Dialogue Symposium Challenges Clash of Civilizations Theory


In contrast to Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, JWF believes that in the relations among societies, dialogue is fundamental while conflict is an exception, depending on rulers’ objectives. To answer the question of “Why not dialogue?”, JWF organized an international symposium titled “Intercivilizational Dialogue” in Istanbul on June 6-7, 1997.

The public found it meaningful that the symposium was held at a time when the famous American social scientist Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis was frequently being debated in scientific and intellectual gatherings.

Symposium theme

The symposium was the first of its kind, and it was attended by esteemed authorities from both Turkey and abroad. They noted that as much as recent events in both the regional and the international arena seem to confirm Huntington, they are still hopeful for the future, and they will continue their efforts in the direction of global peace.

Symposium participants included the following leaders:

  • Ali Yasar Saribay, Prof. Dr., Uludag University Faculty of Economics, Bursa, Turkey
  • Barbara Stowasser, Prof. Dr., Georgetown University, Washington DC
  • Ersin Kalaycioglu, Prof. Dr., Bogazici University, Istanbul
  • Ilber Ortayli, Prof. Dr., Gazi University, Ankara
  • Johannes Kalter, Prof. Dr., Stuttgart Linden Museum, Germany
  • Latif Erdogan, Former President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation
  • Mehmet S. Aydin, Prof. Dr. and Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir
  • Mim Kemal Oke, Prof. Dr., Bogazici University, Istanbul
  • Mithat Baydur, Assc. Prof. Dr., Bogazici University, Istanbul
  • Richard Langhorne, Prof. Dr., Center for Global Change and Governance, New York
  • Robert Royal, PhD, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington DC
  • Stefanos Yerasimos, Prof. Dr., French Anatolian Research Institute
  • Suleyman Gayri Bolay, Prof. Dr., Gazi University, Ankara
  • Sukru Sina Gurel, Prof. Dr., Ankara University, Ankara
  • Thomas Michel, Prof. Dr., Secretary of the Jesuit Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue, Rome
  • Turkkaya Ataov, Prof. Dr., Ankara University, Ankara

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