Former Bishop Michael Bünker got Tolerance Award 2023

The former bishop of the Evangelical Church in Austria, Michael Bünker (69), was honored with the European Tolerance Prize from the city of Villach and Denk.Raum.Fresach. As a moral authority with a high level of social commitment, Bünker has always advocated dialogue, democracy and human rights, according to the jury’s reasoning. His voice has the same weight.

Michael Bünker has been a lecturer at the Protestant Faculty of the University of Vienna for more than 20 years and supports numerous development and democratic policy initiatives. During his active time as Bishop of the Evangelical Church A.B. (2008 – 2019) he was a bridge builder in ecumenism, initiated the pilgrimage path “Weg des Buchen” and acted as a patron of the “Bread for the World” campaign. He was and is always a competent contact for theological questions for the media and thus for the public.

The verbatim of the jury’s reasoning

“An open and pluralistic society does well when people get involved out of faith, and not only for their own interests and convictions, but for the big picture, for the good life of all and for the preservation of creation as a basis for the good life in the future.” That’s what Michael Bünker said in 2019 when he said goodbye as a Protestant bishop. It was – once again – the unrestricted commitment to togetherness in all diversity in Austria, in Europe and throughout the world – a commitment that has distinguished Bünker’s decades of work in the service of understanding across political, religious and intellectual borders.

Michael Bünker stands for the “good fight of faith for a better tomorrow”. Especially today, his commitment to the “fight for the good in life” is a role model and a challenge at the same time. The present is shaped by the consequences of climate change and by the commitment of many people who no longer want to look away, who work for the refugees on the open sea, who sit on the streets fighting for the end of the fossil age, who stand in front of the closed gates of the powerful to demonstrate for an end to wars.

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