UNESCO launched the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme in 1991 as an international action plan for academic solidarity to strengthen inter-university co-operation with particular emphasis on support to higher education in the developing countries.
The programme works towards establishing and reinforcing strong and durable linkages amongst higher education and scientific institutions worldwide and at facilitating the transfer of knowledge while combating the brain drain. Special attention is paid to providing assistance through inter-regional and (sub)regional linkages.
The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme encompasses a broad spectrum of activities requiring very flexible modes of action. It is based on genuine, equal partnership among the higher education institutions which initiate various projects within its framework.
Two types of closely interrelated and interdependent activities have emerged as the base for the major strategies for implementing the Programme: inter-university networks and international UNESCO Chairs. While individual chairs responding to specific needs are possible, the programme endeavours to create the proper conditions to allow each chair to be a focal point of a network or to be a part of a network.
The UNITWIN network on Interreligious studies
International Expert Meeting, 26 – 27 April 2011, St.Petersburg, Russian Federation
UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue, acting upon the basis of the St.Petersburg Branch of the Russian Institute for Cultural Studies
within the framework of the International Network of Chairs of the UNESCO/UNITWIN on Interreligious dialogue for Intercultural Understanding
in cooperation with the International Association ‘Russian Culture’
with the organizational and financial support of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Moscow for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, and the Russian Federation, and the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
International Expert Meeting in the framework of the Project on conducting interdisciplinary studies and publication of the collective international monograph
WORLD RELIGIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: NEW PERSPECTIVES OF DIALOGUE AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
26 – 27 April 2011
St.Petersburg Russian Federation
On the project
International Working meeting of experts of UNESCO chairs in St.Petersburg, Russia is dedicated to discussing, supplementing, and correcting intermediary results of the international research project ‘Christianity and Islam in the Context of Contemporary Culture: New Prospects of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus’, which forms an integral part of a more long-term and far-reaching project entitles ‘World Religions in the Context of the Contemporary Culture: New Perspectives of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding’. Both have been initiated and elaborated by the St.Petersburg UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue with support of the International Association ‘Russian Culture’ within the general framework of International Network of UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs on Interfaith Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding, and being implemented with the consultative and financial support of the UNESCO Moscow Office for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation, and the UNESCO Almaty Office for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Conducting in-depth analysis of the fundamental principles of responsible and constructive intercivilizational, intercultural, interfaith dialogue, with due consideration of different spiritual and religious traditions in the contemporary world, especially those rooted in the age-old traditions of world religions, - studying its main challenges and problems, the most actual strategies and prospects, characteristic of the present-day stage of the ‘dialogue of cultures’, in the framework of both the growing global civilization, as well as regions defined as focal for the present stage of the project (Russian Federation and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus) - collecting and evaluating best practices and constructive tactics that have appeared in this realm, detecting actual ways of ensuring communication and socialization in its framework, elaborating practical recommendations, directed at enhancement and optimization of the ‘dialogue of cultures’, primarily taking place either in the framework of the leading world religions, or under their influence, - applied primarily to the outlooks and expectations of students, as well as the academic community, as well as ad usum of the academic community in general terms, - and also for such target groups as women, migrants and the 'new poor', primarily, in the conditions of modern urban agglomerations, - basing upon fundamental notions and strategies of the cultural strategy of UNESCO.
Objectives of the monograph
Objective of the international collective monograph, planned to be published before June 2011 in English and Russian under the title ‘World Religions in the Context of the Contemporary Culture: New Perspectives of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding: Christianity and Islam in the Context of Contemporary Culture: New Prospects of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus’, consists in elaborating and presenting to the academic community, as well as the wide international audience, an original collective text, regarding in a systematic and correct, although abridged and popular way: - fundamental regularities and prospects of the present-day stage of intercivilizational, intercultural, interfaith dialogue between world religions, primarily Christianity and Islam, taking place in the framework of highly dynamic progress of a new, global civilization, opening both new outlooks as well as unexpected challenges, - basic historical and geographical, sociopolitical and religious, cultural and psychological peculiarities and presuppositions of a responsible and constructive ‘dialogue of cultures’, primarily the dialogue between the Islamic civilization and the Christian one, regarded basing upon the material of regions and countries chosen as focal for the present stage of the project: Eastern Europe and Russian Federation (inter alia, republics of the Volga region, and the Northern Caucasus), as well the Transcaucasian countries and Central Asia), - strategies and tactics (primarily, best practices) of conducting constructive interfaith dialogue along the following keynote directions: - fostering ‘peace culture’ and promoting social cohesion (especially taking into account problems and expectations of such target groups as students, women, migrants and the 'new poor', primarily, in the conditions of modern urban agglomerations, - enhancing cultural diversity and the creative potential of the society, - fundamental regularities and tendencies, challenges and problems, practices and prospects, arising in the course of including higher education into the general context of the contemporary multidimensional dialogue between the adherents of the leading world religions, primarily Christianity and Islam.