Past Event: “The Notion of Progress in the Diversity of World Cultures”

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson opens conference

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson opens conference

New York City
May 31 – June 2, 2015

In September 2015 world leaders gather at UN Headquarters in New York to celebrate the institution’s 70th Anniversary, marking the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inaugurating a new standard in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The politics of development have never been immune from accusations of imperialism. Organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations are all Western creations that strive to standardize world politics and markets by helping countries conform to international standards. However, the policies and programs of these international institutions often fail due to insufficient understanding of the cultures of the peoples they claim to serve. Conflicts which are presented as political or economic are often manifestations of deeply embedded cultural and religious factors.

 

Day 1 featured:
Jan Eliasson UN Deputy Secretary General gives the opening address; Yves Coppens (“Progress in 3 Million Years of Human History”) Agnes Heller (“Progress and Human Rights”), Marc Augé (“The Ambivalence of Progress”), Klaus Töpfer (“The Ambivalence of Progress”), Avital Ronell (“The Notion of Progress and Women”), Ervin László (“A Science-based Notion”), Michael Sandel (“The Limits of Homo Oeconomicus”).

Day 2 featured:
Wole Soyinka (“Development and Progress as a Political Reality in Africa”), John Mbiti (“Progress in the Cosmological and Religious Traditions of Africa”), Vladimir Kantor (“The History of Ideas: A Russian Perspective”), Karan Singh (“Progress and Development in India”), Ashis Nandy (“Two Hundred Years of Silence”), Tu Weiming (“Progress in Chinese Civilization”), Urs Schoettli (“Japan, China and India in Cross-Cultural Perspective with Western Traditions”).

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