The 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was held in Baku from 25-27 April. Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” spoke during the Business Symposium – part of the Forum’s official program.
The Business Symposium was themed ‘Living Together In Inclusive Societies: A Challenge and A Goal’. During this event, members of the business community discussed the role that the business community can play in creating a united society rooted in the principles of cultural diversity and mutual understanding.
Vladimir Yakunin addressed the panel meeting emphasizing the central role of the private and voluntary sectors in forming a united society.
He started by focusing meeting participants’ attention on the fact that the term ‘human capital,’ used by business, comes laden with conceptual contradictions that reduce the value and role of, for example, people involved in manufacturing to just ‘capital’ somehow missing the ‘human’ part.
Capital lies at the foundation of every business performing its primary function – working to deliver maximum profit. However, the word ‘human’ suggests something different from this, purely material, component and includes the understanding that people are individuals with their own outlook, traditions, beliefs, culture, and humanity. This understanding is absent in the commonly accepted perception of the term ‘human capital’, so it would be more appropriate to speak in terms of ‘workforce’” said Vladimir Yakunin.
Yakunin notes that human personal development is not protected by law and it is not mandatory for company owners and top management of companies to view it as such. Rather, a business can make the conscious choice to understand the vital role played by education and culture in the formation of responsible individual, who is oriented towards the creation of open, democratic, and just society.
He emphasized that in this context, projects such as the “Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures” organized by the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” for the preservation of peace and creation of a transparent society based on the principles of mutual respect, understanding, and also of the awareness and acceptance of the existence of differences between races and cultures.
Vladimir Yakunin also emphasized that it is forums such as UNAOC that make the discussion of and search for solutions to these issues possible.
* The Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures is an educational project elaborated by the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”. The project was officially kicked off in April 2012 in UNESCO headquarters during a business meeting on intercultural dialogue and education co-hosted by UNESCO and WPF “Dialogue of Civilizations”. The first stage included development and publishing of the school program, The Teacher’s Guide and the Dialogue of Cultures course book, as well as conducting trainings for teachers from across the Russian Federation.