The process of digitization is not simply about providing society with new tools that allow things to continue as before. The contours of a fundamental shift in almost all areas of society have been highlighted, if they were not already evident beforehand, by the growing use of algorithmic systems. Stiftung Mercator plans to address this transformation in three respects over the coming years: it wants to support the adaptation of basic normative principles of social coexistence, it wants to defend democracy against the negative consequences of the digital society, and it wants to increase people’s ability and willingness to take part in public discourse.
We have redefined the content of our work following a process of evaluation and strategy development. In the coming years we will be focusing more on our targets and exploring the impact of digitization as a new thematic field. We see our role as helping to shape the processes of societal transformation. The new themes on which we will be working in future are Digital Society, Europe in the World, Climate Action, and Participation and Cohesion. In all these areas, an important role is played by questions relating to the transformation of social cohesion, the future of democracy and functioning multilateralism.
The continued existence of the European Union in the world depends on its degree of internal cohesion and on how it forges relationships with other countries. Stiftung Mercator promotes the European civic education of young people so that they are able to understand and help shape the EU. It is also committed to upholding the rule of law in the European Union. For many years, China and Turkey have been a focus in the foundation‘s work. The foundation still wants to better understand the actions of China and Turkey and the nature of their societies, and to organize formats for understanding that are as wide-ranging as possible with a view to promoting exchange and encounters with people from these countries. In future, Stiftung Mercator wishes to support the creation of knowledge and ideas about the role of Europe in the world, including about the future development of a rule-based international order.
Stiftung Mercator is committed to making Germany greenhouse gas-neutral by 2050. The foundation wants to help Germany and the EU assume a global leadership role in climate action. Stiftung Mercator sees the challenge as being not only to lower emissions as part of the climate revolution, but also to give economies impetus for innovation and growth, while at the same time reducing social inequality. To this end, the foundation plans to create a solid analytical basis. A more in-depth study is to be made in future of how climate change affects different areas of life, such as finance and health. Stiftung Mercator wishes to strengthen societal support for climate action by fostering exchange between climate action stakeholders and other groups in civil society that are affected by specific aspects of climate change. We will continue to promote fact-based media reporting in order to combat the polarization of public discourse.
Stiftung Mercator is committed to ensuring that everyone in Germany, regardless of their social or economic situation and their cultural or ethnic background, are given equal opportunities to access education and participate in society. To achieve this equality of opportunity, it is essential in the view of Stiftung Mercator to change the way diversity is handled in key areas of society and to give people the right to equal opportunity education. By encouraging people to embrace difference and diversity, and by promoting exchange and encounters between those of different backgrounds, the foundation wants to contribute to greater social cohesion. In addition, it supports the development of viable integration policy approaches at state and municipal levels that will make it easier for newly arrived migrants to settle, that will improve their access to the labour market, and will therefore enable them to participate in society.