Topic Preview 2016

The Borders of Europe

Human Rights and the Consequences of Climate Change for Politics, Economy and Society

With the main theme of 2016, the initiators of Denk.Raum.Fresach consciously go straight ahead onto the minefield of the current debate about refugees and how to manage the current situation.

“We do not just watch and know better, but show many positive examples and people with responsibility, as it can get better. But we must also remember international politics of where the roots of the new migration of nations are”, the President of the Fresach Board, Hannes Swoboda, said at the launch of the program 2016 in Vienna.

As in 2015, a number of top international writers and scientists will come to Fresach, to discuss the topic with the public, so among others Nahid Bagheri Goldsmith (Iran), Hassan Baroud (Egypt), Seher Cakir (Turkey), Lev Detela (Slovakia), Ishraga Mustafa Hamid (Sudan), Aftab Hussain, Sarita Jenamani (India), Chibo Onyeji (Nigeria) and Serafettin Yildiz (Austria). For them, Fresach is a possibility of inventory and to show the audience where we stand today; and wherever we can go.

The opening speech on 12th May in Fresach will be held by former German Environment Minister and longtime Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Prof. Klaus Töpfer. He will go down in particular on global climate change and its consequences. Later on, the physicist Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci of the University of Linz, the economist Henning Voepel from Hamburg Institute of International Economics and renowned climate scientist Helga Kromp-Kolb will discuss globalization, climate change and scenarios for a better future without (new) limits.

The afternoon session starts with the costs of climate change from an European perspective, with the environmental historian Verena Winiwarter of the University of Klagenfurt, Rolf Holub from the Austrian Green Party, the economist Karl Steininger and the environmental risk economist Franz Prettenthaler. This is followed by a discussion of possible strategies to combat the migration of peoples, with the legal philosopher Reinhard Merkel, the Africa-expert Harald Stoisser and the the German-Indian philosopher Pravo Mazumdar. Other highlights include a speech on Climate Reality by US-Senator Marc R. Pacheco (Massachusetts).

The second day on 13th May is opened by columnist Anneliese Rohrer with a provocative interjection on “Old boundaries, new trenches: Why we need a climate change”, followed by a strategy session on “Europe in the dilemma of climate refugees and the limits of what is reasonable”. In the afternoon, the tolerance forum will give “Practical Tips for a better Society” with integration expert Bernhard Perchinig and social anthropologist Christa Markom. The migration expert Gudrun Biffl talks about opportunities and risks of integration in the labor market. Finally there will be a discussion about the conditions for successful integration.

The ambitious program of European tolerance talks in 2016 is framed musically and scenically. Highlights include the Long Night of Tolerance, with readings and chants, as well as a Young Poetry Slam on Saturday May 14th on the topic “Excluding, Limiting, Circumscribing. 5 minutes to the border. 5 minutes limitless”.


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