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Projektlogo: Salzburger Trilog 2009

Voices for the Future - Global Crises and the Human Potential

Organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Austrian Federal Foreign Ministry, the 2009 Salzburg Trilogue focused on the topic of “Voices for the Future – World Crises and the Human Potential.” At the event, renowned political, business, social and cultural leaders came together for one and a half days to discuss the current global crises and perspectives of global developments. Chaired by Wolfgang Schüssel, seasoned experts and up-and-coming leaders from international organizations debated global sustainability issues across cultural, thematic and generational lines. The participants agreed that today’s crises are fundamentally related to the issue of sustainability, in that the way humanity currently lives and works is not only eroding the world’s natural resources, it is also destabilizing social cohesion and diminishing trust all around the globe. What are therefore needed are long-term strategies designed to improve quality of life for current and coming generations. Such strategies require not only a worldwide consensus on globally valid sustainability principles and a new notion of qualitative growth, but also new approaches to education, leadership, international cooperation and the international political order.

Project Description



Bo Ekman, founder of the Taellberg Foundation

The political system has demonstrated a degree of capability to resolve intergovernmental disputes and to manage, but not to predict, financial/economic problems. However, it appears, so far, unable to solve the collisions between modern society and nature: the ongoing destabilization of the ecosystems and climate. For 10 000 years, mankind has been able to rely on nature's stability and cyclical behaviour. It is upon this security that cultures and constitutions could be built. This security, the foundation of our social fabric, is eroding. Nature is a complex, interactive and selfregulatory system in constant adaptation to internal and external disturbances. Mankind cannot take absolute control over a system of this kind. The question becomes, therefore, if mankind is able to discipline himself to take risks that are reasonable.


Dr. Michael Spindelegger, Austrian federal minister of european and international affairs

Global sustainability issues require creative strategies, thinking out of the box and multistakeholder networks. We are in need of a more comprehensive and inclusive dialogue - a joint search for new ways towards a more viable future. The Trilogue provides an interdisciplinary forum for exactly this task.


Martin Lees, Secretary General of the Club of Rome

The underlying causes of the financial, economic, environmental and development crises are rooted in the concepts and strategies for economic growth which have driven the world economy for the past thirty years. These can and must change. A new path of economic and social progress must be adopted which is compatible with the environmental imperatives and limits of the planet. Respect for the conservation of the natural world, greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources, and a concern for fairness and inclusion of the most vulnerable are compatible with improved levels of wellbeing and security for rich and poor alike.

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