Federal president Joachim Gauck with Liz Mohn at the Award Ceremony of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018
Kai Uwe Oesterhelweg

Reinhard Mohn Prize: The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018 – The award year in review

What are the best approaches to living together in diversity? The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018 focused on identifying answers to this question. Social inclusion, political participation, a sense of belonging and interpersonal interaction are key to making living together in diversity work.

Living Diversity – Shaping Society

The ceremony on June 7, 2018 at which the Reinhard Mohn Prize 
“Living Diversity – Shaping Society” was awarded to former Federal President Joachim Gauck marked the culmination of our project encompassing a series of studies, broadscale international research on good practices and numerous other events and publications.

Here are a few images and other documentation of the memorable event:

Bundespräsident a.D. Joachim Gauck mit dem Reinhard Mohn Preis 2018

Opening Film

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Picture exhibition on the occasion of the award ceremony of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018


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Reinhard Mohn Preisträger Joachim Gauck bei seiner Dankesrede


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Communities everywhere including those in Germany are struggling with the question of what success in navigating both cultural and religious diversity might look like.

We need bridges of understanding that reach across cultural borders. These bridges are best built by people from different cultures themselves insofar as they approach and get to know each other. This is the only way to build trust – as the basis for successful coexistence in diversity.
Liz Mohn, Vice-Chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board

The opportunities and challenges of a culturally diverse society

There are many different aspects to consider with regard to living together in a culturally diverse society. When people of different religions and ethnic or linguistic backgrounds form a community, this gives rise to a variety of opportunities as well as challenges that society must overcome.

How can we ensure the success of living together in cultural diversity? What can Germany learn from the world? In which communities is cultural diversity managed in ways that set examples for others? These questions were the focus of our 
Expert Workshop that brought together some 20 experts from academia, politics, the business sector, the media and civil society to discuss strategies, projects and initiatives from 11 countries that successfully combined an acknowledgment of cultural diversity with efforts to ensure equal opportunities of participation. Contributing experts came from Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Israel.

The following studies (full texts only available in German) explored selected issues in depth:

Success in handling cultural diversity requires day-to-day interaction and coexistence. The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018 focused on cities in particular because cultural diversity is a feature of everyday life in urban environments. The basic requirements for a successful coexistence are above all familiarity, interaction and relationships. Yet these are things that do not always arise in and of themselves. Specific opportunities and environments must be created in order to make the most of living in cultural diversity. We therefore looked for good examples of pro-active efforts to shape diversity in several urban contexts.

Research travels – Learning from role models

We were particularly interested in three European cities featuring excellent initiatives. We therefore took a closer look at things on the ground:

The findings of our research can be found in the “Learning from the world” publication. Our “Living Diversity - Shaping Society” anthology of expert opinions examines the opportunities, but also the challenges, of cultural pluralism in Germany.

Publikation: Learning from the World

What can Germany learn from the world in dealing with cultural diversity? The study documents the results of an international search for good ...

Publikation: Living Diversity – Shaping Society

Religious, cultural and linguistic diversity has always been a reality in Germany. Yet determining what constitutes success in terms of dealing ...

The award ceremony held on June 7, 2018

In awarding the prize to Joachim Gauck, the Bertelsmann Stiftung honored his tireless commitment to a society which, thanks to its deeply anchored values, embraces diversity. As a child of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) who consistently exercised criticism of the East German regime, advocating for an open, tolerant society has always been an essential aspect of Joachim Gauck’s personal ethics. He has successfully underscored what makes Germany an open, learning-oriented society while, at the same time, emphasizing the need for all members of society – whether long-time citizens or recent arrivals – to take part, democratically, in shaping the contours of this society. He has also identified the challenges and problems associated with such processes, thereby giving a voice to those who struggle with the changes in Germany underway as a result of immigration.

Joachim Gauck’s tireless commitment to a free, cosmopolitan and tolerant society has shaped Germany. He has always promoted understanding between cultures and religions and thus made a name for himself as an engaging bridge-builder in a diverse society.

Publikation: Prize winner booklet for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018

The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018 "Living Diversity – Shaping Society" went to Joachim Gauck, our former Federal President. The Bertelsmann Stiftung ...

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2018 at a glance

Earlier than many others, Joachim Gauck recognized that we need to get to know other cultures. Only when we all know more about each other, when we allow ourselves to engage with each other, can living together in diversity succeed. Only then can something new, something shared emerge.
Liz Mohn in her speech at the award ceremony