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Cultural Orientations

At the suggestion of its founder, Reinhard Mohn, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has been examining topics relating to cultural orientations for a number of years. In doing so, it looks at which values are critical for maintaining social cohesion. It is an issue that gains in significance as globalization progresses, since the fundamental changes and seemingly borderless world that most people encounter today are resulting in a search for greater meaning and clearer identities. The program therefore examines both cultural attitudes and values, and, in particular, the critical role religious beliefs play in ensuring society remains capable of meeting current and coming challenges. Our goal is to contribute proactively to international and intercultural understanding through our Role of Religion in Modern Society projects and our International Cultural Dialogue series.  

Program overview


The number of conflicts arising from a cultural context has increased dramatically. Berlin/Gütersloh - 15/09/2009

Are violent cultural conflicts becoming more prevalent?

The number of cultural conflicts has increased dramatically over the past 25 years. At the same time, such conflicts are extremely prone to becoming violent. Conversely, conflict is not the usual result when groups with opposing values come in contact with each other or when cultural fragmentation occurs, i.e., when groups with different languages, religions or historical backgrounds coexist within a given society. Cultural conflicts, moreover, are primarily a domestic as opposed to an international phenomenon. Those are the key findings from a comprehensive study recently carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung designed to identify the causes of global conflict.

Cupola of the Basilica of Saint Peter within the Vatican City. Rome/Gütersloh - 17/12/2008

Italy is still ''God's home''

Compared to many other western industrialized nations, Italy is still a religious country in which the Catholic faith continues to play a major role within society. Overall, 89 percent of Italians are religious, and 44 percent are highly religious. At the same time, traditional Catholic doctrine influences everyday life in Italy only to a limited extent. Those are the some of the key findings from the 2008 Religion Monitor, an international study carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung to compare religious beliefs and practices around the globe.

Young Muslime Gütersloh - 26/09/2008

Muslims in Germany are very religious, and faith plays a central role in their day-to-day lives

Berlin-Gütersloh, September  26, 2008 – Across all age groups, the Muslims who live in Germany are highly religious, which clearly differentiates them from the overall German population. But their religious faith is not characterized by rigid dogmatism or fundamentalism. On the contrary, Muslims in Germany tend to be very accepting of religious pluralism and take a relatively pragmatic approach to religion in their day-to-day lives. These are among the conclusions reached by the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s special study "Religion Monitor 2008: Muslim religiosity in Germany," which was unveiled today in Berlin. The study is based on a representative survey of more than 2,000 Muslims over the age of 18.


Contact Person
Portrait of Ferdinand Mirbach Ferdinand Mirbach
+49 5241 81-81223

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