Contributing to global trust-building and peaceful co-existence through intercultural and interreligious dialogue initiatives marks one of three central goals of Austrian foreign cultural policy. This objective is further underlined in the Strategy Report of the Federal Government 2013-2016, which defines the necessity for intercultural and interreligious dialogue as a major challenge for the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Austrian Embassies.
“Dialogue of Cultures” has been a priority of Austrian foreign policy for many years. On the one hand, this is due to an Austrian society characterised by cultural diversity. In order to tackle the resulting challenges and to capitalise on the enormous potential of this diversity, dialogue serves as a promising instrument.
On the other hand, this priority is marked by tensions among different cultures. In the age of networking and globalisation these tensions are magnified by pseudo-knowledge of other cultures, conveyed by the media, coupled with the rapid spread of information and content via mainly electronic media. This results in the growing need to anticipate further polarisation and a hardening of positions, to relieve tensions and learn to understand and accept cultural differences. Here again, dialogue has proved to be a successful approach.
Against this backdrop, Austria has become a hub of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and has therefore taken an active pioneering role. In order to further strengthen this position, the Foreign Ministry has not only committed itself to multilateral and bilateral initiatives but also to national projects in the area of intercultural dialogue. It thus makes an on-going contribution to global trust building and peaceful co-existence.