Germany has to be a “bridge-builder between cultures”, said the German Federal President Joachim Gauck to kick off his speech at this year’s Berlin Citizens’ Day. In order to do so, Germany must “help immigrants to integrate better into society”, Gauck stressed, alluding to how the “culture of welcome” in Germany is currently somewhat “strained”, as evident from recent discussions on the assimilation of Syrian refugees. The President emphasised that change and progress should not be reserved for a privileged few.
More than 10,000 participants, many of them dedicated volunteers, responded to the invitation to convene at Schloss Bellevue, the official residence of the President, to network and come up with new strategies. The Office of the Federal President also selected over 20 organisations to present their work to a wider audience. The Anna Lindh Foundation, for example, which focuses on cultural dialogue between Europe and the southern and eastern Mediterranean nations, described its activities in 43 countries.