FACILITATING CROSS-CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING & DIALOGUE

The Rationale

The age old traditions and values in a largely interconnected world seem to be shaken by modernizing influences. The cultures and value systems of the developing world, in particular, are being challenged by the process of globalization. Strategically located countries of South and Central Asia are no exception. These countries, under the growing influence of globalization on the one hand and religious intolerance on the other, confront problems for peaceful coexistence of different beliefs and cultures. The most common and significant ingredients of the region's destructive conflicts appears to be the rejection of cultural diversity and pluralsim. The tragic events of September 11 and its after effects in the region are the most recent examples of such destructive conflicts. It is high time to undertake serious efforts to promote understanding of cultural diversity and cross-cultural connections with a view to fostering peace and cultivating harmony among the region's diverse cultures.

Throughout its existence of over two thousand years, the Silk Road provided a vital link enabling people of diverse cultures to interact with each other. The Silk Road which was basically a network of overland routes served as the vital connection between East and West. It stretched from China to Korea and Japan in the east and connected China with Central Asia, the subcontinent, Iran, Turkey and Italy in the west. Caravans of the Silk Road brought not only silk, cotton, wool, glass, jade and other highly valued products, but also non-material things such as language, religion, art, music, technology, manners, and customs. The Silk Road provided paths not only for merchants and traders but scholars, missionaries, monks and Sufis also used this road network to bring in 'architectural, philosophical and religious ideas. Asia, the biggest continent and the birth place of world's great religions, owes much to Silk Road for the spread of religions almost all over the continent.


Activities

    Silk Road Centre's activities under its component of Cross-cultural Understanding and Dialogue are designed to foster intercultural dialogue for peace and development; and create active public support for preservation and promotion of the common cultural heritage. These activities include:

  • National, regional and international conferences and seminars
  • Research on cultural diversity
  • Scholar exchanges
  • Documentaries, TV shows and radio programs on culture and heritage
  • Music exchange and performances
  • Art and craft exhibitions
  • Publications

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