IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

On dialogue

Earlier this month I mentioned dialogue in a post.  I think that dialogue is really the only way to get beyond many of the problems and issues that cause conflict.  The “Dialogue among Civilizations” got some publicity a few years ago, but seems to have been pushed off the page by subsequent events.  However, there is much in the thinking behind this initiative that is valuable, and should not be obscured by contemporary crises and violence.  The central idea was that dialogue should be the basis of a new international relations, based on exchange among diverse cultures, and this strikes me as a fundamentally sound idea.

One of my colleagues wrote the following about dialogue a few years ago,and I think this gets the heart of the matter:

“As each culture struggles to find its place and identity in a globalized world we are
discovering that each has held many solutions to the questions others have long been asking.  Dialogue is key to unearthing these “hidden treasures”; once we are able to unlock the secrets of effective communication and pierce through the walls of misperception and mistrust we can gather these valuable insights, lessons and opportunities that enrich us all.  A new and mutually rewarding relationship has the potential to emerge where accumulated  wisdom and insights for necessary progress provide the basis of a valued coexistence. Such  a relationship would be premised not on ideas of cultural superiority, but on mutual respect  and openness to cultural eclecticism and, ultimately, synthesis.” (from this co-authored article, which I’ve cited before)

In other words, solutions to most problems are out there, but they are distributed among various culture and peoples.  We need to find ways to exchange and to be inspired by each other’s knowledge and insight.

BTW, 2001 was the International Year for the Dialogue among Civilizations.  Hopefully we can keep it going.

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January 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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