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Cultural Pluralism, The Challenge of our Time

“Cultural pluralism” is a recent concept in Europe to the extent that many do not know what it means.

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The United Nations

The Organization of the United Nations is the largest international organisation and in fact includes almost all the states existing on the planet. There are currently 192 member states. The seat of the UN is in New York and the current Secretary General is the South Korean Ban Ki-Moon..

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It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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Ethno-psychiatry and ethno-psychology experiment the paths to be followed so as to address the cultural differences within the disciplinary wisdom and practices (western) of psychiatry and psychology.

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In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power.

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

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The Gap between Democracy and Popular Protest

Ivan Krastev

People that organize protests in the streets, the “Square People”, seem to create a re-legitimation of the status quo rather than positive change, says Ivan Krastev: today’s street protests are not necessarily a sign of more democratisation but signalise political mistrust and a disconnection between protest and representation. On the other hand, it feeds populism on a global scale by leaving aside the traditional political parties.

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No Healthy Democracies without Democratic Passion

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Cultures need to learn from each other and so does democratic theory. We need new tools, democratic tools to tame violence, says Ramin Jahanbegloo from York University, Toronto and it is Gandhi who can inspire us once again. And we need democratic passion, civic education and cross cultural, non-violent ideas.

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Stato Islamico, una minaccia per la libertà (e per l’Islam)

Adnane Mokrani

Quale è l’identità dello “Stato Islamico”? Può esistere una religiosità senza libertà? Ci risponde, Mokrani con una sua analisi politico storica della realtà dell’Islam, che ci mostra la strada verso una vera laicità.  

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Neo-populism and the Italian Case

Mauro Calise

Western political systems are moving from party politics to “the” personal party, with emphasis on strong leadership. The Italian case with Silvio Berlusconi’s personal party, Beppe Grillo and now Matteo Renzi’s “best of” populist interpretation, is an interesting case for this new kind of neo-populism within Democracies, says Mauro Calise and it differs from  former populist models, defined by their strong communal roots.

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The Difference of Sunni and Shia in Confronting Modernity

Saïd Amid Arjomand

Making revolutions and facing modernity was easier for Shia Muslims then for Sunnis, says Prof. Arjomand from N.Y. State University. The Shia attendance for the Madhi helped in mobilizing people and create the Iranian constitution. Instead Sunni Islam is more conservative and hostile against change, with religious reactions against state building, constitutionalism and modernity. And what about comparing the religious differences to those of the religious wars in medieval Europe?

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Dalits in India: Balancing minority rights and caste claims in Law

Rowena Robinson

The Dalits, once the caste of the untouchables, are still denied the fundamental rights to education and medical reservation. This applies in particular to the more then 21 million Christian Dalits in India, says Rowena Robinson from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, stressing that the denial of these fundamental human rights could become an even worse problem in the future by recreating generations of uneducated young, poor Christian Indians.

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Does Cultural Difference Create Violence?

Engseng Ho

Does cultural and religious difference mean an inherent tendency to violence in diasporic societies? No, says Engseng Ho from Duke University, on the contrary in port cities where people from all cultures interact in diasporic societies a lack of systematic violence is the norm. Problems are others.

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The Tunisian Spring and Civil Society

Yadh Ben Achour

In Tunisia, civil society’s intervention following the 2011 revolution was decisive, explains Yadh Ben Achour, who played a crucial role in leading the country’s democratic transition process during these years. The former President of the Haute Instance pour la Réalisation des Objectifs de la Révolution and now member of the UN Human Rights Committee emphasises that « it was precisely thanks to civil society that we adopted one of the most democratic constitutions in the world as far as the protection of rights and freedom is concerned. » Interviewed before the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, Ben Achour spoke to Reset-DoC about the courage to compromise that made Tunisia’s democratic experience a unique example among Arab Spring countries.

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Pluralism: The Nation State Facing the Challenge of Diversity

Ulrich Preuss, Hertie School of Governance

According to Ulrich Preuss, Professor of Theories of the State at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, Protestantism and the Reformation helped define the European nation state in terms of an ideal of unity in a territorial entity, which became the standard of modernity. But, today, this notion of the nation state is being challenged by immigration, globalization, and technological changes that demand more pluralism. Interviewed during Resetdoc’s Istanbul Seminars, Professor Preuss distinguishes between plurality as a fact and pluralism as a normative, contested idea. - Watch Part 2

Lessons on Pluralism 3

The Limits of Toleration

Rajeev Bhargava (3/4)

According to Rajeev Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014, Ashoka’s 7th edict is a lesson about public political morality in deeply diverse societies. It encourages people to evolve in their own respective religious-philosophical perspectives towards a mutual moral growth, by which the Other can be enriched. Today, we call this notion pluralism. Toleration, on the other hand, encourages living back to back with a lack of mutual interaction.

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Origins of Pluralism II - The Ethos of Diversity

Richard J. Bernstein (2/2)

Part 2 - Since World War I, every major political event has created masses of refugees and immigrant. As entire populations move, strong reactions are often triggered amongst native people. Cultural pluralism developed out of the need for an ethos that could meet differences and recognize how other cultures enrich society. “Recognition of cultures enriches society,” says Richard Bernstein, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014. “It is not a threat to society.” - Watch Part 1 of this video

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The Militant Revival of Religion

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

“Many from my generation believed that religion would disappear,” notes Michael Walzer, editor emeritus of Dissent magazine and Professor at the Institue for Advanced Study in Princeton. “Instead, it came back: politicized, modern, militant and anti-liberal.” In secular nations such as Algeria, India and Israel, we can observe a violent return to religion. What happened? Michael Walzer, interviewed by Reset-DoC, asks: “Was it a mistake not to engage critically with religious culture?”

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