The Asia Institute is hosting a unique event Thursday morning, where attendees will read from the U.N. Charter and discuss its significance in today’s political climate, as the world’s top superpower is destabilized and a trade war looms with the world’s second-largest power.
“This is important, affirming the text, the significance through the spoken word like scriptures at church,” Emanuel Pastreich, president of the Asia Institute, said in an interview with The Korea Times. “But this is not religion, but rather a central text in our modern world, one people rarely ever actually read.”
He does not mince words.
“Political and diplomatic discourse has been so cheapened of late that we need strong words,” Pastreich said. “It is an incredibly dangerous period and we need to recognize that fact first. The whole system from military alliances to shared values and political philosophy is coming unraveled.”
He also cites climate change, wealth inequality and moral decadence as present threats to humanity’s future.
“The radical humanism of the Enlightenment has been beaten back once again,” said event co-host Layne Hartsell, author of the book “Post-Truth: Matters of Fact and Matters of Concern: The Internet of Thinking Together.”
“The way forward is not to destroy the U.N. but to strengthen it, and I mean democratize it to make good on its humanistic, and now an ecological mandate for all of humanity. The U.N. should be representative of all nations, not just a few powerful states.”
“Let us build a strong peace movement based on universal human values,” said Lakhvinder Singh, head of the Korean Peace Movement. “There is no way we can survive as humans if we do not follow a certain set of rules and laws. In this age of fast communication and transportation, life without common laws would be impossible. The U.N. charter must be strengthened, must be given more teeth. We have no other alternative left.”
The event starts at 10 a.m. Thursday in room 1307 of The Tomorrow Building near exit 1 of Gongdeok Station on lines 5 and 6 and the AREX line. It is free of charge.
“There is a crisis and we will speak frankly but we want suggestions,” Pastreich said. “We welcome at the Asia Institute everyone who is serious and we believe the conflicts of this day are also quite different than those of previous ages.”
Call 02-3275-0100 or visit circlesandsquares.asia for more information.