Civilizations: Conflict or Dialogue?

Innsbruck, 12 June 1998/P/HK/16000

At an international roundtable held at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), the participants sharply criticized the thesis by Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington according to which "clashes between civilizations" will determine the future of international relations. 

Experts from Austria, Germany, India, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and the United States analyzed the conditions of inter-cultural relations in the context of gloablization and a unipolar power structure after the end of East-West bipolarity. The meeting was co-chaired by Prof. Hans Koechler (Vienna) and Prof. Gudrun Grabher, Chair of the Dept. of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck. 

The President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, in his introductory statement warned of the dangers to world peace resulting from Huntington's paradigm. "The objective threat to world peace caused by the sheer size of destructive capacities in terms of armaments is magnified and strangely made more real by the very propagators of the paradigm of 'civilizational clahes'," Prof. Koechler said. 

Other speakers dealt with "The Necessary Conditions of Inter-civilizational Dialogue" (Rajab Budabbus, Tripoli), with the "'Narcissism of Minor Differences' Nurturing the 'Clash of Civilizations'" (Tuerkkaya Ataoev, Ankara), with "The Conditions of Democracy: Pluralism, Conflicts, and Crises" (Ranu Samantrai, Claremont/USA), with "Conflict and Dialogue in South Asia" (Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, Islamabad), with the "Cultural Self-Comprehension of India" (K. P. Misra, New Delhi), with "Old American Myths and New World Realities" (Donald C. Freeman, University of Southern California), and with "Mexico in Search of its Civilizational Identity" (Arturo Munoz Ledo, Mexico City).

The proceedings of the roundtable will be published by the International Progress Organization as vol. 24 of the series "Studies in International Relations."