The new millennium marks the beginning of a fundamentally different era for mankind. Egocentric States are progressively integrating into political unions with common markets, common currencies, common visions, harmonized laws and collective security and defence policies. Their constituent institutions – the traditional executive, judiciary and legislative branches – are rapidly reaching out beyond national frontiers as they become conscious that their domestic function has now a growing international dimension.
Networks of domestic institutions are developing cooperation mechanisms that operate across borders to better tackle universal challenges such as climate change, transnational drug trafficking and terrorism. National legal systems are seeking new ways to harmonize their standards and move towards a global legal system that suits the new conjuncture. Judges and legislators are inevitably finding themselves as part of a universal judicial network and are adjusting their traditional practice accordingly in order to assure compatibility with their counterparts.
Civil societies, traditionally confined within national borders, are now evolving into one giant international civil movement capable of mobilizing millions of people across the planet for a common human cause via basic accessible tools such as emails and social networking websites. The Internet is gradually becoming the primary source of information for hundreds of millions of users and controlled mass media is predictably losing its function as an instrument to shape public opinion.
The State-centric notion of “security” that traditionally revolved around the control, threat or use of military force to safeguard selfish national interests is no longer suitable for this new era. In the modem interrelated world, individuals - born with the inherent right to life, safety and liberty regardless of their ethnicity or background- are at the heart of security concerns. Consequently, the very notion of “security” is to be understood in terms of economic, environmental, and social issues perhaps much more than in terms of military hardware, sophisticated guns and nuclear weapons.
In today’s globalized world, the “individual” – as opposed to the State - is gaining more recognition and a more prominent role on the world stage and it is consequently claiming more rights (and obligations) as an emerging autonomous international legal personality. Mankind is consciously and subconsciously breaking down walls of mistrust and separation to build bridges out of common values and universally recognized rights.
We are gradually and inevitably moving towards “a system of global governance that institutionalizes cooperation and sufficiently contains conflict such that all nations and their peoples may achieve greater peace and prosperity, improve their stewardship of the earth, and reach minimum standards of human dignity”.
The new era requires new paradigms
For the first time in history, we have access to unlimited information about each other. We have unlimited resources about all world religions, civilisations, cultures and spiritual traditions. Our worldview is no longer limited by our own wisdom or ethnocentric perception. Today, our increasing exposure to other worldviews and our direct contact with people of various faiths, ethnicities and cultures is reshaping the entire dynamics of interfaith and international relations. We can no longer live by old paradigms and outdated approaches to one another.
The new era has bestowed new responsibilities as well as new challenges upon us.
We have to adopt a more inclusive and pluralistic approach towards other religions, cultures and traditions and avoid absolutist and dogmatic discourses. We have to look for common grounds in the essence of religions and civilizations and avoid destructive conflicts over their outer forms, historical interpretations of events and divisive mythological stories. The gradual movement from the outer shell of world civilizations and spiritual traditions towards their inner essence will bring people closer together and unite them around more essential and universal values such as compassion, humility and equality.
We have to unite against global challenges through a modern form of diplomacy performed at a more immediate and private level: A sort of a “people-to-people” diplomacy that aims at promoting and protecting the common interests of all men and women across the globe, and not just the clashing interests of artificial abstracts entities called “States”.
The essence of humanity can play the main role in mobilizing people and providing something other than just materialistic solutions for global challenges such as climate change, world poverty, terrorism, energy and economic crisis. For this, we must transcend ethnocentric worldviews and adopt a worldcentric approach towards life in the new millennium.
This is why “Roads to Peace” was created.