This roundtable is part of a year-long series of events organised by DOC RI, focused on developing a comprehensive ‘dialogue of civilisations’ theory within the research focus Life Space for Humanity. Each roundtable will address one of the four dimensions of human space: the self, society, nature, and the spiritual world. This first roundtable will focus on the self, in the form of identity construction. Using an interdisciplinary approach, speakers will examine social, political, and economic conditions of personal identity construction.
In civilisations across the world, the most influential thinkers have been concerned with defining human nature and its relationship to the self, society, nature, and the spiritual world, which constitute the ‘life spaces of humanity’. Gradually, we recognise that humanity can be fully developed only when it is in social encounters with other people, societies, and the world in its entirety. The discourse on dialogue among civilisations manifests primarily in four dimensions: self, community (social, political, and economic fields), nature, and spirituality; the exploration of these spaces is the first step in the cultivation of humanity, which remains an unfinished project.
As Martin Buber argued, how a person exists and actualises that existence is primarily comprised of a dual mode of being, consisting of the I and Thou relation that constructs shared meanings and humanity. The assumption is that, the more I and Thou relationships share realities, the more complete reality is for both. Shared realities are of particular importance in a time when humanity is threatened by protracted conflicts, humanitarian crises, and the growing influence of technology, i.e. artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ collection.
The starting point for examining relationships between people and the world is the formation of I, or identity. Identities are formed in the context of dynamic social and cultural norms, and in turn affect the development of broader paradigms that influence trans-civilisational dialogue. This roundtable will provide a cross-cultural examination of the foundation of humanity: the ‘self’. How we relate to one another, the natural world, and how transcendental, philosophical, and religious beliefs are developed across cultures begins with our relationship to ourselves.
Dr. Jiahong Chen, Research Director and Acting CEO, DOC RI
Dr. Fabio Petito, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Professor Christian Haerpfer, President of the World Values Survey Association, Institute of Political Science at the University of Vienna
Professor Edward Demenchonok, Professor of Foreign Languages and Philosophy at Fort Valley State University
Professor Kira Preobrazhenskaya, Head of the Department of Philosophical Anthropology and Public Communications, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.
Professor Constantin von Barloewen, Head of the research project on The Ambivalence of Progress in the Diversity of World Cultures with Volkswagen Foundation, the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin for Social Sciences (WZB), and United Nations.
Dr. Valery Znoev, Executive director, Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation
Heather Brown, Research Associate, DOC RI