Over the past several decades international society has experienced a rapid increase in the flows of people, money, technology, information and images across borders. It has also experienced an escalation of tension and violence between states, nations, religions and cultures. The call for dialogue of cultures, religions and civilizations has emerged in the post-89 context of the debate on the future of world order, and in particular against the background of the two competing and powerful discourses of the ‘clash of civilizations’ and the ‘end of history’. For its advocates, this dialogue offers one of the more promising contributions to public debate about how we diagnose the present and plan for the future. Since 9/11 this dialogue has been the subject of a proliferation of public initiatives and international meetings, some government-led, others linked to IOs or NGOs, others primarily of religious inspiration. Recent examples include the UN initiative for an Alliance of Civilizations, co-sponsored by Spain and Turkey and launched in 2005. The idea of dialogue has gathered momentum and some have spoken as if the “dialogical moment” might soon arrive. However, if the dialogical approach is to be seen as a viable response to the complex tensions and conflicts that presently beset the human community, it will need to develop greater intellectual coherence and organisational potency.
This panel will consider the following crucial questions: What is meant by the dialogue of cultures, religions and civilisations in international relations? Who can, or should, participate in such dialogue- locally, nationally and internationally? Is there a dialogue strategy relevant to terrorism and the “war on terror”? How can a multipolar world better handle the challenges posed by the world’s cultural and religious diversity? How does inter-cultural dialogue relate to such norms as peace, human rights, equity, democracy and sustainability?
The speaker is Prof Joseph Camilleri.
- Dr Fabio Petito
- Dr Scott M. Thomas
- Prof. Jeffrey Haynes