Dr. Zlatko Lagumdžija keynote speach on the opening ceremony of 21st Karlsruhe Dialogue

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3. March 2017

21st Karlsruhe Dialogue

Pluralism and its Enemies: Challenges for  Shared Societies

„We do not destroy our enemies; we change them“, Orwel 1984

„The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who wach them without doing anything“,  A. Einstein

Before tackling our contemporary problem – Pluralism under attack – before we start creating Road map for todays actions, we have to try to figure out what are the challenges, issues and actors that aer shaping our near future.

Inequality is growing along economical, political, social, cultural and tecnological lines in a speed that is faster then ever.  It is threatening to lead humanity  in undesirable, unknown,  unpredictable and/or uncontrolable disruptions of our lives. Defining the key forces and principles  that should be  shaping our future starts with understanding that the next few decades  are going to be significantly faster moving and dramaticaly more transformative then the decades we just lived through. Question remains did we take seriously enough rare academics who kept repeating for  decade  that we  live in a „bizzare combination of Stone Age emotions, medeival beleifs, and God-like technology“. In last ten years, our emotions and beleifs  did not move forward, but in sense of technology „Homo Deus“ has been receantly „announced“. 

 Industries of the Future like Robotics and Artificial Inteligence (AI), Cybersecurity and Big Data, advanced Life Sciences and commercialisation of Genomics will be shaping our lives. The impact of internet of things (IoT), interconectivity and digital technology on money, market, production and services is leading us to new and faster great changes. They are resulting with confronting  goals of security and privacy as well as freedom and institutional governance.

Consequence of growing inequality and industries of the future (which can result in super(human) AI and then being masterd by the very same „machine brain“) are requiring common human response of Clear Head and Brave Heart, Creative Mind and Compasionate Soul, Intelectual and Spiritual Forces from  Science and Religion over to Politic and Culture.

Faster and more complex information technologies leading to super(human) AI are challenging humans to Think more (qualitatively and quantitatively) and to Think faster while creating models of reality and potential future paths. Thinking about 7 default or starting „Things“ (Tensions/Threats, Topics/Themes, Targets, Transformations, Tools, Time, Tactics) may be of help for modeling human chalenges. Seven basic elements proces: Model, Motivate, Mobilize, Move, Measure, Monitor and Manage, requires commonly accepted  basic set of values and rules.

If future super (human) AI becomes the biggest event in human hystory, in a way that  some researchers are announcing, then we have to be sure, on time, that before the end of this century, that  it is not going to be the last event in human hystory.

We have to prevent that famous titles of the end of last century – „Clash of Civilizations“ and „The End of History“ –  do not became our reality in a tragic and farce way. We are confronting challenges of  preventing   new reality in which  Super(human) AI „Author“ would be creating nonfiction  titles :  „Clash of Civilizations – Civilizations of Humans and Super(human) AI“ and „The End of (Human) History –  The Bigining of  New Super(human)AI History“.

Thinking  and acting proprerly today as well as  readines  for New Era, requires holistic,   comprehensive and broad spectrums of disciplines  – engineering and  biology, computer  and natural sciences, theology and phylosophy, mathematic and  medicine, social science and… In order to be ready for New Era in which humans will be progressing while  mastering and cohabitating  „machine brains“  , people have to be able to be united  and living  in Shared Societies and Values  with pluralism, with  their diferencies, being treated as an asset not as a liabilitie. 

Next Generation of Partnership in between People, Planet and Production/Profit for Prosperity, first of all, requires not only Next Generation of Democracy but  Next Generation of Thinking for Shared Societies and Values as well.

Alternatives for our future can be found in  three more or less dark scenarios.

First and  faster  one is destroying ourselves before „machine brains“ take over „stupid humans“ because they  they ended confronted on „us“ and „them“ instead finding a way to live with each. Second  one is, that us, humans, sapiens, becoming only one of the samples of extincted and gone species in New „Biblioteca Alexandrina“  runed by Super(human) AI  – The Creator of New Everything.  Third one, is merging or some kind of “marriage” of humans and “machines”. That would be the final stage of inequality in which “next level” of humans would not be livinig  in a World for All but in a New World for Few.

Human sustainability in the future requires, more than ever, New Era Education – not only Education for how to make living but Education for All, on what the life is about and how to live as well. „We are all angels with one wing. We can fly only while embracing each other – together“.

Of course that is a topic for some other ocasion.

Now, having in mind how we colectively act today, lets go back  to the Square one : Pluralism under atack.

Or, Pluralism and its’ enemies: challenges for Shared Society.

Lets start with : Why?

Why protecting  Pluralism while searching for  Next Generation of Democracy  is critical for Shared Society and vice versa?

Allow me to start with a personal story.

Comming from Sarajevo, European Jerusalem – just to use the name given to us by Pope Francis visiting us almost two years ago – I  have decisive and clear commitment for common mission that hopefully we share.  Introducing , supporting, promoting and implementing the concept of Shared societies and values that can be shared globally, regionally and within individual societies. First in countries and places we live and  then  being ready to participate anywhere that is needed.

In its 25 years long hystory, Bosnia and Herzegovina went through proces of failing to prevent conflict, over the war, last Genocide in 20th century in Eurioe, peace process, and finaly postconflict state building through ongoing Euroatlantic integrations and participation iin UN peace missions with armed and police forces

For centuries we lived, under differnt hystorical circumstences, in multiethnic, multiculural and multireligious environment as one, shared ,  society.  We lived under ocupations of great empires and totalitarian regims – from Otoman and Austro Hungarian, to Yugoslav kingdom, WW II  ocupation, Marshal Tito and his way of socialism – but we always lived in shared not in  segregated societies.

Then when Berlin Wall falled down, old totalitarian apartchics  took over nationalistic , segregated, exclusive societies policieses and tried to explain to us that we can no longer live in tolerant, inclusive, shared societie because we have democracy – Nations, ethnic and religious groups should live in their exclusive and segregated societies, instead of inclusive and shared society in which we lived without democracy – So, Natinalism is our solution and destiny.

That was a time when I joined political arena because I simply could not accept the scarry, but wrong, conclusion – that we can live and flourish in Shared Society only if we have no democracy. In democracy we have to be segregated along our ethnical and religious diferencies. That way of thinking got a verdict in Hague International Court for war crimes and Genocide in Srebrenica.

To start with our debates I am offering you a short list of Enemies of Pluralism,  Unity in Diversity and  Community of Values  Team – in Europe as well as in any part of the Globe today.

Staring Line up of Enemies Team is : Anger, Exclusion, Ignorance,Inequality, Injustice, Insecurity, Fear, Populism, Powerty, Staus Quo, and  Violent Extremism.

Our common and individual Protectors Team, our Staring Line up, is : Compassion, Inclusion, Education,  Equitability, Rule of Law, Institutions, Hope, Accountability, Development, Change, and Shared Society and Values.

Of course, it is  Team play but, every player has its own role and spends most of the game  by taking care of concrete player from another Team.

Compasion is mostly dealing with Anger, Inclusion with Exclusion, Education with Ignorance, Equitability with Inequality, Rule of Law  with Injustice, Institutions with Insecurity, Hope with Fear, Accountability with Populism, Deevelopment with Powerty, Change with Status Quo, and Shared Society and Vaues with Violent Extremism.

Enemies Taem is led by Humiliation while Protectors Team is led by Dignity (as their respective coaches).

The major diference in  between  Dignity and Humiliation led Team is that in World in which  Dignity is winning over Humiliation,  there is no only place for few but the place for all –  including Humiliation fans.

No one can be winner without having two decisive characteristics : first, passion for work – for think, talk and walk – along own beleifs; and second , to have a passion for life along those values and beleifs.

Now lets talk just a litle bit about some of the players as well as  about  Arena and environment where „We“ do play  decisive mach with „Them“. 

As background, it is helpful to describe how the Club de Madrid’s interest in these matters has developed.  The Club de Madrid is a network of over 100 former heads of state and heads of government who came into office through a democratic process.  They are therefore committed to strengthening democracy as the means to ensure that society works for everyone.  They have come together to share with current leaders, and society more generally, their experience and understanding of the challenges for leaders in responding to the diverse issues that we face today.

Just to ilustrate what were the major topics and projects I have been involved recently as a CdM member that are reflecting to the topics at our discussion –  dealing with curent   Enemies and Protectors of Pluralism – I have  to mention few of them on whose findings and avtivities I am  creating my Karlsruhe Dialogues experience together with you.

The Shared Society’s project – democratic leadership for dialogue, diversity, and social inclusion – or to be more precise: building World safe for difference – is so far ten years long process driven by Club de Madrid as one of our flagship projects.

Today the values behind “United in Diversity“ motto are not only the last line of defense for better and more prosperous Europe as a whole, but and for its constituencies as well. The New World order that we are globally searching for is not yet defined but one thing is unquestionable: Shared societies and values will be inevitable part of it. Or there will be no Order.

Shared Society and Sustainable Development , as well as our work on Countering Violent Extremism and Next Generation of Democracy are dealing with key contemporary chalenges that are put together in only global and comprehensive plan that we have today.  These are only parts of the great picture outlined in „Transforming our World – The Agenda 2030 for  Sustainable Development“ containing 17 SDGs. Adopted last year by UN General Assembley.

So where are we heading to?

We have to  continue our struggle for pluralism. For inclusive, equitable, just and  shared society in dignity and prosperity. Against inequality, segregation, injustice, poverty, marginalisation, which leads to extremism and violence. If we do that, than we can move on to create the kind of society we want.   Future that is excelently captured by the words of a great poet Tagore in the Gitanjali:

„Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led by thee into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.“

The World as well as Europe in its own way, is at a critical point. It faces deep social, economic, political and ecological challenges. If not being addressed properly and urgently they could escalate quickly out of control..

We are witnessing  a „New Global Paradox“.  Since Berlin wall felled down the number of  democratic countries has doubled but at the same time World is „richer“ for about 60 new „walls“ iside or on the borders of almost 40 states. At the same time  global GDP has grown 4 times, technological progres tripled, while computers power grew  according to Moore’s Law about 300.000 times stronger,  and amount of knowledge more than doubled in comparison with overall knowledge „produced“ in previous period since stone age.

While we are colectivelly getting reacher, technologywise more capable  and smarter then ever,  inequality is growing with the uncontrolable speed.  Eight years ago, Obama walked in the White House, with high needs and expectations on equality. That time we were alarmed with anual Oxfam Report on inequality showing that 159 Americans colectively  have wealth as much as lower half income of the USA citizens together. Eight years later  only eight richest Americans  have as much wealth  as half of the population of their  country.

Today, for the first time ever , more people commit suicide then are killed by soldiers in combat activities, terorists and criminals put together, while at the same time, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little. More people, in  todays  World, die from old age than from infectious diseases, as has never been the case before.

At the same time sectarian, religious and ethnic conflicts are growing while number of refugees is at its heights and being three times larger than population of  6 „waiting EU room“   Western Balkan countries. Exact data on terrorism „death toll“ from London Institute for Economics and Peace are showing scary growth of this evil force of 21st century. „Economic costs“ of terrorism reached the highest annual level which is being higher 61 percent than previous year and ten times then 15 years ago. Direct  global annual „price tag“ on terrorism destruction was as big as annual  GDP of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia together.

Violent extremism is not only generating terrorism, but it is hoping to provoke brutal reaction in order to mobilize new supporters, alienate already marginalized groups and spread around a sense of injustice in the society. The accumulation of anger and rage, generating fear of those who are not like us and now we see the consequences in the form of terrorism and radically motivated violence.

We should sometimes be reminded  by  the words of Umberto Eco which are even more needed to ouurselves than in also challengin time when he  said it. „We are Pluralistic Civilization because we allow Mosques to be built in our countries, and we are not going to stop simply because Christian missioinaries are thrown in to the prison in Kabul. If we do so, we, too would become Taliban“.

The fall of Berlin Wall gave us  a hope for peaceful, more just and united World, but  we are still witnessing more divisions, injustice, overall tensions and conflicts, regardless of technological, economic and social progress. As a result of that New Global Paradox , on individual and collective human level, democracy  is somehow „squeezed“ or „trapped“  in between violent extremism and shared society.

Violent extremism starts when shared societies and values stop. And vice versa. When shared societies and values fully start marching to the future, violent extremism is stopping down.

Socially and economically, there has been little progress in the lives of many marginalized and disadvantaged peoples and communities who still face hunger, poverty and lack of dignity. The breakdown of social cohesion leads to alienation, frustration, tension and resort to violence in individual, group and international relations. At the same time, environment, the earth may already have reached a tipping point where some aspects of the degradation of the environment will become irreversible. We are living through the 6th mass extinction with species dying out at one hundred times the normal rate.

New Global Paradox  can be handled efficiently and effectively , Pluralism guarded and guided by  New Generation of Democracy as a tool for enabling and managing  new Progressive Partnership of People, Planet and Production – 5P.

So in a view of „Greek temple“ 5P model we can visualize a  Pluralism in New Generation of Democracy as being fundament consisting of a three building blocks or dimensions : first, values and institutions; second, access and inclusion; third, management and policies.

The  progress can be visualized as roof suited on three  pillars  of sustainability : sustainable  shared society (people and communities), sustainable development (business and economy),  and sustainable environment (resources and ecology). People, Production and Planet.

It is democracy that delivers, dignity in diversity of people. People who live and produce progress on lonely and long lasting planet ready for next generations.

In order to get rid of our fears and reach to our goals we have to change  .

We have to change  from wrong to right means.

This is about change from exclusive to inclusive society. From inequality to equitability.

This is about change from segregated to shared society. From selfish interests to common values based policies.

This is about change from demagogy and populism to credibility and institutional accountability. From resisting to changing status quo.

This is about change from today’s EU to enlarged and better EU.

It is no more  about right left issue. It is right wrong issue.

This time it is not only to do right things, but smart things to.

Living along  these lines requires enormous amount of political will, resources  and passion.

Special  focus , care  and innovative thinking  is required for two major generators or „cloud(y)“ envirinment of future change , that can enable or disable  overall „Greek temple“ 5P model : first, information technology and interconnectivity; and, second, education.

But this is a topic for some other time.

For now, just to remind of J.H.Wels:

„Civilization is in constant race in between education and catastrophe“

That is  why pluralism  will be as strong as democracy becames the  New Generation Democracy. And that will be so,  as much as  the values that we think and talk are becaming reality along we walk.

Growing economic, social and technology complexity requires more then ever that people –  coming from over 9800 etnicities and 7000 languages, practicing 19 religions and over 270 religious groups, organized in 196 (193) countries – speed up  in searching for a formula of democratic leadreship for dialogue, diversity, and social inclusion  by living Shared Society and Values.

And finally, if there are still doubts about necessity for  Pluralism in New Generation of Democracy,while living in Shared Societies and Values, then once more we should ask ourselves an ultimate  question – why ?

Why that is the only way to go on?

The answer is as simple as possible : because we have no another alternative.

There is no plan B.

We are all and the passengers and the crew on a same , common, journey.

Hopefully at the end of our gathering here at Karlsruhe Dialogues on Pluralism and its Enemies, we will come out wiser and better informed,  but  more pasinate and optimistic as well.

 Regardles how much sometimes we get tired, disilusioned, have a feeling that we are just „plawing the sea“,  I think we may well end up re-asserting the fundamental values that created the EU, pluralism, shared society and community of values, unity in diversity, and that, as T.S. Eliot so aptly puts it:

„We shall not cease from exploration,

And the end of all our exploring,

Will be to arrive where we started,                                           

And know the place for the first time.“

And finaly, you do not have to be in Germany – being honoured  for speaking on  ocasion like this one  –  to underline that we shall ever remeber what we learned from Goethe who clearly told us that the „highest wisdom, the best mankind ever knew“ was realization that „he only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquires them anew“.

Do it or do not. There is no try.

So, do it.

If not  living our values, fighting for dignity of others, then, what?

If we will not go there together and do it together, then , how ?

If not now, then, when ?

If not us, then, who?