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Alpbach, 1. September 2009
Commentary to Political Talk “Trust between cultures”
Trust between cultures – a general and wide topic the members on the panel were facing. Assia Bensalah-Alaoui the ambassador of the kingdom of Moroco gave a general introduction. For making trust between cultures possible you first of all need cultures. But how to define cultures? By nation, religion, or language?

In a global world, a worldwide connected youth is building culture and trust on another level, while traditional factors are getting less important. The other four speakers on the panel talked about culture and trust out of their own professions and migration experiences.
Ayse Güzin Basibüyük, member of Club Alpbach Medica, working at the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Vienna pointed out that trust-building between cultures is not an easy process, as individuals have to overcome the emotions of fear, mistrust and aversion. For a good and professional relationship between physicians and patients trust is necessary in a double sense, if there are cultural differences.

Mr. Nzokurum, who is also physician in Vienna, mentioned that in Austria there is very weak trust in black people in general. Even in the case of a heavily injured person, relatives did not want him to do his job because he is black. The white coloured ambulance driver and his white assistant had to convince the mistrusting relatives. So, for him colour is still an important issue when it comes to trust-building. US- President Obama’s slogan “yes we can” refers a lot on the colour of his skin. Yes, a black person can be a good president!

On the other hand a professor from the center of democracy and reconciliation In Thessaloniki mentioned that for him, as a child growing up and going to school in Ghana, the white colour of his skin was an important issue and a reason for mistrust. Being the last speaker on the panel he made an experiment to show the plenum how relative culture is. He cooked bosnian, serbian, greek and turkish coffee in ONE POT and served it as their national coffee to members of the different nationalities.

Mag. Thomas Pöchtrager, Mentee 2009/10