WCF aktuell No. 11 / September 10th, 2009
Potential of the European CityA Discussion about the future potential of the European City, organized in cooperation with:
the Goethe-Institute, The Cultural Senate of Saxony, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (KWI) Essen.
We recently had a conversation with Doctor Jürgen Ohlau
, President of the Cultural Senate of Saxony.
WCF: Doctor Ohlau, why are you and your partners focusing on the European city
, or better stated, urban culture in Europe?
Ohlau: We have focused on the vision of the WORLD CULTURE FORUM, which is to achieve a cultural balance between science, economics, art, religion and politics, and hope to do everything in our power to initiate a global dialogue in this arena. We know by now that the European city encompasses all of these cultural facets and exemplifies their coexistence. Observe the history of any European city, and you will find that new social situations have always served as the basis for its success, and that its further success is dependent upon the interplay and between different powers and the resolution of this dynamic. The societal models that have arisen from this interplay can be re-applied to larger communities and on a larger scale. Not unlike in an industrial setting, where lab tests are conducted before mass production ensues, the city is its own kind of living laboratory, a microcosm where cultural balance has already been tested and continues to be put on the front line on a daily basis.
WCF: Can a typical city in Europe serve as a model for cities in Asia or Africa? Is such an archetype applicable to a different cultural setting?
Ohlau: That is exactly what we want to analyze with utmost scrutiny. For example, is it right for big-name, occidental architects to be allowed to plan cities in non-western cities in Africa or Asia? While it may look good today, will this model stand the test of time, or will these cities become oases within cultures that have spanned the millennia?
WCF: You worked for a very long time as a director at the Goethe-Institute and established its contact with the WORLD CULTURE FORUM. Pardon the question, but what does the Goethe-Institute have to do with urban culture?
Ohlau: I’d say that the Goethe Institute has everything to do with urban culture, as it deals with various cultures on a worldwide basis, and on a daily basis for that matter. Its staff works regularly within local social structures, which requires tolerance and openness to the respective communities where local chapters are based. We want to apply these experiences to the 2nd WORLD CULTURE FORUM, with the result of a more widespread, international resonance of the WCF’s cause. Helping answer “open questions“ within local communities is a step in the right direction, as doing so will motivate the Goethe-Institute to strengthen the foundation of the WORLD CULTURE FORUM, simultaneously localizing the pertinent global issues and promoting the multifarious, cultural concerns of the 2nd WORLD CULTURE FORUM on a more global level. This, in turn, will create a stronger foundation for the next WORLD CULTURE FORUM.
Invited Participants in the Discussions
on Friday, October 9, 2009 are:Chris Hamnett
– King’s College LondonPatrick Le Galès
– Sciences Po ParisFriedrich Lenger
– Giessen UniversityJohn Thompson
– ArchitectJörn Walter
– Head Director of Construction in Hamburg
Moderation:Prof. Dr. Reiner Pommerin
– Cultural Senate of SaxonyDr. Darius Zifonun
– Research Fellow KWI Essen
The first WCF Culture Award will be awarded to an Indian religious leader:
H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will receive his award at the 2nd WORLD CULTURE FORUM. More details online
Corporate Social Responsibility & Corporate Citizenship
We are delighted to announce our work with CSR Europe
, an organization that works closely with the European Union, along with Europe’s largest, socially conscious corporations. More online here
New Rounds of Discussion Promoting:
The democratic beehive. Early warning systems and risk management following evolutionary principles: Learning from Nature. Read more