Blog: Young European Ambassadors and Le Parrhèsiaste: a partnership that gives young Europeans the chance to take up the pen
In September 2021, Nicolas Vande Kerckhove – a Young European Ambassador (YEA) from Belgium – decided to get in touch with the online journal called Le Parrhèsiaste. He had the chance to meet Pierre Jouin – one of the editors – during the largest French-speaking simulation game of the European Parliament in the world, the ‘SPECQUE’. His idea was to create a partnership between the Young European Ambassadors and this free-thinking publication.
Eventually, the collaboration was formalised at the end of November as two YEAs published their text in a section of the magazine devoted to readers’ contributions. You can click on the links to discover the first and second text.
After several months of collaboration, we would like to pay tribute to our common work by interviewing the editors of Le Parrhèsiaste, Marine Jouin, Nicolas Graingeot, Emilien Pigeard and Pierre Jouin. We invite you to discover this fascinating interview below.
Could you introduce your magazine and the history of its creation? Could you also introduce the different categories that make it up?
Almost two years ago, on a beautiful Sunday in August 2020, we were happy to meet in person after so many months without being able to see each other. On that day, Yoann – one of the current editors – told us about a project he and Jean – another editor – had been thinking about for a while: creating an online magazine, based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Les Temps Modernes, where we could write essays, articles, literary creations, etc.
So, we chose the name Le Parrhèsiaste, in reference to the parrhesia of ancient Athenian democracy, which literally means speaking freely, frankly and honestly while respecting the word of the other.
Yoann therefore called on one of his friends, Claudia, to create our website and to set up the design we wanted. We launched our magazine in November 2020 and have been publishing every other day since.
We have different categories in which we divide our articles: ‘Politique‘, ‘Société‘, ‘Économie‘, ‘Culture‘, ‘Histoire‘, ‘Science‘ and ‘Médecine‘. We have also chosen to create a special category called “Opinions” for our most critical and acerbic articles. And of course, what would we be without our “Créations littéraires“, where we give free rein to our writing desires and needs. Moreover, we have also launched a ‘Your articles‘ section to publish the writing projects of our readers. I think you know it pretty well since we are collaborating with you over there!
Your editorial team seems to be extremely united. What is your secret?
I think that what makes us united is respect. Respect because even if we don’t always agree, which often leads to very long debates, we accept to read and understand arguments and ideas with which we disagree.
And this respect is of course due to the fact that we are friends or even relatives in the case of Marine and Pierre. We always try to find out why someone has written this, why he or she thinks that… It is our culture of curiosity and listening while keeping our critical and frank spirit that prevails and drives our team.
This respect is reflected in our magazine, because we have different backgrounds, and different objectives, but we are always interested in knowing what everyone is doing. Our very themes are different: in the same week, Nicolas will take our readers on his travels through Europe, Émilien will analyse citizenship among young people and Sacha will choose to retrace the history of France’s greatest criminal cases.
What are your future projects at Le Parrhèsiaste?
To keep publishing regularly!
On a more serious note, we try to focus as much as possible on our writing and on sharing it. Of course, we also take a lot of time to respond and exchange with our readers, and publish their projects.
However, we are thinking about diversifying our formats a bit, as Pierre did with short humorous videos. We have been thinking for some time about setting up videos where we debate on different subjects, and where we can exchange with the world and not only through the keyboard of a computer.
We would like to create a more direct space for exchange with our readers, a kind of “agora” where articles could more easily respond to each other, with constructed thoughts of course.
With which organisation or institution would you dream of creating a partnership to help many young people benefit from access to quality online content available through your literary platform?
It is already a great opportunity, and we take this opportunity to thank you warmly, to have this partnership with the Young European Ambassadors. Being able to reach out to young, committed people in different countries is also the reason why we created our magazine.
If we are talking about crazy dreams, it certainly wouldn’t be unpleasant to be published by a large information structure or a think tank that would keep a certain independence of tone, and would not follow any partisan line.
What has already been done, notably with the Lille branch of Euradio, is to be able to discuss our articles with people outside the radio station, or even on a television platform, on a regular basis. Going beyond our role as editors and defending our writings is a very stimulating exercise, which is why radio stations such as France Culture or media such as Toute l’Europewould be a good start.
A funny anecdote about Le Parrhèsiaste team?
Our editorial meetings very often end in laughter. We manage to keep a very serious approach to the various aspects of the magazine, but when it comes to relaxing, the stand-up is just fine. I won’t tell you who, but sometimes we have to silence some of the editors to have an intelligible discussion.
Do you plan to merge or collaborate with other magazines from French-speaking countries in the future in order to reach a wider French-speaking audience?
This is not our wish at this time since we are more looking for discussions than expansions. Indeed, we risk having to adopt a clear editorial line if we merge or collaborate too closely with another magazine. In the long term, we want to keep our independence and continue to take a critical look at society. However, we have recently tried to attract the attention of big names like France Culture on social media for them to learn about our work.
Do you plan to publish any future articles in other languages? If so, which ones?
As you have probably noticed, our target audience remains mainly the French public. However, the language of Shakespeare is interesting because it allows us to address a wider audience. In fact, already more or less 10 articles have been translated into English on our website, which may be of interest to foreign or non-French people. Our future wish would be to translate more articles to allow as many readers as possible to discover our content. Moreover, some of our editors are fluent in German. That’s why we thought of translating some of our creations into Goethe’s language, which we find very poetic. One last language that could also end up on our website one day is Spanish.
Before ending this episode, we would like to thank the entire team of “Le Parrhèsiaste” for this valuable collaboration. The YEAs are always happy to collaborate with independent organisations. This allows us to continue to have a critical eye on society and to remain objective as much as possible. Moreover, this agreement between our two teams allows us to give the chance to many young people to express themselves freely online. Their article can then be consulted anywhere in the world. In conclusion, collaborating with this online journal enables us to promote the use of free speech and to democratise access to information.
Interviewer: Nicolas Vande Kerckhove (Young European Ambassador from Belgium)
Interviewees: Marine Jouin, Nicolas Graingeot, Emilien Pigeard and Pierre Jouin
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