02 February 2017

Bureau supports the initiative „The Open Society”

Bureau supports the initiative „The Open Society”
© Harald Welzer, Andre Wilkens, Alexander Carius.

In autumn 2015, two epoch-making events coincide: the attacks by the Islamic terrorism and the global migration flows. Both events affect Europe and its individual states in their self-conception and their identity. For us, here in Germany, the identity-establishing question arises: What kind of society do we envisage? What kind of attitude will prove appropriate to cope successfully with those challenges?

In order to conduct this debate on the broadest possible level of society, to sound out the general mood and atmosphere and to explore the range of attitudes in our country, the initiative “The Open Society” was founded in November 2015. The idea was largely generated by the sociologist Harald Welzer and by Alexander Carius, head of the Think Tank “adelphi”. Since then, more than 50 citizens’ forums have taken place nationwide. In all major cities, mostly in theatres and playhouses, increasingly in universities and most recently in schools, too.

Obviously, the question what kind of country we want to be is much too important to be drowned out in the shallowness of party politics. In this country, we have to conduct a debate on issues such as: Do we want to be an open society, guided by the ideals of liberty and human rights? Or do we want to be an exclusive society which protects its identity against any perceived external threats? If, then, we want to be an open society: what are we prepared to do for it?

Dinah Schmechel and Oliver Gnad from the Bureau for Current Affairs have supported this initiative from the very beginning. In October 2016,  an anthology entitled “The Open Society and its Friends” will appear (Fischer Paperbacks, Frankfurt/Main) including a number of moving testimonies of this unprecedented campaign – plus a contribution by Dinah Schmechel.

You are welcome to commit yourself personally: the following link will provide everything you need to know about “The Open Society” and what you may contribute yourself.


Die Offene GesellschaftOffene Gesellschaft