Introduction English


The "new" discontent with culture

03. – 06. May 2006 / Europahaus, Vienna

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Sigmund Freud has described the straining relationship between the drive oppressing culture and individuals living within the very culture, in his famous work of 1930. Additionally, he developed a generally applicable law of evolution, i.e. culture supplies us with evolving and expanding possibilities for living and creativity, but at the same time brings with it suppression and forces to adapt, withdraw, and renunciate. When strenuous times are not followed by adequate relaxation and/or compensation, the compiling tensions can become explosive.

Today we are confronted with a new malaise in culture and between cultures, manifested by:

  • 8 million people die each year because they are too poor to stay alive.1)
  • Although we have an overproduction of food, 840 million people are suffering on malnourishment and 18.000 children die daily.2)
  • Many people and nations are searching for comfort, security and identity in fundamentalism and nationalism, which were the cause of 42 wars and armed conflicts in 2004.3)
  • 20 % of mankind, living in the 1st world, use 70-75% of world resources and energy.4)
  • Unemployment rates stay constantly high, cost for health care is exploding, and the pension provisions are not secured. This leads to rising tension between generations.
  • Environmental deterioration is increasing globally, and climate change endangers islands, coastal regions and the whole ecological environment.

We are aware of the unjustified, unfair and dangerous developments and they make us uneasy:
»For more than 500 years the world was dominated by the European culture - the culture of the colonial masters. Then the colonized countries gained independence one by one. Now they have become proud of their own culture and want to be respected for their own identity. The only path towards a peaceful future is to open up to the multitude of these other cultures. And foremost, we Europeans need to understand that we are no longer the landowners of this planet.«

We are convinced that mediation can build bridges, since it tries to reach solutions on the basis of sovereignty and mutual understanding, and follows basic democratic principles.
In the conference we will focus on diverse approaches and traditions in mediation in various cultures, on underlying values and mechanisms why and how mediation works, and on research results.
Crucial issues are:

  • respect and pay tribute to other cultures
  • redistribution of goods and valuables that have made our industrial development and wealth possible
  • globalisation that is advantageous and fair to all
  • fairness in the distribution of developmental possibilities for all

1) The end of poverty, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Penguin Publishers
2) UN-Welternährungsprogramm WFP, Der Standard, 10. Dezember 2004
3) Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kriegsursachenforschung/Akuf-Universität Hamburg
4) Entwicklungsprogramm der Vereinten Nationen (UNDP), 1994
5) Ryszard Kapuscinski, Der Standard, 26.05.2004

Documents for download

Seminarlanguage is German and English. Some lectures & discussions will be simultaneously translated.

Organizing commitee

Dr. Klaus Rückert, Dr. Gerda Mehta, Valerie Rückert, Iris Rückert-Possél,
Werner Mayer und Harald Picker


ARGE Bildungsmanagement
Friedstraße 23,
A-1210 Wien


Europahaus Wien
Linzer Straße 429, A-1140 Wien

Supported by

  • Lebensministerium, BM für Land- & Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt- & Wasserwirtschaft /A
  • Österreichischer Berufsverband der MediatorInnen (ÖBM) /A
  • Österreichische Vereinigung für Supervision (ÖVS) /A
  • Assembly of First Nations / CAN
  • Vienna Airport /A
  • Embassy of the United States of America /USA
  • Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik (ÖGUT) /A
  • Centrale für Mediation / D
  • Anwaltliche Vereinigung für Mediation (AVM) /A
  • Bundes-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Familienmediation (BAFM) / D
  • Bundesverband Mediation e.V. (BM) / D
  • Perspektive Mediation /A
  • Der Standard /A