"We are not a crowd of discouraged and voiceless victims of national and international politics. Those who have come here to make a contibution to the Assembly have taken their lives into their own hands.
... We have been and are resisting what we consider to be unjust... we are developing viable alternatives... For a long time now we have been doing what we present here as our projects... to make them more effective and powerful."
The Ecumenical Village placed in pavilion 10 of the Messegelände, Graz was opened with these words by Christa Springe, president of the Coalition for Graz 1997. The place which is otherwise a centre of market economy is going to serve for five days the healing of the problems and not the destruction of society.
Within the framework of the opening ceremony the organizations Caritas and Diakonia introduced themselves to the public. They share now their place with the Ecumenical Village. The four Neighbourhoods presented their program (Topics: struggle for social justice; non-aggressive forms of solving the conflicts; practice of our ecological responsability; justice and balance between the the world-regions). There is also a Story-Telling Room on the territory of the Ecumenical Village, which gives possibility for talks in small groups, sharing life stories, passing of experiences, strenghtening each others´ commitment. The central stage of the Ecumenical Village gives place for the inner programs and cultural events.
Facing the entrance you find the Internet-stand of the Virtual Village. The
Peace House, which got a place in the Minoritan Cultural Centre, is another important venue of the Assembly. During the following days it is going to be the scene of exhibitions, hearings, workshops and other cultural events.