Since antiquity, rhetoric has reigned as one of the great European traditions in education. Currently, as the importance of media of all kind is growing in daily communication, rhetoric is prevailing as an educational topic. The rate of interest in rhetoric has doubled with the increasing diversity of audiovisual media consumption. Audio-visual media used as working tools (computers and their networks) influence the workplace more than ever (in the office, at the assembly line or at the home working place). The fusion of the two media worlds is imminent and the consequences foreseeable. 

 

The importance of intercultural communication is growing internationally as well as domestically, economically, and politically. Often political changes (from war, refugees, work migration, economical pressure, etc.) impact the crisis that the education system aggravates, (especially in the primary and secondary area), and this not since PISA. The worlds of work, along with public and everyday life, are altered since political (1989/1990), cultural (1968 and again 1989/90), and economical changes are not initiated, but accelerated by the globalization. With each recession, under the pressure of rationalisation, productivity increases at the same time with basic unemployment. 

 

Even this raw draft shows that schools, universities and adult education have important tasks and responsibilities in the formation of qualified teachers, university professors, and adult educators as well as in the research that is the basis for these formations. Because communication is the central category of the intercultural, medial, interpersonal problem, rhetoric is needed urgently in the mediation of "communication competence", since media rhetoric, economical rhetoric, intercultural rhetoric, political rhetoric, and forensic rhetoric can advance the sectoral rhetorics at will. 

 

Rhetoric, since ancient times the methodology of the communication process in problem analysis and decision making (together with its correspondent, dialectics ), falls in line with a methodology of legitimating norms for common acting - that is, from ancient times to now - ethics. If there is something in our European societies, which could be called a `prevailing culture', then it is the humanistic traditions of ethics, rhetoric and dialectic since antiquity. These three ancient disciplines were rediscovered during the Enlightenment. Then, the succession of Vico, Locke, Voltaire and Kant further developed the different schools of thought of practical philosophy and discourse ethics from Schleiermacher to Habermas. The rhetorical values were at risk of being lost by being either legalistically formalized or deconstructed by cultural relativism. It is essential to activate and actualize the traditional pool of methods of thinking and the methods of dialog for European society; it is not necessary to reinvent the philosophical wheel since it is already there in the tradition of ethics and rhetoric. We need only to bring it back for it to continue. For this, it is necessary to retrace and to associate the different tradition lines since antiquity in the different European cultures (speaking Romance, German, English, Slavic languages, etc.) It is of vital importance to conceptualize rhetoric as a European program. The European character of rhetoric should be further developed beyond language boundaries - a process that started with the assimilation of the Greek culture by the Roman world. Because Europe is as well the aim for non-occidental migration, we have to bring the occidental thinking and speaking cultures in line with the immigration and minority cultures. In light of this background, the following tasks are to be tackled: 

 

 

 (1) Research in Rhetoric 

 

Research on rhetoric from a European perspective means to explore historical and contemporary rhetoric as a discipline; it also encompasses the practice of rhetoric as communication in terms of intercultural and transcultural relations. Thus, to pursue a question, such as: Can the transculturality of rhetoric as a discipline be of use or not in the history of a rhetoric of intercultural communication? How can the transculturality of rhetoric be made interculturally fruitful in various sectors, especially forensics, politics, economy and science? 

 

 

 (2) Teaching of Rhetoric 

 

The teaching of rhetoric from a European perspective means that at least one interdisciplinary and international student program must be developed which comprises a Master of `European rhetoric studies' taught in three languages at least. A core area of communication shall be connected with sectoral key aspects, such as: forensics, organizational, political, etc. 

 

 

  (3) Rhetorical Education 

 

 

Rhetorical education from a European perspective means that the EIR IER develops concepts of rhetorical education in Europe. These concepts reflect 4 determining dimensions at least: 

 

1. Rhetorical Education is always a blend of political education, professional education and personal development. 

 

2. Rhetoric as a discipline may be transcultural with specific cultures always having their specific rhetoric. Rhetorical Education for Europe is therefore always intercultural rhetorical education. 

 

3. Rhetorical communication is always tied to specific sectoral communication tasks. Therefore, `general rhetoric' exists only as a theory, in practice rhetoric is always sectoral. Therefore, rhetorical education in a European perspective is aligned with the technical knowledge and skills of specific knowledge areas. Intercultural education in rhetoric is also designed together with education in specific domains. 

 

4. In addition to the previously used descriptive term of culture, there is also an emphatic concept of culture which is normatively loaden. It is taken into account when linguistic and rhetorical culture is discussed. Rhetorical education has a culture-shaping function. It must contribute - in the context of national patterns - to develop elaborate oral tradition, which contributes beyond linguistic correctness to an aesthetic of speech, in all rhetorical officia, not only in the elocutio.