Festival of Democracy sends out a signal for diversity, freedom and respectfully living together

Around 2,500 people celebrated a peaceful and happy festival of democracy in Dresden.

© Katrin Boes/MPI-CBG

On May 25, 2024, around 2,500 people gathered on Dresden’s Altmarkt to send a strong signal for the value of democracy and a free and democratic society and to celebrate a peaceful and happy festival of democracy. It was a first-time event of this kind in Germany. More than 60 institutions from science, art, and culture in Dresden - including the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) under the umbrella of DRESDEN-concept e. V. and the #WOD Weltoffenes Dresden Alliance - invited everyone to join in.

The event started at 2 p.m. with star processions at four locations: Fritz-Foerster-Platz, Sachsenplatz, Albertplatz, and Wettiner Platz. The MPI-CBG took off with the star procession from Sachsenplatz, where a Johannstadt Statement [link] by the scientific and cultural institutions was presented. The participants of the four-star processions arrived at the Altmarkt at around 3 p.m., where they met many visitors, who already gathered between the main stage and the pavilions with an accompanying scientific and artistic program.

The program on stage and the supporting program in ten pavilions provided visitors with information on topics ranging from internationality in science, where the MPI-CBG was involved, to action art and the didactics of democracy. Each of the pavilions featured opportunities to exchange ideas with researchers and artists and to celebrate democracy together.

“For the first time, science and culture, together with citizens, are sending a signal for the protection of our liberal democratic system," said Prof. Ursula Staudinger, Rector of the TUD, who emphasized the crucial importance of democracy for living together in peace and freedom in her opening speech at the start of the main event on the Altmarkt. "We are living in a time in which our democracy is being deliberately undermined and threatened. We must fight the beginnings. Our liberal democracy cannot be taken for granted. It must be lived and protected each and every day. That's why we want to engage in respectful discussions on stage today and at the pavillions on exciting topics relating to our democracy, even when opinions differ,” continued Rector Prof. Staudinger.

The stage program included the musical statement "#LautSein" by the Dresdner Sinfoniker, which was specially developed for the occasion, as well as musical contributions by the Hamburg musician BOSSE. The event was moderated by MDR presenter Sissy Metzschke and science communicator Simon Hauser.

A clear position: open and solidary cooperation
In addition to the Rector of the TUD, the democracy festival of science, art, and culture was opened by Prof. Gerhard Rödel, Managing Director of DRESDEN-concept e. V. and speaker of the international graduate school DIGS-BB, Joachim Klement, Director of the Staatsschauspiel, and Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz, Director of the Kunsthaus Dresden.

"Dresden is a great research location, in part thanks to the many outstanding researchers who come to us from all over the world. With today's event, we want to show how important it is to us and the thousands of participants that they can live and work freely and without discrimination in our country and in our city in the spirit of our constitution," said Prof. Gerhard Rödel.

"Diversity is our strength"
Joachim Klement emphasized the importance of the German constitution and demonstrating a firm stance: "Our times demand a clear stance! Today, it is more important than ever to stand up for open and solidary coexistence. 75 years after the creation of the constitution and 35 years after the peaceful autumn of 1989, science and culture form a counterweight to hatred and populism," says Klement. "We are showing that diversity is our strength. Together, we are sending a clear signal for democracy and our fundamental rights. Together, we stand for an open country - and for a new way of living together," continued Klement.

Overwhelming commitment
Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz took the opportunity to thank the participants and supporters for their outstanding commitment to democracy: "We are overwhelmed by the huge voluntary engagement of everyone involved. In addition to the common goal of standing up for democracy, this also shows a growing network between science and culture in Dresden," said Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz, Director of the Kunsthaus Dresden.

International science
Stephan Grill, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, said on stage: “Dresden is an excellent science location, and science thrives on internationality and an open society, and this must be maintained. We need international scientists in Dresden and that requires an open-minded society.”

News article originally published by the TU Dresden: https://tu-dresden.de/tu-dresden/newsportal/news/gemeinsam-fuer-demokratie-rund-2-500-menschen-setzten-starkes-zeichen-fuer-vielfalt-freiheit-und-ein-respektvolles-miteinander?set_language=de