Preventing World War Through Global Solidarity: 100 Years on

Rhodes Forum Opening PlenaryEvery 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.

Rhodes Forum 2014

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An Appeal to the Nations of the World

cnsr.ru, September 11, 2014

To all people of goodwill in the everywhere: to leaders of all faiths, to the architects of public opinion, to those at the helm of professional, women’s and youth organizations, to the UN General Assembly, to the heads of state and legislative bodies and to the mass media.

We, the Participants of the Moscow International Forum “Large Family and Future of Humanity” (September 10-11, 2014), express our profound concern because certain countries are pursuing tenacious policies and an unprecedented propaganda campaign, all of which is leading to the ultimate destruction of the Natural Family − an institution that in a civilized society is the foundation of order, state’s prosperity and social peace.

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The Battle for Civilisation

Dr Adrian Pabst, Senior Lecturer in Politics, School of Politics and IR, University of Kent; Visiting Professor, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Lille (Sciences Po), specially for wpfdc.org

In my previous essay, I argued that ISIS and the Islamic State are demonic forces that pose an existential threat to civilisation. We face a battle against barbarism, not a clash of civilisations. Fighting the barbarians who slaughter innocent men, women and children is a battle for civilisation – for ancient ways of life, ancestral homeland, millennia-old traditions and different faith communities such as Oriental Christians and the Yazidi who confront an impossible choice: forced conversion, expulsion or death.

Faced with this horror, we need an alliance of civilisations. That means nothing less than a thorough rethink of our foreign policy and a complete strategic re-alignment. What is required is an end of support for either secular nationalists or Sunni extremists and a radical rapprochement with the forces that can defeat ISIS and the Islamic State – the Kurdish Pershmerga, Iran, Syria and Russia. Fanciful? No doubt. But small steps will merely exacerbate the current crisis. Unprecedented events call for extraordinary measures.

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The Pentagon — the Climate Elephant

An Article by Sara Flounders published at Workers World on September 4, 2014

There is an elephant in the climate debate that by U.S. demand cannot be discussed or even acknowledged. This agreement to ignore the elephant is now the accepted basis of all international negotiations on climate change.

It is well understood by every possible measurement that the Pentagon, the U.S. military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions and many other toxic pollutants. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.

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India Should Leverage the Tectonic Shift in the Global Economic Order

An Article by R Vaidyanathan published at vifindia.org on September 9, 2014

As per Angus Maddison’s pioneering OECD study, India and China had nearly 50 percent of the global GDP as late as the1820‘s.1 Hence, India and China are not emerging or rising powers. They are merely retrieving their original position or re-emerging markets. In 1990, the share of G-7 in world GDP [on PPP base] was 51 % and that of the emerging markets was 36 %. But in 2014 it is the reverse. [See Chart 1].

The crisis faced by the West is primarily due to forgetting a six letter word called ‘saving’ which is a result of forgetting another six letter word called ‘family’. The West has nationalized families over the last sixty years. Old age, ill health, single mother, child care everything is the responsibility of the State. When family is a ‘burden’ and children an ‘encumbrance’, society can be said to be in a state that should cause concern. Actually, for long household savings has been negative in the USA.

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Identity and the Clash of Civilisations

An Article by Akeel Bilgrami published at hkw.de

This essay begins with two quotations from Edward Said on two different subjects, which are not unrelated, indeed are interestingly (though obliquely) related. I will construct my argument by both adding to and subtracting from the ideas expressed in these two remarks by Said. However, these additions and subtractions are drawn from within an overall Saidian tendency of thought and he would, I believe, be sympathetic to my modifications and amplifications.

The two quotations are on the subject of the clash of civilizations:

    —“Too much attention paid to managing and clarifying the clash of cultures obliterates the fact of a great, often silent exchange and dialogue between them.” (2001, p. 583)
    —“A single overmasting identity […] is a confinement, a deprivation.” (2001, p. 403)

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Is Economic Stagnation the New Normal?

An Article by Gar Alperovitz published at Los Angeles Times on September 4, 2014

The concept of “secular stagnation” — that the economy may be facing a protracted period of low growth and high unemployment — has been seeping back into economic and policy discourse. Once relegated to the margins of heterodox economic theory, the idea of stagnation as a likely ongoing direction for the economy, in fact, is now virtually mainstream, expounded by such well-known figures as Lawrence Summers and Paul Krugman.

Stagnation, however, is not a new problem. Careful examination of the U.S. economy over the last century suggests that stagnation may not be the exception but just possibly the rule of modern economic performance — a rule that was mainly broken only by the stimulus effects of massive military expenditures at three crucial junctures.

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The Spiritual Heritage as a Source of Wisdom in the Age of Globalisation

A Keynote Speech by Dr. Walter Schwimmer, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe (1999-2004), Co-Chairman, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, presented at the 12th Annual GCGI International Conference and the 2nd Joint GCGI and SES Forum “The Value of Values: Spiritual Wisdom in Everyday Life”, 31 August-4 September, 2014, Waterperry House, Oxford

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating my friend Kamran for convening such an impressive attendance at this conference, scientists and theologians, and paying tribute for his endeavours to changing the world for the better. I am neither economist nor a theologian, Kamran is both. So how can I dare to speak to such a distinguished audience about the spiritual heritage as a source of wisdom in the age of globalisation? I am just a former politician who listened on Sunday evening to Prof. Farhang Jahanpour – you remember, he told us that ‘Today’s politicians are even more stupid than those of the time of the WWI’.

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