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Council of Europe

Dialogue, modern method of diplomacy

From Aloisia Wörgetter, head of „Dialogue of Cultures” in Bundesministerium Europa Integration Äusseres. Austria

                As pluralism and diversity are growing in Austria, dialogue becomes a need. Austria´s conception of dialogue with the civil society showed blind spots in cultures and religions. Dialogue is a modern method of diplomacy in contrary to negotiation. It happens on a very deep level. Dialogue opens up the space to wisdom spaces, peace building, to society and religious leaders.

                Dialogue is part of prevention methodologies and is needed especially in common situations in which two or more persons have different views on a subject, here dialogue can lead to transformation. “We want to get a change of convictions peacefully, to insight, to trust building. To come to a change we need different methods to reach deeper, to learn about the others.” International dialogue helps to build social cohesion, where freedom of religion, culture and politics, rights of minorities are allowed.


Since 2007 Ursula Plassnik, then foreign minister of Austria, our country develops projects and ideas to implement

- Confidence building and peace building against stereotypes about convictions, to reflect and destabilize them

- Strengthening dialogue by

                - validating the other person´s view, but not giving it recognition AND the role of my right to explain and be heard, not the advocacy of my arguments

               - exchange on eye level, beyond hard or soft, but SMART

            - we need the civil society, they deal on different levels than politics. For ex the “cartoon crisis” needs to be addressed and solved by the civil society.

- Action plan against radicalisation by asking religious leaders against radical and violent interpretation of their faith

                OSZE deals with dialogue facilitation: space creates security and quality. Training of diplomates in dialogue methodology in change and open outcome. The social, cultural and spiritual relation of states is acknowledged: RUMI: “somewhere between right and wrong there is a garden. I will meet you there.”

                Universal Human Rights? UNESCO: let us agree to differ. One of the many problems: the majority of the states does not distinguish between the law of state and the law of religion. The Austrian state has responsibilities versus the Human Rights, but not towards religions.

                Mentioned were the 5th global UN Alliance of civilizations forum in Febr 2013 in Vienna, which clearly demonstrate new articulations between cultural diversity and universal values.

                And UNESCO´s International Decade (2013-2022) for the “Rapprochement of Cultures” (IDRC). The “rapprochement of cultures” implies that international security and social inclusion cannot be attained sustainably without a commitment to such principles as human dignity, conviviality and solidarity which are the corner stones of human coexistence, in all faiths and secular ideologies.

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