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Liz Mohn and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel in front of a modern painting

2004 Salzburg Trilogue

A forward-looking mutual understanding of tolerance for Europe

The International Cultural Forums project series has clearly shown that the European continent—with its cultural diversity and by virtue of the political culture’s integration efforts—is accorded a key role in the mediation of, dialogue about and tolerance among cultures. Nevertheless, in Europe there no one monolithic understanding of what tolerance is and what its limits are. This presents increasing challenges to the social cohesion of our pluralistic societies. Current discussions about head scarves, European anti-Semitism, discrimination and terror are vivid reminders of these challenges. The key question for culturally diversified and pluralistic societies is how societal consensus can be reached without there necessarily being a shared understanding of values. Tolerance is becoming an increasingly important factor in resolving ethnic, religious, cultural and gender-specific conflicts.

Against this backdrop, the Salzburg Trilogue convened prominent decision-makers and opinion leaders from all over Europe in August 2004 to develop a forward-looking model of tolerance. The participants agreed that tolerance is not a static concept, but instead requires proactive involvement of all societal forces to constantly renegotiate how to deal with differences. This is the only way a framework for peaceful coexistence can be erected in a world of accelerating globalization and increasing pluralization. Participants included EU commissioners Pascal Lamy and Sandra Kalniete, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka, advisor to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, André Azoulay, the president of Club of Rome, H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal, the chair of the supervisory board of BASF AG, Professor Jürgen Strube, the chairman of BP p.l.c., Peter Sutherland, theater director Andrea Breth and star Russian conductor Valery Gergiev.

The roundtable discussion was based on a Bertelsmann Stiftung discussion paper, which, together with selected excerpts from the discussion, can be ordered as a printed publication or downloaded as a PDF file.

Project start date: January 1, 2004

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A modern Concept of Tolerance

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