Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Is the world getting better or worse?

Who doesn't want to make the world a better place? Everyone does but
no one knows exactly how. Most people lose interest because they feel
that their efforts will be in vain. That anything they do will have no
impact. Or they become so involved in the daily struggle that they
lose track of what is best, what is good, what is right - all to
survive, and make it through the day. Is it a luxury now in this world
to care? To care about what? To make the world better, remember.
What does that even mean anymore? Your better may be my worse and if I
ask people randomly "over your lifetime have things gotten better or
worse? What a variety of answers you will get!" And if you ask within
a historical context, "over the past 50 years lets say after World War
2, has the world become a better place?" You will also get a variety
of stories depending who you talk to, an Indian, an African, a German,
a Bosnian, a Colombian, a rich man, a poor man, a woman, a holocaust
survivor, or Roberto Benigni who would say "La Vita E Bella". They
will say yes, no, maybe or perhaps both, that it gets better and it
gets worse. For how can one distinguish between these stories to know
"A Truth"? Is there "A Truth?" If there are many who is right?
Before even thinking of what is right and wrong perhaps it is better to
first listen, observe, understand. For to make the world a better
place first entails understanding all of our stories, our values,
judgments, interpretations, the data, the facts. To make the world
better we first need to understand it. To understand how it works.
What has worked and what hasn’t.

When I reflect on what the Bologna Center is and have to come up with a
simple definition of what it does and what I do here its " To
understand how the world works." I know that is a lofty goal and
perhaps an impossible one, but that is what we try to do here and the
effort, the process, is at times more important than the outcomes.
Because rather than provide you with "A Truth" as studying medicine or
the law might teach you, we are taught here to think for ourselves (and
more importantly to be skeptical), to know the different perspectives,
form an opinion and defend it with gusto. Bologna Center serves as
the center where diverse stories and perspectives can be heard, from
all over the world, where we debate and discuss what "Truth" means to
us. This dialogue this process, helps us understand the world,
combined with our trainings in economics and International Relations
give us the tools to be better informed, to have opinions and ideas.
Because ideas matter, especially in the realm we operate in of
economics, international relations and political philosophy. A quote
from Keynes to put it into context the importance of what goes on here:

"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are
right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly
understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men,
who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual
influence are usually just slaves of some defunct economist." - Keynes

So lets get it right, lets at least try, make an effort. Bologna
Center is the living laboratory to try, test out, and figure out what
we believe to be true. It reminds us to care about the world, to
think, reflect on it because much is at stake. Our ideas matter. "Is
the world getting better or worse?" What is your answer? The Bologna
center has been here for over 50 years helping young leaders figure it
out and thanks to your support we will continue to be here, to serve
and make proud and be grateful for all your efforts in this process and
while it may still be difficult to say if the world is getting better
or worse, I can assure you, at the Bologna center “It is getting better
all the time”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What Propoganda. Frontier of speculative knowledge,? Yes The Center of the Boloni and Bologna. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is where you should be.