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Ideas, visions, aspirations

Dialogue Among Civilizations

Dialogue Among Civilizations
From Neuen Nationen-Alphabet, Leporello (1835). Georg-August-Universität Göttingen


Special Messages concerning the events of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington

An International Perspective on Global Terrorism
Ramesh Thakur and Hans van Ginkel
United Nations Chronicle

In November 1998, the General Assembly of the United Nations in a unanimous resolution proclaimed 2001 as the "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations". In doing so the assembly rejected the concept of a "Clash of Civilizations" which is based on the notion that inter-civilizational understanding is impossible. The General Assembly expressed its firm determination to facilitate just such a dialogue, which is aimed at increasing mutual understanding and tolerance among peoples of different cultural backgrounds, through an active exchange of ideas, visions and aspirations.

The UNU Project

Drawing upon its unique characteristic as an academic institution rooted in the United Nations system, the United Nations University, in cooperation with UNESCO, has organized a series of workshops, conferences and other events that will contribute to the Dialogue among Civilizations, with particular emphasis on a scientific exploration of the dialogue itself.

Reflecting the global perspective of the United Nations University, the conferences and workshops have brought together persons from diverse cultural backgrounds for in-depth discussions aimed at developing a better understanding of what is necessary to realize a meaningful dialogue among civilizations.

Key issues

Why is it necessary to engage in a Dialogue of Civilizations? What can we learn from past dialogues? What effect could an increased dialogue have on the substance and process of international relations? In which ways does multicultural society contribute to - or obstruct - dialogue among civilizations? What inspirations can we draw, what lessons can we learn from Asian experiences in civilizational dialogue? Could there be any such thing as a global ethos, a common overarching human value system that transcends cultural and civilizational differences? These questions were among the issues addressed throughout the UNU project on the Dialogue on Civilizations.

Framework for Action

FrameworkForAction.pdf (216 KB PDF)

The Framework for Action builds on the observations and recommendations discussed during the course of the UNU Project on the Dialogue of Civilizations. It is the product of the research, experience and creative thinking of the more than 100 academics, journalists, representatives of national, regional and international organizations, and, last but not least, students that took part in the workshops and conferences organized by UNU.


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

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