Politics and Society

Focal Point

2010 - 2012 ‚Citizen and Society‘ has dedicated its attention to the topic of:

„What can still be counted on? – Trust – Authority – Freedom“

Values, ethics, trust - until recently dismissed concepts - experience a definitive rebirth. The belief in rational choice and numbers has become fragile. Whilst ‘outside’ large organizations such as banks collapse, the individual is increasingly searching for social reliability, ‘inner’ values and spiritual foothold. This is the morbid awakening of the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009. Thus, if in the past the Foundation reflected on “The Future of the social middle class in Germany” (2006 – 2009). Currently, it turns its attention toward the concept of ‘social capital’ and its potential: what are the inner bonds between the individual and his/her surroundings, neighbours? What holds the citizens in a state together? What are the required social convictions for a functioning market and economics?

Consequently, the concept of trust, which bonds the individual with the community, is increasing in social and political meaning. Trust is seen as a “mechanism to reduce social complexity” (Luhmann) and as such belongs to the anthropological basic configuration of human beings. Social trust today takes place increasingly on a local level and less so on a national level. The spring 2010 Sinclair House Debate was dedicated to the topic of trust. In 2011 and 2012 the topics of “authority” and “freedom” will be discussed. Additionally, “Thoughts on the Future” deal with the question of trust.

The aim of “Citizen and Society” is to provide social impulses via summer academies, discussions and consultations (publications). The important instruments of “Politics and Society” are listed below.

The “Sinclair House Debates” bring together international personalities from the industry, science, culture, churches and politics to discuss problems of the present and find sustainable solutions to them. These discussions take place in a closed circle with 25 participants. 

“Thoughts on the Future” represent another platform that invites scientists, journalists and economists to discuss problems that transcend our daily routine. The results of these meetings are published in a series called “Thoughts on the Future”.

The “Ideas Competition” was founded in 2009 together with the Foundations Initiative and seeks to reward citizens that volunteer their time and efforts for the common welfare. In 2010 started the first award that seeks to nominate and reward individuals with projects that demonstrate courageous and novel undertakings, which further our common responsibility.