‘Was divers macht’ (What makes us diverse) – Start of the 2019 German Anti-Discrimination Days

Year of issue 2019
Date 2019.12.02

On Monday, Federal Minister of Family Affairs Franziska Giffey and the acting head of the independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Bernhard Franke, opened the first German Anti-Discrimination Days in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (house of the world’s cultures) in Berlin.

"Germany is a diverse country. In recent years, however, the harmonious coexistence of very different people has come under some pressure. I am concerned regarding the increasingly unfolding hostilities, racism, homophobia and misogyny", Giffey said in her opening remarks. "This makes events like the German Anti-Discrimination Days all the more important. Real diversity demands from all of us mental flexibility and a spirit of dialogue. It also requires consideration, tolerance and acceptance of the fact that people are different and wish to lead their lives differently. And it requires clear limits to our tolerance, when faced with hatred and agitation."

Bernhard Franke, the acting head of the Anti-Discrimination Agency, stated: “We want to provide a forum to people who stand up day by day to exclusion, hatred and discrimination, and stand for acceptance, respect and equal treatment. Anti-Discrimination policy means protecting fundamental rights. It serves our society as a whole, and thus, it serves each and every one of us.”

Prof Dr Naika Foroutan, director of the Deutsches Zentrum für Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (German centre for migration and integration research), explained in her keynote speech: "In most cases, the topic of diversity is discussed by the German public with regard to migration. Thus, the question of how to deal with migration has turned into code for how to deal with differences and serves as a general metaphor for the way in which majorities deal with minorities in pluralist democracies. However, the core conflict within diverse societies does not concern migration, but the negotiation and recognition of equality as a central promise of modern democracies, which now is also – but not exclusively – claimed by migrants and their descendants."

With its more than 400 participants and its more than 30 workshops, discussions and outstanding cultural events by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the first-ever German Anti-Discrimination Days, organised by the Anti-Discrimination Agency over two days under the title ‘Was divers macht’ (What makes us diverse), represent the largest event of its kind in Germany.
During the Anti-Discrimination Days, representatives from politics and academia, and from business and administration, finance, culture, media, education and civil society will discuss current problems and challenging issues regarding the future of anti-discrimination work. The congress is set up as an intersectional and multidisciplinary event: Panel discussions, workshops and case workshops will provide extensive opportunities for broadening one’s horizon as well as networking.

The topics discussed during the Anti-Discrimination Days will include age-based discrimination as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with what has become known as the ‘third option’. The issues of inclusion, racism and integration will also be discussed. Further topics on the agenda include the question of whether the list of characteristics specified in the General Equal Treatment Act still suffices to prevent discrimination in universities today, Church labour law and even the discrimination risks posed by algorithms.

Please click here for the Anti-Discrimination Days programme.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS for its initials in German) was established when the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG) entered into force in August 2006. This Act aims to prevent or eliminate any discrimination on grounds of racism or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.