Q&A

What are the origins of the organisation?

The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute builds on the experience of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations in creating a space for the international expert community, business people, academics and decision-makers, to join together in an intellectual effort to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The DOC aims to foster dialogue-based solutions to some of the most pressing problems we face today – infrastructure underdevelopment, economic inequality, civilisational and religious tensions, and conflict.

Founded in 2002, the WPF Dialogue of Civilizations has held over 100 seminars, roundtables, and lectures world-wide, it has organised over 30 regional conferences in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and has also held a series of successful annual Rhodes Forum sessions.

The WPF Dialogue of Civilizations is a practical realisation of the UN General Assembly resolution on ‘A Global Agenda for Dialogue Among Civilizations’ dated 9 November 2001, proposed on the initiative of the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Khatami. WPF Dialogue of Civilizations’ founders include the late Jagdish Kapur, Indian entrepreneur and visionary; Dr Vladimir Yakunin, business leader, prominent academic, and philanthropist; and the US businessman of Greek origin Nicholas F.S. Papanicolaou.

The DOC Research Institute is a natural continuation of the WPF Dialogue of Civilizations.

 

What is the DOC’s mission?

Our mission is to foster inter-civilisational dialogue based on an appreciation and understanding of each other’s cultures and a common interest in equitable economic development.

The DOC is a global platform for exchanging opinions on a variety of pressing geopolitical issues including East-West relations, protecting civilisations against barbarism, the global economy and protection of humanity.

It is established as an international, non-partisan and non-commercial organization.

We believe that mutual understanding is the fundamental prerequisite for humankind’s inclusive development and that open, respectful and equitable dialogue is essential in the current times of drastic global changes and uncertainties.

The DOC is a community of perceptive, open-minded individuals that seek to employ the paradigm of Dialogue of Civilizations to explore and offer global policy makers and major multi-national corporations practical advice and solutions on 6 core topics:

Dialogue of Civilizations’ special reports, expert commentary, and analysis from our international network of reputed academics and industry experts is publicly available on its website and we always welcome further commentary and debate.

The DOC provides an independent forum enabling experts around the world to work together through the fundamental principles of dialogue. Its events, annual forum, local conferences, and round tables are dedicated to DOC’s core topics of focus as well as other important issues on the international agenda.

 

How will the DOC be different from other think tanks?

In this highly complex international environment there is no shortage of problems, but a very clear dearth of solutions. So are we needed? Very much so, all the more so since we have evolved from the WPFDC, which worked with the UN on a number of key inter-cultural issues.

We enjoy a broad network of institutes and NGOs developed by previous WPF activities, which includes over 40 NGOs worldwide. We also intend to preserve our special consultative status with UNESCO and continue our cooperation with the UN’s ECOSOC.

In addition, there is insufficient geographic and civilisational diversification in the majority of established think tanks today. Nine out of the top 10 think tanks included in the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report are Western-European. Accordingly, the current discourse lacks a genuinely mutually respectful and globally representative dialogue.

We want to address this imbalance, and aim to join the top 20 within five years. Our expertise at creating spaces for dialogue – including through the Dialogue School – between very different parties is certainly something unique we add to this discourse.

 

Who are the founders?

The DOC has three co-founders: Dr Vladimir I Yakunin – Russian business leader, prominent academic and philanthropist, with a track record in infrastructure development within Russia at the helm of Russian Railways; Dr Walter Schwimmer – Austrian politician and diplomat, former first Secretary General of Council of Europe; and Prof. Peter W Schulze, Professor of Political Sciences, International Relations and Russian Studies at Georg August University of Goettingen.

 

Is there any government funding, e.g., from the Russian Federation or the German Government?

No, we have received no funding from the Russian Government or from any other government. We do not intend to solicit any such funding. We are committed to maintaining full independence from any government or any political influence. All the seed financing comes from private donations, which grants the DOC independence from any political or governmental influence.