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AI, freedom and foreign cultural work

Bijan Moini in conversation

Our team was at the Taipei International Book Exhibition 2024 (20-25 February) to oversee the German pavilion and the accompanying cultural programme. Also on site: Berlin author, political scientist and civil rights campaigner Bijan Moini.
Bijan Moini
© Thomas Friedrich Schäfer

Bijan Moini had already taken part in the virtual programme at TIBE 2022 at the invitation of Frankfurter Buchmesse and its partners. This initial contact has borne fruit: two of his books have since been published in Taiwan, a novel called "The Cube" and the pamphlet entitled "Save Freedom! A wake-up call in the digital age" (Atrium Verlag). 
We caught up with him at TIBE 2024, which he was attending at the invitation of Academia Sinica, and asked him about his impressions.

Both titles published in Taiwan deal with the risks of digitisation/AI. Do you bring a particular perspective that enriches the debate in Taiwan?

Of course, the Taiwanese audience is best placed to judge this. But in my conversations here on site so far, and also from those with the translator of the pamphlet, law professor Chien-Liang Lee, I have the impression that a German perspective on the topic is definitely appreciated. Even more so than in Germany, there seems to be a prevailing lack of concern about new technical innovations in Taiwan, which means that they are not restricted by regulations as they are in the EU or Germany.

In recent years, you have come into contact with various organisations involved in cultural work abroad (Frankfurter Buchmesse, Goethe-Institut ...). How do you rate their work when it comes to communicating culture and promoting economic and intellectual relations?

Without this cultural work, my novel would certainly not have been translated, which I think says a lot. The exchange you facilitate with people in other countries also enriches me personally. Whether in Greece, India or now in Taiwan - in global society, people are more united than they often think, and recognising these similarities is very empowering for all sides.

A brief snapshot of TIBE2024: What has been your best experience so far and what are you still looking forward to? 

I really enjoyed the event on the pamphlet "Save Freedom", especially the intelligent questions from the audience. And I'm really looking forward to the presentation of my novel.

Event at TIBE 2024

Event at the TIBE 2024
© Katherina Rapp


Bijan Moini, born near Karlsruhe in 1984, is a lawyer, political scientist, and civil rights activist with German Iranian roots. After earning his doctorate and completing his legal clerkship in Hong Kong and Berlin, he worked as a lawyer for a commercial law firm. When the idea for his first novel came to him, he quit and devoted himself to writing. In 2019, "Der Würfel" ("The Cube") was published by Atrium Verlag. The following year, the same publisher brought out "Rettet die Freiheit! Ein Weckruf im digitalen Zeitalter" ("Rescue Freedom! A Wake-up Call in the Digital Age"). In 2021, "Unser gutes Recht. Was hinter den Gesetzen steckt" ("Our Inherent Rights. What's Behind the Laws") was published by Hoffmann und Campe. Today, he works for the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (Society for Freedom Rights) and appears on television, radio, and in numerous print and online media as an expert on this subject. Moini lives with his family in Berlin.

Der Würfel Cover
Bijan Moini

The Cube (Der Würfel)

Atrium Verlag
Rettet die Freiheit! Cover
Bijan Moini

Rescue Freedom! (Rettet die Freiheit!)

Atrium Verlag
Unser gutes Recht Cover
Bijan Moini

Our Inherent Rights (Unser gutes Recht)

Hoffmann und Campe
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