A Keynote Speech by Hans Köchler, President of the International Progress Organization, delivered at the 15th International Scientific Likhachev Conference “Contemporary Global Challenges and National Interests”, May 14, 2015
When the so-called “cold war” ended at the beginning of the 1990s, expectations were running high for the emergence of a new and peacefulworld order. It was widely hoped that the rivalry between that era’s two superpowers, which was commonly characterized as “East-West conflict,” would be transformed into a stable system of co-operation among all states at an equal level and on the basis of common goals.
The prophesied golden age of “liberal democracy” and “peace,” however, quickly turned out to be a Fata Morgana when it became clear that one party to the erstwhile confrontation – that saw itself as the winner in the global struggle for power – insisted on a monopoly of definition of the basic principles of world order, including human rights and the rule of law. In the years that followed, the majority of United Nations member states nonetheless challenged the remaining superpower’s claim to political and ideological supremacy. Francis Fukuyama’s initial proclamation of the “end of history,” implying global acceptance of the supposedly victorious doctrine, was quickly proven premature.
Edited excerpts from India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address at the Asian Leadership Forum in Seoul, May 19, 2015
Business Standard, May 23, 2015
Asia must not have two faces - one of hope and prosperity; the other of want and despair. It must not be a continent of nations on the rise and others in decline; of regions with stability and others with broken institutions.
The Executive Committee of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” (WPFDC) is happy to announce the Rhodes Forum Scientific Marathon – 2015. Every year starting from 2002, the Forum has been attracting experts from all over the world, bringing concepts and ideas generated in different spheres of scientific and public interest to a focal point, where they can be discussed freely and independently.
It’s finally dawning on President Barack Obama the grave dangers that have been created for the American Republic by decades of neoconservative dominance of U.S. foreign policy, but his moves in response to this dire threat remain hesitant and indecisive.
By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, May 21, 2015
“Despite 50 years of ‘Nostra Aetate,'” the Second Vatican Council’s document on interreligious relations, “we still don’t know each other well enough,” said French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Speaking May 19 about Catholic-Muslim relations, Cardinal Tauran added, “Most of the problems we face are problems of ignorance.”
By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate, May 13, 2015
The United States and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called “free-trade agreements”; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the European Union. Today, such deals are more often referred to as “partnerships,”as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant.
“In a diverse world, the destruction of cultures is a crime, and uniformity is a dead-end: our aim must be to enhance, in one movement, the diversity that enriches us and the human rights that bring us together.” Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called for an immediate end to hostilities in Palmyra (Syria) following reports from several sources that armed extremist groups have infiltrated the World Heritage site, where fighting is now ongoing.
“I am deeply concerned by the situation at the site of Palmyra. The fighting is putting at risk one of the most significant sites in the Middle East, and its civilian population,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
Three decades ago, with the end of the Cold War and the dismantling of the South American dictatorships, many hoped that the much talked about ‘peace dividend’ promised by Bush senior and Thatcher would actually materialise. No such luck. Instead, we have experienced continuous wars, upheavals, intolerance and fundamentalisms of every sort – religious, ethnic and imperial. The exposure of the Western world’s surveillance networks has heightened the feeling that democratic institutions aren’t functioning as they should, that, like it or not, we are living in the twilight period of democracy itself.
The World Public Forum (WPF) "Dialogue of Civilizations" is a deliberative-consultative body that unites into a single network various international and national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), 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, and individuals who share the principles of openness mutual respect which form the basis of the contemporary dialogue of civilizations.
WPF is in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2013.
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The opinions expressed in all articles published at wpfdc.org are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Public Forum’s Executive Committee.