Chernobyl, etc.: Coping with Disasters

Open to the Public
Nador u. 11
Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 9:00am
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Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 9:00am to Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 5:00pm

Central European University, Pasts, Inc. Institute of Historical Studies, CEU Seminar in Recent History with support of the CEU Environmental Sciences and Policy Department and State Self-Government the of Ukrainian Minority in Hungary

The Program of the Interdisciplinary Workshop

Day 1 Representations
(Thursday, March 16)

9.00 Opening session

Chair: Prof. Sorin Antohi
(Director of Pasts, Inc. Institute for Historical Studies, Head of the Organizing Committee, Head of CEU History Department)

9.00 Screening the documentary by David Desrame and Dominique Maestrali ‘The contaminated life’ (about the inhabitants of the areas, affected by the Chernobyl fallout)

9.50 Sorin Antohi: An introduction to disaster studies (Opening remarks)

10.20 Marlene Marti (The Green Cross Switzerland) delivers
The address of the Chairman of the Green Cross International,
ex-President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev
 presents a film ‘Endless agony of Chernobyl’ (overview of the work of Green Cross) and speaks about the 12 years of Green Cross Switzerland Socmed Program in countries with contamination

10.50 Coffee break

11.10 Katherine J. Worboys: Anniversaries of Disaster: Commemorating Catastrophe to Create Historical Memory

11.40 Sergii Mirnyi: Inside Chernobyl: Reportage from The Test-tube

12.10 General discussion

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Opening of the joint exhibition
Unique photos of Oleg Veklenko  ‘SMALL TALK WITH RADIATION’, taken near the Chernobyl ex-reactor in the first weeks after the explosion

from the collection of the International ‘4th BLOCK’ Museum-Gallery of Ecological Poster and Graphics (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

by Christophe Bisson - ‘192 fragments of Chernobyl’

14.30. Afternoon session

Visualising the invisible

Chair: Prof. Miklós Sükösd
(Department of Political Science, and
Center for Media and Communication Studies, CEU)

14.30  Christophe Bisson: Art Facing Chernobyl: The Failure of Representation? - Is it possible to represent in images a techno-scientific catastrophe?

15.00 Vladmir Gubarev: ‘The Sarcophagus: A Tragedy’ (Screening of the fragment of award-winning play (1986) and its discussion)

15.30 Anna Korolevska: Exposing Chernobyl (Screening of a presentation film of the Ukrainian National Museum “Chernobyl” and its discussion)

16.00 Oleg Veklenko: The harmony of eternal values via the Chernobyl optics: The Experience of '4th BLOCK' International Triennial of Ecological Posters and Graphic

16.30 General discussion

18.00 Ukrainian evening
(Ukrainian House, Budapest VI, Hajós street 1, entrance from Paulai Ede str)

Greetings by the Head of the State Self-Government of the Ukrainian Minority in Hungary, Mrs Yaroslava Hortanyi

Reception of the Workshop participants and guests

19.00 Literary readings from the award-winning  short story ‘Worse than radiation’ (1997) and the award-winning screenplay ‘A Chernobyl comedy’ (2004) by Sergii Mirnyi


Day 2 Interpretations
(Friday, March 17)

9.00. Morning session

Chernobyl (hi)stories

Chair: To be announced

9.00 Andrey Edemsky: Science and Power: Possible economical and organizational-political background of ‘Soviet Chernobyl’

9.30 Vladimir Gubarev: Chernobyl: People and passions (Fates of the big scientists and big problems)

10.00 Yevgen Yakovlev: Chernobyl impact on the environment: Mitigation, dynamics, and residues (Insider eco-hydrogeologist’s point of view)

10.30 Coffee break

10.50  Debate on the Effects of Low Doses of Radiation on Health

(Moderator – Sergii Mirnyi,
associated researcher, CEU Environmental Sciences and Policy Department)


Prof. Elena Burlakova
(Vice-Director of the Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics,
Head of the Scientific Council on Radiobiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

‘Ionising radiation represents a hazard for live beings even at the lowest doses and at lowest intensities above the natural background’

Prof. Maurice Tubiana
(Honorary Director of the Institut Gustave-Roussy (non-profit French private institution, exclusively devoted to oncology), ex-President of the Committee of Cancer Experts of the European Community)
‘At low doses, ionising radiation represents little or no hazard for live beings and has even been shown to be beneficial for health in animals’

13.00 Lunch

14.00. Afternoon session

Chernobyl Health Effects

Chair: Prof. Karl Hall
(CEU History Department)

14.00 Screening of ‘Fallout from Chernobyl’ (1996) BBC TV Horizon program
(A dramatic, almost adventure story of WHO investigation of children thyroid gland cancer in Belarus)

15.00 Alexey V. Yablokov: The consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe: Meta-analysis

15.30 Yury Ryabukhin: Towards normalisation in Chernobyl-affected territories in Russia: Knowledge and common sense are the best remedy

16.00 Joint discussion of the two papers

16.40 Coffee break

17.00  Chernobyl Oscar Documentary Evening

Maryann De Leo: ‘Making “Chernobyl Heart”: A filmmaker’s journey’
Screening of Academy-Award-2004-winning documentary by Maryann De Leo

Refreshment break

Public discussion of the documentary


Day 3 Implications
(Saturday, March 18)

9.00. Morning session
Contemporary disasters: Potentials and prophylactics

Chair: Prof. Alexios Antypas
(Director of CEU Center for Environmental Policy and Law)

9.00 Zoltán Illés: Nothing venture nothing gain!? - Thoughts about human development, risk, uncertainty and precaution

9.30 Miklós Sükösd and Gábor Sarlós: Public relations vs. the right to know: The representation of the functioning and malfunctioning of the Paks nuclear power station in the Hungarian media

10.00 István Láng and Miklós Zágoni: The catastrophic potential of climate change

10.30 Yevgen Yakovlev: On shaky ground: Man-modified geological environment – a source of major catastrophes

11.00 Coffee break

11.20 Frances Trix: Twenty years of space shuttle problem reports: Drowning in data and awash in semantic drift

11.50 Michelle Dent: Staging Disaster: The city of Seattle rehearses homeland security

12.20 Sergii Mirnyi: An extraterrestrial being's report on Chernobyl: Catastrophe - a success story or the first disaster of the 21th century on planet Earth

13.00. Lunch

14.00 Final discussion
Moderator: Prof. Sorin Antohi

16.00 The Workshop Closing Fourchet

17.30 CEU Human Rights Students’ Initiative invites to
Screening of  Oscar-2002-(Best Foreign Language Film)-winning  war drama-comedy
NO MAN’S LAND (2001)
…By entering into a dramatic post-Yugoslavian war situation, a journalist affects the unfolding of events and turns a news story into an international circus… (From the synopsis)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
(in the order of appearance)

Dr Katherine J. Worboys (USA) is Deputy Research Director for a U.S. government-sponsored research initiative on disaster response, relief, and recovery, and adjunct professor in the Department of History at American Public University at Charlestown, West Virginia, USA

Sergii Mirnyi (UA) is an associated researcher at the CEU Environmental Sciences and Policy Department, author of a book Chernobyl liquidators: health as a psycho-social trauma, a script-writer and ex-officer of Chernobyl radiation reconnaissance

Christophe Bisson (F) is a painter and philosopher

Vladmir Gubarev (RU) is a famous Russian and Soviet scientific journalist, and play-script writer. He was the first journalist, admitted to the Chernobyl zone after the explosion. His play Sarcophagus (1986) was translated into 53 languages, and staged all over the world. For more than 30 years he was the editor for science for Pravda and Komsomolskaya pravda newspapers – the leading newspapers of the USSR.

Dr Anna Korolevska (UA) is the Director for Science for Ukrainian National Museum ‘Chernobyl’, Merited Worker of Culture of Ukraine

Prof. Oleg Veklenko (UA) is a painter and graphic designer, Honorary Artist of Ukraine, professor of Kharkov State Academy of Design and Arts, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of ‘4th BLOCK’ International Eco Poster and Graphic Triennial. He was an officer of the radiation and chemical protection brigade in Chernobyl in the first month after the explosion

Dr Andrey Edemsky (RU) is a researcher at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, journalist

Prof. Yevgen Yakovlev (UA) was a principal eco-hydrogeologist of Ukraine in the time of Chernobyl explosion and more than a decade after it, participated in the Chernobyl mitigation from the very first morning after the explosion; now a principal research fellow at the Department of the technogenic security and technological policy at the Institute of National Security Problems of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine

Prof. Elena Burlakova (RU) is theVice-Director of the Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics, Head of the Scientific Council on Radiobiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Maurice Tubiana (F) is Honorary Director of the Institut Gustave-Roussy (non-profit French private institution, exclusively devoted to oncology), ex-President of the Committee of Cancer Experts of the European Community)

Prof. Alexey V. Yablokov (RU) is a famous Russian ecologist, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chair of the Programme of Nuclear and Radiation Safety in the Intern-l Socio-Ecological Union and Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Member of the European Commission on Radiation Risk (ECRR) [NGO, initiated by The Greens Fraction in EP]

Maryann De Leo (USA) is an independent documentary filmmaker.  She directs, shoots, reports and edits her films. De Leo has received numerous awards, including an Academy Award for CHERNOBYL HEART, two National Emmy Awards, two National Emmy nominations, an Alfred I. du Pont -Columbia University Award, and a CableACE Award.  De Leo’s work has premiered at the American Museum of the Moving Image and has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the General Assembly at the United Nations. De Leo has reported internationally for the “Today Show” from Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, Cuba, Guatemala, the former Soviet Union, China, Afghanistan, Angola, Korea, Baghdad, and from the mountains of Mexico during the Zapatista rebel uprising in Chiapas.  During the Gulf War, De Leo was one of a few reporters who got out of Iraq with uncensored footage.

Prof. Yury Ryabukhin (RU) - Retired Radiation Scientist of the World Health Organization, a former Scientific Secretary to the WHO International Programme on the Health Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident; DSc (Biophysics), PhD (Dosimetry and Radiation Protection)

Prof. Zoltán Illés (HU) – Chairman of the Committee for the Environment of the Hungarian Parliament (1998-2002), Professor of CEU Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Dr Miklós Sükösd (HU) is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, and Academic Director of the Center for Media and Communication Studies at Central European University in Budapest. His research focuses on political communication, media policy, and environmental politics and communication, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. He also serves as communication adviser to Védegylet (Protect the Future), one of Hungary’s leading environmentalist organisations.

Gábor Sarlós (HU) is a founding member and twice vice president of the Hungarian PR Association, the Managing Director of Pepper PR (a top-10 agency in Hungary)

Prof. István Láng (HU) is an academician, was a member of the world-famous Brundtland Committee in 1987, when they worked out the fundamental concept of sustainable development

Dr Miklós Zágoni is a well-known physicist and scientific journalist in Hungary, working on the fields of global warming and climate change for decades.

Dr Frances Trix (USA) teaches a course on Language in Disasters at the Department of Linguistics, Indiana University, and studies communication issues and linguistic corpus analysis of risk reporting

Michelle Dent (USA) works at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University.