is Dialogue Among Civilizations?
Among Civilizations can be defined from two different aspects in
relation to the subject: 1) Dialogue, and 2) Civilization. There are
extensive opinions, theories and discussions in both fields. One can
formulate a definition for Dialogue Among Civilizations with
accordance to these two sets of theories. It is a specialized
discussion, more in line of Sociology, Anthropology and particularly
Philosophy. A definition more applied to the International Centre for
dialogue Among Civilizations would be: Any deliberate effort based on
ethics, reason and nonviolence to understand the others in the
cultural and civilizational areas.
civilizations are mostly involved in Dialogue Among Civilizations, and
who are the representatives of these civilizations?
there would be a difference between a civilization and a civilized
person. The representatives of civilizations are men of culture, whose
words are like the story of their land, its history, culture and
language. Some historian specialized in the history of India in the
Middle Ages cannot be the true representative of Indian Civilization.
Now if India had a spirit and this spirit would influence a person in
a way that his heart and soul and language would be that of India, he
would be the real representative of the Indian nation in dialogue
this way, there would be no prejudice in recognizing the representatives
of Dialogue Among Civilizations. The countries are young and
civilizations old. There may be several countries related to one
civilizational area. The civilizations of Malaysia or the Philippines
may not be easily distinguished from each other, but the regional
civilization of these countries has a special flavor. Those with the
power to understand and to make understood are the true representatives
of countries in dialogue.
is Dialogue Among Civilizations and its presentation at this point of
time related to the international peace?
issues of Dialogue Among Civilizations and Peace are related in three
stages: 1) the introduction, 2) the realization, 3) the outcome.
Dialogue requires peaceful relations. You cannot encourage dialogue
and understanding with treachery and jealousy and hatred, so to
introduce dialogue we must have peaceful intentions. As the dialogue
is moving ahead, each side should try to understand and not negate the
other, so again we need a peaceful relationship, both in individual
and social psychological areas. Naturally the outcome of such dialogue
will be a peaceful one. So Dialogue Among Civilizations is in
connection with Peace in three different levels, but of course we
cannot reduce Dialogue Among Civilizations and cultures to the issue
- What has
been the originating factor for Dialogue
Among Civilizations ?
Among Civilizations in its new form was President Khatami’s response
to Mr. Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilizations. Mr.
Huntington’s theory and the social- political reasons behind it are
more or less known to everyone. Considering this theory and the
necessity of a rebuttal as the sole reason for the proposal of
Dialogue Among Civilizations will be a kind of degradation for
President Khatami’s theory, for Mr. Khatami’s theory is much more
exhaustive. Of course it was conceived as a response to Huntington’s
theory, but the way it acquired a global significance, makes the fact
that it was originally a rebuttal to Huntington’s theory a marginal
is it possible to actually perform dialogue among people and the key
is a kind of intellectual understanding of the subject, which is of
course popular with intellectuals. But there is also the public to be
considered. The public, if not incited by politicians, are naturally
inclined to tolerate and learn from others. Apparently one of the main
reasons for wars is alienation, i.e. the alienating process usually
precedes the actual fighting. Even if it is one’s own brother to
fight with, he should be first defraternized into a stranger and then
fought with. Where there is a brotherly bond, it’s impossible to
provoke a fighting mood. To prevent this from happening, any factor
spreading the concept of alienation in the society should be opposed.
There should be instead the attempt to teach people to acquaint
themselves with others, for conciliation follows acquaintance. By
acquaintance we don’t mean gaining general information about the
countries, their populations and natural resources –although it is
important to know about the history and geography of other countries-
but a subtle, more intimate knowledge. If we can make our own people
see the world as their home, and if all other countries do the same,
any person living in any place will truly sympathize with the person
living in the opposite end of the world, because he shares the same
hopes and emotions, and feels the same happiness and grief. We have
situations in Philosophy called the Borderline situations. In
Literature they call them dramatic situation. Murder, love and death
are examples of such situations. Death is a philosophical subject,
also important in Literature. If we feel deep inside that the person
opposite us feels the same grief over the death of his loved ones,
experiences the same apprehension about his own death, then our human
weaknesses will bring us as close as our strengths would.
interested people cooperate with ICDAC?
in special fields like Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, Literature
and Comparative Literature can definitely cooperate with the Centre in
their respective field of knowledge. They can propose research
projects to the Centre and follow them up, promote the idea behind the
projects, work on the project and participate in the gatherings held
on the relative occasions, encouraging their statesmen to indulge more
in the issue… In short, the governments have pledged to partake in
the Dialogue Among Civilizations and cultures. Carrying out this
pledge requires certain necessities. If these necessities are accepted
and encouraged by the public, it will be great help to the ICDAC.
Those who study Art are also welcome, for Art is in nature one of the
most effective languages of Dialogue.