10 October 2017, Rhodes, Greece – Dr Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (“DOC”, or the “Institute”) gave a welcome address at this year’s 15th Anniversary Rhodes Forum, a two-day event themed “Multipolarity and Dialogue in Regional and Global Developments: Imagining Possible Futures” which opened on 6 October in Greece.
In his address, Dr Yakunin thanked the people of Rhodes, the island’s Governor and Mayor, for hosting the forum, and welcomed this year’s high-profile guests including the Honourable Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria 2010-2015, Dioncounda Traoré, President of Mali 2012-2013, Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France 2005-2007, and Dr Ian Goldin, Professor of Globali-sation and Development, Oxford University.
“In 2006, the Rhodes Forum had warned of the pending global financial crisis. After 2008, when the economic crises hit the world, the ideas of the Forum began to be heard. We were discussing the need for a new fair and humane system of interaction between nations, capable of taking into ac-count the interests of the majority, and not to ignore the hopes for the future of those who – due to wars, revolutions, and coup d’états – were excluded from world development.”
“Two years before the European refugee crisis began, the Rhodes Forum had warned that faulty inter-societal policies would inevitably lead to a migration crisis. And we all have witnessed how our forecasts came true,” Dr Yakunin said.
Dr Yakunin stressed the transformations that the Rhodes Forum has undergone in the years since its inaugural edition, mentioning that thousands of people have participated in the Rhodes Forum and related events over its history.
“Our annual Rhodes Forum has developed over its fifteen-year history into a strong platform where world scholars, businessmen, policy-makers, and heads of government debate the most pressing global issues,” Dr Yakunin said.
“The vocabulary and methodology of dialogue of civilizations, developed by our expert community, have firmly entered the language of international relations and have become a critical component in bridging what Samuel Huntington termed ‘cultural fault lines’” Dr Yakunin said.
First convened in 2003, the Rhodes Forum brings together concerned members of the international political, business, civil society and academic communities in a spirit of dialogue and inclusivity. Every year, hundreds of participants from more than 70 countries explore the major challenges facing the world and seek concrete, applicable solutions rooted in shared values of equality, mutual respect and compassion.