Michael Christiansen: Way to solve the world’s problems

One could ask oneself: What does the world’s biggest, most innovative, and fastest growing democracy have in common with one of the world’s smallest, oldest, and most established democracies? What do we have in common?

The answer is easy; because what we have in common is this planet. It is the earth. It is our world. We share it, and we share it in a way which is much much different from the way we shared it 20 years ago.

India is no longer a far away dream – pictures of Taj Mahal or portraits of Ghandi and Nero. No! India today is the working place for many Danes, and a place to go, not just as a tourist but a place to go to get energy and to realize the challenges of this world, to meet the challenges, and to solve them together with our Indian colleagues.

Yes indeed, we have much to learn from the world’s greatest democracy, and hopefully they feel the same about us. I believe that in “walking together and talking together” lies a way to solve the world’s problems. I believe that knowledge, always knowledge, is the only way to fight prejudices.

What we are seeking is walking, talking, and fighting prejudice. What we seek is a way to work together and solve the problems of this planet.


We have many people to thank today. First of all, I would say that on the agenda of the Danish Cultural Institute has for a number of years now been a strong wish to establish ourselves in India. The board of the Danish Cultural Institute has decided to do so. And this day is the day we announce it. So we will establish ourselves when this long row of ‘India Today Copenhagen Tomorrow’ events finishes. We will establish ourselves in India to strengthen the ties which were already there and which were built during this period of collaboration and initiatives during these months.

I’d like to extend a special thank to the Holck-Larsen Foundation and especially to my old friend and colleague from the university – we have known each other for almost 50 years: Steen Lassen. You have always been working effortless to strengthen cultural ties and to use your many, many, many abilities as a lawyer to work for other solutions than just the judicial. Thank you, Steen, and thank you to the foundation.

And to you, Mr. Naik, thank you very much for being the honorary patron of this event. We are very happy to have you here, and we are very happy that you will be the head of this event. I hope to see you many times back in Denmark, you have promised me so.

As for the big competition, we have many, many, many people to thank, and in a month we have even more people to thank because many people will be working for this event. I want to thank the two companies represented here as my former speakers. Thank you both to Rambøll and Topsøe for being here to support it. And also thanks to the universities which have supported this event very much.

I want to emphasize too that cocreatenow, the communication platform, is, I hope, going to be a success where young people from India are not just comunicating on Facebook but also on our special communication platform where they can get acquainted with each other, can extend their knowledge to Danish or Indian colleagues, can get to know each other, and get hungry for going over there or over here.

And thank you to all our collaboration partners, that is ministries, that is Visit Denmark, universities, the Indian Council, and so on. It has been a pleasure to launch this enormous initiative, and I hope that the footsteps of this month will be visible for the coming years.

And we will go to India.

Thank you.


Excerpt of Michael Christiansen’s speech at Copenhagen City Hall on 16 August 2012.

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