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Commitment at State Level to More Cosmopolitanism and Democratic Participation

Social psychologist and prejudice researcher Prof. Dr. Frank Asbrock from Chemnitz University of Technology appointed as expert to the advisory board for the state program "Weltoffenes Sachsen für Demokratie und Toleranz" (Open Saxony for Democracy and Tolerance)

With the state program Weltoffenes Sachsen für Demokratie und Toleranz (Open Saxony for Democracy and Tolerance), the Free State of Saxony is committed to strengthening democracy, critically addressing political extremism, and reducing prejudice and group-based hostility toward people. The Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion is behind this state program. The activities of this program are overseen by an advisory board headed by Minister of State Petra Köpping. The advisory board is made up of representatives from science, politics and practice who, among other things, draw up recommendations on funding priorities. Prof. Dr. Frank Asbrock, head of the Professorship of Social Psychology at Chemnitz University of Technology, has now been appointed to this committee as a representative from the scientific community.

Among other things, Asbrock is an expert on the causes, forms and consequences of group-based misanthropy: "The importance of promoting democratic initiatives and structures in Saxony, especially in rural areas, is unfortunately becoming clear time and again," says Asbrock. This was seen not only at the beginning of the year in the threats and so-called house visits by demonstrators ready to use violence to top politicians in Saxony. This conclusion was also recently reached by the new Saxon Minister of the Interior, Armin Schuster, based on the Allensbach survey, according to which around 45 percent of respondents from East Germany believe they live in a pseudo-democracy. "On the advisory board, I can help change something about this situation for the better and provide project funding on a scientific basis," says Asbrock.

In 2022, the state program will fund 77 projects in Saxony, such as the New Undiscovered Narratives program from Chemnitz, which works to address right-wing populism and extremism at the intersections of culture, civil society, and academia.

A new funding guideline came into force in February 2022, simplifying future application procedures and strengthening support for statewide and regional networks of civil society initiatives. "It is another important step in this statewide program for more cosmopolitanism and democratic participation," says Asbrock.

(Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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