AWARDING OF THE TOLERANCE PRICE 2023 to Honorary President Felix Unger
The award honoured his commitment and many years of dedication to intercultural and interreligious understanding, which he particularly promoted during his presidency. Among other things, on his initiative, the Academy annually awards so-called tolerance rings to international representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions to honour their efforts to promote understanding between the religions. The editor-in-chief of the Salzburger Nachrichten, Manfred Perterer, hosted the award ceremony, the keynote speech was given by the Governor of Salzburg, Dr. Wilfried Haslauer, on the topic of "Tolerance today - does it still exist?". In his welcoming speech, the President of EASA, Prof. Dr. Klaus Mainzer, recalled a statement by Albert Einstein, who was intended to be the first President of Israel three years before his death: "As long as I have the opportunity, I will only stay in a country in which political freedom, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail. Political freedom includes the freedom to express political convictions orally and in writing, and tolerance includes respect for all individual convictions." The laudatory speech was held by the Vice President of EASA, Prof. Dr. Birgit Harreß, who in her speech referred to the concept of tolerance, but especially to the importance of dialogue within an academy and highlighted Felix Unger's achievements in the service of tolerance, such as the integration of Eastern European countries into the academy, the examination of European identity, the defence of the fundamental values of life, individual projects such as Health is Wealth, Next Europe, and the tolerance project.
The Dean of Class III (Art), Prof. Violeta Dinescu, dedicated the musical composition "Letter to my friends" to the prizewinner, which was premiered on this day interpreted by the Guitar Duo Bernd Gehlen and Stefan Conradin.
The texts on the certificate and the plate of honour for the Tolerance Prize were written in Latin by Senator Maximilian Fussl, in keeping with the Academy's long-standing tradition.
Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Felix Unger emphasised in his acceptance speech how important it is to promote the tolerant and peaceful coexistence of people and cultures. "A look around the world shows how important it is to practise tolerance in everyday life."