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In November 1998, eight visionary recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize gathered on the grounds of the University of Virginia for two days of extraordinary dialogue. From the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's riveting description of chairing South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, their conversation ranged from familiar internationIn November 1998, eight visionary recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize gathered on the grounds of the University of Virginia for two days of extraordinary dialogue. From the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's riveting description of chairing South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, their conversation ranged from familiar international-relations issues to areas traditionally excluded from such discourse, like the need for personal transformation and community organizing.From the laureates' speeches and exchanges, the veteran journalist Helena Cobban has drawn a powerful, prescient vision of our shared global future. Unlike other recent books on global change, The Moral Architecture of World Peace is based on the heroic stories of nine individuals, from as varied backgrounds as Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jody Williams, who base their view of world peace on personal strength and public activism, not economic trends.Each chapter contains one laureate's version of a shared message: that peace is grounded in the personal and spiritual as well as the economic and military dimensions of global interconnectedness. When the Dalai Lama speaks of the need for inner as well as external disarmament, he is asking for a greater commitment than the most complicated nuclear arms treaty. Along similar lines, the Northern Ireland peace activist Betty Williams tells of her hope to disarm "the landmines of the heart," the bitterness that lives on in war survivors that can be more destructive than physical scars. Jody Williams and Bobby Muller, 1997 laureates, sound a concordant note in the story of their successful campaign to win an international treaty banning landmines.Former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sanchez, architect of the five-nation peace accord in Central America, challenges citizens of rich western countries to recognize the gap between their luxury spending and the amounts needed to fund basic human services in other parts of the world. Indigenous-rights activist Rigoberta Menchu Tum and East Timorese representative Jose Ramos-Horta both lament the human and social costs paid by what Ramos-Horta calls, sorrowfully, the world's "expendable peoples." Harn Yawnghwe, speaking on behalf of the Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was refused the right to travel by her government, talks of the tough issues of preparing for a transition to postauthoritarian rule in a country that has been run by a military junta.As Helena Cobban articulates, these leaders all seem to subscribe to a broader set of truths that are not necessarily self-evident: that human beings can easily become locked into self-perpetuating "systems of suspicion and violence" at any level, from the interpersonal through the international; that when one is inside such a system, it can be hard to see it and to recognize one's own role within it; but that each one of us has the capacity to make a leap from self-centeredness toward greater understanding. "Try to change motivation," the Dalai Lama urges.But while these laureates' stories are primarily of personal and political triumph, they also tell of great sacrifice, conflict, and pain. Bobby Muller's passionate exchange with Archbishop Tutu on moral accountability versus reconciliation, and the self-examination of Ramos-Horta, who reflected that his own East Timorese independence movement may have hurt the chances of United States' intervention to prevent Indonesia's brutal invasion of his country, point toward the new kinds of challenges we face in the next century.From the candor, eloquence, humor, and differences expressed by these inspiring people, Helena Cobban has sketched out a new international paradigm of peace....

Title : The Moral Architecture of World Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss Our Global Future
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ISBN : 9780813919874
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Moral Architecture of World Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss Our Global Future Reviews

  • Vheissu
    2018-10-29 16:56

    The book, a transcript of a conference held at the University of Virginia in 1998, offers few real insights into the means and ways of creating a better world order, apart from a few idiosyncratic (conduct a referendum on the independence of East Timor) and banal ("Transfers, and the dedication of resources to erasing the gap between the world's rich minority and its poor majority"; p. 223) recommendations.At the heart of the book is the conundrum of social constructivism: the indeterminate relationship between agency and structure. Editor Helena Cobban writes:First, these conversations moved seamlessly from the global to the intimately personal, weaving into the discussion on, for example, strategic affairs or the requirements of diplomacy such subjects as the need for personal transformation and forgiveness at all levels of human society and the need for community organizing. Second, these conversations stressed the centrality of the agency of individual men and women in building increased understanding among peoples, and in working to build a just and hope-filled society for the future of all mankind. [p. 2; Emphasis added]In other words, the present world order is not conducive to peace and security and must be changed through the agency of individuals, communities, and nations. The principal structural problem of the present world order is the "system of nation-state governance" and the (wrongful?) belief of many people that "the division of the world's people into 'discrete' nations to be an equally natural state of affairs." (p. 15). So, how do "agents" transform a "structure" that by definition conditions and constrains their actions? And if "structure" can be altered by "agents," even at great effort, just how constraining are "structures" in the first place?Cobban writes:Since the end of the cold war, numerous policymakers and high-level analysts have engaged in public discussion of the 'security architecture' or the 'financial architecture' of the world of the twenty-first century. But few of these suggested 'architectures' propose doing much beyond fiddling at the margins of the world system as we know it today. (p. 16)No doubt; that is the function (with apologies to Talcott Parsons and David Truman) of structures: they constrain and condition the behavior of agents. The fact that there are more nation-states today (2013) than there were in 1998 suggests just how persistent is the structure of sovereign, nation-states.So how can agents change this structure? Imagination seems to be preferred method. If we imagine a better world, we can make a better world. What about those agents with vested interests in the way things are, those who wield and are willing to use power to sustain the status quo? On this question our Nobel Laureates are notably silent.Power is the mediating element between agency and structure. Powerful agents can affect structures and powerful structures can constrain agents. Without an open and honest discussion of degree of power necessary to, say for instance, "erase the gap between the world's rich minority and its poor majority," projects like this remain essentially vacuous.