Johannes Swoboda, President of the Denk.Raum.Fresach

“Denk.Raum.Fresach is a unique opportunity in the exciting region Carinthia, Slovenia and Friuli to link the local and regional peculiarities with the idea of European unification. Especially the recent events and the new political mistrust must be overcome by tolerance and acceptance of different ways of life. Only on this road prejudices can be dismantled. Due to its geographical location and history, Fresach is an excellent background for discussions on the diversity and variety of our European societies. ”

Helmuth A. Niederle, President of PEN Club Austria

“Since the Enlightenment the theme of tolerance is part of the artistic and literary work. This is highly committed to the dialogue, which includes the use of “limits” in any form. Any form of art and literature interacts on “Cultural frontiers” and discusses ethical and moral issues in freedom, which often leads to the annoyance of religious communities and state institutions. Blasphemy and the degradation of national symbols are in many countries part of the law acquis, which is often used to bring critical voices silenced. However, the dialogue – as a condition of free exchange of ideas – must accept and respect when it comes to hurting people in their deepest feelings, certain limits. The boundary between degradation and expression of individual creative urge is wafer thin.
The PEN Club has always advocated freedom of opinion and emphasizes respect for the integrity of the people at the same time. In Denk.Raum.Fresach the PEN provides for the possibility to maintain the free but responsible mind game and shape, which is neglected in the rapid media coverage and the political discourse mostly. ”

Reinhart Rohr, President of the Carinthian Landtag (parliament)

“To support Denk.Raum.Fresach is actually the logical consequence of the successful National Exhibition 2011 “Remain credible – 500 Years of Protestant adventure”. With DRF the exhibition building will be even more and better used as a venue for current issues full of meaning, and so Fresach can get the chance to become the center of the dialogue and a European focal point far beyond our borders. If to all of us through this process of dialogue, sometimes perhaps uncomfortable, the mirror is held up, then the necessary steps and guidance for good solutions will become more apparent. Fresach as a great meeting place, where interesting people from all over the world meet for talks, discussions looking for answers for the future: This is what I wish to “Denk.Raum.Fresach”.

Oliver Vitouch, Rector of Alps-Adria-University Klagenfurt

“The European tolerance talks in Fresach will create important results of thought and action approaches for the development of a tolerant and inclusive society. Dialogue platforms are particularly important at local and regional level, for integration and tolerance are not abstract concepts, but to show and strengthen the daily interactions of people. So the European tolerance talks make a very concrete and tangible contribution to an open, pluralistic and anxiety-free future. Especially the interdisciplinary approach of the Fresach talks with participants from art, culture, science and politics can lead to new and successful food for thought in terms of dialogue and integration in Carinthia, and could become a regional flagship project with national appeal: Carinthian courage to openness as a model for Austria and Europe.”

Manfred Sauer, Superintendent of the Protestant Church Carinthia and East Tyrol

“Tolerance is a central theme of our own Protestant history. We try to make the experience of the past and present, of persecution, over toleration to the equal recognition, fruitful not only for inter-religious and religious dialogue, but also to ask very self-critical, where do we have social exclusion today and how do we deal with different ideologies, beliefs and attitudes. Especially in view of the recent terrible experiences with religiously motivated terrorism, we are all challenged to investigate the cause and to develop possible new models of coexistence.”

Claudia Mischensky, Managing Director of the Carinthian Association of Industries

“We could not even find a better time for the establishment of DENK.RAUM.FRESACH. All of Europe is still under the spell of the attacks of Paris. To strengthen supervision and access with full force of the law, is not enough. We must also work intensively towards those environments in which hatred and terror grows. Here, the message of Denk.Raum.Fresach comes in time: tolerance, dialogue on matters of social policy, cultural, economic and environmental future or cohabitation of different peoples and traditions. Tehe Carinthian industry lives the so-called “diversity” in daily practice. In order to further promote this we have established the “Carinthian International Club” five years ago, which takes care of the international employees and their families. The founding of the “International School Carinthia” was another milestone for the cosmopolitanism and internationalism in our province.”

Hilde Schaumberger, Evang. Diocesan Museum GmbH

“The New Museum for evangelical culture in Fresach will give a home base and roots to the European tolerance talks. It is a very special sign to organize these talks in a small mountain village with 1200 inhabitants – starting from everyday life and inviting to a place, where nature, village community is as near as the fear of the unknown, where fear of strangers is so very personal. We are indeed in an accelerating process of globalization. On the one hand social structures, especially in the economic and financial sector grow closer and closer, and on the other hand, the gap between winners and losers is getting wider and wider. Therefore, the question of tolerance can only be answered in the synopsis of global and concrete, everyday aspects.

Sebastian Schuschnig, in representation of Christian Benger, Provincial Councilor for Culture

“Physical as well as ideological boundaries begin in the mind – and their degradation can be started only there. The European tolerance talks can be an impulse to break down barriers and go through the experience of tolerance alive. Especially the rural area of Carinthia is suitable due to its scenic beauty and its location at the intersection of three cultural areas to clear and stimulate one’s mind – but also vice versa, these talks can give the rural areas and Carinthia impetus. Identity and openness are not contradictory to each other, but can and should be a cornerstone of today’s society. The European idea is a matter of course, even if we must be aware that it was a long and winding road to get there for me and my generation. It is therefore our duty, not only to preserve but also to develop this idea

Press contact: Dr. Wilfried Seywald,, Tel. 0699-18114006.

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