At the end of April Roger Tropéano left us. He had founded, at the beginning of the nineties, and had been president of the Association of cities and regions of the greater Europe for culture, “Les Rencontres”, which in 2015 changed its name to “Like”. Roger Tropéano, a professor of mathematics and a stubborn socialist (lately he had been active alongside the “outraged” socialists of Mélenchon), played an important role in the design of local cultural policies in France, fulfilling diverse technical and political responsibilities. In this sense, he was also President of the National Federation of Local Cultural Administrators (FNCC). He was a convinced pro-European and an active actor of cultural cooperation for development, with an extensive on-the-ground experience in countries such as Honduras, for instance.

Initially, “Les Rencontres” was launched as an association of elected officials, counselors and mayors, supportive of culture. For over 20 years, over 200 European cities and regions found, under the umbrella of “Les Rencontres”, a space for exchange, debate and collaboration to build a more democratic and solid cultural Europe. Roger Tropéano was able to set up, notwithstanding the limited existing resources, a platform with a real networking spirit and in which beyond knowledge and recognition, exchange and cooperation, there was scope to defend the essential role of sub-state entities, local authorities and regional governments as fundamental components of a new Europe of culture.

Roger Tropéano was one of those few people who inspired the logic that underpins networking and that lies at the heart of the structural framework of public and private, first and second level public entities which characterizes the European landscape of organizations with a cultural vocation. Extremely careful with his pros and cons, he always sought an effective use for those platforms to counter the risk that they become structures without sense or content (as he said himself: “networking is not working”) or, worse even, potential excuses for institutional or cultural tourism. Rest in peace. Because the deeper is the death, the deeper is the earth.

Eduard Miralles, President of the Board of the Interarts Foundation

Picture: InsEyedout; Flicker: Creative Commons.