2017 Edition


All that you have, bequeathed you by your father, earn it in order to possess it

The title of the next Meeting of Friendship Among Peoples, taken from J.W. Goethe’s “Faust” (“Was du ererbt von deinen Vätern hast, erwirb es, um es zu besitzen!”), highlights our need to make that which is “bequeathed” to us truly our own. What is it that we’ve inherited? A list of values? A history? A few truths?

Today, in this POST-TRUTH era, what do we need in order to live? A constant stream of information in which real and fake news are spread in the same way makes it so that what is true is no longer evident. But do men and women have a need for truth?

It seems like there is nothing that is really objective; we’re constantly bombarded by an influx of data, often impossible to verify because of the volume and speed with which it is sent out, distinguished only by its viral nature. The “MAINSTREAM” in the true sense of the word dominates: an idea or a cause obsessively repeated is what determines what is right and just to pursue. We need a CRITERION that allows us to be free, to be able to know with sufficient certainty.

What kind of a world, or a society, do we live in? The given definitions fall short (a multicultural society, the globalized world, Society 2.0, 3.0, on to infinity…): we are living through a real epochal change. The ongoing weakening of the democracies of the world and the unpredictable situations brought about by recent history are beginning to show us the effects of the “piecemeal Third World War” and the resulting upheaval of the global political order. Is there nothing left, then, that is worth conserving? Does it still make sense to speak of TRADITION, of Western culture? How are we to respond to immigration and the challenges of integration? Are DIALOGUE and cultural IDENTITY still possibilities for us? If our future is destined to be one of integration and plurality, does the question of inheritance refer only to Western culture?

Can the best of what our “fathers” have lived be weighed, judged and made ours again?

What are the new challenges posed by TECHNOLOGY, and what direction will their development take as they put into question even our systems for education and formation? The latest algorithms, which are the DNA of major search engines, social networks and new forms of media, are adding up to a partial or even total SUBSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN FACTOR (the “I”), replacing it with automated processes. Are we, then, moving toward a world that no longer recognizes – and even attacks – the “I,” the person, as the subject of EXPERIENCE?

What is being bequeathed to young people today, and by who? Who do they learn from? What resources, economic and otherwise, are available to them? The Meeting will discuss examples of education, and also open up questions on the topic of WORK, a topic to which we will dedicate a large and innovative exposition hall and a series of meetings and dialogues with seasoned authorities on the matter.

In the course of the next Meeting, including through new event formats and redesigned spaces, we will encounter men and women and stories that tell about human, professional, scientific, artistic, and business pursuits, all centered around a desire to BUILD TOGETHER and face today’s challenges with courageous realism.

Our hope for the 2017 Meeting is that, in its every detail, it can be a place of authentic dialogue, where the richness and beauty that each person carries in his or her own history and experience can be shared, that it may be possible for those who participate, working together, to find potential paths to build together, with the entire world as their horizon.