Who are we? And where is our Iranian home, where our German home? Maybe the feelings attached to our concept of home are well described by what the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo has called “intercultural sense of belonging”.
According to Jahanbegloo, “no culture is able to represent the full truth of human life. There is no such thing as a “civilized closed culture” which protects jealously its identity against the influence of others. Simply because, a culture that fears other cultures cannot enter a dialogue with them is in no way in dialogue with its own past, present and future.”
Jahanbegloo says that a policy of diversity and integration (“politics of diversity”) is the core element of democracy. “At the heart of this politics of diversity, we can find an ethos of mutual understanding which promotes the cultivation of shared values between the citizens. The process of mutual understanding allows one culture to enhance one’s self understanding of one’s values as well as the criteria by which one culture critiques other cultures. It develops bonds of commonality among the citizens with distinctive identities in one culture, while promoting solidarity among different cultures. Most importantly, an ethos of mutual understanding cultivates a common sense of belonging to an interculturally constituted common culture, which both unites different cultural and religious identities and respect their diversities.
The challenge is to have multiple identities beyond national prejudices and cultural and religious intolerances without loosing one’s home. This openness might appear disturbing to many of us, but we must all resist the all-too familiar temptation to mark otherhood as fundamentally threatening to selfhood.”
The founders of the DIWAN society recognize Ramin Jahanbegloo’s description in their own attitude towards life. They understand the “Solidarity of Differences” according to Ramin Jahanbegloo as guiding principle of their work.