Contributing to global trust-building and peaceful co-existence through intercultural and interreligious dialogue initiatives is one of three central goals of Austrian International Cultural Policy. We are called upon to promote not only a dialogue of cultures, but also a culture of dialogue.
Globalization, especially in the 21st century, has dramatically increased access to globally available data, information and opinions. The challenges we are facing cannot only be solved by norm-setting alone, we need to broaden our common understanding of these norms. Reference to the importance of such a common understanding can already be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a key document of international relations, to which we turn specifically in this year of its 70th anniversary.
The Austrian cultural diplomacy concept underlines the role of art and culture as a meeting place for innovation and dialogue, and its role as a bridge-builder between cultures and world views. The founding history of the Diplomatic Academy is dedicated to this idea, and a long foreign policy tradition defines our country as a place of dialogue. The Austrian Foreign Ministry has designed and supported bilateral intercultural and interreligious dialogue initiatives in recent decades.
The Task Force "Dialogue of Cultures", which has been part of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs for more than ten years, draws on this specific Austrian experience both conceptually and methodically. The upcoming presidency of the EU will enable us to communicate this know-kow, which is part of the "Austrian brand", and to position Austria as an international forum for dialogue.