(5) News around the world - Tolerance Edict of Potsdam

The call for a new tolerance Edict of Potsdam

The main topic of the Potsdam event is “How open minded and tolerant is my
hometown?” As
Potsdam is my hometown, it is a good question for me
too to raise, to evaluate and to try to answer. Our city state government is
searching for a new description, a new involvement and a new engagement of all
people living in Potsdam to feel being part of the whole action, to feel
responsible to react, take action when it comes to problems and difficult
situations. Each citizen should feel responsible to react on that with writing
on the boards, with opening a discussion about it, with an active engagement in
organisations, campaigns or initiatives like that. Outcomes or reactions are
not so good at all. Surprisingly some stupid ideas have been formulated on the
boards, post cards with racist answers have been sent back or people reacted in
strange ways while discussing the topic in public. Seems that the idea of an
open discussion is still needed in a place where people with different
backgrounds live so close to each other, in a place so close to a multicultural
city like Berlin, in a country where democracy and an open mind are parts of
law and daily life. It seems to be a never ending story to talk about that. Although
the first tolerance social contract was made by the Great lord Friedrich
Wilhelm in 1685, the debate about the content will never be a historical act. Maybe
the focus and the times are changing but stereotypes and the development of
thoughts take a long road.

We know through our volunteer work in the humanist field it sometimes takes one or two
generations to change peoples mind. But in the end there always is a change.
Maybe just a small one, maybe it took ages for that. But like an old sentence
says in German – which takes a long time will be good in the end. We hope the
best for this social contract. We hope that its outcome will have a strong
impact on the actual living situation in my hometown.

Promoting tolerance and a wide understanding for multicultural and open minded living
together is part of IHEYOs work since the beginning. There is always a need to show ourselves and
others good examples and project ideas which will lead us to one of our main
goals in our international network and will furthermore open up our societies
eyes for the work we can realise through our own initiatives and support.

Tolerance is everywhere an issue. Equal if we are talking about students rights just to
speak up in school or employee rights to say something inside their job area.
It starts always from the basis, in local places and has maybe an impact on
international work. IHEYOs Tolerance Campaign in 2007 was one example of an
international act located in seven different countries being actively involved.



“A new citizenship is not falling from the value sky. It will be built through
conflict and cooperation, registration and interest, misunderstanding and

“An open view to the world and tolerance belong together: The development of an own
opinion in a discussion with others is creating the basis of an educational
democracy. Nobody is born as a democrat.”