Laureate 2013

Jan Goossens receives 2013 Citizenship Award

The P&V Foundation awarded its 9th Citizenship Award on Wednesday, 4 December 2013. The Citizenship Award is an annual award conferred to a person, initiative or organisation, of Belgian or international origin, whose activity has shown exemplary commitment to promoting an open, democratic, tolerant society. 

A pioneer for diversity

Jan Goossens © Stephan Vanfleteren
© Stephan Vanfleteren

Jan Goossens has been the Artistic Director of the Brussels Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) since 2001. By focusing on his own country's diversity and the cultural wealth present elsewhere in the world, he has worked hard to establish the KVS as a contemporary urban theatre. In Brussels, for example, the KVS works very closely with the National Theatre. Through this collaboration, Goossens has been able to attract a local audience that covers the whole of the city's diverse ethnic origins.

Artistic projects in Palestine and the Congo

Every year since 2009, he has organised a theatre festival in Kinshasa, where he also runs workshops to train and support Congolese artists. This initiative also provides them with the opportunity to present their creations at the KVS, thus giving them the chance to promote their work in other European countries.

Goossens also works actively in Palestine. He has been the coordinator of the PASS (Performing Arts Summer School) since 2007. The KVS also works with the C de la B Ballet and the Plek ASBL in running a series of workshops for Palestinian artists.


The 2013 Citizenship Award by Johan Tahon.
The 2013 Citizenship Award by Johan Tahon

Working through the KVS to promote a tolerant and integrated society

Mark Elchardus, president of the P&V Foundation, summarised the foundation's choice for the award: There are a number of places in our society from which we can reach out to promote the idea of a society based on tolerance, solidarity and secular values. And there are also a number of different ways to go about this. But they all require sincerity, ideas and courage. Jan Goossens has succeeded in doing this with his work for the Flemish Royal Theatre. When thinking about my life in Brussels as a young person, the KVS doesn’t seem as a likely location for this kind of initiative. But Jan Goossens has persevered and achieved just that. He has fulfilled his commitments in an exemplary manner, a manner which also inspires and provides others with the courage and motivation to take on the role of fully committed citizens in the world. It is a manner which allows one to become aware and thus discover the extent to which it is better to experience the warmth and enthusiasm of working together than to suffer coldness and rejection. I am therefore honoured to be able to present him with the P&V Foundation Citizenship Award.

The Foundation will present a Johan Tahon sculpture to the award winner.