2006 Forum 2000 opens...

The 2006 Forum 2000 conference in Prague opened with a panel discussion on The handling of a global variety of cultures, ideologies and religions.

The 2006 Forum 2000 conference in Prague opened with a panel discussion on The handling of a global variety of cultures, ideologies and religions. In the backdrop of North Korea’s early morning nuclear tests, panelists debated Vaclav Havel’s opening question on whether it is possible to articulate a moral minimum in the handling of global cultures that has “a real influence on the current world.”

Former Prince of Jordan, El Hassan bin Talal’s call for “humane and ethical global governance” highlighted a general agreement that a higher standard of political responsibility must be used to more effectively transmit wisdom, identity and collective traditions of global co-existence. Citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mary Robinson added that this moral minimum must include the belief that we are all born free, and are equal in dignity and rights.

The panel argued that we need a systematic shift toward a revival of moral leadership, a respect for the separation of church and state, and, on a global level, the acknowledgement of identity prismatic character. Rabbi Michael Melchior noted, we can effect this paradigm shift by building alliances that bridge cultures and surprise the world.

In the panel “Is democracy an answer at the global level”, keynote speaker and Former Secretary of the UN Boutros Boutros-Ghali expressed the need to “be ready for a third generation of international organization” that can mobilize a mass democratic project in a globalized world.

By discussing the importance of education and moral leadership, national leaders focused on the challenges that emerging democracies face nationally. Former Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mikulas Dzuninda, emphasized the need to “raise universal interests over personal interests,” while President of the Republic of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, argued for “democratic enlightened self-interest” of educated social values in a global community.

In the final panel on human rights, speakers emphasized a need to support dissidence and the resistance of inhumanity. The panel led the room in a moment of silence honoring the memory of murdered journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. Professor of Political Science, Jacques Rupnik, concluded the discussion by saying that we are seeing a return to the logic of power and the lessons of Charter 77 are still relevant.

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