UNU/UNESCO International Conference
Dialogue Among Civilizations
31 July - 3 August 2001, Tokyo and Kyoto
The International Conference on the Dialogue of Civilizations was held from 31 July to 3 August 2001 in Tokyo and Kyoto. Experts from academia, politics and other walks of life came together to jointly tackle the questions at the core of the UNU Project on the Dialogue of Civilizations (see http://archive.unu.edu/dialogue): What are the prerequisites of a meaningful dialogue? And how can we best facilitate it?
With over 40 speakers from 23 different countries (see list at the end of this report), the conference gave a clear picture of the many aspects that are involved in a meaningful dialogue of civilizations. It showed that even for those who have been much involved in issues of dialogue, discussions are not always easy, in particular when they touch upon specific values and norms. It also very clearly proved, however, that as long as there is agreement among all parties involved that it is better to talk than to fight each other, dialogue is possible and actually leads to new and creative solutions to the common problems facing mankind.
The Conference explored the Dialogue of Civilizations from various perspectives:
- Promoting dialogue among civilizations
- Lessons from history
- Multicultural society and cultural transformation
- Perspectives from Asia
- Universality versus Particularity?
- Understanding different civilizations
- Political aspects of the Dialogue among civilizations
The main observations and recommendations made from each of these perspectives are outlined in this report. The report does not aim to follow the order of the presentations1, but rather intends to highlight the linkages between the different contributions, drawing also on the discussion sessions during the conference and comments received thereafter.