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The European Forum Alpbach 2013 will follow the theme of “Experiences and Values”. The relationship between these  two concepts is wrought with tensions. After two World Wars, it seemed nearly unthinkable in the first half of the twentieth century to talk about the meaningfulness of traditional values. However, in the second half of the past century, it became possible to enshrine human dignity in constitutions and to move European integration forward on the basis of a comprehensive charter of fundamental rights in a way that makes us joyfully unable to even imagine a new war or conflict between the former European rivals.

Nonetheless, we have to ask ourselves to what extent our choices for the future will be guided by experiences, values, or both. The tension between societal developments and our fundamental values and expectations will remain the most important driving force of our actions. All these contrasts and tensions will surely make the European Forum Alpbach 2013 very exciting.

During the numerous Alpbach events, we will leave room for a wide range of opinions and new formats. The diversity and interconnectedness of the 16 seminars, 12 symposia and 5 summer schools will not only encourage the expansion of mental horizons but also promote interdisciplinarity. A cross-sectoral theme titled “digital worlds” will run like a common thread through our main symposia and allow us to look at current developments in cyberspace from very different angles. As a central element of the symposia and seminars, the cultural and artistic programme will provide further impetus for discussions and debate.

On behalf of the entire organisation team and the board of the European Forum Alpbach, I would like to cordially invite you to participate in this year’s forum and am looking forward to welcoming you in Alpbach.

Franz Fischler, President