Louise Weiss: a committed European

Writer and film-maker

L. Weiss behind a camera in Palmyra, Syria

After the devastation of the war, Louise Weiss began to look beyond Europe for new ways to use her considerable efforts. Her ambition to use images as a way of expressing her ideas led her to travel the world and raise awareness of countries and civilisations far from Europe.

It was at this time that Weiss developed an interest in the work of the Institut français de polémologie, a conflict studies institute which examined the root causes of armed conflict. Throughout this period she continued to pursue her own writing in the form of novels, biographies, plays, essays and travelogues, publishing six volumes of Mémoires d’une Européenne which won the 1978 Robert Schuman Prize for European unity.

She spent several years as an ethnographer in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, bearing witness to the geopolitical, religious, social and cultural upheavals that, against the backdrop of the Cold War, were transforming the Third World. She made dozens of documentaries and short films, which she presented on conference tours around Europe.

She went on to establish the Fondation Louise Weiss in Strasbourg, which awards individuals who have worked for peace and rapprochement between peoples. Since 2005, the Association of European Journalists has awarded an annual Louise Weiss Prize to journalists focusing on European affairs.