“A new United Nations University to be opened in Barcelona in 2012 will strive to bridge the knowledge gap between different civilizations and develop postgraduate courses focused on cross-cultural dialogue in areas such as education, youth, media and migration. A select group of experts in cross-cultural communication from Europe, North America, North Africa, the Arab world and Asia, along with the United Nations University (UNU) staff gathered in the Spanish city June 1-3, 2011 to identify areas of research, postgraduate teaching and knowledge transfer to be undertaken by the new institution.
To be known as the International Institute on the Alliance of Civilizations (IIAOC) the new institution will be located at the Sant Pau historic site in Barcelona. It will be funded by the Spanish Government and the state government of Catalonia with the Ministry of Education guaranteeing funding of 2 million Euros a year from 2013 onwards for an initial period of four years. An international search for its first director is underway, who is expected to be appointed by the end of 2011. IIAOC will contribute to reinforcement of peace by reflecting upon a future of tolerance, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures…
“Intercultural dialogue is not easily achieved and it involves cultivating our human and ethical potential,” noted Fred Dallmayr from the University of Notre Dame in the USA. He said the ancients called it a culture of virtues which includes temperance, wisdom and justice. “In today’s culture we need to have another virtue, the openness to different ideas, different voices, different languages and the virtues of what Indians call — karuna — compassion. These are virtues we have to study, cultivate and train ourselves to practice,” he said.
Prof Ramin Jahanbegloo, political scientist from the University of Toronto, argued that what is being built is an institution which is not clash oriented but dialogue oriented. “The question is not about who are the dialogue partners, but at what point the dialogue partners start to talk and work together on issues that often cause debate,” he argued.”
For further information, see the original posting in IDN-InDepthNews/06.06.2011