Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Ó hAdhmaill, F.
Promote Exchanges and Mutual Learning Among Civilizations, Build an Open and Inclusive World
International Seminar in Parallel to the 51st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council United Nations Association of China ( September 27, 2022, 16:00-18:00 Beijing Time)
Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures
Optional Fields
We live in a world where increasing tensions between and within countries appear to threaten our ability to co-operate in facing the global challenges of climate change, global inequalities, global pandemics and global peace. The War in Ukraine, the increased tension between western powers and Russia, China and others, and the rise of the populist Right in many western countries – most recently in Sweden and Italy - espousing a particular form of ethnocentric nationalism which harks back to an imagined era of ethnic homogeneity, rejects diversity and promotes a sense of racial or ethnic superiority over others, all must give us cause for concern in today’s world. This is particularly the case in relation to disputes, conflicts and tensions involving the world powers who hold nuclear weapons. It seems logical, for all our survival that we all work to remove the tensions, the fears, the sense of injustice, the apparent need to exercise superiority in a diverse world. Rather than competing to be top dog in one country or in the world we need to cooperate to save the planet, to build prosperity for all, to end gross social, economic and cultural inequalities built up during colonialism and present day neocolonialism. We live in a diverse world. Nearly 8 billion people live on this planet, nearly a third of whom live in just two countries China and India. The people in this world speak more than 7,000 different languages, with more than two thousand spoken in Asia and 2,000 in Africa. Ironically Europe is the continent where despite its many (50 UN recognised) nation-states, the fewest number of languages are spoken. We also live in a world with a multitude of different religions and philosophies. All these people live together in just 193 current nation states recognised by the UN (along with two non member observer states –Palestine and Vatican). Thus diversity between states is matched by diversity within states. But as one historian, ATQ Stewart, once described it – we all have to live on this narrow ground, like we all have to live in this earth that we call home. This requires us to move away from simplistic views based on an ethnocentric nationalism which ill serves such a diverse world. It means moving away from viewing competition and the need to win and beat everyone else as the motive force of human existence and embracing co-operation instead. Above all it means resorting to talking and learning about one another and sharing this world, rather than resorting to violence and threats of violence in the hope that that will give us what we want. Universities ad schools have a role to play in this, along with civil society organisations. UN Human Rights mechanisms, despite their weaknesses, can assist in addressing some of these issues, and build a shared sustainable world based on cooperation and friendship and respecting our differences. But this requires a commitment to recognise the equality of all in all our diversity. We are all human beings with a right to live in this world and share it. Cooperation and a shared future for us all are the only way to develop a sustainable world into the future, facing the challenges of climate change, global inequalities, and global pandemics.