WORLD FUTURE FUND, BOX 1829, OLD
TOWN, ALEXANDRIA, VA. 22313 U.S.A.
HOW TO TRANSLATE
THIS PAGE TO YOUR LANGUAGE
TEACHING TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING,
German Edition Klicken Sie hier für Deutsch
We believe that cooperation between the world's major religions and cultures is essential in order to solve global problems. See our report Building a Sustainable Global Future: An Outline of Reform.
In order to create a spirit of cooperation in our world it is essential to create a greater level of understanding among the peoples of the world. We believe that it is vital to study of history, religion and culture from a global point of view. This is why we have launched our Global Education Project.
We have spent a considerable amount of time assembling what we believe are among the highest quality links and texts that are available on these subjects. We provide these links in the hope that study of them will encourage tolerance and understanding between the world's religions and cultures. Many of the links provided here are in languages other than English. Foreign language links have been included in an effort to help people from all over the world understand each others' cultures.
A link to translation web sites has also been provided so that English-only speakers can explore our foreign language links. These translation sites can also be used by non-English speakers to read the content of sites that are exclusively in English.
WFF GUIDES TO WORLD RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHIES
WFF GUIDES TO SPECIFIC CULTURES AND AREAS OF THE WORLD
WFF GUIDES TO WORLD MEDIA
For more on media and popular culture around the world see the World Future Fund's Global Media and Popular Culture Project
Many of the resources we list on our site are in foreign languages. In order to make these texts accessible to as many readers as possible we have also created a list of the best translation web sites.
LOOKING BEYOND A "WEST IS BEST" VIEW OF HISTORY
It has been said that history is the past as seen by the present. This is a dangerous point of view. Time is a great judge of reality. It is critical that we do not get distracted by potentially short term events in making judgments about the past. The current dominance of the world by the West is a very short term event. Maybe it is a "New Order". However, this idea has not been tested by time, and as is noted in our study of global indicators (see the Global Indicators Project), the current "New Order" is a house of cards that cannot continue into the future without drastic changes.
Unfortunately, until recently the teaching of history, religion, and philosophy in the West (particularly in the United States) has displayed a dangerous ignorance of non-western history, leading to delusions about the role of the West in world history. Our goal to take an impartial look at the past and place the West within a global perspective.
Of particular relevance to our study is the connection between the ancient East and West. There is significant evidence that classical Greece was very much an ideological melting pot for ideas from the East and the West. There are, for example, amazing similarities between many of Plato's teachings and ancient Indian philosophy. According to Herodotus, Indian troops participated in the invasion of Greece. The Persian Empire, which stretched from the Indus River in the east to the Mediterranean Ocean in the west (see our Map of the Persian Empire), played an immensely important role as a geopolitical and cultural bridge from Asia to Europe. In seeing Greek culture as a fusion of eastern and western thought people can gain a greater respect for non-western visions of politics and culture.
Examples of commercial interchange between the East and the West also abound. The Silk Road was opened in the Third Century B.C.. The monsoon winds were discovered at about the same time, leading to a huge expansion of trade between Alexandria, the intellectual capital of the Hellenistic Greek world, and India and China (see our Map of Hellenistic World). Cleopatra herself dressed in Chinese silks.
THE ROLE OF AMERICA IN TODAY'S WORLD: THE LESSONS OF HISTORY
The importance of East-West relations is no less significant today, particularly in the United States. America can play a crucial, positive role in today's world if it sees the multicultural nature of its people as an asset and not a liability. As a truly "world state" in terms of its inhabitants, the United States can serve as an example for people of different faiths and cultures living together in peace. Unfortunately, there are forces in the United States that want to impose their vision of one "American" culture and faith on the nation and the world. Paradoxically, the "religious" advocates of this point of view contain groups like the Assemblies of God, whose "Christian" theological vision only appeared in the last century.
America needs to learn from the political and religious evolution of ancient Greece as it moved from the Classical era to the Hellenistic era. Before the geopolitical revolution of Alexander the Great, Greece was a small collection of city states. After Alexander unified Greece politically, it became a global force in politics and culture. As it expanded, it incorporated good ideas from the new lands that it ruled.
In modern-day America, people need to learn more about other cultures and incorporate their good ideas in a global vision of religion and philosophy. This will not be an easy task. But America could use its nature as a multi-ethnic state to show the world how people can work together.