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Dialogue among Civilizations
Proceedings of the International Symposium
on Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations
Sana'a, Yemen
10 to 11 February 2004

The question of dialogue between cultures and the interaction and merging of civilizations is a major issue for intellectuals and advocates of a harmonious human approach. The purpose should be to serve the goals of the inhabitants of this earth, to bring about the coexistence and peace that emanate from a spirit of tolerance, from human accord, from ties of love and conciliation, from the exchange of material and moral benefits, and from the enhancement of knowledge and economic integration among peoples. Sana’a is truly the place to assert common principles, aspirations and goals as well as our hope for a bright future in which democratic dialogue, development, peace and close human cooperation prevail.
Abd Al-Qadir Ba Jamal
Prime Minister of Yemen

At a time when there is renewed focus on the Arab and Islamic civilizations in political and academic circles as well as in civil society at large, the International Symposium on Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations, held in Sana'a, Yemen, on 10-11 February 2004, was both a timely and significant event. Today, the dialogue among cultures and civilizations is no longer a mere catchword with which everybody agrees and sympathizes. Instead, it is being transformed into a solid tool and working mechanism for setting global agendas and yielding concrete results. The task now is for its instrumentality to be demonstrated through the full commitment of and resolute action by all parties concerned.
Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General of UNESCO

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Dialogue among Civilizations
Proceedings of the International Congress of
Religions and Cultures in West Africa
Abuja, Nigeria
15-17 December 2003

Dialogue among civilisations transcends dimensions of culture and heritage, and affects all areas of UNESCO’s competence. It is influenced and driven by the dynamics of contemporary creation and its inherent range of expressions. UNESCO has pledged to consolidate a culture of peace in pre- and post-conflict situations, and to contribute to pluralism and intercultural dialogue by safeguarding any heritage threatened or damaged by conflict. Dialogue is meant to highlight the realities of our cultural diversity and the pluralism of our common heritage from both historical and modern points of view. It is to enable us to promote intercultural co-operation, as well as intercultural values and inter-religious responsibility among the peoples and countries of West Africa, their immediate neighbours and the whole world.
Michael Abiola Omolewa
President of the General Conference of UNESCO
and Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO

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Dialogue entre les civilisations
Actes de la Conférence
internationale sur le dialogue
interculturel et la culture
de la paix en Afrique Centrale
et dans la région des Grands Lacs
Libreville, Gabon
18, 19 et 20 novembre 2003

La paix n’est donc jamais acquise d’avance ni irrémédiablement perdue. Il ne s’agit plus seulement de constater que la paix incombe aux hommes qui doivent la promouvoir et que, dans cette promotion, le respect de la diversité culturelle, la tolérance, le dialogue et la coopération, dans un climat de confiance et de compréhension, sont des gages certains. Il s’agira d’en tirer toutes les conséquences au plan politique, socio-économique, scientifique, culturel voire même pédagogique dans les programmes d’enseignement civique de nos écoles, nos lycées et collèges, nos universités et nos institutions de recherche. Il vous reviendra également de rendre disponibles en les associant aux méthodologies de leur mise en œuvre, les informations qui établissent le lien entre la paix et la reconnaissance ou le respect de l’autre, deux vertus qui constituent incontestablement, le fondement du dialogue interculturel entre les peuples. Cette conférence doit nous permettre de renouveler notre pensée à propos de la paix.
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba
Président de la République Gabonaise

Les recommandations de la conférence internationale sur le dialogue interculturel et de la culture de la paix en Afrique centrale et dans la Région des Grands Lacs proposent des pistes pour assurer un environnement propice au pluralisme, à la diversité culturelle, au dialogue interculturel et interreligieux, au vouloir « vivre ensemble », tout en faisant des valeurs et des mécanismes culturels traditionnels africains (savoirs endogènes, créativité, etc.) l’un des fondements essentiels du développement durable, de la stabilité politique, de la cohésion sociale et de la paix pour l’Afrique et pour les autres régions du monde.
Koïchiro Matsuura
Directeur général de l’UNESCO

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Dialogue among Civilizations
The International Expert Symposium
on “A Culture of Innovation and the
Building of Knowledge Societies”
Moscow, 9 to 11 November 2003

The International Expert Symposium on A Culture of Innovation and the Building of Knowledge Societies brought together leading international experts on innovation and knowledge societies to discuss the challenges societies face in order to stay competitive and innovative at a local, national, and global level. During the last decades, numerous concepts of innovation in business, education, science and technology have been formulated. At its 31st session in October 2001, the UNESCO General Conference unanimously supported an initiative entitled A Culture of Innovation put forward by the Russian Federation and several other countries. Since then, UNESCO has organized in cooperation with the Institute for Strategic Innovations (ISI) a series of reflections on the subject, which resulted in the Moscow symposium and the present book. 

"The concept of a Culture of Innovation is strongly linked to the concept of knowledge societies. Innovation essentially implies that creative people who lead economic and social development put knowledge to work. Hence, innovation is knowledge intensive."
Framework for a Culture of Innovation and the Building of Knowledge Societies

"Knowledge societies are about capabilities to identify, produce, process, transform, disseminate and use information to build and apply knowledge for human development. They require an empowering social vision which encompasses plurality, inclusion, solidarity and participation."
Communiqué of the Ministerial Roundtable on “Towards Knowledge Societies”, UNESCO Headquarters, 9 and 10 October 2003

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Dialogue among Civilizations
The Regional Forum on
Dialogue among Civilizations
Ohrid, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
29 and 30 August 2003

“I wish that this forum would come up with an appeal different from the refrain that “Carthage must be destroyed!” I wish that we all together change it into “Carthage must be saved!” No Carthage should be ever reduced to ruins, no foundations of any culture should be shattered and no nation should ever ravage the soil of other civilizations or nations so that nothing can ever grow in it! I wish
for our appeal to become a new refrain that will echo throughout the world and become a call for
Excerpt from President Boris Trajkovski's opening speech

We are convinced that dialogue represents a new paradigm of security, especially in a globalizing world with its manifold new challenges to individuals, communities and countries. A commitment to dialogue among civilizations is also a commitment against terrorism. Pursuing reconciliation and seeking security through dialogue requires a dynamic and pro-active civil society. It necessitates
a mobilization of political leaders, parliamentarians, scholars, spiritual and religious leaders, media and non-governmental organizations as well as women and youth who all must play their roles and
assume their responsibilities.
Excerpt from the "Message from Ohrid"

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Dialogue among Civilizations
The International Ministerial Conference
on Dialogue among Civilizations:
Quest for New Perspectives
New Delhi, India
9 and 10 July 2003

On 9 and 10 July 2003, UNESCO and the Government of India organized the International Ministerial Conference on the Dialogue among Civilizations – Quest for New Perspectives, in New Delhi. Attended by ministerial figures from over 40 nations, this conference defined global interaction through the lenses of intercultural dialogue and mutual interaction between cultures and civilizations. Focusing on issues at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate - education as an instrument of dialogue; science and technology as the new frontiers for global unity and connectivity and preservation of cultural diversities and spiritual values in an era of globalization, this conference paved the way for a new framework of action promoting dialogue among civilizations in the 21st century.

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How we see others,
how others see us II

Proceedings of the Second International Symposium
Paris, France
30 January 2003

The Second International Symposium entitled "Civilizations: How we see others, how others see us" was held in Paris at UNESCO Headquarters on 30th January 2003 to continue the pursuits of an in-depth reflection undertaken by the United Nations since the Millennium Summit, and developed further during the course of numerous other international conferences.  During this Conference, the reflection centred around means to draw up and clarify the immediate topical nature of the subject, even if, as often it is the case,  it is only the past for which historians, geographers, decision makers, philosophers, sociologists and lawyers of reputation have explored in order to expose and to analyze as prosaically as possible contemporary dialogues, and if necessary, the reasons for the absence of dialogue. 

Proceedings of this Symposium were produced in French only.

How we see others,
how others see us

Proceedings of the International Symposium
Paris, France
13 & 14 December 2001

As a pivotal event, the symposium somehow interconnected the various conferences held throughout the world on the theme in 2001 and so provided a review, while extending reflection to embrace the geostrategic upheavals that marked the year. As history is a political issue, even a weapon much wielded in the strategic controversies over the world’s values and visions, there has to be a response to the demand for understanding the complex socio-political parameters that shape the question of dialogue among communities, cultures and civilizations.

Such was the symposium’s goal, as reflected in this volume, third in the UNESCO Dialogue Among Civilizations series. The line of inquiry through ‘travels, texts and translations’ makes it clear that no knowledge or information can dispense with a critical analysis of documents and the first-hand accounts brought back over the centuries by travellers. The impact of these exchanges is part of a wider issue of power and human governance. By giving rise to reflection on the nature and extent of local knowledge, these exchanges have also prompted a desire to appropriate exogenous forms of knowledge, which has sometimes resulted in real achievements.

The persistence of old images in the collective imagination is sometimes expressed in ‘dreams of empires’, even though new political models are continually being sought. While revealing a desire for openness to others, the exploration of ‘new forms of universalism’ also shows how hard it is to achieve a comprehensive view of the plurality of cultures and their constant interactions in time and space. This plurality also compounds the difficulty of defining ‘civilization’ itself. Dialogue among civilizations is therefore the fruit of a wide variety of perceptions whose intersecting nature assists a greater grasp and understanding of others.

Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General of UNESCO

Proceedings of this Symposium were produced in French  >>>
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Dialogue among Civilizations
The Political Aspects of 
the Dialogue among Civilizations
Kyoto, Japan
3 August 2001

On 3 August 2001, UNESCO and the United Nations University brought together political leaders, intellectuals and decision makers to discuss the political aspects of a dialogue among civilizations.  The messages of Kyoto have an enduring relevance and shall stimulate reflection and debate.  It si through such debate that we can learn to understand others - and, concretely, the Other - in order to seek solutions to real or perceived conflicts.  The need for a dialogue among cultures and civilizations has progressively moved to the forefront of international politics and the agenda of summit meetings in the contemporary world.

UNESCO's rationale for convening this conference was to discuss the impact of civizational developments and realities in politics - and vice versa - given the complexity of these issues.  We need strong political leadership to engender a real dialogue among civilizations.  At the time of the Kyoto Conference - prior to the events of 11 September 2001 - all agreed that "humanizing globalization" was necessary for greater understanding between peoples, cultures and civilizations.  This political will, they concluded, ought to be expressed in the determination to preserve cultural diversity, and to counter ignorance, intolerance and discrimination of all kinds.

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Dialogue among Civilizations
The International Conference
in Vilnius, Lithuania
23-26 April 2001

The question of the scope and potential of dialogue among cultures and civilizations is achieving unprecedented significance, especially in the present international context. More than ever before, dialogue poses a fundamental challenge and must be based on the unity of mankind and commonly shared values, the recognition of the world’s cultural diversity and the equal dignity of each civilization, culture and individual. This publication underlines the need to prevent the emergence and nurturing of new prejudices and stereotypes.

Dialogue among Civilizations: the International Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, 23–26 April, 2001, is the second publication in UNESCO’s Dialogue among Civilizations series. It contains the proceedings of a major event organized by UNESCO during the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations (2001).The Vilnius Conference brought together heads of state, political decision-makers and diplomats, distinguished scholars, academics and artists to debate about the complex issues of culture and civilizations in the contemporary world.

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Dialogue among Civilizations
The Round Table
on the Eve of the United Nations
Millennium Summit
5 September 2000, New York, United Nations

The United Nations, indeed the entire global community, is observing the year 2001 as United Nations Year for Dialogue among Civilizations. This book captures the essence of what was an important starting point for the year in stimulating global discussions on this challenging subject.

Leaders from all continents assembled in September 2000 to share their views on the eve of the historic Millennium Summit. The political perspectives advanced then were complemented by contributions from personalities drawn from literature, the media, academia, diplomacy and international organizations. In presenting the various contributions, this book sets out a frame for dialogue in an increasingly interconnected world, although also one of growing and troubling disparities and divisions.

The ideas put forward during the Round Table show that a ‘dialogue among civilizations’ is an essential stage in the process of founding a form of human development that is both sustainable and equitable, humanizing globalization and laying the basis of an enduring peace.

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