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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 13, Issue 6, 2003
UNESCO: Laboratory of the Synthesizing of Ideas

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  • Issue: 6

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unesco: laboratory of the synthesizing of ideas
1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
The Editor The Universality of the UNESCO Mission: Versatile Co-Creation of Universal, Natural, Ethical, Scientific and Cultural Order
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Ahmad Jalali Dialogue and UNESCO’s Mission: An Epistemic Approach
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In this article, I will offer some remarks on and analysis of the epistemic approach to understanding dialogue and difference of its nature to negotiation. My conceptual deliberations on dialogue have been influenced by two contemporary European philosophers, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Raimund Popper, as well as by the mystical and visionary elaborations of the Persian Islamic thinker, Jalaluddin Rumi of the thirteenth century. I will elaborate on the topics of dialogue and the arts of questioning and listening; dialogue and the issue of language and being; and dialogue and its conduct. I will then address the socio-political conditions necessary for a genuine dialogue; and finally, I will briefly review UNESCO’s raison d'etre and conclude with a discussion of dialogue’s relevance to UNESCO’s mission.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Ahmad Jalali Dialogue among Civilizations: Culture and Identity
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After some conceptual elaboration on the topic of the Dialogue among Civilizations, this article will give some examples of UNESCO’s contribution in this domain. DAC is intrinsically bound to the questions of identity and otherness through the role culture and civilization play in composing our identity. We forge our own identity through our culture; those who share this identity are insiders, and those who do not are outsiders. Some understandings of identity conclude in a lack of appreciation for the Others’ identity, which is necessary to being a genuine partner in dialogue. At one extreme personal identity is not conceived as being subject to any changes during an individual’s lifetime; while at the other extreme, post-modernism perceives a person or a social group simply as a node in a network of relations. These definitions both suffer from the lack of a historical dimension and are based on a unitary conception of identity. The solution, as the reality of history also demonstrates, comes with a pluralistic view of identity, which not only solves some theoretical issues but also forms the only framework within which the possibility of dialogue can be assured. The wonderful consequence will then be that if absolute identity does not exist, neither can absolute otherness. We should then search for the shared roots between different cultures. It was a common scientific and philosophical culture, for example, that united Avicenna in Iran with St. Thomas Aquinas in the West; a culture going back to the Greek and Hellenistic thinkers. Globality should be understood as a visionary search for the discovery of the common roots of different cultures, rather than the dominance of any one particular culture or value system. The ethnocentric concept of culture and history can then be overcome. A genuine dialogue comes with the soul’s particular willingness to “convert” itself, to expose and risk one’s own ideas and positions. It brings us the possibility of overcoming trans-cultural dissensus on whether a particular practice violates one or another human right. And as we know from Averroes, the human soul comes from a unified universal soul. Finally, there is an inter-conceptual linkage among cultural diversity, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, sustainable development, human rights and cultural rights. UNESCO, by preserving and protecting cultural heritage, safeguarding cultural diversity, and promoting dialogue among cultures and civilizations, is contributing to its axiomatic constitutional goals, namely the construction of the defenses of peace in the minds of people through moral and intellectual solidarity.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Michael H. Mitias Crystal Palace: A Concept of Universal Society
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The author presents here the “Crystal palace” as a symbol of the unity of human beings with each other and also with nature. In this unity beauty, truth and love find their highest actuality. The universality of human nature is the basis and impetus for creating a bond of community between the peoples of the world. Hence follow the author’s reflections on the conditions for developing universal society.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Zbigniew Wendland With What Is Twentieth-Century Philosophy Entering into the Twenty First Century?
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The topic of the presented study consists of prominent issues characterizing philosophy during the period of its transition from the philosophy of the twentieth century to that of the twenty first century; reflections on those questions have been based upon a number of essential premises. Both components can be summarized in the following points: (1) the title of the article inquires about the most important achievements of twentieth-century philosophy, which comprise the eventual heritage bequeathed to the philosophy of the twenty first century; (2) speaking about the accomplishments of philosophy the author has in mind the fulfillment of critical-demystification tasks, which consist of branding evil, disclosing illusions, dispelling myths and revealing untruth (appearances), etc.; (3) the preparation of answers to the titular question was based on the premise, which comprised a point of departure and the leitmotif of the whole article, maintaining that the achievements of twentieth-century philosophy and the legacy to be utilized by the philosophy of the following century within the above-mentioned range, consists primarily of the problems of being, reason and human. The author formulates a thesis claiming that twentieth-century philosophy possesses three characteristic features, namely: a) anti-metaphysical attitude, b) anti-rationalism and c) anti-humanism. The above mentioned philosophical problems together with the most frequently accepted manners of thinking about them—within the framework of assorted philosophical trends—are excellent examples of the critical function fulfilled by philosophy, which, apparently, will constitute the most valuable cultural potential also in the century which has just started.
co-creator and eternal resident of crystal palace: janusz korczak—a new anthropology of education
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Michał C. Jankowski The Greatest Polish-Jewish Educator: Our Contemporary Hope for the World
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7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Andrzej Mencwel, Maciej Bańkowski Resume
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This summary was delivered at the closing session of the “Korczak: A New Anthropology of Education” conference on September 21, 2002 in the Polish Culture Institute of Warsaw University’s Polish Studies Faculty. Author points that the primary goal of the conference was to set Korczak’s work against modern-day thought trends and cultural dilemmas. Summing up the result of the conference author notices that the deepest roots of the Korczak’s work lies in the Judaic and Christian traditions but it also draws on European enlightenment, Polish romanticism, and positivism.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Zygmunt Bauman Childhood of Human Dignity
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At no other time has the keen search for common humanity, and the practice that follows such an assumption, been as urgent and imperative as it is now. In the era of globalization, the cause and the politics of shared humanity face the most fateful among the many fateful steps they have taken in their long history. For all its flaws and inadequacies, Korczak’s practice of engaged conversation of partners who in the course of talking and listening help each other into equality may be seen, after the years, as a laboratory in which the roads to humanity had been experimented with, researched, and mapped. To say that Korczak added a few (even a crucial few) weapons to our pedagogical armoury while recommending to decommission some others means to grossly underestimate the significance of his legacy. Korczak wished to protect children’s dignity not for the sake of the happy childhood alone, but also for the sake of those adults in whom children would eventually turn. Children’s dignity is the childhood of human dignity. Human dignity has no other childhood and nowhere else to take root, grow and self-assert.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Miriam Akavia Israeli Writers Translate and Write about Janusz Korczak
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The author portrays the reception of Janusz Korczak’s writings and ideas in Israel. She presents Israeli writers both Polish- and Israeli-born, considering their writings as consequence of extensive interest in universal values and universal figure suck as Janusz Korczak.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Scott Hartblay The Triumph and Tragedy of Janusz Korczak: A Lesson in Humanity and Inhumanity
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The magnificence and gift of Janusz Korczak has not been totally forgotten. Small groups throughout the world are still his devotees. But the word must be spread. The legacy that he left behind must be cultivated so that more people can be reached. Poland, the land that he loved, should try to become the model for the world of the progressive society that Korczak envisioned. Korczak, and all that he represents, is one of the country’s most valuable resources. Teachers need to be taught to value children in the Korczak way. Intolerance and anti-Semitism on Polish soil must be met with the courage of Korczak and done away with. The history of the hundreds of years of Jewish culture, contributions and Jewish life in Poland needs to be comprehensively taught and become a standard part of the school curriculum.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Monika Kamińska Interpreting Janusz Korczak’s Ideas in the Context of the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas
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We can view Janusz Korczak’s concept of “deciphering hieroglyphs” as an imperative for us to leave our own conceptual world and become open to the mystery and “Otherness” of the other. According to Emmanuel Levinas, the relationship with another person is also a mystery that escapes all definitions and demands attitudes to be revised—in order for there to be a readiness to be open to that Otherness. Such openness is a kind of hermeneutical approach and a particular interpretation which is the polar opposite of analytical cognition. Levinas and Ouaknin call this interpretation a “caress”, which is the subject’s way of being when confronted with the Other. There is evidence to suggest that Korczak’s approach to children and the role of the educator are very similar to Levinas’ idea of “caress”.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
International Conference: “Korczak: A New Anthropology of Education”, Warsaw, September 19-21, 2002
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13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Ryszard Wasita Theoretician with a Practitioner’s Soul
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Aleksander Lewin’s two last books about Janusz Korczak can be listed among his most important writings. In contrary to his earlier strictly scholarly works, which center on upbringing theory and analyze the theories propounded by his beloved masters (Freinet, Makarenko and Korczak)—the books have a personal note: professor Lewin seasoning his systematic, well-researched analysis with philosophical reflection and personal memories. The article summarizes biography of Aleksander Lewin and refers to his most important writings. An interview with professor Lewin completes the discussed matters.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Michał C. Jankowski Janusz Korczak: The Old Doctor and a Young Society of All Good and Wise People
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Essay delivered at 4th Embassy of Poland Annual Lecture, University of Ottawa, on November 6, 2002. It renders main studies on Janusz Korczak published in special issues of Dialogue and Universalism (nos. 9-10/1997, 9-10/2001), putting emphasis on the philosophical dimensions of Korczak’s vision of society.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 13 > Issue: 6
Our Contributors
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