At the 2000 meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, twelve heads of state announced support of a new initiative known as the Global Peace Imperative designed to foster understanding, encourage religious tolerance, and reduce prejudice among cultures. President Johannes Rau of Germany, in announcing the new programme, said the initiative would promote openness, solidarity, responsibility and neighbourliness. President Rau said 12 heads of state from countries with Christian and with Islamic traditions "have declared themselves willing to take on the patronage for these endeavours". The dialogue between western countries and Islam, initiated by President Rau's predecessor President Roman Herzog, aims to look for new approaches in intercultural relations and contacts. In an appeal to all Annual Meeting participants, President Rau said "each of you can, in his or her own country, help - institutes and projects - to contribute to the dialogue of cultures in the interest of our one world."
2. Maybe tolerance will prove to have been an interim virtue, serving a period between a past when no-one had heard of it, and a future in which no-one will need it. For the present, however, it is very obvious that there are still fanatical convictions that are only too anxious to insulate themselves against criticism; and there are many people whose rights can be asserted only by unwelcome speech. It does not look as though the time has come yet in which we can do without the awkward virtue of tolerance.