At the beginning of the 21st Century we are experiencing social, environmental, cultural, and technological change at an unprecedented pace. The conference "Our Common Future" which took place in Hanover and Essen in November 2010 provided a platform for leading intellectuals, researchers, businesspeople, and politicians as well as young scholars and scientists to enter into a dialogue on identifying major challenges posed by this fundamental change, presenting different perspectives on global issues, and suggesting solutions for the way ahead.
Volume one contains some of the answers given at the conference, focusing on the cultural, legal, social, and economic aspects. The authors of this book are internationally-known experts in their fields. In their contributions they advocate the need to prioritize economic development for global inclusion; they address questions concerning the metropolis as the future way of life; they discuss the values of human rights in a globalized world, and they analyze the cultural and social impacts of religious movements. A recurrent theme throughout the book is a reflection on research and responsibility, as many of the quite rapid and dramatic changes are a result of advances in science and technology; others can only be dealt with by intensifying the respective research efforts.