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Global Visions -- Are We Speaking a Common Language?

“For me, global vision means creating a world that works for all.” (J. C. Glenn, The Millennium Project)

"If we don’t find a common language, the world will fall into chaos.” Those were the words used by Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, former Austrian chancellor, to sum up the findings of the seventh Salzburg Trilogue, an international colloquium held from August 14 to 16, 2008, in Salzburg, Austria, in conjunction with the Salzburg Festival. Thirty-four participants from eighteen countries on six continents attended the event, which was jointly organized by Liz Mohn, vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, and Ursula Plassnik, Austria’s foreign minister.  In his concluding remarks, Dr. Schüssel also summed up the participants’ proposals for promoting global awareness, reforming multilateral organizations and helping young people and disadvantaged groups from around the world participate in global change. 

The 2008 Salzburg Trilogue was dedicated to examining the question “Global Visions -- Are We Speaking a Common Language?” It brought together political, business and social leaders as well as artists and representatives of global initiatives to discuss the future of the global community in light of today’s increasingly pressing and interconnected challenges. Attendees included Egypt’s first lady, Suzanne Mubarak, trade minister of the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, initiator of the World Future Council, Bianca Jagger, president of the Club of Rome, Ashok Khosla, future researcher Jerome C. Glenn, and founder of the Forum for Responsibility, Dr. Klaus Wiegandt.

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What participants had to say

Liz Mohn

Liz Mohn, vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board

It’s never been more important that people in countries all around our globalized world cooperate with each other. The sooner we agree on humanity’s basic shared values and the ground rules for peaceful coexistence, the better off we all will be!

Ketan Patel

Ketan Patel, author of ''The Master Strategist''

There is a great danger that humanity will fall back into a sort of primeval state in which ensuring one’s own survival becomes the top priority. We will need powerful political leaders to ensure that this “struggle” does not become completely devoid of humanity’s most important values such as tolerance, sharing and empathy. The question is: Who are these leaders? Would they please step forward so that we can begin relying on them? The simplest answer is: We are those leaders. We must lead and others must be able to rely on us.

Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger, World Future Council

If we want to live in a world that we can proudly pass on to coming generations, then we must do a Copernican about face when it comes to our global attitudes. Each individual must be willing to introduce fundamental, ongoing change into his or her lifestyle. At the same time, it’s not about us or about following some personal agenda. It’s about making a holistic change to our global attitudes and to the way we see ourselves.


The earth as seen from space. Salzburg/Gütersloh - 14/08/2008

2008 Salzburg Trilogue -- The cultural basis and future of globalization

Together with the Austrian foreign ministry, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is organizing the seventh Salzburg Trilogue to be held from August 14 to 16, 2008. Ursula Plassnik, Austrian foreign minister, Liz Mohn, vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, and Wolfgang Schüssel, former chancellor of Austria and the event’s moderator, will be meeting with representatives of international initiatives and artists as well as political, business and social leaders to discuss the global community’s future prospects. 


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