Leading philosopher Hans Köchler explains intercultural dialogue
Aarhus, 3 November 2009
Press release Leading philosopher Hans Köchler explains intercultural dialogue at Aarhus conference
Intercultural dialogue is the topic of the week in Aarhus. The city, the region, the university and Grundfos will announce the winners of the new Global Dialogue Prize on Thursday, and Friday one of the world’s leading philosophers, Hans Köchler, will speak about the philosphy and politics behind intercultural dialogue.
Köchler will give a keynote speech at the end of the conference “Responsibility Across Borders? Climate Change as Challenge for Intercultural Inquiry on Values”, that opens at Aarhus University today and closes on Friday.
The question of the individual’s moral responsibility for climate change in a global world has been the concrete topic for the conference, but on Friday Köchler will focus on the core issue of intercultural dialogue and the forces that help and hinder it.
Hans Köchler is professor of philosophy at University of Innsbruck in Austria and has been working on intercultural dialogue for 35 years. His work has been very influential on the discourse about international dialogue between civilizations and in particular between Islam and the West.
“We are very pleased that Hans Köchler has agreed to come. He was one of the first protagonists in Europe of intercultural value studies, long before you could even call it a field. Since then he has become one of the leading researchers in that field,” says associate professor Johanna Seibt, one of the main organisers of the conference.
Köchler sits on the award committee for the Global Dialogue Prize that rewards outstanding intercultural research on values contributing to global communication and cooperation. This type of research can be very difficult, and in his speech Köchler will discuss how academics can research intercultural values without getting instrumentalised by various political groups in society.
Outside the world of academia, Hans Köchler is most known for his work as UN observer at the trial against the two Libyans that were accused of bombing a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland in December 1988. Köchler was very critical of the highly politicised process where one man was convicted. On numerous occasions he has called for opening up a new investigation into the case - most recently when the convicted man was released on compassionate grounds earlier this year.