Humanism, a new idea - UNESDOC Database - Unesco

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Humanism, a new idea

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

Dreams of science Michal Meyer I am because you are Michael Onyebuchi Eze Humanizing globalization Mireille Delmas-Marty Where is humanism going? Sanjay Seth Welcome to the Anthropocene Ruth Irwin The Muslim phase of humanism Mahmoud Hussein Child soldiers: a new life ahead Forest Whitaker A special place for the imagination Antonio Skármeta


OctoberDecember 2011

ISSN 2220-2285 e-ISSN 2220-2293

Oliver Kozlarek (Germany)

Milad Doueihi Cathy Nolan Forest Whitaker Roger Ross Williams (USA)

Liu Ji (China)

Mireille Delmas-Marty (France) Asimina Karavanta (Greece) Mahmoud Hussein (Egypt)

Paulette Dieterlen (Mexico)

Michal Meyer (Israel)

Michael Onyebuchi Eze (Nigeria)

Sanjay Seth (India)

Cristovam Buarque (Brazil)

Antonio Skármeta (Chile)

Prudence Mabhena (Zimbabwe) Salvador Bergel (Argentina)


Ruth Irwin (New Zealand)

UNESCO in 2011: Towards a new humanism and globalization that rhymes with reconciliation In 1951, during a ‘Discussion on the Cultural and Philosophical Relations Between East and West’ held in the capital of India, New Delhi, from 13 to 20 December, UNESCO endorsed the idea of a new holistic humanism. The world was recovering from a terrible war that had sullied the myth of technological progress dominating Western culture. In a discussion document entitled ‘Towards a New Humanism’, the participants at the meeting spoke of a “confused intelligence that has lost its soul” and a “crisis of humanism”. They advocated a “spiritual revolution” and “common spiritual progress” calling for greater exchange between East and West (p. 27). Six decades later, the challenges facing the world have moved on, as has

our understanding of the meaning of humanism. In March 2011, UNESCO held a meeting of its High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures at the UN headquarters in New York. Comprising some twenty distinguished figures from all over the world, the Panel agreed that “rethinking peace and reconciliation resonated with the quest for a New Humanism for the 21st Century,” called for by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. “In the context of globalization,” says the final report on the meeting, “this concept has to concentrate on cultural diversity, dialogue in the age of the Internet, and reconciliation between the North and the South […] The new humanism has to be an authentically pluralist cosmopolitanism, inspiring

reflections and expressing aspirations from everyone everywhere.” According to a section of the report entitled ‘Towards a new humanism and reconciled globalization’, the purpose of the new humanism is to “create a climate of empathy, belonging and understanding, along with the idea that progress with respect to human rights is never definitive and requires a constant effort of adaptation to the challenges of modernity. Those challenges cannot be met without ethical principles, which should be at the foundation of what was aptly coined ‘a public realm of values’.”

The conclusions of the Panel meeting, in March 2011, can be found at the following address: 92362e.pdf

Courier T H E UN ES CO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

October–December 2011

64th year 2011 – No. 4 The UNESCO Courier is published quarterly in seven languages by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 7, place de Fontenoy 75352, Paris 07 SP, France Free subscription to the Courier on line: Director of publication: Eric Falt

Editorial – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Editor-in-chief: Jasmina Šopova [email protected]