Alliance of Civilizations

In the 1990s, Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington ignited a controversy around the world with their claim that "the West" and "Islam" are locked in a "clash of civilizations." Beginning in 1998, the United Nations has launched initiatives intended to counter the idea of a clash and to promote dialogue and mutual understanding, first under the rubric of a Dialogue among Civilizations, and more recently, the Alliance of Civilizations.

Is there a clash of civlizations? Is there a dialogue of civilizations, and in any event, what merit, if any, can be found in the United Nations efforts concerning these issues? In a September 2008 position paper, the Center for Inquiry critically surveys the debate over the notion of a clash of civilizations and the UN reponses. We find the UN responses to be fundamentally flawed, and we propose an alternative that is rooted in secular, liberal values.

Read the report here.