Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. Dezember 2005
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Welcoming Remarks

President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer (Vienna)


It is with great pleasure that I have assumed the honorary patronage for the 2005 international conference of the INST, the Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies.

The ambitious theme of this year’s conference is “ Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies,“ and encompasses a broad spectrum of current developments and trends in the information society.

Time and again, people stress, and rightfully so, that we are living in a time characterised by constant change and reorientation. Never before in the history of humankind, knowledge has been reproduced at such a fast pace as it is today. And never before have we had as much knowledge at our fingertips as we do today. Knowledge has become the uncontested foundation of our existence and a truly global factor thanks to new technologies for disseminating information.

At the same time, the challenges faced by the international community have shifted, and they can only be tackled successfully if we cooperate. This means that access to knowledge must be improved also for the less industrialised countries and the marginalised strata of society in order to dismantle information hierarchies and oligarchies and achieve a “democratisation of knowledge”.

We must also increasingly focus on intercultural cooperation. Although we have achieved a broadly interconnected world, clichés and prejudice persist as dominant patterns in interactions between different cultures. A tolerant and open society on the global level requires overcoming cultural hegemonies and their inherent knowledge-based paternalism.

In recent times, this has led to an important international debate on the significance of cultural plurality under the concept of diversity. As different and diverse as cultures are, so is the knowledge that they generate. Specifically supporting diversity allows us to approach present and future challenges from various angles and to be flexible in addressing them, as we eschew the blinders of a monocultural mindset.

Thus, I should like to thank the organisers of this congress for their idealism and commitment and wish you the best of success in your deliberations in the working groups.

© President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer (Vienna)

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TRANS       Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  16 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer (Vienna): Welcoming Remarks. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 16/2005.

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