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School of Diplomacy and International Relations- United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations- Seton Hall University

Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations
Published by the School of Diplomacy and International Relations
Seton Hall University
South Orange, New Jersey (USA)

Dedicated to the innocents who lost their lives because their only fault was to be different from their murderers.

". . . Appeals to war will be met with appeals to compromise. Hatred will be met with tolerance. Violence will be met with resolve. A dialogue among civilizations is humanity's best answer to humanities worst enemies…If one doubted the need for a dialogue among civilizations, let them doubt no longer. 11 September made the need for such a dialogue crystal clear."
- Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General

"A Dialogue among Civilizations is a dialogue between those who perceive diversity as a threat and those who do not. Crossing the Divide is more than just a call for Dialogue. It is the anti-terrorism manifesto."
- Giandomenico Picco, Former UN Chief Hostage Negotiator

Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations is the result of an international endeavor whose seeds were planted in 1998 by President Mohammad Khatami of the Islamic Republic of Iran during an address to the United Nations General Assembly. The time had come to bring the world together in a discourse aimed at replacing hostility and confrontation with mutual acceptance and understanding. Looking back, it is fateful that the UN proclaimed 2001 as the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. Now, more than ever, a meaningful dialogue is necessary to address our political, religious, ethnic and cultural differences and even more so, to realize our similarities and embrace our diversity. In addition to addressing these issues, Crossing the Divide illuminates the pathway for a new paradigm of global relations for present and future generations.

To examine the different and shared values in today's cultures, and better understand how increased globalization will affect and alter relations among nations and peoples, UN Secretary-General Annan appointed an international group of eminent persons to lead the Dialogue among Civilizations. The eminent persons include former heads of state and government, Nobel laureates and renowned scholars. They were led by former UN Under-Secretary Giandomenico Picco, best known for his role as chief hostage negotiator and for gaining the freedom of the hostages in Beirut, Lebanon.

Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations is published by the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, also the coordinating Secretariat for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.

Excerpt from the book:

"Crossing the divide", whatever that divide seems to be, is the first step in learning how to manage and appreciate diversity. It is a quality that new generations may find indispensable. Have we, the older generation, passed on the fear of diversity? If that is so, it is equally important that the youth of our societies be aware of our mistake and find the courage to go a step farther, to learn what we have not, to see what we did not see, and to cross the divide where we failed to do so. The young generation aspires to do a better job than we have done, to build a more just society than we have. No "lesson" from the past can dampen the dreams and aspirations, the vision and expectations, of the generation that is taking over. For most of us, the fact that something was not done before does not mean it cannot ever be done. This, if anything, is an incentive to strive for more.

Authors of Crossing the Divide: Dialogue among Civilizations.

Dr. A. Kamal Aboulmagd (Egypt)
Dr. Lourdes Arizpe (Mexico)
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (Palestine)
Dr. Ruth Cardoso (Brazil)
The Honorable Jacques Delors (France)
Dr. Leslie Gelb (United States of America)
Nadine Gordimer (South Africa)
His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal (Jordan)
Professor Sergey Kapitza (Russia)
Professor Hayao Kawai (Japan)
Professor Tommy Koh (Singapore)
Professor Dr. Hans Küng (Switzerland)
Graça Machel (Mozambique)
Giandomenico Picco (Italy)
Professor Amartya Sen (India)
Dr. Song Jian (China)
Dick Spring, T.D. (Ireland)
Professor Tu Weiming (China)
The Honorable Richard von Weizsäcker (Germany)
Dr. Javad Zarif (Iran)

Crossing the Divide is available in English and German and will soon be available in other languages including, Russian, Arabic, and Italian. The book may be purchased from the following outlets:

2. The Seton Hall University Bookstore
3. The UN Bookshop

The German version of Crossing the Divide may be purchased at leading bookstores in Europe:

Brücken in die Zukunft. Ein Manifest für den Dialog der Kulturen, von A. Kamal Aboulmagd u.a. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. Main 2001; ISBN 3-10-009640-1