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Invitation to an International Conference

Living Together in a Global Age:


Cultures - Religions - Globalisation



Universität Salzburg

Johannes Kepler Universität Linz

Bildungshauses St. Virgil

Salzburg, Austria

July 30-August 1, 2004





The end of the cold war can now be seen to have had two convergent effects. On the one hand, it broke down the iron curtain which had long divided not only Europe, but the rest of the world as well. Henceforth, there would be not a divided bi-polar world, but a single global economic system exchanging goods across the world will a related flow of immigration. This would be greatly enhanced by the flow as well of visual images and information so that all peoples have begun to share -- and be shaped by -- the same experience. Together these have born a strongly homogenizing Western influence to all parts of the globe.


Correlatively, these same influences have driven peoples more deeply into their own cultural heritages in order to preserve their identities, based on their distinctive religious roots. They struggle to find ways of living these afresh in new interactive times. This is can be a matter of a clash of civilization, East and West, but it is also, and more hopefully, the issue of the reunion of Europe and the world after a long imposed separation.


These twin challenges enable us to see more clearly into the real task and opportunity which we confront, namely, to delve more deeply into the roots of our civilization(s) and to understand these afresh. We must reconceive our cultural roots not in a mutually alienating, but in a relational manner. It has always been true that the person who can relate is the one who is most human and most successful. We need now to learn to draw deeply upon our cultures and their religious roots and find the ways in which these can bind us together and render our lives more successfully humane in this period of change, even in the face of new alienation.


Austria has long played the role of link between East and West. Its own Franz Brentano opened the way to appreciating human interiority and thus the road to the world of values and culture. This is being carried forward by the founding of the Department of Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religion of Salzburg University and the international Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (www.crvp.org). Hence it is appropriate that this first conference on living together in a global age attending especially to the relation of East and West Europe be cosponsored by them with the cooperate of the Institute of Sociology of the University Linz and St. Virgil’s Education Center, Salzburg.







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