Jacques De Decker, born in Brussels in 1945, is a versatile writer. A Germanist trained at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, he has taught at the Royal Conservatory. De Decker has also been a prolific literary critic for over twenty years: since 1971, he has collaborated with the Belgium’s largest francophone daily newspaper Le Soir. His works are also found in a wide variety of other publications, notably the Magazine Littéraire. De Decker is also the author of many diverse essays: “Les années critiques” (1990), “En lisant, en écoutant” (1996), “La brosse à relire” (1999), and “Un baggage poétique pour le 3ième millénaire” (2002), which received the Robert Giron Scholarship from the jury of the Prix Interallié. An author, he has written “La Grande Roue” (Grasset, 1985), “Parades amoureuses “ (Grasset, 1990), and “La ventre de la baleine” (Labor, 1996), which has been translated into Dutch, Spanish, and Romanian. De Decker is also a playwright whose pieces have been performed worldwide, as far as Australia. A translator as well, he is responsible for the French versions of Shakespeare, Goethe, Marlowe, Kleist, Schnitzler, Wedekind, and other contemporary English, Dutch, and German authors.
De Decker runs “Beaumarchais” in Paris, the association in charge of cultural programming at the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs dramatiques. In Brussels, he also is at the helm of the Belgian section of the Institut International du Théâtre (UNESCO). Since January 2002, he has been the Secrétaire perpétuel of the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises de Belgique.



What role does European heritage play within the new context of this globalized and multipolar world? This is a question that must be addressed at a variety of levels. First of all, what does this heritage consist of today’s context ? Is European culture more integrated today than in the past ? Does it demonstrate coherence or is it characterized by diversity ? Has the formation of Europe as an institution had a significant impact on the European cultural dialogue? And today, with the question of the clash of values, if not of civilisations, what can Europe’s contribution be in terms of ethics, esthetics, and philosophy ? What ingredients make up its “moral capital”? Are these ingredients not currently being altered upon contact with other parts of the world? Does Europe have a role to play in this new context, one in which its old dream of universality could intervene, or be revealed as obsolete ? There is no shortage of questions…


In the debate over Francophonie, there is an underlying element that needs to be explained. When we evoke francophonie, are we speaking only of all the speakers of a same language, French, around the world ? Or does it refer to something deeper : a system of values, of references, of origins, an intellectual framework, a world vision ? Francophonie is not constructed on an economic basis such as the Commonwealth, nor is it rooted in institutional design like the European Union. Instead, its base is more immaterial, and thus its precise definition is clouded. This Francophonie, a sort of symbolic utopia based on an ideological and conceptual heritage whose properity was considerable, need to be defined more accurately.