The Words of the Petrovsky Family

Conference on Peace and Security in Multicultural Societies

Vladimir Petrovsky
April 7, 2012
Doctor of Political Sciences, Russia

Moscow, Russia -- The annual conference initiated by UPF-Eurasia on "Peace and Security in Multicultural Societies at a time of Global Crisis" took place in Moscow April 6-7. Among the participants were prominent public figures, academics, and grassroots activists from European and Eurasian countries.

The conference topic was most pertinent, considering that recent declarations from modern politicians about the alleged "failure of the multicultural project in Europe" drew a wide public response. In their comparative analyses of ethnic and cultural factors in the world, the role of the UN and international law, and that of governments and civil institutions in solving intercultural problems, participants stated the following:

The multinational and multicultural factors are fundamental to the formation of European civilization, modern European values, and European identity. It is especially relevant now, in this period of crisis of the European economic and political development.

First, the speakers outlined the problems of peace and security in multinational societies in Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. Theirs was not just abstract reasoning; in the opinion of participants, ignoring the international and intercultural dimensions in relations leads to pervasive political and economic instability in modern societies; it causes and fuels conflicts and crises.

Peacemaking activity in the sphere of international and intercultural relations sometimes resembles emergency care: helping to heal the war wounds of history, guiding toward reconciliation and harmony, and making a foundation for harmonious interaction between religions and cultures.

The conference participants, representing nations extending from Austria to Tajikistan, shared their own experience and results in this sensitive sphere. The wide range of experience encompassing Austria, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, the Baltic nations, Central Asia, and the Russian North helped to better formulate a general view of European values, the specific character of Russia, and the common heritage of European and Eurasian nations.

During the conference a number of discussions explored the significance of the historical experience of co-existence and co-development of the peoples of Russia and the Soviet Union as an integral part of the European civilization experience.

A focal point of the conference was the role of education as a factor promoting peace in a multinational society. Speakers shared experiences of multicultural education in Russian and European schools, including multi-religious approach to character education and character-based sports activities. The role of spirituality in the development of Russia and Europe, and the role of religions in defining a moral imperative for human behavior were often emphasized.

The success of the conference was guaranteed by the quality of participants. Among them were Dr. Willem van Eekelen, former minister of defense of the Netherlands and secretary general of the Western European Union; Dr. Michael Platzer, director of the Academic Council of the United Nations (ACUNS) in Vienna; Dr. Marcel Dr. Haas, a well-known war analyst from the Netherlands, currently senior research associate at the Clingendael Institute of International Relations; H.E. Robert Vandemeulebroucke, honorary ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium; Dr. Walter Baar, founder and director of the Institute for Trends Research in Austria.

Russian and Eurasian participants included Dr. Oleg Mironov, former ombudsman of the Russian Federation; Dr. Sergey Kuchinsky, chairman of the executive council of the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia; Dr. Stanislav Nikolayenko, former Minister of Education of Ukraine; Dr. Nicolae Tau, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova; and Dr. Saifullo Safarov, director of the Center for Strategic Research under the President of Tajikistan.

The international conference in Moscow drew a broad response. It confirmed the importance of dialogue between Russia and Europe to overcome the mutual distrust originating in "cold war" times and consolidate mutual understanding between nations and peoples based on common European values. The participants called upon all those who desire world peace to develop mutual understanding and cooperation in Europe and Eurasia, and increase joint peacemaking activities of governments, religious organizations, NGOs, and the business realm. 

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