FREDERIK WILLEM DE KLERK
of the Republic of South Africa
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in the Frauenkirche Dresden—3 April 2017
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATES
IN THE FRAUENKIRCHE DRESDEN
2017 Frederik Willem de Klerk
2016 Ahmet Üzümcü
2014 Mohamed ElBaradei
2010 Martti Ahtisaari
The Lecture Series
“Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in the
Frederik Willem de Klerk
06 The Man who Ended Apartheid
Bishop Dr Carsten Rentzing
Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich
“Seek the Welfare of the City”
Federal Minister Dr Thomas de Maizière
Nobel Peace Prize Lecture
“Accommodating Diversity in a Shrinking World:
the Main Challenge to Peace in the 21 st Century”
Former President of the Republic of South Africa
Frederik Willem de Klerk
The Peace Competition
“Students Meet Nobel Peace Prize Winners”
The Winning Entries
Overview of the Prizewinning Contributions
Impressions of the Theme Day for the Competition Winners
Peace is Synonymous with Happiness
Interview with two Participants of the Peace Competition
The Importance of Diversity
50 Dr Sylke Tempel †
The Contribution of the Economy for
Peace in Africa
Dr Stefan Liebing
The Lecture Series:
”Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
in the Frauenkirche Dresden“
Reverend of the Frauenkirche
What do we have to do today to make the world a (more)
peaceful place in 20 years’ time? This guiding question
of our event series had been inspired by a speech in the
Frauenkirche given by the former Finnish Prime Minister
Martti Ahtissari in late 2010. Following this incentive, the
Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation has invited a number of
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to share their questions and
ideas in this regard.
On the one hand, this event series straightforwardly
personifies the statutable mission of the Foundation. The
Frauenkirche is therein defined as a landmark “urging us to
strive for tolerance and peace between nations and religions”
and as a place teaching us about practicing reconciliation and
understanding. At the same time, such an invitation to the
peace-makers of our time is true to the tradition of Alfred
Nobel and the prize he created: Individuals who significantly
and continuously strive for understanding among nations
and promote peace forums shall be honoured, esteemed, and
supported in their endeavours.
Following prior lectures by Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the
former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
IAEA, and Ahmet Üzümcü, Director General of the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,
OPCW, we were honored to welcome the former President of
the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Frederik Willem de Klerk,
to the Frauenkirche in spring 2017. Together with Nelson
Mandela he had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for
their work to peacefully put an end to the apartheid regime
and to laying the foundations of a new, democratic South
A quarter of a century later, similarities between South
Africa and Germany are still clearly apparent. For the
South African Nobel Peace Prize winner they form a bridge
leading to Dresden’s deeply symbolic peace landmark, the
Frauenkirche: Above all an irresistible desire for freedom
moved the people and was—most essentially—the driving
force behind the peaceful political transition of 1989-1990,
both in Europe as well as in the southern part of the African
continent. This desire for freedom led to peaceful revolutions
in Europe and to the fall of the Iron Curtain. To the people
of South Africa it offered a chance to tread a path towards
rebuilding their country in a collaborative and united way.
Apart from his public speech underneath the dome of the
Frauenkirche and personal encounters with experts and
guests of honour it was in particular the meeting with
university and high school students that provided Frederik
Willem de Klerk with the opportunity to discuss with the
younger generation. The core topic of this mutual fruitful
exchange evolved again around the series' guiding question
to define the very specific steps to be taken today to make
our world more peaceful.
The Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation documents—with
tremendous gratitude and great pleasure—with the publication
at hand both the commitment and inspirational ideas of
Nobel Peace Prize winner Frederik Willem de Klerk but also
the contributions made by selected guests at this year’s event.
Most of all, it once again emphasizes the combined efforts of
responsible leaders today involved to strike a chord for peace
in a dialogue with the future generations.
Frederik Willem de Klerk:
The Man who Ended
Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation
Over a quarter of a century ago, Frederik
Willem de Klerk held a speech in the South
African parliament which was to bring about
fundamental changes in his country. The speech
had been preceded by a process of inner
recorientation. What followed was a
transformation of society.
The annual opening of the South African parliament had
always attracted a lot of interest but this time—on 2 February
1990—expectations were sky high. Would Frederik Willem
de Klerk, newly elected just two months before, announce
the release of Nelson Mandela?
In fact he did announce this decision. But the plans he
revealed in his landmark speech were more sweeping by far.
The land of which he was currently President was isolated
both politically and economically and in a state of social
upheaval. It required nothing less than what he later termed
a “paradigm shift” to turn around the fate of a proud nation:
So much was clear to this pragmatically thinking and wisely
Yet the vehemence with which he approached and organised
the democratisation of South Africa surprised many observers
and experts. The qualified lawyer who was born 1936 in
Johannesburg was admittedly reputed to be an experienced
politician but was also said to be somewhat of a conservative.
His character shaped by a family with manifold involvement
in the country’s political life, de Klerk was first elected to
parliament at the age of 36 and he was 42 when he first
headed a government department. Under President Pieter
Willem Botha he rose in 1985 to the position of Chairman of
the Minister’s Council and in 1986 to leader of the National
Assembly. In 1989 he took over from Botha as party leader
and later as President. As he approached the speaker’s
rostrum in February 1990, only a few people knew of his
growing conviction, reinforced by his Christian beliefs,
that a fundamental change of course would be required.
In his historic speech he articulated the aim of introducing
a completely new and just constitution, under which every
inhabitant of South Africa would enjoy “equal rights,
treatment and opportunity in every sphere of endeavour—
constitutional, social and economic”. He was advocating
nothing less than the ending of apartheid policies.
Announcements were soon followed by deeds: De Klerk
allowed political opposition and freed political prisoners.
He revoked the state of emergency. He suspended the death
sentence and invalidated limitations on trade unions and
the media. It was because of him that 69 percent of the
white population in 1992 voted for the reform process in a
referendum and that a democratic transitional constitution
came into effect in 1993. This constitution was the basis for
the first free elections in 1994 which the ANC won by a clear
margin and which made Nelson Mandela President.
Frederik de Klerk became one of two Vice Presidents in
the “Government of National Unity”. Until his departure
in 1996 he gave full support to the negotiation of the final
constitution which came into force in 1997. The FW de Klerk
Foundation which he still heads today set itself the goal of
achieving acceptance within society for this constitution by
means of ongoing dialogue and concerted effort.
Frederik Willem de Klerk has received numerous prestigious
honours and awards for his work. Particularly noteworthy is
of course the Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to him and
Nelson Mandela for their “work for the peaceful termination
of the apartheid regime and for laying the foundations for a
Dr Carsten Rentzing
Regional Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Saxony
Chairman of the Board of of Trustees
of the Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation
We do not choose the setting in which our events take
place. Once again we hear terrible news that is being spread
through our country: a cowardly attack in St. Petersburg;
maybe ten casualties, dozens of wounded. This world
and the human heart need peace and reconciliation. Let
us commemorate the victims of today with a moment of
At this place that bears your name, Lord,
we ask you for your mercy for this world
and for all people. We ask you to give us
the peace in our midst that you promised
to us. Amen.
Excellence Mr de Klerk, Minister Dr de Maizière, State
Premier Mr Tillich, Mayor of Dresden Mr Hilbert, dear
students, ladies and gentlemen,
The Lord says “I will give you a new heart and put a new
spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26). With these words of this year’s
biblical watchword I would like to welcome you warmly to
Dresden’s Frauenkirche to an evening that has become a
good tradition: the speech of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
After 2010, 2014, and 2016 we again have the pleasure of
welcoming a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who inspires us with
his vision of a peaceful world. This is why it is both a pleasure
and an honour to welcome you, Mr de Klerk, along with your
wife, to the city of Dresden.
A new heart, a new spirit that has been placed within us: It
almost seems as if this year’s watchword had been chosen
for tonight. This is precisely what it is all about: In view of
the speech by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate we welcome a
person who was given a new heart, a new spirit and a new
perspective—first for South Africa and then for the entire
world. Having originally been a defender of Apartheid you
fundamentally altered the course of direction. Unforgettably,
your discussion with the reverend at the sea was where it all
began: the realization “Things cannot stay the way they are”
and the concern “The country could end up in civil war”.
All of this became clear to you and out of this the will arose
to correct the course: instead of apartheid, focusing on the
dignity of every individual; instead of violence, embracing
peace and reconciliation.
Your fellow citizens were motivated to change in favour of
mutual understanding. There is always a point where you
can correct your course and begin anew. Accordingly, during
your time as President of the Republic of South Africa from
1989 until 1994, it was your heartfelt wish that this new spirit
would become the source of hope for your country. Together
with Nelson Mandela you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1993. This gave and continues to give us here in Europe,
in Germany and in Dresden courage—especially in times
of global change. As the Chief Curator of the Frauenkirche
Dresden Foundation I welcome you warmly in this church.
We are looking forward to your message of peace tonight.
Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony
On behalf of the Saxon Government, I would like once
again to welcome you, President de Klerk, to our Free State
of Saxony. I would also like to add that your visit here in
Dresden is a great honor for us; it is a special occasion for us
to listen to you, your political ideas and your experience.
1989 was a special year in the history of Germany, but also
the history of South Africa. Here in this region, the world
was watching Eastern Germany. Where a spirit of optimism
and change laid in the air, where the end of the Cold War
seemed within reach. Where people had the courage to take
to the streets and to make themselves heard in support of
freedom, democracy, and justice. There were Saxon cities
such as Plauen, Dresden and Leipzig, where this movement
started. It ended in the Peaceful Revolution and consequently
in German reunification, which counts among the happiest
hours of our history. And in these extraordinary times
in 1989 and 1990, the world was also watching South
Africa. Throughout the course of the 1980s, it had become
increasingly clear that the country had to change and that
the system of apartheid did not have a future. You, President
de Klerk, realized that when you became President of South
Africa in 1989. You had the courage to be a leader and to
initiate the change in your country so as to lead it into a
better future. Your speech in Parliament in February 1990,
in which you announced far-reaching political reforms, was
the turning point in South Africa. It was to be a long road full
of challenges, of course. And it was a political task fraught
with great uncertainty. Many people wondered if peaceful
coexistence would be possible after the long history of conflict
in your country.
You, Mr de Klerk, provided an answer, together with
Nelson Mandela, who would succeed you in the office of
president. You trusted in the power of reconciliation and
compromise. The fact that you chose such a path and
led your country into a new and better future is an
outstanding political achievement for which you were
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. One year later,
the first democratic elections indeed marked the end of
violence in South Africa and paved the way for peaceful
coexistence in your country.
This reveals the true power of reconciliation and
compromise, of freedom and democracy. We should always
remember this when we deal with crises and conflicts today
and in the future. This is what we should trust in if we stand
up for human rights within the framework of international
collaboration and a peaceful world. And when shaping
our lives and coexistence here in Germany and Europe,
then respect, tolerance, and openness should guide us,
irrespective of the color of one’s skin, one’s culture, or one’s
President de Klerk, our countries are united by the time
of change in the years 1989 and 1990. Here in Germany, we
follow the developments of your country with great interest.
Certainly, many of us were impressed with how South Africa
showed itself to be a modern, diverse, and hospitable country
in 2010, when you hosted the Football World Cup. Of course,
South Africa today still faces huge challenges. I am confident,
however, that we Europeans, through good international
cooperation and economic cooperation, can contribute to
Seek the Welfare
of the City
Welcome address by
Dr Thomas de Maizière
Federal Minister of the Interior
Distinguished Mr Frederik de Klerk, Bishop,
Minister President, Mayor, guests,
What was on your mind when you came to the Frauenkirche
tonight? You were probably looking forward to Frederik
de Klerk—meeting the former president of a country like
South Africa, steeped in history, is far from a daily occurrence.
And that is wonderful. And therefore I welcome you
on behalf of the Federal Government, the Chancellor, and
the Federal Foreign Minister. I am very pleased that you
came to Dresden today.
Perhaps you, dear guests, bring other questions and
expectations here tonight to the Frauenkirche. And perhaps
you are also thinking about the motto of today’s event: “What
do we have to do today, in concrete terms, to ensure that the
world is more peaceful in 20 years’ time?”
The Dresden Frauenkirche is unique in many ways. You have
likely learned about it on a guided tour. It has quite a remark-
able dome with eight bells, which give this church its distinctive
voice. One of the bells—the city bell Jeremiah—has a
biblical inscription. And it reads as follows: “Seek the Welfare
of the City”. This quote is more than two thousand years old
and comes from the book of the prophet Jeremiah.
“Seek the welfare of the city.” This is both a mandate and a
warning. Whoever seeks the welfare of the city is willing to
take responsibility. Whoever seeks the welfare of the city is
looking towards the future. And whoever seeks the welfare of
the city is focused on the common good. These three principles
have guided you, Mr de Klerk, in your political career.
The Church of our Lady is also a historical memorial—
especially for our East-West German history. Helmut Kohl,
who, by the way, celebrated his birthday today, delivered a
speech in December 1989 standing in front of the rubble of
the Frauenkirche. This was his key speech on the path toward
German reunification. Merely a 13-hour flight away and
only a few weeks later, on February 2, 1990, you delivered
your famous speech on the abolition of apartheid. It is to this
day simply known as “The Speech”. And shortly aferwards,
you released Nelson Mandela from more than 27 years of
Sometimes history presents itself:
in different places,
and in different guises,
but with a similar core.
In two different locations—in Germany and South Africa—
a wall came down; it was dismantled. In Germany, this
was quite literally the case, and in South Africa, it was a
metaphorical wall. But it was no coincidence that these two
historic turning points happened around the same time, as
you have stressed again and again. The point in time to tear
down the “wall” in the heads of the South Africans was also
possible because with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end
of the Cold War, there was no need to fear that South Africa
could become communist after the end of apartheid.
In both countries, it was thanks to the courageous and
unwavering protest of the population—black South Africans
and demonstrators in the GDR—that the walls were
dismantled both concretely and mentally. But in addition
to that, it was also thanks to prominent figures such you,
Mr de Klerk, such as Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev,
Helmut Kohl and many others, who recognized the sign of
the times, seized the right moment and acted decisively.
This certainly came with a risk. In both cases, it required
courage and determination to break down entrenched
patterns and structures. And for you, Mr de Klerk, it also
came with the burden of solitary decisions, when even
against objections in your own ranks, you, together with
Nelson Mandela, led your country out of apartheid.
Despite the many similarities that exist between our two
countries, there is one central difference as well: The path
leading out of apartheid was difficult and sometimes violent,
and in some cases it was bloody and difficult. We can
consider ourselves fortunate that the change in the GDR
came about without violence. I am still very grateful for
this peaceful autumn of change. And I think standing in a
church, it is appropriate to say, “Thank God”.
Both histories of dismantled walls also have something else
in common: After the elation, the euphoria, the many tears
of joy, the liberation—the really hard work had only just
begun. As we say, this is when push came to shove. Where
walls made of concrete or laws had been torn down, very
often new walls made of arrogance, prejudice, the disparity
between poor and rich were erected. It takes much longer to
dismantle walls like that. We in Germany experienced that
in the years following the reunification. You, Mr de Klerk,
in the South African post-apartheid state, had a much more
vivid and even more painful experience.
So, how can you overcome such obstacles?
I believe three things can help:
First: We need to trust in young people. It was pupils who, in
Soweto in Johannesburg, took to the streets in the 1970s to
protest against the mandatory introduction of Afrikaans into
their school curricula, thereby articulating a newfound sense
of self-awareness vis-à-vis those in power. In 2011, it was
young Egyptians who started the protests on Tahir Square
and triggered the Arab Spring, regardless of how we may
assess that now. Once again, it is pupils and students who are
taking to the streets in Russia and protesting in favour of a
It is said, “Revolutions are an affair of the young.” Well, I am
no longer 20. And I am pretty sure that we do not need a
permanent revolution—but perhaps evolution—in the best
sense: in the sense of necessary processes of change. This requires
young people. It requires their ideals and their dreams
to achieve reform. Young people also need to listen to the
message of the bell: “Seek the welfare of the city” and not
just: How can I shape my career in the best possible way.
That is my second point: the willingness to participate in
a reform process, to become engaged even at the risk of
uncertainty. This requires a great deal of courage. It also
means putting aside your own vested interests. It requires
a willingness to work together. That was different in South
Africa than in Germany, but perhaps comparable. To shape
society, to shape the world, to be an agent of change—all of
this requires the willingness to be selflessly committed to
a cause even without knowing whether you will be there,
you face uncertainty as to whether you will ever be there to
witness the fruits of your efforts.
In addition to the many things that fascinate me about the
peace process in South Africa, I would like to highlight one
aspect in particular. And that leads me to my third point:
the great power of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is deeply
impressive to me that, after the first free elections in South
Africa, Nelson Mandela became president and you became
one of the two vice presidents! None of you were in it to win,
to exact revenge, or to settle old scores.
I must confess that, in light of the great pain and suffering
of black South Africans and the great fear of the white
population in South Africa, this fact is almost beyond human
comprehension. Instead of violence, you and President
Mandela trusted in negotiations. You—and I quote your main
lesson—said “Even the worst and most intractable conflicts
can be solved through negotiation—if the willingness exists on
all sides.” Even if the political will to negotiate is still lacking,
you added—and I quote again: “Then you have to concentrate
on trying to create this will by opening up channels for
These are lessons that are more topical than ever, and they
apply on a global scale. You and Nelson Mandela and so
many other South Africans are role models in that sense.
The world is changing rapidly. With war, violence, poverty:
More than 65 million people today are refugees. With transnational
terrorism: Bishop Rentzing reminded us of what
happened today in Saint Petersburg. With autocrats, who
seem to dominate the political scene without moderation or
Much is left to be done, many things are simmering under
the surface, and others require immediate action. Everyone
in politics and civil society must be driven by the one thing
inherent in all challenges: the constant striving to provide
good prospects and liberty for all, for the common good.
And this brings me to a possible answer to what we must
do today to ensure that the world will be more peaceful in
20 years. Therefore I turn not only, but in particular, to the
young people and say: Take advantage of opportunities!
Do not shy away from visions! Sow the seeds of hope. Seek
conciliatory dialogue with your detractors. Preserve the
will to negotiate again and again and “Seek the welfare of
And that applies not only to South Africa, but to any situation
where such challenges must be overcome.
Accommodating Diversity in a
Shrinking World: the Main Challenge
to Peace in the 21 st Century
Speech by former President Frederik Willem de Klerk
in the lecture series “Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
in the Frauenkirche Dresden”
The speech is presented
in the English original version.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Bishop Dr Rentzing, Prime Minister Tillich,
ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for a very warm welcome, for the kind
words addressed to me. I am humbled.
We did what we did in South Africa because it had to be
done. It had to be done for the sake of justice. And it had to
be done to avoid a catastrophe. It is with great thankfulness
that I can say we did avoid a catastrophe; that justice is
reigning in South Africa at the moment. Yes, we are going
through a difficult time again with a political crisis, but
it is a crisis which can be resolved and will be resolved
I bring you greetings from the most Southern point of
Africa. I have to speak to you tonight about accommodating
diversity in a shrinking world: the main challenge to peace in
the 21st century.
But let me start out by saying it is a great honour for me to
address you in this beautiful church. The Frauenkirche is a
symbol of the victory of faith and peace over the brutality
and destruction of war. It was rebuilt and reconsecrated after
it had been destroyed in one of the most dreadful episodes
in a dreadful war. It stands as an indomitable symbol of
mankind’s ability to resurrect the best qualities of our
civilization from the ruins and ashes of the worst.
Demography, as they say, is destiny. Much of human history
has been driven by the movement of people and the growth
of populations. Just consider the impact of migrations on
mankind’s history: The movement of tribes from central Asia
against the ramparts of the Roman Empire; migrations of
the Huns and Mongols across the Eurasian landmass; and
the huge migrations from Europe from the beginning of the
16th century which dramatically changed the history and
demography of much of the planet.
Now, once again, in our globalized world, people are on the
move. The dominant image of our time may be the hundreds
of thousands of refugees who each year are risking their
lives in unseaworthy boats to reach Europe. As I speak there,
hundreds of people, huddled together in leaking boats, are
desperately trying to reach the southern shores of Italy, Spain
All of this is happening at a time of the unsustainable growth
of the human population and dramatic changes in life
expectancy and fertility. In 1950 global life expectancy was
only 47 years—by 2011 it had increased to 70. A Japanese girl
child born today can expect to live to 107. An English girl
baby will live till 103. At the same time fertility rates in many
European countries have plummeted far below the levels required
to sustain present populations. At the present fertility
rate, the population of the European Union will shrink by
100 million by the end of the century. In some countries it
will fall by half.
In the coming years more and more refugees can be expected
to seek safety and a better life in the prosperous and secure
societies of Europe and North America. What is already a
steady flow of refugees could become a torrent if climate
change causes a succession of bad harvests in the developing
world. How would Europe react if ten million refugees a
year were to knock on its doors and appeal for refuge? At
what stage would the so-called “lifeboat effect” come into
play: That is the point when those in the lifeboat stop doing
all they can to save and haul aboard shipwreck victims—to
the time when they violently fend them off for fear of being
Everywhere populations are becoming more and more
heterogeneous. It is predicted that by 2050 a third of Britain’s
population will be comprised of minorites. The days of the
single ethnic group nation state are gone. One of the central
challenges in the emerging multicultural world will be the
accommodation of diversity.
Globalisation during the past four decades has led to an
enormous increase in the interaction between people from
different backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions. The
management of the resulting cultural, language and religious
diversity will be one of this century’s greatest challenges—for
the international community; for the European Union; and
for countries like Germany, South Africa and the US.
Throughout the world populations are becoming more
cosmopolitan: The world’s 200 countries now include more
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
than 6,000 different cultural communities. More than 130
countries have cultural minorities comprising more than
10 percent of their populations. Cultural diversity is being
augmented by new waves of migrants seeking economic
opportunities, freedom and security. Everywhere people are
on the move—and everywhere they are confronting once
homogenous societies with new challenges.
Among these is the impact on cultural identity. We humans
are complex social beings with many important concentric
relationships. We are individuals. We belong to families.
We pursue our economic interests. We belong to clubs and
organizations. Many of us have religious affiliations. We
often belong to distinct cultural groups. We have gender
and sexual orientation. We are citizens of countries and
increasingly we belong to the international community.
All of these relationships are important to us—and some are
critically important. In many, if not most of them, we are
minorities. True freedom consists of our being able to make
lawful choices for ourselves and our families in all these
spheres. The borders of these freedoms should be defined
only by manifest public interest and the point where our
freedoms begin to impact negatively and unfairly on the
interests of others.
For example, I am an individual. I belong to the De Klerk
family. I belong to the Reformed Church. I am a member of a
number of private organizations. I am an Afrikaner. I derive
my language, my history, and my traditions and much of
my identity from all these associations. I am also very proud
to be a citizen of the new vibrant and multi-cultural South
Africa. Like my ancestors since 1688, I am an African—and I
like to think that I am a citizen of the world.
None of these relationships are mutually exclusive. People
can be all these things at the same time. Their reasonable
rights in all these spheres need to be protected. Nor should
they suffer discrimination because of any of these affiliations.
And I firmly believe neither should they be forced to make
a choice to give up one aspect of their identity in order to be
accommodated in another aspect of their identity.
In the same way as it applies to me, my friend and former
colleague, Nelson Mandela, also called himself an African
and a citizen of the new South Africa. He was, however,
also very proud of his identity as a Xhosa—one of the
South Africa’s nine indigenous cultures. He was born and
raised to be the hereditary adviser to the Paramount Chief
of the Tembu, one of the great clans of the Xhosa people.
One cannot really understand Nelson Mandela without
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
also understanding his cultural roots and the history and
language that helped to form him.
I believe that we South Africans are all richer because of
the cultural diversity that we enjoy. We have a collective
responsibility to show that diversity does not need to be a
source of tension and conflict—but can help to enrich our
lives by providing differing perspectives of the world in
which we live.
Apart from the eleven black cultural groups; two white
language groups and the coloured and Asian communities,
South Africa is now host to as many as five million illegal
immigrants from countries as far away as Somalia and
the Congo. During recent years we have experienced ugly
riots against the new arrivals by South Africans who felt
threatened by competition from foreigners in the local
job market. How are we going to ensure that all these
communities will be able to co-exist peacefully?
There are a number of facets to this challenge. In many
countries, cultural minorities have arisen through historical
processes. They have always lived in the country they inhabit:
They often speak their own languages and have their own
cultural traditions. Ideally, they should have a right to use
their languages; practise their cultures and to have a voice in
the processes by which they are governed.
Other societies have become multicultural through
immigration. Here it is often argued that as a price of
admission to their new societies they should accept the
values of their host countries and learn the languages that
they use. From all this one thing is clear: The management of
cultural diversity is an increasingly important challenge for
countries throughout the world.
Let us look at America. There are now more than 12
million illegal immigrants in the United States. For most of
America’s history, the invariable practice was for immigrant
communities to coalesce around the existing national
identity and to learn to speak English as soon as possible.
On this model the United States was able to develop from
thirteen Atlantic colonies to a continental power in less than
a hundred years. In 1800 its population was only 5 million.
By 1900 it had swelled to 75 million and we know that in
2017, it is more than 250 million. The existing cultural base
of British settlers, American Indians and Afro-Americans
was enormously strengthened by the arrival of widely diverse
European immigrants—Germans, Irish, Italians, French,
Scandinavians and Poles. However, virtually everyone who
arrived in the United States accepted the values articulated in
the US Constitution and quickly learned English.
The United States—and many other countries that
have opened their arms to immigrants—have benefited
enormously from the contributions that immigrants nearly
always make to their new countries. More recently the United
States’ cultural diversity has been further enriched by the
emergence of over 40 million Hispanic Americans as the
largest ethnic minority. They are also the fastest growing
minority and will include more than 100 million people—in
in four Americans—by 2025. Already they make up more
than a third of the populations of Texas and California and
more than 40 percent of the population of New Mexico. But
should they accept the convention that all migrants should
eventually become English-speaking—or will the United
States increasingly have to accept bilingualism and multilingualism?
The accommodation of diverse immigrant groups has also
become one of the most controversial issues in Europe. It
has played a crucial role in recent elections in a number of
European countries—and has now become one of the main
issues of contention within the EU. It has led to some of the
worst riots that France has experienced since the Second
World War—and even in tolerant Britain it is fuelling a
resurgence of far-right nationalist sentiment.
Where does toleration of diversity begin—and end? A few
years ago the European Union’s Justice Commissioner said
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
that issues of migration should be at the top of the EU’s
agenda. According to the Commissioner, the European
Union needed to strike a balance between facilitating
immigration of sorely-needed skilled workers and controlling
illegal immigration and trafficking. The present work force
is expected to decline by 20 million people by 2030—and
the only way of replacing most of them will be through
All of this is, however, part of the broader challenge of
managing cultural and religious diversity in a world in which
inter-communal conflict is the greatest threat to peace and
Virtually all of the 14 conflicts that currently afflict the world
either have their roots in ethnic and religious differences—or
have been seriously exacerbated by these factors. Too often,
minority communities feel that they are not sufficiently
accommodated, politically or culturally, in the processes by
which they are governed. They feel that their governments
are insensitive to their languages and cultures; that they are
subject to discrimination, repression and efforts to integrate
them forcibly into the majority culture. They quite often feel
as second class citizens.
This sense of alienation often breaks out in conflict, rebellion,
demands for secession and sometimes in acts of terrorism.
Present or recent conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Sri
Lanka, The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey and
in many countries in Africa provide more examples of this
phenomenon. Religious diversity also lies at the root of some
of the ongoing conflicts in the world. Differences between
Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs in India; and Moslems and
Christians in Nigeria and Sudan all create volatile situations
that can explode into violence and terrorism at almost any
One of the great challenges of the new millennium will
therefore be to address cultural and religious alienation and
to devise norms and approaches that will enable different
communities to live together in peace.
The international community will have to pay far greater
attention to this question than has thus far been the
case. Few states welcome international scrutiny of their
relationships with minorities within their borders. On
the other hand, almost one billion people throughout the
world—one in seven of the human population—belong
to ethnic, cultural or religious minorities. Many of them
experience alienation and discrimination. There is an urgent
need for more intense and informed debate on how the
international community should deal with ethnic, cultural
and religious diversity.
The challenge is to devise approaches and to establish norms
that will enable different cultural and ethnic communities to
coexist within the same states. To achieve this, we must reach
broad agreement on the cultural, linguistic and educational
rights that such communities should enjoy. However, it is
equally important to reach agreement on underlying values
that can provide a basis for co-operation and national unity.
The need to promote multicultural approaches in diverse
societies is increasingly recognised by the international
community. According to the United Nations’ Development
Programmes 2004 Human Development Survey,
multiculturalism is the most effective response to the
challenge of diversity.
The UNDP identified cultural liberty as a vital part of
human development. If handled well, it could lead to greater
cultural diversity and enrich people’s lives. However, if it was
mismanaged it could “quickly become one of the greatest
sources of instability within states and between them.” The
answer was to “respect diversity and build unity through
common bonds of humanity”.
The UNDP Survey went on to deal with—and dismiss—
various myths relating to the management of intercommunal
relations and concludes that “policies recognizing
cultural identities and encouraging diversity to flourish do
not result in fragmentation, conflict, weak development
and authoritarian rule. Such policies are both viable, and
necessary, for it is often the suppression of culturally
identified groups that leads to tension.”
As I have pointed out earlier, the key to the maintenance of
peace and harmony in our shrinking global community is
the management of diversity: We need to do much more to
define and protect the rights of cultural, ethnic and religious
minorities throughout the world.
We need to establish an international norm for these rights,
just as we have already done for individuals, for women and
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
We need to promote acceptance of the role that education
can and must play in the preservation of religious, cultural
and language diversity. We also need to establish the principle
that states have a duty to support and finance such education.
We need to measure the behaviour of governments against
these norms. If we do so, I am confident that we will soon
discover that the societies that are the worst afflicted by intercommunal
violence are also those that have the least respect
for the rights of their constituent communities.
In the final analysis, managing diversity is about accepting
the need for freedom of choice, toleration and common
values: People should be free to be themselves and to
maintain the many concentric identities that make them
Managing diversity is about promoting a culture of toleration
and respect for difference; but it is also about reaching
agreement on core values and approaches that bind people
We have entered the global village. It is exciting; it is
often very confusing; and sometimes a little frightening.
Increasingly, people from different cultural backgrounds
will be rubbing shoulders in the streets, market places and
international companies that make up our global village.
The presence of people from so many different cultures is
one of the most enriching aspects of our new world. But it
will also require us to observe new codes of behaviour and
to acknowledge the multidimensional rights of people—as
citizens, as members of organisations and communities, and
as individual men and women.
I understand that you have a delightful custom here of
promoting the idea of a “wishful world”. You have created
this glass globe that you can see here beside the lectern.
You have invited students from the winning groups to write
personal wishes on origami creations and deposit them in
the globe. All these colourful origami pieces are placed inside
the globe before the lecture. During the year, the globe is
positioned underneath the lantern of the church, visible for
all the visitors of the church and sending out a message of
hope and peace from the next generation.
I hope that the globe this year will include wishes for:
the enrichment of our lives through interaction between
people from different cultures and religions; toleration and
mutual respect; a compassionate commitment to host and
protect people whose lives are being threatened by conflict;
and determination to build a better world where conflict,
injustice and poverty do not force people to flee from their
ancestral homes and the countries of their birth.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention.
The Peace Competition
Dr Anja Häse
For the third time and parallel to the speech
by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Frauenkirche
Dresden Foundation launched its Peace
Competition “Students meet Nobel Peace
Prize winners” for young people in the state of
Saxony. The creativity and depth of the entries
submitted were impressive.
Saxony students from grade 9 and above were invited to take
part in the Peace Competition. The question being asked
was consciously integrated in the overall leitmotiv of the
event which is “What do we need to do today to make this
world a (more) peaceful one in 20 years from now?” This was
passed on to the young people as a direct incentive to grasp
their real responsibility for the world of tomorrow. The prize
offered to the winning groups was a personal meeting with
Frederik de Klerk in the Frauenkirche in Dresden.
Nobel Peace Prize winner de Klerk had approached the
Saxon students with the question he himself formulated
for this year’s competition: “All different—all equal: how to
shape a modern multicultural society?”
New ideas and suggested solutions were being sought for
a range of topics that affect young people directly and on
a daily basis. This is a topic that can be approached from
several angles: i.e. analysed from a more distant, historical
perspective or being considered in relation to the global
political situation. Instead all competitors chose a direct
approach reflecting the reality of their own lives. Hence
all three successful entries show a compellingly critical
analysis of their own prejudices and those of others and
develop perspectives of a society in which people of different
ethnicities and cultures live together in peace.
A total of 149 young people from Dresden, Leipzig, Meißen,
Elsterberg and Zwenkau were ready to tackle the challenging
question. At the same time thanks is also due to school heads
and teachers for the support and guidance they gave to the
All entries were put together by students working in groups
of five to eight people. The 26 entries displayed an impressive
range of creativity in websites, blogs, posters and videos.
The spectrum of competitive entries was rounded off with a
debate, an audio drama, a cover song and a street art project.
Nine jury members assessed the entries. With Ambassador
Dr Georg Schmidt (Foreign Ministry), State Secretary
Dr Frank Pfeil (Saxon Ministry of Culture) and Andrea
Ostheimer de Sosa (Konrad Adenauer Foundation), the jury
was made up of three high ranking experts from the fields
of education and politics, each had one vote. To these were
added one university student vote cast by three students who
also work voluntarily as guides in the Frauenkirche and one
high school student vote. The latter was jointly cast by two
winners from previous years plus one girl who was chosen
based on her committed engagement in the Photographic
Competition “The Diversity of Dresden”.
The Winning Entries
More young people than ever before took
part in this year’s competition “Students meet
Nobel Peace Prize Winners”. The jury praised
their varying approaches to the topic and
named three winning groups of equal merit.
“The intensity and the variety of methods with which the
students have tackled the question put by Frederik Willem
de Klerk is impressive. It soon becomes clear that for younger
generations a key for a peaceful future lies in multicultural
societies“, commented the jury of experts. Two films and one
blog most aptly reflected the broad scope of the topic.
“From a wall to a bridge”
Entry by Chiara Fiebiger, Alexander Rühlow, Emely Otto,
Estelle Pietzonka, Mary Kremtz, Frederik Mallon, Sophie
Ambrosius and Eva Kratzsch from Grades 10 and 11,
In the beginning they are just words: intolerance, tradition,
risk of conflict. More follow. They pile up and block the view.
At the same time young voices read headlines and internet
posts. This is how the film by the first winning group starts,
pointing the viewer unerringly to a view of the world that is
often a stereotype.
The project “From a wall to a bridge” is more than just a
film about the filmmaker’s own experiences with prejudice.
Instead it portrays the individual path of the group of
students away from a confining point of view defined by
prejudice towards an open, tolerant perspective. In the
beginning a wall of prejudices is built based on personal
socialisation, historical contexts and also media reports.
The young people demonstrate how prejudices can become
like a wall that blocks an open view on what is different,
unknown. In this way both they and the viewer discover
that where there is a meeting with and interest in the other
side, the wall is ineffective. A bridge develops out of a part
of the wall.
In their project consisting of a film and a poster campaign at
the high school that encourages self-reflection on peaceful
coexistence in a multicultural society, the students document
their own experiences gathered during an exchange
programme with young Israelis, especially during their trip
to Israel. These experiences illuminated to them the fact
that the wall in our minds can most readily be torn down by
personal contact, by a coming together of both sides and that
this is the only way that we can build the bridges between
cultures that today we need more than ever.
“Fear in a multicultural society”
Entry by Rahel Gebhardt, Mia Hempel, Elisabeth Jancke,
Nora Bürkel and Rebecca Rothmann from Grade 11 of the
Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium Dresden
The second winning entry looked at the question of
scepticism existing about a multicultural society. The five
authors based their search for answers on- and offline on
the observation that the debate taking place on the internet
on the current refugee issue is often anonymous and full
of misgivings. The result is a blog that combines interview
sequences with information based on own research.
Did supermarkets really have to close after a series of raids
by refugees? Did 80,000 refugees arrive in Germany each
month in 2016? Do refugees get 5 euros a day pocket money?
The authors from Dresden found these and other statements
on the net, followed the often heated debates on the subject
and sought to find out what was fact and what was fake news.
To find out they compared widely held suppositions with
the findings and data available. Based on this they talked to
people in the street ranging from customers in a shopping
centre to people taking part in Pegida demonstrations. The
students aimed to find out the extent to which rumours had
spread and whether false information lies behind the fear
of a multicultural society. A video records answers that give
viewers pause for thought and stimulate further reflection.
The jury particularly liked the up-to-the-minute, everyday
angle adopted by the authors in tackling the general theme of
the competition. With the aid of bold and resolute collection,
evaluation and processing of data, they made it possible for
the audience to question their own attitudes and to put their
personal way of dealing with information to the test.
“We are one!”
Entry by Elisabeth Koch, Larissa Witczak, Jessica Thalmeir,
Anne Müller, Julia Clengel and Clara Trautmann from Grade
10, Semper Gymnasium Dresden
In the third winning entry the six authors address the
positive and negative aspects of refugee integration.
Proceeding from the observation that although Germany
is diverse, doubts and resentments do exist, they look for
practical answers to the question posed by the competition
in seeking paths to a functioning multicultural society.
An interview with a refugee family reveals valuable insights
which—with the addition of further aspects—lead the
audience to their own conclusions on how respectful
coexistence can succeed. In the video a young boy describes
his daily life in Dresden: school, football training, a bit of
YouTube, supper and then bed. Immediately it becomes clear
that something that sounds so normal and natural is not at
all like that. The boy fled his Syrian homeland to Germany
with his sister and her small family. He had to leave his
parents behind, he brought with him his dreams and hopes.
The attentive, carefully considered way in which the dialogue
is handled enables the students to reveal insights into the life
of people whose flight is over but whose adjustment to a new
culture is just beginning.
The authors enhance their entry with their own views on
tolerance. In doing so, they cast a sometimes critical look
at the pitfalls along the path towards fostering community
among people of different roots and religions. But the final
words of the Syrian boy that gave the entry its name are moving
all the same: “No matter whether we are Syrian, Afghans
or Germans—we are all human beings, we are all one.”
The entries can be found at:
Dr Anja Häse
The discussion at the Luther Monument
opens with an examination of to what extent
Luther’s actions as a religious visionary are
still relevant today.
The three prize winning groups were invited
to the Frauenkirche to experience a specially
organized theme day. The first part focused
on exploring the church along traces of visionary
thoughts and deeds.
The restoration of the Frauenkirche demonstrated
impressively what people can achieve when they are
committed to a tangible vision of the future. At that, in this
place of worship and its surrounding area you can find and
follow traces that tell stories of visions. The path of discovery
started at the Luther Monument at the Neumarkt.
outside the church
Luther Monument 1
Installation “Monument” 2
View to the “Flame of reconciliation” 3
The young people debate whether a visionary
force emanates from Manaf Halbouni’s
installation depicting menace and hope in the
light of the special significance of the site it
inside the church
Exploring the Frauenkirche 4
In the centre of the nave 5
The pulpit 6
Exploring the lower church 7
Old tower cross 8
Portrait of Hugo Hahn 9
Path to the observation platform 11
On top of the dome 12
Flame of reconciliation
The conscious remembering of situations in which
we experienced reconciliation in our own lives leads
to thinking about what opportunities there could
be to practice reconciliation ourselves.
Exploring the Frauenkirche
Personal experiencing of the church
interior takes place in stillness. A plan
gives concrete suggestions on how to
acquire deeper knowledge.
Exploring the lower church
In small groups the students exchange
thoughts in the lower church on what
lasts beyond death.
In the centre of the nave
The young people send out a sound. In so
doing they try to find out what is at the
centre of their own lives.
In the pulpit the young people
experiment with giving a shape to
their own voices. They read texts
aloud—each in their own way.
At the old tower cross
While lighting a candle the young people
think of people who are special for them and
also of those who make life difficult.
Portrait of Hugo Hahn
In front of the portrait of Hugo Hahn,
who, as a pastor in the Frauenkirche,
opposed the Nazi regime, the students
think about where today the courage to
resist is called for.
The students look at the Jesaja peace bell and
read a poem written for this bell describing the
vision of peace.
Path to the observation platform
On top of the dome
At the final station of the path of
discovery impressions are put into
The winding way upwards in the interior
of the dome is dedicated to thinking about
personal paths through life in a way that is
Asking Peace Questions
Dr Anja Häse
What motivates young people to take part in the
Frauenkirche Peace Competition? The confrontation
with the question being asked is challenging,
of course—as is a very special meeting
during the second part of the theme day.
In the Lower Church of the Frauenkirche, the 19 young
prize winners met Frederik Willem de Klerk and personally
received their certificates from the former President of South
Africa. This special honour was recorded in a photograph
and will surely remain for a lifetime as a remarkable memory.
To look into the topic of the Peace Competition certainly
is beneficial with regard to defining one’s own position in a
social and global political context. Beyond that something
outstandingly meaningful and unique is to be won: a
personal meeting with a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Afterwards the students were able to engage with Frederik
Willem de Klerk in an exclusive interview to ask about his
political work, the motivation behind his decisions, the
convictions which guided him and discuss the topic of
peace. The students had prepared themselves intensively for
this encounter. During the theme day they compiled their
questions and made a selection together to structure the
following conversation. Some additional topics and questions
The young people seized the unique opportunity and
were highly appreciative of the chance to get to know
someone who has written world history. The responses of
the politician showed that he took his young interviewers
seriously and saw them as being responsible for a peaceful
world in the future.
In the evening, the students then sat as guests of honour in
the front rows of the nave of the Frauenkirche to listen to
the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's speech. Not far from them a
transparent globe was placed the “World of Wishes”.
A World Full
The “World of Wishes” is a specially made globe in which
the hopes and wishes of the winners of all three previous
peace competitions for a more peaceful world are collected.
At the evening of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's speech the
globe is placed not far from the speaker in the nave; during
the remaining year it can be found in the main dome of the
Frauenkirche. In this way, the young people send a symbolic
message of peace from the young generation beyond the
church and via the city of Dresden to the world.
Inside of this “World of Wishes” are colourful symbols.
Alongside orange paper cranes, the international peace
symbol against nuclear war, and multicoloured cardboard
cubes representing the various chemical elements, green keys
can be spotted from this year on.
The symbol of a key was chosen for the Peace Competition
2017 in recognition of Frederik Willem de Klerk’s role as a
key figure for peace in his country and in our world. A key
also ties in with the question put forth by the Nobel Peace
Prize winner, as keys which are similar from the outside and
generally have the same clearly defined purpose nevertheless
open vastly different spheres and areas depending on their
Acting on the idea of themselves becoming a key person, the
young people wrote down their personal wishes for peace
as part of the theme day in the Frauenkirche and made a
corresponding contribution to the “World of Wishes”. This
tradition will be continued by the winners of the Peace
Competitions to come.
“Peace is Synonymous
The interview was conducted
by Grit Jandura
Eva Kratzsch (17) and Frederik Mallon (16) are among
the winners of this year’s Peace Competition. They created
the entry “From a wall to a bridge” together with six other
students. On the basis of their own experiences it describes
how divisive prejudices are and what is to be gained from
an empathetic approach in interacting with each other. In
the interview they describe how the idea came to them,
what they think about the Nobel Peace Prize and what peace
means to them personally.
Why did you take part in the Frauenkirche Dresden Peace
Frederik Mallon: We visited Israel last year on a school
exchange. When we were there we were confronted with the
fact that living in peace cannot be taken for granted.
Eva Kratzsch: Our teacher suggested that we could make
use of the experiences gained from the exchange. At first we
were sceptical as we had a lot of school work on our plate.
But then the desire to show how peace can be achieved was
How did you get the idea for your entry, what was the
process of putting together the entry like?
second week putting it into effect. That didn’t quite work out
and the holidays were over sooner than we thought. But we
weren’t discouraged by this and from then on our work was
guided by the motto “diamonds are made under pressure”.
Symbols were very important to us so that a central theme
becomes recognizable. We used cartons which can be stacked
to form both a wall and a bridge. After that we added the
Your entry was not put together by one school class. How
was your team assembled?
Frederik Mallon: At first there were 13 of us who had all
taken part in the German-Israeli exchange. But as the 12 th
grade students were in the middle of their high school diploma
exam the remaining eight students from the 10 th
and 11 th grades got together.
Why did you opt for a video as a presentation form?
Eva Kratzsch: It was clear from the start that it would be a
film. We had some experience from earlier projects at school.
The circumstances were also favourable because we had the
equipment and got support from a friend who knew a lot
about cutting and sound.
Eva Kratzsch: Actually we wanted to do most of the work
in the winter holidays: the concept in the first week, in the
Apart from the symbolism of the wall and the bridge, in the
video you make use of statements on tolerance and peace.
What was the motivation?
Eva Kratzsch: We were looking at ways in which we could
best make students and teachers think about peace. When
you’re just walking around the school, you don’t think about
this subject. But when something new appears and is perhaps
displayed somewhere it shouldn’t be this changes. That’s why
we spoke to the school administration about hanging posters
on windows, for instance.
And did the plan work?
Eva Kratzsch: Slogans on the cafeteria windows did attract
attention. A lot of people looked at them and asked us about
them. We were pleased about that because people were
giving it thought.
Are there phrases that you find particularly moving?
Frederik Mallon: I agree with all of them. We did have a
reason for choosing them.
Eva Kratzsch: I was particularly moved by the thought
“Sympathy is the basis of world peace”. Sympathy is the
basis for putting yourself in someone else’s place. That and
tolerance are the most important things.
The competition assignment was set by Nobel Peace Prize
winner Frederik de Klerk. Had you heard of him before?
Eva Kratzsch: A friend of mine had given a talk on him in
her Spanish class. That’s when I first heard the name—but
The Peace Competition would have changed that. What do
you remember most about what you have learned since then?
Frederik Mallon: I am struck by the fact that Frederik
de Klerk did not act in his own interests. Together with
Nelson Mandela he supported the abolition of apartheid
despite the fact that he as a white man had nothing to gain
from this. He could have left the situation as it was. But he
didn’t do that. I think that is great and that’s why he deserved
the Nobel Peace Prize.
Is a prize of this kind still important today?
Frederik Mallon: I’d be inclined to say that we need these
awards more than ever. Peace is always important but we’re
not always conscious of this. So many people ignore the
situation in other countries and say it has nothing to do with
them if, for instance, there’s a war in Syria. That’s why it’s
important to honour people who work for peace.
Nobel Peace Prize winners have great goals that some would
describe more as visions, some as dreams. How do you see
Eva Kratzsch: No matter what you call it, I think it’s an
important achievement that Nobel Peace Prize winners
devote themselves deeply to their causes and in so doing
encourage other people to do some thinking. Of course some
goals will only be achieved in the future and will take energy
and strength. But if, for example, a fully multicultural society
were to be achieved, that would be perfect, wouldn’t it!
What does peace mean to you?
Frederik Mallon: We’ve just been looking at the classical
definition in Social Studies. But for me, peace is much more
than this. Whether or not people can really live together in
peace is something you can’t measure. Everyone should ask
themselves whether they have peace. If that is the case, they
can open their eyes and see how their neighbour is and other
people in the world: Do they have the privilege of living in
peace or are they at war and what can I myself do? For me
that is the take-home message, that from your own peace you
give others the opportunity of adopting it, too.
Eva Kratzsch: Peace means being able to live in safety
and that is a tremendous gift. That is why for me peace is
synonymous with happiness.
What do you associate specifically with the Frauenkirche?
Frederik Mallon: The Frauenkirche is big and beautiful and
impressive of course. But it is also a symbol of peace. It was
destroyed in the Second World War and not rebuilt until
many years later. For me this shows that we should not give
up. There can be a new beginning even after total destruction.
Impulse by Dr Sylke Tempel
Chief editor of the magazine IP
It is a great honour and pleasure to be here tonight. And
please allow me to say this to you, Mr. President, and I
am certain that everybody in this room agrees: What an
inspiration you are.
When you and the late President Nelson Mandela ended
Apartheid in South Africa; when the people here in Dresden,
in Leipzig, East Berlin and, before them, the workers in the
shipyards of Gdansk ventured into the streets to ask for
freedom and for participation, they brought about a new era
in our history. Being a student of Political Science back then,
I was just as excited as so many about what we thought was
the beginning of a new era after the confrontation between
East and West, between democracies (and their sometimes
far less democratic allies) and authoritarianism. We thought
this to be the beginning of the age of democracy.
And indeed, that is what we saw: States, which for decades
were part of the Warsaw pact and, under the firm grip of
Moscow and their socialist leaders enjoyed only partial
sovereignty, transformed into democratic states that, as
sovereign states, choose to be part of the European Union
and NATO. Democratic movements in other parts of the
world, in Africa, Asia and Latin America asked for serious
It has become fashionable to quote Francis Fukuyama’s idea
of an “End of History”, which he understood as an end of
ideological challenges to Western, liberal democracy, as
an intellectual error. A far too optimistic take of what was
to come. I still believe that he was not wrong at that time,
as indeed, socialism as a “counter-ideology” to democracy
had utterly failed, bringing neither justice nor freedom.
But perhaps all to conveniently, we overlooked some major
events of that era. In June 1989, just when protesters geared
up to demand their rights in East Germany, Hungary and
Czechoslovakia, protests by Chinese students who were
demanding the same democratic rights were brutally stopped
by tanks on Tiannamen Square in Bejing. In the early
nineties, we saw the first peace accord in the conflict between
Israelis and Palestinians and finally a peace agreement
between Jordan and Israel—only to be followed by suicide
attacks. While central and Eastern European states turned
democratic or, like the Baltic states Ukraine and Belarus,
independent, we witnessed the beginning of a horrible war
and ethnic cleansing in the middle of Europe in former
Still, optimism prevailed in this era of victory for democracy
which many of us also saw as an era of convergence. After
all, would not globalization bring about greater economic
Unexpectedly, the following article by Dr Sylke Tempel (b.
30 May 1963; d. 5 October 2017) has become her legacy. Her
accidental death has silenced the voice of this outstanding
political journalist, with its firm foundation in the theory
of security policy and foreign affairs. Yet her compelling
commitment to making the complex challenges of foreign policy
accessible to a broad audience, and her conviction that diversity
should be given precedence, live on—as can be seen from the
prefatory remarks documented here.
interdependence and, with growing wealth and a self-assured
middle class, also political convergence? Would former
authoritarian states not, slowly but surely, become “like us”?
We were wrong. Or at least not entirely right. We see new
ideological challenges to Western liberal democracy—even
if none of them, I believe, offers a real alternative. But
each of these challenges reach to the very core of liberal
Authoritarianism of course challenges the necessity of a
separation of powers or checks and balances that would
counter an authoritarian leader’s insatiable hunger for power.
In authoritarian states, the believe prevails that identity—the
question of “who belongs and who does not”—can be forged
from above rather than fostered, defined and redefined
in an ongoing, open and civil debate among citizens.
Authoritarian leaders tend to think of “their” societies as
“authentic”, formed by history and a specific culture and
therefore “eternally unchangeable” and preferably closed to
“foreign” influences which are often seen as a threat. In that
sense, Vladimir Putin, who thinks of Western societies as
“decadent”, certainly is a typical authoritarian leader.
China challenges the West in a different way—putting in
question the century old believe that democracy cum market
society is an inseparable pair. That innovation is not possible
without freedom. That individualism was at the core of
Western European success.
Finally, political Islam challenges yet another core element of
Western power, namely the separation of church and state,
i.e. the distinction between religious law and worldly law,
between absolute truth that only God possesses and relative
truths or rather evidences that we, as fallible beings, hold
true until proven false.
These external challenges seem to correspond with some
confusion in our very societies: Is it not liberal democracy
just another form of political order, as good or as bad as
any other? Isn’t the process of finding consensus often too
slow and tedious? At times, it seems as if we were suffering
democracy-fatigue. What is our core belief?
That brings me to the topic, that you, Mr President we’re
talking about in your Frauenkirche-speech: Diversity. I was
very grateful to listen to you and to your emphasis on the
importance of diversity. Allow me, please, to share a few
If we are to cherish diversity as an asset, and it is my deep
belief that it is diversity that makes open societies strong
and resilient, then we also need to understand better what
holds a society together. Or to put it a bit differently: We
need an ongoing, civil, open conversation about what is not
negotiable in and for our societies. In that context, when
we talk about social cohesion in our very own societies, we
mean our “operating systems”, the software of our societies,
our political culture, questions about values and identity.
In light of the ideological challenges we face I would,
however, like to also talk about our “hardware”: the
fundaments and fundamentals of our political order.
And here, at the very core of our political order, I find a
few paradoxes, that have been mastered beautifully—and
mastered only by democracy.
In democracies plus market economies we have to square
the need of diversity of talents and ambitions with the
dream of equality. Socialism propagated the “equality of all
people”, producing a feudalism of nomenclatura instead. In
democratic systems, equality is about equality before the
law. And just as equality is guaranteed by the rule of law, so
is our freedom. So-called illiberal democracies, where the
independence of the judiciary is attacked by irresponsible
leaders, soon cease to be democracies at all. Law, by the way,
is not carved in stone—it is a product of our peaceful conversation
in our society about what we consider to be necessary,
acceptable or just tolerable. This is why our identities
as individuals and as a society as a whole remain fluid and
identifiable at the same time.
In democracies, we have also solved the “paradox of God”.
Contrary to the belief of many, God is not dead as Nietzsche
had famously claimed. But neither is he part of the political
system, because after all, we cannot vote God out of office.
(And not voting in, but peacefully voting out is a core
element of democracies.) That is what the separation of
religion and state, between material and spiritual power is all
about: creating a system, where there is no space for absolute
truths in our political system, but where every individual is
free to believe in those truths as long as it is clear: worldly
law stands above heavenly law.
The most wonderful paradox about democracy to me,
however, is that it is based on a core belief that mankind is
neither good nor evil. It is mainly prone to error. And this
is why we have to build a political order that is dealing with
imperfection. That is based on correction. Democracy is an
order that is built on imperfection—and that makes it the
best political order mankind has invented.
You, Mr. President, put it most beautifully, when you said:
“I did what I thought was right and I had to correct a big
mistake, because otherwise it would have been a disaster.”
Authoritarian leaders often think of democracies as weak.
But the power of democracy is not the power of the sword,
not the power of heroism, but the power of conviction and
the power of a long, sometimes tedious but peaceful and selfconfident
conversation about who we are and who we want
to be, what we agree on and where we disagree, what we
accept and what we need to correct. And most importantly:
The time for correction always is: now.
The Contribution of
the Economy for
Peace in Africa
Impluse by Dr Stefan Liebing
President of the German-African Business Association
(Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft)
The organizers have given me a very difficult task tonight,
because I do not think it is even possible to add to what
we have heard in a wonderful speech earlier this evening.
Who would I be to take on the challenge to comment or
add? Since I do not believe I can do that, let me add a few a
few thoughts as to what German industry can do, through
tangible action, to help improve peace on the African
We have about 65 million migrants that are on their way
from Africa, South to North, as we speak. Many of them
got stuck in refugee camps in Ethiopia; 2 million in Kenya;
in Uganda about 1 million; and many in other places. At
the same time, I think, Mr. President, you rightly said
demographics are key. We expect the population in Africa to
triple by the year 2066 to then 3 billion people. Nigeria today
has more people than Russia. Nigeria tomorrow, in 30 years’
time, is going to have more inhabitants than Russia and the
United States together. And I think we are not aware of what
that means for future refugees and developments in the years
If you think of Africa as a continent of crisis, corruption,
disease, and missing infrastructure, I guess you would
probably be right. At the same time, if you think of Africa as
a continent of prosperity or growth—6 of the 10 countries of
the world with the largest relative growth are on the African
continent—if you think of a growing middle class of about
300 million people, if you think of more than 100 IT startup
centres and parks on the African continent, you would also
be right. We have both. And I am very much convinced that
the next round of the emerging countries of the world—the
next round of Tiger States—will be in Africa. We might not
know today which countries these will be, we might not
know when exactly things are going to take off, but I am very
much convinced that we cannot afford not to be active on the
If we want to abate the refugee crisis that I have just
described, there are two prerequisites:
One is creating security and peace for people. Nobody wants
to leave home unless they are afraid for their lives and those
of their children. Secondly, we need to create jobs and an
opportunity for people to develop their future at home.
When it comes to security, I am not in the position to comment
on that. We have very capable politicians taking care of
this who are also here tonight. Instead, let me speak for one
minute about creating jobs. Interestingly enough, we have
had a success story of German industry over the past
Not many people are aware that we have doubled the number
of jobs created by German investors in Africa—200,000
direct, 1 million indirect. We have doubled the trade
volume; we have doubled the amount of direct investment
of Germany on the African continent. South Africa, of
course, plays an important role in this. And, interestingly
enough, today on the African continent, in terms of German
investment, we stand exactly where Germany stood with
regards to investment in China in only 2005.
So the interesting question is: Are we going to repeat the
success story of Chinese growth for German industry over
the next 10 or 12 or 15 years? Are we going to repeat this in
Africa? I believe it is the only way. We do not have a choice.
We need to create these jobs. The developed world needs to
help with capital, technology, and know-how, if we want to
solve the refugee crisis.
I believe we have three pieces of homework, and only if we
manage to complete these three pieces of homework in parallel
will we be successful. Let me start with my own homework.
German industry so far has had a certain misperception
of what is happening in Africa. This has to do with the
famous Mittelstand structure—the structure of midsized,
family owned, world market-leader, niche businesses that
might not have the same strategy teams that British or French
conglomerates have in looking at new markets. So still, we
make business decisions based on what we have seen in the
media. During the Ebola crisis I had a lot of these entrepreneurs
calling and saying, “Can we still go to Johannesburg?”
That only stopped when we told the BILD newspaper that
Munich is closer to Monrovia than Johannesburg is to
Nairobi. But still people think: There is a crisis in Africa;
we should stop doing business there. So we need to change
perception and we need to be more interested in taking risks
on this promising continent. That is the homework for German
industry. And I am glad to see Mr President supports
There is a second piece of homework that falls to the
German government. I had the pleasure of meeting
Chancellor Merkel and two of the ministers last week to
discuss how, in the framework of the G20 presidency, we
can set a framework that makes it easier for mid-sized
companies to take risks. Renewable energy is something we
are very famous for here in this country. Last year we had
thirteen new wind parks in Africa, none of them developed
by a German investor. Something is wrong here. We need
more guarantees; we need more financing instruments; we
need to find a way of competing with the BRICS countries
that play to a different set of rules in the same playing
field as OECD countries. So, there is a piece of work to
be done in setting the right regulations and the German
government helping us to create jobs on the ground.
And there is a third piece of homework for our friends
in Africa. We still do have corruption, civil unrest, and
difficulties with unstable governments and the rule of law.
I was hosting the president of Burkina Faso here in Berlin
two weeks ago, he was asking for more investors to come in.
I told him, we have African delegations in town every week
asking for German capital. There is huge competition. So the
better the framework is that our friends in Africa set—the
faster they do reform—the easier it is going to be to win
German investors and jobs created by German companies.
If we complete these three pieces of homework together, I am
sure we can make a difference. I am very much convinced we
cannot afford not to pursue this over the next few months.
Let me conclude with something an African friend of mine
has told me recently: “Africa is the continent of the future.
Let us make sure it does not stay that for the next 100 years.”
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
of the Last 25 Years
2017 International Campaign to Abolish
2016 Juan Manuel Santos
2015 National Dialogue Quartet
2014 Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai
2013 Organisation for the Prohibition of
2012 European Union
2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee
and Tawakkol Karman
2010 Liu Xiaobo
2009 Barack H. Obama
2008 Martti Ahtisaari
2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr.
2006 Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank
2005 International Atomic Energy Agency
and Mohamed ElBaradei
2004 Wangari Muta Maathai
2003 Shirin Ebadi
2002 Jimmy Carter
2001 United Nations and Kofi Annan
2000 Kim Dae-jung
1999 Médecins Sans Frontières
1998 John Hume and David Trimble
1997 International Campaign to Ban Landmines
and Jody Williams
1996 Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta
1995 Joseph Rotblat and Pugwash Conferences
on Science and World Affairs
1994 Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin
1993 Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk
1992 Rigoberta Menchú Tum
The Frauenkirche Dresden Foundation
would like to thank for their kind support
Published by Stiftung Frauenkirche Dresden
01067 Dresden, Germany
Reverend Sebastian Feydt
Dipl. rer. pol. Christine Gräfin von Kageneck
Dr. Anja Häse
Graphic design production
Druckerei Thieme Meißen GmbH
Special thanks also go to all the staff and volunteers of the Frauenkirche Dresden, whose hard work played a key part in making
this event possible.
FW de Klerk Foundation
© 2017 · Stiftung Frauenkirche Dresden · www.frauenkirche-dresden.de