The World Beyond Global Disorder, Rhodes Forum 2015

Every autumn since 2003 the ancient Greek island of Rhodes hosts a session of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations" called the Rhodes Forum that brings together public figures and statesmen, academics, religious figures and representatives of the arts, mass media and business spheres from all over the world. The sessions of the WPF "Dialogue of Civilizations" proved the urgency and efficacy of the Forum by brining the focus of world public opinion to the problems of intercultural dialogue and the need to work out instruments to make interaction among cultures and civilizations possible. The results achieved by the Forum give a hope for further harmonization of international relations and strengthening of stability in the world.

Hybrid Warfare and the Long March through the Institutions

A Paper by John Laughland, Director of Studies, Institute of Democracy and Cooperation (Paris), delivered at the 13th Rhodes Forum on October 10, 2015

Professor Köchler presents us with a considerable challenge in inviting us this year to discuss hybrid warfare. The expression was coined by members of the US military in the middle of the last decade but the definition is very wide indeed. Hybrid war is said to involve “a mix of conventional, irregular, terrorism and criminal means or activities”; it can be deployed by “a combination of state and non-state actors”; it is said to include covert action, “economic blackmail, diplomatic duplicity and media manipulation.” One US military expert says that hybrid wars are “full spectrum wars” which include state building, as we can see in the second underlined part of the quotation on this slide: the phrase “full spectrum” is a presumably deliberate allusion to the “full spectrum dominance” which was the goal proclaimed for the United States in US Department of Defense document “Joint Vision 2020” published in June 2000.

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Contemporary Hybrid Warfare and What to Do?

A Paper by Türkkaya Ataöv, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Ankara University, Turkey, delivered at the 13th Rhodes Forum on October 10, 2015

The concept of “hybrid warfare” is being debated since it became a part of defence discussions. It was initially described as a band of methods used to counter a conventionally superior enemy. These two words are now accepted as a prevalent term in international and especially in U.S. armed forces literature. Although several definitions have been suggested, it may be utilized to describe some threats, challenges, and armed conflicts of our time, intermingled with irregular forces, terrorism, criminality, and involving primarily non-state actors. Most of the articles on the subject emphasize  that the adjective “hybrid” qualifying threat, conflict, warfare and war does not mean the same thing. But all definitions will agree that it is an apprehension more than a military one. Its adherents are an assortement of true believers, guerillas, terrorists, professional soldiers, and criminal thugs, who combine conventional and nonconventional tactics and resort to immoral acts as well to scare adversaries.

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Vladimir Yakunin Opens 13th Rhodes Forum and Announces Launch of Think Tank

Rhodes, Greece, October 10, 2015

Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” on Friday opened the 13th annual Rhodes Forum and announced the launch of a major new global think tank. Dr Yakunin said that the board of WPF “DoC” has agreed to create a research institute focused on infrastructure as a possible basis for new economic development and conflict prevention. The think tank will be based on the foundations laid by the organization over the past 13 years.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s greetings to the Participants of the 13th Annual Session of the WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations”

October 9, 2015

I offer my warmest greetings to the participants of this year’s session of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”.

Today, as we are seeing profound changes associated with the formation of a polycentric world order, understanding key trends in global development and searching for effective responses to common challenges are particularly important. Your forum makes a noteworthy contribution to this work, as it has established itself as a popular discussion platform that gathers distinguished participants.

On Humanity

Spiritual Humanism: An Emerging Global Discourse

A Paper by Tu Weiming, Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University, delivered at the 13th Rhodes Forum, October 9, 2015

I would like to explore spiritual humanism rooted in the Confucian tradition as an emerging global discourse.  On the surface, it does not seem to have any bearing on China’s promise of a peaceful rise or of the so-called First World’s willingness to accept China as an important player in the multipolar world order.  However, from the perspective of the world of ideas, how we find a path toward peace and cultural understanding through dialogue among civilizations and a sustainable relationship with the Earth depends on a new way of thinking, a new ethic, and a new cosmology.  Are there any resources in the Confucian tradition that might help us think through these issues?  Is spiritual humanism a viable option to emerge (or re-emerge) from the current Chinese ethos?  I am indebted to the eminent Indian philosopher R. Balasubramanian for the term “spiritual humanism.”

Vladimir Yakunin to the 13th Rhodes Forum

A Speech by Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President, WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations”, at the Opening Plenary Meeting of the 13th Rhodes Forum, October 9, 2015
Your Excellency!
Esteemed guests!
Ladies and gentlemen!

On behalf of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations,” allow me to welcome you to the 13th Annual session of the Rhodes Forum!

Also allow me, on your behalf, to express our support and gratitude to the people of Greece who are currently facing serious challenges, in the name of the Management and staff of Aldemar Hotel and the very many friends of the Forum, who in the course of all these years have been giving us their invaluable support in organizing our activity here on the remarkable Island of Rhodes.

Right from the moment it came into being, the World Public Forum took a stand of supporting and upholding a contemporary pluralistic vision of the world. The WPF strongly called for a natural development of the multitude of different civilizations that had formed historically on the basis of mutual supplementation of diversified but responsible approaches that could lead to a viable coexistence of different nations and peoples. The WPF left no stone unturned in the matter of upgrading methodologies and practical means to promote a dialogue among civilizations. It is precisely such a stand that can bring us closer to understanding not an engaged, not an ideologized, but an all-inclusive “picture of the world” without which, in our opinion, the further advancement of mankind will hardly be possible.

WPF Receives Africa Peace Award

Rhodes (Greece), October 9, 2015

United Religions Initiative (URI) - Africa presented its Africa Peace Award of the Year 2015 to the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations.” The ceremony took place at the Opening Plenary Meeting of the 13th Rhodes Forum.

The Prestigious Africa Peace Award of URI-Africa was presented to the World Public Forum in appreciation and acknowledgment of the WPF’s outstanding work in promoting culture of peace, constructive dialogue and partnership and in creating a network among various international and national nongovernmental organizations, representatives of public and state institutions, civil society organizations and faith-based groups, academics, representatives of cultural, spiritual, business, and media spheres from different countries, members of diverse civilizations and cultural traditions.

The award is also in recognition of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”’ effort to protect the spiritual and cultural values of humankind and to create a space for constructive dialogue among the major civilizations of the modern world and introducing the spirit of cooperation and understanding into everyday life.

The award was handed over by Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Special Advisor on Inter-Faith, Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural issues of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union.


Africa Peace Award2

13th Rhodes Forum is Opened

A Speech by the Founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” Vladimir Yakunin at the opening ceremony of the 13th Annual Session of the Rhodes Forum, Castello, October 8, 2015, Rhodes (Greece)

Ladies and Gentlemen!
Dear friends!

Welcome to our regular annual session of the Rhodes Forum! Ahead of us, we have several days of very intense and meaningful work dedicated to our discussions and meetings. They have become not only our tradition, but our practice and a real action of the dialogue of civilizations. Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla wrote: “Not only the knowledge and science deserve praise or reprobation, but it is the outcome of the knowledge and science by way of goodwill.” I hope that all the participants of the Rhodes Forum 2015 are people of goodwill who share our commitment to the united efforts for the purpose of creating a more humane and dignified future. This is exceptionally important in the situation of today’s world.