„Politics is nothing else but the art of governing a state.
Politics is realised in parilament, at the provincial assemblies,
when they vote about the public burdens, the taxes, the conscription, the school laws.
So, the most serious interests of the individual and the communitiy depend on politics.
Noone can back out of it: the individual either participates in, or suffers from it.”

Alcide De Gasperi (1906)


From the Hetaireia to think tank

In the history of mankind from time to time there have always been groups, some formed upon ties of friendship around a table while others took more organised forms, and the members of these groups believe that the frames present at that particular era can not be called the very best of the existing words, and appear to act in order to find the preferably best of the given possibilities. It is the historical situation that determines the frames how these groups were able to enforce their interest; there is a wide range from the associations of grey eminences to the revolutionary radicalism.
When we decided to establish the Collegium Pannonicum, those historical precedents were determinant which evoke more peaceful periods of mankind.
These centuries are the periods of construction, ones that in their own ways reach decisions at the expense of equally hard struggles as the more heroic ages, but which are later remembered as &brdquo;the good old times”. These periods always had opinion forming groups that were able to interpret the particular processes and suggest solutions, associations that had the courage to stand up for their interests, while at the same time, were quick to act and identified themselves with their country.
From the first period of the Athenian democracy we know there were people who belonged to a certain political association, the hetaireia, and at the time of ostracisms they cast their votes according to previously agreed conceptions. We can find similar interest groups, collegiums, at the time of the Roman Empire, but a new, important aspect appears there; we're not merely talking about groups governing public life and enforcing their interest, but those were also organisations safeguarding the interest of particular crafts, who provided control over professional training, quality control, kept a mutual benefit society and their cooperation didn't miss the sacral character either. In the course of history, naturally, we could mention several other examples, but disregarding completeness these two prefigurations are the ones that determine the rooms of manoeuvre for the think tank organisations of our time.
Collegium Pannonicum is also organised along political values: its members, patrons, experts are such young professionals who assume Christian democratic values. Based on this, we have our strategic partners and natural allies, while at the same time, unlike the classical think tank organisations, we define ourselves as being an intellectual workshop, independent from parties.
During our activities, urged by public activism rooted in Christian responsibility, we undertake to map and analyse the possible answers for the acute problems of our age. In Folia selecta, our public and cultural journal, at conferences, during our adult education activities we equally wish to emphasise the importance of responsible thinking for the future, as well as the possibilities of activities that are responsible for the future; in order to this, we strive to realise our programs in partnership that can possibly convey the shared values in the frame of a discussion.

Tamás Pavlics
Head of the Advisory board

Budapest, October 2007