UNESCO Links Cultural Diversity to Human Rights

© UNESCO

On 31 March, 2015, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova took part in a round table on the theme “Human Rights and the Protection of Cultural Diversity,” held at the University of Geneva, with the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UNESCO Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue, Metin Arditi and author, psychoanalyst and university professor, Julia Kristeva.

Bokova emphasized that “cultural diversity is an expression of human rights – the persecution of minorities, religious and ethnic, and the looting and pillage of cultural heritage are part of a deliberate global strategy to eradicate history and memory, the identities and the existence of these peoples and communities, and, through them, the cultural diversity that is our common heritage.”

Arditi highlighted that “the destruction of cultural heritage is but a symptom of the destruction of the Other,” noting that “the West is living through an unprecedented intellectual crisis – we need to restore the humanities at the heart of our societies, as the cradle of ideas and intellectuals for the future. Universities have a historic responsibility here, to prepare society for its own transformation and to help people understand and live together.”

All speakers stressed the importance of teaching about religions through the humanities, as areas of knowledge and understanding, as well as debate and discussion — “in order for beliefs to not become the sole possession of fanatics and extremists.”

The General-Director concluded on the key role of education for global citizenship, as promoted by UNESCO, including education for human rights as the mainstay, stressing the need for cultural literacy and development of intercultural competences to make the most of contemporary multicultural societies and the challenges of living together.

See the original article for further details.

Post-doctoral Fellowships in Intercultural Dialogue (Switzerland)

Call for Candidates: Post-doctoral Fellowships in Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue 2015-2016

In the framework of an agreement signed in 2006 between the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue (FIIRD), the Foundation will grant at least three post-doctoral fellowships for the academic year 2015-2016. They are intended for a research programme set up at the UNIGE, particularly in the Autonomous Department of Protestant Theology and the Humanities Department.

Funded by FIIRD, the fellowships (from 33,800 to 36,566 Swiss Francs maximum for each one) will be granted to young researchers having a doctorate when sending this application, a background in one of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and wishing to specialize in the field of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

The programme aims to set up a research group to deepen the understanding among persons of different religions and to bring forth leaders to respond to Intercultural and Interreligious challenges. Besides the attendance of course and seminars, the program consists of participation in a common bi-monthly seminar organized by FIIRD as well as the carrying out of independent research.

Period of allocation: beginning in September 2015 and continuing until August 2016 (twelve months).

Application deadline: 19 December 2014 for submission of complete files.
UPDATE as of January 7, 2015: Deadline extended to January 31, 2015

For further information about program and eligibility criteria, see the full calls in English and French.