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Centre for Civilisational Dialogue



Assoc. Prof. Dr. Faridah Noor


For the first time in human history, civilisations, cultures and groups are compelled to relate to one another on a constant and continuous basis. Yet mutual ignorance exacerbated by mutual suspicion and hostility inhibit them from establishing ties that endure and flourish. Sadly, communal violence has become the bane of humankind at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. It is the magnitude of violence among different groups in a situation where societies everywhere are becoming multi-cultural that underscores the importance of intercommunity, intercultural and intercivilisational dialogue. Dialogue and mutual understanding are the prerequisites for building just and equitable relations between cultures and civilisations. Intercultural communication and civilisational dialogue could help strengthen relationship and improve understanding regarding the fundamental principles and practices that distinguish the various communities. It is important to understand these civilisational differences just as it is important to take cognizance of the affinities that exist between civilisations - especially in the context of the globalisation process. It is only when both the similarities and the differences between civilisations are celebrated can a truly just, humane and compassionate world civilisation evolve. Similarly, as Asia undergoes rapid economic and social transformation, the thinking segments of societies are beginning to realise that growth and prosperity would be meaningless unless founded upon, and shaped by universal spiritual and moral values as those being taught by all beliefs that lie at the heart of great civilisations which were all conceived in the womb of Asia. Therefore, if Asia wants to remain true to its multi-religious and multi-cultural civilisational heritage, it should not hesitate to incorporate spiritual and moral values into its development process through intercivilisational dialogue.


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