Increasingly, challenges can no longer be resolved at the national level in a globalized world. They can only be tackled jointly by international partners. Mutual understanding and trust are basic prerequisites for successful cross-border cooperation. This conviction forms the basis of our work at the Centre for International Affairs, where we pursue activities relating particularly to our overarching thematic cluster of Europe.
Europe and the European Union are especially important to us because only a cohesive and democratic Europe that is capable of action can play any effective role in today’s multipolar world. We are convinced that the European Union is also the best organizational form for the future of our continent. Europe and its further development are therefore central focal areas in our international activities. In this context, Turkey is part of Europe as far as we are concerned, regardless of the specific question of EU accession, and German-Turkish relations are of particular importance to us.
One other country plays a key role in the work we do at our Centre for International Affairs: China. China is a country of significant global standing with which Germany can and must cooperate for the benefit of both countries and with a view to resolving global issues. Nonetheless, misperceptions and prejudices often play a major role, and we believe that deeper mutual understanding is the key to successful cooperation.
One central element of our activities in the Centre for International Affairs is the Mercator Exchange, which serves as the umbrella organization for all our exchange programmes. The idea behind this is that international relations can only be forged through personal encounters. Our aim is to give young people in particular the opportunity to acquire international experience and thereby to enhance their intercultural skills. To this end, we bring pupils, students, young leaders and information disseminators from Germany, Turkey and China together within the framework of various exchange programmes. Our guiding philosophy in this context is for people to understand one another, learn from one another and jointly overcome international challenges.
Focusing on the further development of intercultural skills is a challenge for the foundation as a whole.