Carl Bertelsmann Prize: "Self-initiative and solidarity: New paths to social and wage policy"

Awards ceremony for the Carl Bertelsmann Prize on September 18, 1997, in the Gütersloh Stadthalle. The winners, Lodewijk de Waal and Hans Blankert.

Addressing an urgent societal problem, the Bertelsmann Stiftung chooses "Self-initiative and solidarity: New paths to social and wage policy" as the focus for the 1997 Carl Bertelsmann Prize. Based on a comprehensive international study, the jury unanimously awards the prize and DM 300,000 to the Dutch foundation Stichting van de Arbeid (Foundation for Work). The organization, which was jointly founded by employers' and workers' groups and provides equal representation for both, made an important contribution to restructuring the social welfare system in the Netherlands and the resulting employment boom, according to the citation. With the foundation, Dutch unions and management have created a powerful joint institution that paves the way for new social welfare and collective bargaining policies by bringing participants together for confidential pre-policymaking discussions. In addition, the foundation serves as the conduit for close coordination of political strategy between the government and unions and management. Its influential recommendations have done much to ensure that over the past 15 years, the Netherlands has managed to decouple its economy from the negative European trend: Once known for the "Dutch disease," the country is now famous for its successful "polder model."

1997 NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition

The primary purpose of the singing competition sponsored by the Bertelsmann Stiftung is to help young opera singers launch international careers. Unlike other such competitions, the organizers offer these young artists an outstanding forum and a variety of networking opportunities. Many directors of German and European opera houses and representatives of the music industry and major agencies, along with the media, follow NEUE STIMMEN, attend its events and support the program. In particular, singers reach a wide audience through extensive nationwide coverage by the German broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), a co-organizer. To offer the most realistic conditions possible, during the semifinals the young opera singers are accompanied by the WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Sloane. Russian soprano Eteri Gvasava is awarded first prize (DM 15,000). Second prize (DM 10,000) goes to bass Tigran Martirossian from Armenia, while baritone Soon-Won Kang from Korea takes third place (DM5,000). The jury awards special prizes to Haitao Wang, Xiaoliang Li and Jia Lin Zhang (all from China), as well as Petia Petrova (Bulgaria) and Kikuko Teshima (Japan). The Felicitas-Vössing-Stiftung presents Anke Vondung of Germany an award to foster her talent. A similar award sponsored by the city of Yokosuka goes to Regina Zona (USA).

1997 NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition – First International Master Class

In collaboration with the WDR's Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bertelsmann Stiftung holds a workshop for promising young performers. A total of twelve young participants from six countries have the opportunity to work with director Steven Sloane and August Haltmayer, the manager of the preliminary rounds, to further develop their vocal talent and interpretive abilities. All have been recruited during the preliminary rounds of the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competition. Working with the Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Cologne Philharmonic, they study arias from their respective voice categories. Between sessions, there are opportunities for repetition and feedback. The orchestra workshops are so successful that the Bertelsmann Stiftung decides to continue offering these types of master classes in the future.

Tenth German-Jewish Dialogue

Twice a year, in an initiative sponsored by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and London publisher Lord George Weidenfeld, leading figures from the global Jewish community meet for informal discussions with German national and state political leaders as well as representatives of business, academia and the media. Topics include current issues in German-Israeli relations, with reflection on the consequences of the countries' shared history and Germany's special responsibility. Key themes this year are the peace process in the Middle East and Germany's contribution to that, as well as the international debate about Daniel J. Goldhagen's 1996 book Hitler's Willing Executioners, a debate that continues under the heading "Die Gegenwart der Vergangenheit" ("The past's present."). Among the participants are Dr. Klaus Kinkel, Germany's foreign minister; Gerhard Schröder, prime minister of Lower Saxony; Ignatz Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; Chaim Herzog, former president of Israel (since deceased); and Roni Milo and Ehud Olmert, mayors of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem respectively.

Regional education networks with Schule & Co. (School & Co.)

Signing the agreement for the Schule & Co. project at the Bertelsmann Stiftung offices in Gütersloh. Reinhard Mohn (r.) with NRW Minister of Education Gabriele Behler (l.).
Schule & Co. (School & Co.) is based in part on suggestions from the 1995 NRW.

Education Commission and its memorandum "The future of education – Education for the future" and in part on experience gained in the Durham school district in Ontario, Canada. For its innovative path to school reform from below, the Durham Board of Education was awarded the 1996 Carl Bertelsmann Prize. Schule & Co. is a joint project of North Rhine-Westphalia's Department of Education, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the district of Herford and the city of Leverkusen, proposed in autumn 1996 and launched in summer 1997. Supporting the recommendation of an Education Commission appointed by Premier Johannes Rau, the project partners set out to strengthen the creative power and autonomy of individual schools and to position schools more clearly than before in the context of regional development. Stronger networking of education and training with other community services and private institutions should contribute to supporting the development of "regional educational networks." This project, the first of its kind in Germany, aims to link school improvement processes with the reform efforts of local authorities. After intensive and sometimes controversial discussions among teachers, students and parents, a total of 52 schools of all types in the two model regions have decided to participate. In the district of Herford, the project is ongoing.

Media Academy Cologne established

The company's goal is to promote science, research and continuing education in the multimedia field by operating an academy dedicated to the field. The academy is intended to promote media innovations and train qualified professionals to promote the introduction and dissemination of new media technologies. The focus is on training people for new media professions and to advise firms in the use of new media. Symposiums and management conferences round out the program.