Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Culture of Tolerance and Acceptance

Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Culture of Tolerance and Acceptance

Article excerpt

When I was growing up in Flushing, New York in the 1950s at the height of the cold war, there was one figure who seemed to be able to transcend ideology. That person was Sol Hurok, who was often referred to as a global impressario, since he brought famous Russian performing artists to the West.

Having developed an interest in the United Nations, I thought that this ability surely was the single thread preventing nuclear war. I was determined that someday I would work for the cause of peace through the United Nations by doing the same type of work, and be known as Richard Jordan: Global Impressario. I wondered if there were any colleges that I might attend that offered courses and degrees in becoming a global impressario? As years passed by, I felt saddened because there just was no place to go to learn this work. And, even worse, there was only one Sol Hurok. And I was not Sol Hurok!

My determination to orchestrate some type of global work did not diminish though. Years later, somehow finding myself on the Boards of some of New York's most renowned institutions and having spent a number of years working within the NGO (non-governmental organization) community at the United Nations, I decided that, in retrospect, the closest I would ever be to "global impressario-dom" would be in bringing the missions of these institutions into some type of dialogue.

Now, to the question at hand. Civilizations must enter into dialogue. Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University believes, on the other hand, that civilizations must clash.

The famous French anthropologist Pierre Teilbard de Chardin, in his book The Human Phenomenon (title of a recent re-translation of Te Phenomenon of Man), stated that if humanity and the earth community are to survive, communication will probably be the key.

Through the Internet, many of us can engage in a personal dialogue with diverse groups of individuals or people around the world. One can access information and send E-mails to experts, who usually graciously answer inquiries of various types.

The initiative on the Dialogue Among Civilizations, as proposed by H. E. Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses our survival as a species. …

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