Living Diversity – Shaping Society: Reinhard Mohn Prize

January 30th, 2018

This year’s Reinhard Mohn Prize on the topic of “Living Diversity – Shaping Society” goes to former German President Joachim Gauck. In awarding him this prize, the Bertelsmann Stiftung recognizes Gauck as a bridge builder in a culturally diverse society. During Gauck’s time in office, he focused on the successful coexistence of people from diverse backgrounds and religions in Germany. In word and deed, he continually advocated for a new sense of unity within Germany that includes all people, regardless of their cultural identity.

The citation by the Bertelsmann Stiftung states: ”To live together successfully in diversity, we need people who shoulder responsibility and take an active stand for tolerance and understanding.” The foundation chose to honor Joachim Gauck as one such person, a leader who forged links among various societal groups and encouraged people to meet and engage in dialogue. Liz Mohn, vice-chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, highlighted this, saying, “In turbulent political times, he has strengthened Germany’s identity as a land of immigration and championed social cohesion.”

Read the full press release.

Remembering Gauck in Toronto

In 2014, then German President Joachim Gauck visited Toronto, stopping in at the city’s iconic Kensington Market, home to generations of immigrants and the symbolic streetscape of diversity in Toronto, Canada’s most diverse city with almost half the population born abroad. Here is where Jamaican cuisine collides with Italian, and Hungarian with Thai. Where an elderly couple speaking Portuguese can rub shoulders with their Mandarin-speaking peers. Where students sip kimchi soup and families share latkes.  It is also where Gauck, sat down with local community leaders and immigration experts for a discussion on Canada’s immigration system. Ratna Omidvar, today a member of the Senate of Canada, led the discussion between the German and Canadian delegations at St. Stephen’s Community House in the heart of the Market.

Read more: “Kimchee to Latkes.”

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