Compassion and Tenderness dwells inside those who return after being moved by Lourdes' experience". "Christ .. entrusts us with the Mission to let the Light of Charity shine : To make of our Prayers an Act of Love to our brothers and to Fraternal Charity", he concluded.

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