26-27 February, 2019 – The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) hosted an evening reception in Brussels to present its work to the EU policy community and announce this year’s Rhodes Forum, which will take place on 11-12 October. The event was attended by MEPs, EU External Service and prominent academics from Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB).

The event at the Residence Palais kicked off with a welcome from Professor Richard Higgott of the Institute of European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Professor Higgott then introduced the keynote speech by DOC Chairman Dr. Vladimir Yakunin.

In his speech, Dr. Yakunin said:

“Dialogue of Civilizations was created as a response to Professor Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilization and was introduced to the UN almost 20 years ago. The DOC’s goal is to contribute to a world where human life, dignity, and respect of peoples and their cultures would be at the heart of an increasingly globalized processes. At first sight this may sound abstract or theoretical. But it is my strong belief when I look around the world today that the ideas that led to our creation are as relevant and applicable now as they have ever been.

“We are an NGO that stands for a society-to-society dialogue. It should support and go in parallel with diplomacy-to-diplomacy dialogue. But it should never promote partisan viewpoints, nor should it foster any state agendas. Diplomats speak on behalf of their country with set positions, while we try to reflect, analyse and represent societal views.”

CEO Jean-Christophe Bas introduced the DOC as a platform for dialogue contributing to a fair, sustainable and peaceful world, and highlighted the DOC’s annual flagship Rhodes Forum. With the title “The world in (dis)order: A dialogue towards a shared narrative,” this year’s Rhodes Forum will focus on assembling a new shared narrative to guide the world through a time of global discord. To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the physical end of the East-West divide, the Rhodes Forum provides a platform for a time of reflection and dialogue.

On 27 February Jean-Christophe Bas participated in the EL-CSID final conference in Brussels, titled “Against the Nationalist Tide: A role for EU Culture and Science Diplomacy?” Mr Bas chaired one of the morning panels along with Professor Higgott and Virginia Proud of the VUB’s Institute for European Studies.

The DOC is an independent, non-partisan, international think tank based in Berlin. It is a platform for dialogue that brings together diverse perspectives from the developed and developing worlds in a non-confrontational and constructive spirit. The DOC’s work focuses on three major areas: economics, governance and diplomacy, and culture and civilizations.

First held in 2003, the DOC’s annual flagship conference, the Rhodes Forum, brings together leaders from the business, academic, diplomatic and political communities, including current and former heads of state and government, to discuss crucial issues facing the world today. The Forum aims to establish an open dialogue based on the key values of humanity and contribution to sustainable and inclusive global development.


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