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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Going Beyond Fundamentalism by Implementing the Principle of Unity in Diversity: A Major Key to International Peace Building and Peace Making

Wendy M Sargent.

This paper looks at the way in which the UN project Dialogue among Civilisations as the counter narrative to the divisive modern narrative can:
• Become a means to create co-operation and understanding between major international stakeholders by uncovering the common ground of ethics and interests.
• By the addition of a spiritual dimension the UN project can act as a bridge between modern secular and traditional religious institutions, by stressing the importance of both a secular rational exploration of common ethics and interests through dialogue but also acknowledging the importance of the transcendent approach to peace such as the use of prayer, co-operation on the basis of brotherhood and actions guided by a sense of morality emerging from being in touch with one’s conscience.
• Become a source of cultural governance, through the celebration and valuing of cultural diversity.
• Through the dialogic process can overcome the dynamic of separation of the modern and tradition by encouraging the participation of all civilisational secular and religious groups, thus becoming a practical expression of the principle of unity in diversity.

These four aspects are seen as a 21st century peace building approach to be taken up on an international level by governments and organizations through the UN projects. The assumption being that it is this very practice of unity in diversity that will move us away from the fundamentalist exclusionary dynamic presently leading the world towards increasing conflict and war. Instead the practical implementation of this same principle will lead us towards a future based on an international dialogue among civilisations.


Wendy M Sargent  (Australia)
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Co-ordinator of Australian network for UN Dialogue among Civilisations Forum. An academic at University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Presently completing a PhD. Co-ordinator in the 80’s, for the Global Co-operation for a Better World Project for the Brahma Kumaris in the Middle East receiving the United Nations award of peace messenger

  • International peace building
  • United Nations
  • Modernism
  • Spirituality
  • Dialogue
  • Ethics international
  • Peace making
  • UN Dialogue among Civilisations
  • Terrorism
  • Fundamentalism

(Virtual Presentation, English)