"How do we gain timeless knowledge? There must be something in the knower akin to what is known."
The ((Global Dialogue Institute)) presents,
"Global Town Meeting"
Global Responsibility, Global Dialogue & Sustainable Democracy
As we enter the 21st Century in an increasingly global age our democratic values and way of life face new and unprecedented challenges. The accelerating dynamics of globalization have transformed every aspect of our culture and we as a people are now lodged in a new globalized ecology. One face of this globalization is the dramatically intensified interactions between diverse worldviews, cultures, religions, ethnicities, ideologies...here in our local civic spaces, and of course in our foreign relations with other people and nations around the globe.
This heightened interactivity between diverse worlds and forms of life has exacerbated and brought into sharp relief a deep and chronic tension and friction in the very fabric of our civic and cultural life. For in the birthing of our Nation it was clear that the revolutionary advance in American Democracy turned on political power being in the hands of the people. But this people–power implies that we are, indeed, a people, a polis, sharing a common ground while respecting and honoring our diversity and individuality. And it was clear that the preservation and sustainability of our deepest values – life, liberty and pursuit of happiness – depends essentially on there being a healthful civic and civil dialogue in the polis that held us together as an empowered people – the lifeblood of our Democracy.
But with the increasing stresses of globalization and diversification it has become clear that our people are not together, not engaged in mutual encounter, respectful communication or civic dialogue across the borders of our minds, worldviews and lives. It is now clear that our shared civic space is fractured, fragmented and polarized in unprecedented ways. Many people are disengaged, disheartened, dis-enchanted, and alienated from politics and the political process, and from real dialogue and communication in the civic space. This erosion and fragmentation of our shared common ground as a people is nothing less than a crisis in the ecology of way of life that has been emerging from the birth of the Nation.
So our generation faces a profound challenge in this unfinished American revolution: Can we really get together as a people? Can we truly engage in civic global dialogue between our diverse worldview, perspectives, and orientations? Can our way of life and what we value most be sustained if we are not in solidarity and common ground as a people? Can we be together in all our diversity in mutual respect and in common cause? We are all stake holders in saving our endangered way of life.
Our Global Town Meeting has emerged in the past three years here in the Philadelphia Region in response to these challenges. We realize that we face an historic challenge and that we must, as a priority, enter into true global dialogue as a people, cultivate and awaken global responsibility, and become informed and engaged global citizens working together to co-create a world that works for all of us. It is now clear to us that without such transformed awareness, commitment to respectful dialogue between our worlds and perspectives, and proactive cultivation of our civic common ground, our democratic way of life is not sustainable. This is our "Call to Sustainable Democracy," and "Our Moment of Choice."
Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy
Co–Founder/Director of the Global Dialogue Institute
Co–Convenor of the Global Town Meeting
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