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The symposium aimed at highlighting the richness and fragility of cultural diversity in its various expressions, particularly in Europe and Asia, while also recalling the common values capable of bringing together these two distinct geocultural areas. Researchers from various fields and cultures were able to share their experiences and viewpoints in relation to five themes:

  • The EastWest Encounter in History; 
  • Mediators and Means of Dialogue; 
  • Cultural Diversity and Plurality of Values; 
  • The Impact of Modernity on the Transfer of Cultures; and 
  • Transversal Values in a Diverse World.

The symposium suggested new avenues of dialogue to enable a revitalization of the flow of ideas and cultures that influence ways of being and thinking in contemporary societies. Special emphasis was placed on the notions of temporality and spirituality underlying this age-old dialogue forged from ruptures and continuations. Indeed, considering the spiritual-secular tensions at the heart of many global conflicts, the symposium looked at how transversal, rather than universal, values can lead to mutual learning. These transversal values serve to bridge distant cultural horizons by providing a solid basis for dialogue and understanding among and within societies, enriched by their diverse cultural heritages.

 The Symposium was coordinated by the Social and Human Sciences Sector and the Culture Sector at UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and the Research Center for Moral Science (Japan) under the impetus of Eiji Hattori, Deputy Director at the Research Center and Chargé de mission to the Office of the Director-General of UNESCO, the French National Commission for UNESCO, the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS), the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) and the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (ISCSC). Additional assistance of the Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Japan Foundation,and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO.

Publication Date 01 Dec 2006
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Original language English