hen attending events I really don't know a lot about, I like to travel there ahead of time. The rally "#indivisible – solidarity instead of marginalization" in Berlin was one of these events. I strolled among the 450 groups assembling on Alexanderplatz. Occasionally I asked myself, am I just letting myself be taken in for their purposes? The answer was given by the many participants like you and me. Ultimately, we were 242,000. The common cause united us: we are for an open and free society and against racism. There were many of us and we were all different from each other and yet we felt as one – other than watching TV or Facebook. It made us feel good, and that's something only live events are capable of doing.
"We need interaction. Urgently," said Dr. Ralf Schulze in the interview. "Only in face-to-face conversations will I be able to determine if my counterparts – be they foreigners or rightists – might in fact have more in common with me than what sets us apart in outside appearance." The managing director of the C3 Chemnitzer Veranstaltungszentren was aghast when he learned how the international media shifted his city and the federate state of Saxony into their sights after the right-wing rampages in Chemnitz: "It is disturbing to see a far-right mob rampage through the streets of any city but, for obvious historical reasons, the scene is uniquely distressing in Germany." (The Guardian)
At the management conference 2018 of EVVC – European Association of Event Centres Schulze took up the issue with his session on public discussion forums and civic participation. And that's exactly what events are about: to involve people in discourse. To do this, we need to adhere to facts, not fake news, we need to rely on arguments and counterarguments as basis for communication, sustained by diversity, tolerance and respect.
In view of the happenings in Chemnitz, we need to take a firm stand and show an attitude. Ilona Jarabek has been doing just that. The EVVC-President very distinctly comes out in favor of a tolerant and diversified society. We thought that was very impressive, in fact so impressive that we shelved our scheduled cover story and instead gave industry protagonists the platform. This is really not only about our convictions; diversity, open-mindedness and tolerance very simply are the foundation stones upon which the global meeting industry is built. And that's something I will take to the street for.