a multidisciplinary project on intercultural dialogue
ACADEMIC FORUM FOR PEACE
Photo by C Jill Reed,http://www.ickr.com/photos/mulmatsherm/2221224774/,CreativeCommons license
Mankind was entering the 21st century with a mixture o optimism andconcern. On the one hand, the end o the cold war seemed to removethe root cause o main tensions and hostilities present in the history o the “short twentieth century”. In addition, the rate o globalization anda airly high level o economic growth, particularly in the last decade o the century, provided a hope or the uture ree rom atal disparities indevelopment among countries and or the continuation o the process o modernization o societies. However, on the other hand, it was remem-bered that the “cold war” in some parts o the world rom time to timetook a orm o open, “hot” conrontation. It still is a real threat, despitethe all o the Berlin Wall and the subsequent slowdown in the arms race.Some reasons or the persistence o that danger were linked to the ideao the clash o civilizations, a prognosis o the progressive radicalizationo ethnic, cultural and religious diferences among societies and com-munities around the world, leading to the their “undamentalization”.Empirical research has been carried out which very quickly invalidatedthe appropriateness o using that hypothesis as a new paradigm in theeld o international afairs. However, the specter o “tribal wars” and“tribalism” could not be expelled. Moreover, one more actor emerged– or reminded about itsel – that makes the prospects o universal peacevery uncertain. The economic crisis afected numerous communities andgroups, as well as amilies and even individuals, dividing and conictingthem efectively. “Food Wars” are becoming a disturbing reality.To what extent is it appropriate, desirable or advisable to reer – under the circumstances describedabove – to reections, discussions and debates among intellectuals? They ailed to predict the col-lapse o the nancial markets. And not inrequently these are intellectuals who propagate sloganso hatred, in the name o which many “cleansings”, pogroms and acts o terror are being commit-ted. We believe, however, that the recent perplexities constitute a demand or more, and not less,intellectual reection. Our Academic Forum is being designed as a multidisciplinary conerenceconsidering the relationship between the theory o peace and the broken realities o politics andinternational relations. To regard this matter only rom an economic, juridical or strategic-deensiveviewpoint is not sucient. In this context, the theological and philosophical aspect cannot be dis-regarded, because all the sins against humanity – war, violence, victimization o all kinds – arethe results o the resignation rom a holistic and regulative vision o a world participating in theeschatological and transcendental Peace. This vision o heavenly Peace brings seless love andorgiveness, but cannot be identied with any political system or social order. That’s why Christiansand Muslims have ailed to make society seems vague.Both o these religions are looking or a proportionality between the theory and praxis o peace.In this endeavour they will surely take into account all non-negotiable rights, principally religiousreedom, which is an assurance o respect or all other reedoms. The Conerence, eaturing lecturesand panels that ocus on nding ways o building a more peaceul world, gives
the opportunityor positive re-shaping interreligious and intercultural relations and it might be able to providenew models o coexistence and cooperation or ministries o peacemaking.