euIE Humanities Discussion Series, First Madrid Meeting, will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 7pm (Student Hub, Maria de Molina 31 bis, Madrid)

The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, an unprecedented honor for a political institution.  And in fact, until recently, one could hardly think of a political and cultural brand more successful than the European.  Even criticism hurled from the outside at the alleged decadence of the European lifestyle seemed laden with resentment and envy.  The project of European union coalesced, after the two worlds wars and genocide of the twentieth century, as a bid to save all the good of modern Europe (the cultural creativity and material prosperity) from the bad (the nationalism and imperialism) that had destroyed it.  The end of the Cold War and incorporation of the former Soviet Republics of Eastern Europe into the Union is only one marker of this amazing conquest of peace.  All that said, the European brand has suffered severe blow after blow in the aftermath of the 2008 world financial crisis.  Old internal questions about the democratic deficit in the Union have turned into existential ones.  For, the EU seems increasingly divided between first- and second-class countries, first- and second-class citizens.  More and more Europeans are asking whether the Union does more harm than good: is it actually a tool of solidarity and guaranteed future prosperity or rather the means whereby decisions made by elites and ‘experts’ are shoved down the throats of populations that would never vote for them?  Should European nations give up their rights of democratic decision-making to a super-state of questionable democratic accountability?  Could such a super-state actually ever be made democratic?  We use thus the opportunity of our first even of the Humanities Discussion Series in Madrid to ask, in the midst of our very European institution, what Europe and being a European mean today.  Is the EU our future, or our undoing?

Snacks and Refreshments Will be Served Before the Event


Blog “La cebolla frita”

Written on October 24, 2014 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

banBanafsheh Farhangmehr, Ex Directora de Relaciones Externas de IE Humanities Center y Master in Marketing Management 2007, acaba de crear el blog de cocina iraní La cebolla frita. Está ha sido su primera entrada.

Hola! Me llamo Banafsheh, soy iraní y amo la gastronomía.

Me encanta comer, cocinar y por supuesto fotografiar la comida aunque sé que a veces puedo resultar un poco pesada…

Decidí escribir este blog porque cocino comida iraní varias veces por semana y ¿por qué no compartir mis recetas y mis experiencias en la cocina?

La cocina Iraní se fundamenta en la hospitalidad: invitar a gente a casa y charlar mientras se comparten platos alrededor de una gran mesa. ¡Es una experiencia increíble! Un festival de texturas, colores, olores y sabores.

En una mesa iraní hay:

  • arroz con azafrán
  • tahdig: así es como llamamos en Persia al sabroso, crujiente y dorado socarrat
  • guiso de ternera o pollo con hierbas aromáticas
  • muchos mezzes para picar
  • y nunca falta una cesta de hierbas frescas que acompañe la comida.

Comer en Irán no es solo satisfacer el apetito, es un estilo de vida:

Por la mañana, se piensa en cocinar para el almuerzo, luego qué cocinar para la cena y por la noche qué se cocinará para el próximo día.

Nuestra cocina es rica en especias aromáticas, lo que no significa que esté cargada de especias picantes. Por lo contrario, es una sensación mágica en la boca ya que está delicada y armoniosamente especiada.

Los platos están equilibrados. Usamos estos ingredientes que dan un toque ácido a la comida:

  • el berbero
  • la lima persa seca
  • el sumac
  • la melaza de granada (agridulce)
  • la ciruela agridulce
  • el ghooreh: uvas verdes acidas sin madurar

y el ingrediente fundamental que equilibra este toque acido, da profundidad y une los sabores del plato es ¡la fabulosa CEBOLLA FRITA!!!!

Es seguramente el ingrediente más importante, que no falta en ningún guiso iraní.

En la cocina Iraní hay muchos ingredientes fabulosos que son todavía desconocidos en Europa, algunos los he citado antes, como el Sumac, el azafrán, el cúrcuma, la lima seca persa, el berbero, la menta en polvo, la melaza de granada y los pétalos de rosa entre otros.

Sería increíble poder combinar estos ingredientes con la cocina moderna.

Ese es mi experimento mientras comparto la cultura del país que me vio nacer mediante su cocina.

¡Un país para comérselo en versión Persa!


“Go after your own dream” Lord Patten speaks at Hay Festival Segovia

Written on October 22, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in IE University, Video

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France - Louis Vuitton FoundationAt the exit of Les Sablons Metro station, in a well-heeled western suburb of Paris, stands a brown tourist sign that appears to have been misprinted. Next to the recognisable fairground silhouettes of merry-go-rounds and swings, advertising the nearby Jardin d’Acclimatation, is a mess of white blotches. If you screw your eyes up, it looks like a chrysalis, or a strange beetle. This way to the insect house, perhaps?

It is, in fact, a sign for the latest building by Frank Gehry – the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which has landed in the woodland park of the Bois de Boulogne as an avalanche of glass sails. Piled up in a staggered heap, these great curved shields twist and turn in the architect’s trademark style, their odd angles poking above the trees, visible for miles around. As if caught in a violent storm, the sails flare open in places to reveal an inner world of white walls, sculpted like whipped meringue, and a dense thicket of steel struts and wooden beams that have been forced into improbable shapes. For an architect often criticised for making “logotecture”, this is one tricky logo to distill – as the tourist board sign-writers have already discovered.

“It is a vessel, a fish, a sailing boat, a cloud,” says Frédéric Migayrou, architecture curator at the Pompidou Centre, who has organised aretrospective of Gehry’s work to coincide with the building’s opening. “It has all the metaphors of smoothness.” Sporting a glittering LV logo at the front door, it could also be a gigantic Louis Vuitton perfume bottle, smashed to smithereens.

Commissioned by Bernard Arnault, head of the LVMH luxury brand empire, whose personal net worth stands at £18.4bn, the complex is a palace for his collection of modern and contemporary art, a corporate cultural showcase. Built on public land, with private funds, it will be given as “a gift to the city” in 55 years’ time. But, like a loud LV handbag a glitzy relative might bring you back from a duty-free splurge, it is a gift the neighbourhood hasn’t seemed all that keen on receiving.

It is a grotesque imposition, in the eyes of some well-to-do local residents, standing as a brash monument to the fact that the country’s richest man can get his own way. Planning codes prohibit building in the protected natural site of the Bois, but structures are allowed under special circumstances, if they reach a height of no more than one-storey. A local campaign saw the project successfully halted in the courts, but then the National Assembly intervened declaring it was “a major work of art for the whole world” and must go ahead. A mysterious sleight of hand with the internal layout, using staggered “mezzanines” around a central atrium, means the building can claim to be just one storey tall – despite rising 50 metres into the air.

Continue reading in The Guardian


Does It Help to Know History?

Written on October 20, 2014 by Fernando Dameto Zaforteza in Arts & Cultures & Societies

drac syrAbout a year ago, I wrote about some attempts to explain why anyone would, or ought to, study English in college. The point, I thought, was not that studying English gives anyone some practical advantage on non-English majors, but that it enables us to enter, as equals, into a long existing, ongoing conversation. It isn’t productive in a tangible sense; it’s productive in a human sense. The action, whether rewarded or not, really is its own reward. The activity is the answer.

It might be worth asking similar questions about the value of studying, or at least, reading, history these days, since it is a subject that comes to mind many mornings on the op-ed page. Every writer, of every political flavor, has some neat historical analogy, or mini-lesson, with which to preface an argument for why we ought to bomb these guys or side with those guys against the guys we were bombing before. But the best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out. The advantage of having a historical sense is not that it will lead you to some quarry of instructions, the way that Superman can regularly return to the Fortress of Solitude to get instructions from his dad, but that it will teach you that no such crystal cave exists. What history generally “teaches” is how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they’re making it.

Roger Cohen, for instance, wrote on Wednesday about all the mistakes that the United States is supposed to have made in the Middle East over the past decade, with the implicit notion that there are two histories: one recent, in which everything that the United States has done has been ill-timed and disastrous; and then some other, superior, alternate history, in which imperial Western powers sagaciously, indeed, surgically, intervened in the region, wisely picking the right sides and thoughtful leaders, promoting militants without aiding fanaticism, and generally aiding the cause of peace and prosperity. This never happened. As the Libyan intervention demonstrates, the best will in the world—and, seemingly, the best candidates for our support—can’t cure broken polities quickly. What “history” shows is that the same forces that led to the Mahdi’s rebellion in Sudan more than a century ago—rage at the presence of a colonial master; a mad turn towards an imaginary past as a means to equal the score—keep coming back and remain just as resistant to management, close up or at a distance, as they did before. ISIS is a horrible group doing horrible things, and there are many factors behind its rise. But they came to be a threat and a power less because of all we didn’t do than because of certain things we did do—foremost among them that massive, forward intervention, the Iraq War. (The historical question to which ISIS is the answer is: What could possibly be worse than Saddam Hussein?)

Continue reading in The New Yorker

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