Quotation Index

 UNESCO's Universal Forums of Culture 

BARCELONA - May 9 through September 26, 2004

       Introduction to the global conference

Universal Forums of Culture -- Barcelona 2004: "The first world event will be held in Barcelona May 9th through September 26th, 2004 with expected attendance of five million people to the forty-four symposium and conferences and the hundreds of entertainment and cultural events being held. Through television broadcasts throughout the world as well as web casts and ongoing interactive web sites at least 500 million people will participate at some level in this unprecedented world event to bring attention to the most pressing issues of the Twenty First century. The Universal Forum of Cultures will be held very two years, with many countries already bidding for the 2006 and 2008 Forums. UNESCO is the holder of the mark and the lead organization in the development of the ongoing Forums."

Our Mission: "...to raise the awareness of and to promote and create action to support the highest common good, and the interconnectedness of all. Us Foundation serves as a network and consultant for people, organizations and businesses that are aligned with this mission, so they can unite their energies to further the transformation to a mutually responsible and cooperative global society. Our focus is on the rebalancing of our values, to encourage the integration of head, heart and spirit in all our interactions."

Parliament of World Religions

2004 Parliament of the World's Religions: "Through a variety of partnerships between the religious and spiritual communities of Barcelona, a growing network of partnering cities, the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia, the Universal Forum of Cultures, and the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, we will create an experience that will model various pathways to peace:"

  • personal transformation;
  • harmony in the midst of diversity
  • the conditions for community
  • commitment to [vision of] a better world

"With great hope we will seek to play our part in the pursuit of peace, by making this event a source of inspiration for all who join with us and a catalyst for transformation in the world."

How we do it: "CPWR works in partnership with individuals, communities and institutions, that they might embody the religious and spiritual aspirations that inspire them, and manifest the ethical values that guide them, in order to... Foster understanding and cooperation between diverse peoples, communities and cultures."

Process of Transformation: "Interreligious encounter and dialogue between diverse religious and spiritual communities, leading to mutual cooperation and wider engagement with the world, offers a powerful and proven way to make a world of difference. In the process, communities themselves are transformed, as is the world around them. This is the principal mission of the Council, and it works in this way:

  • When we inquire in an open and appreciative way about the beliefs and practices, visions and aspirations of others, tolerance becomes understanding....
  • Religious and spiritual communities stand in solidarity with each other in times of crisis....
  • A global ethical framework is the basis for commitment and common action across religious and spiritual communities."

How we do it - Principles:

1. "...seek to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity. ...seeking unity among religions risks the loss of the unique and precious character of each individual religious and spiritual tradition. Interreligious harmony, on the other hand, is an attainable and highly desirable goal....

2. "CPWR's work is based on convergence rather than consensus. Consensus between religious and spiritual communities on matters of beliefs, practices and engagement with the world cannot be attained. There are, however, significant areas in which key convictions, commitments, aims and purposes of various groupings of communities converge. The Council has identified several of the most common areas of convergence. They are:

  • Respect for religious and spiritual identity
  • Awareness and appreciation of religious and spiritual diversity
  • Interreligious dialogue for the purpose of mutual understanding and personal growth
  • Collaborative service
  • Capacity building through advocacy, community development and public policy
  • Conflict resolution between religious and spiritual communities and other types of communities

3. CPWR works according to a methodology of facilitation. In a facilitation model, individual religious and spiritual communities are not required to join an organization. Instead, facilitation emphasizes relationships and cooperative projects. In this way, each community enjoys the freedom to choose its own partners for encounter and dialogue.... Nearly every community is cautious about joining an interreligious organization with 'everyone else religious and spiritual' in the world.... Working within this facilitation framework allows CPWR to relate to each religious and spiritual community at its own level of comfort and interest, while promoting the positive and potentially transformative impact of religion and spirituality on the world."

How we do it - method: "CPWR's role as a facilitator of interreligious encounter, dialogue and cooperative common action puts it in a unique position to encourage and enable the religious and spiritual communities themselves to address the critical issues in meaningful and powerful ways. CPWR does this by:

  • Working to establish respectful and trusting relationships with each religious and spiritual community
  • Providing models for encounter, dialogue and cooperation within and among religious and spiritual communities
  • Providing models for, and access to, creative engagement between religion and spirituality and other guiding institutions
  • Assisting individual religious and spiritual communities, and "communities of communities" in developing their own visions of possible futures....

"CPWR provides ways for religious and spiritual communities themselves to serve as advocates. The CPWR does this by creating a forum for religious and spiritual communities to

  • present their views and concerns
  • engage in dialogue with other concerned parties
  • advocate for their preferred solutions and outcomes
  • achieve solidarity with others in understanding and action.

Conference dialogues

Cities: Living Together: The mission is to halt urban decay and instead create vibrant urban centers that serve all constituents. Whether you’re a city dweller, a country inhabitant, a city planner, or an architect, the issues surrounding public space and collective space affect us all.

Spirituality:Whether you are spiritual, deeply religious, or seeking to develop a more meaningful belief system, this is your opportunity to join 10,000 people of faith, spirit and goodwill to personally promote harmony and peace in this troubled world.

Freedom, Security and Peace: Learn firsthand from people on the frontlines of the international justice and peace movements how to restore and protect human rights, civil rights, demand disarmament...."

The Role of Education and Culture in Development: "...we must provide numerous forms of learning and cultural stimuli to ensure all people are able to actively develop and participate in society. What roles and responsibilities should institutions play—schools, the arts, media, government, commerce, religion—in supporting the various developmental processes of people as we strive to lead productive, fulfilling lives? ...These dialogues are designed for… Educators and administrators Professional trainers and associations Curriculum developers Educational software programmers Behavioral experts... Ministers of education

Cultural Diversity and the Media: At no time in human history has the issue of Cultural Diversity and the Media been so critical. Technology and globalization have placed us at a crucial crossroads. Media conglomerates are gobbling up print, radio and television enterprises, threatening local programming and diversity of views. The advent of the Internet has caused an explosion of worldwide communication, yet there are those who would exploit and control the Web stifling its great potential for free speech and democracy.

Science, Knowledge and Sustainable Development: The best minds in the world will be present in Barcelona to discuss the social, political, cultural and structural factors that affect people locally, regionally and globally. But it’s more than just talk and position papers, the Barcelona Forum promises to deliver substantive recommendations for the long-term betterment of our planet and its people.


Board of Advisors:

  • Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, renowned peace and education activist
  • Rodrigo Carazo, former president of Costa Rica, environmentalist and peace activist
  • Alan Cranston, (1914-2000), former U.S. senator 1969-93, former chair of Gorbachev Foundation USA, Chair of U.S.-Kyrgyz Business Council, and former peace activist....
  • Arun Gandhi, founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute of Non-Violence and the grandson of M.K. Gandhi.
  • Barbara Bernstein, director of the 1993 World Parliament of Religions and executive director for the Partners for Global New Thought
  • Jodi Taylor, vice president Center for Creative Leadership, leadership training expert and humanitarian. [See next 3 links]

Center for Creative Leadership: The Center for Creative Leadership is a nonprofit, educational institution with international reach. For more than three decades its mission has been to advance the understanding, practice and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide. Center staff members conduct research, produce publications, and provide programs and assessment products to leaders and organizations in all sectors of society. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Center also has locations in Colorado Springs, Colorado; San Diego, California; Brussels, Belgium and Singapore, as well as Network Associates around the world certified to offer selected Center programs. ....The Center annually serves leaders from more than 1,000 organizations – both public and private, including two-thirds of the Fortune 500. Each year, approximately 20,000 individuals participate in a Center program and 100,000 professionals complete a Center assessment.

CCL Clients: (a small sample:) Prudential Insurance... United States Air Force, United States Army,  United States Navy,  United States Postal Service, Verizon Communications, Inc.... Whirlpool Corporation, Women in Cable and Telecommunications,  Xerox Corporation...

CCL Network Associates: The Center also licenses programs to following organizations for internal training only: Canadian Centre for Management Development, Ontario,  - Defense Systems Management College, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, USA

CCL Publications: Overview: Improving the practice of leadership involves more than just changing behavior. It also requires changing perspectives. Through our publications, the Center for Creative Leadership aims to advance the current understanding, practice, and development of leadership by disseminating the latest practical insights gained in the course of CCL's research and educational activities. We primarily publish in two ways: independently through the CCL Press, which issues guidebooks, fieldbooks, sourcebooks, and reports, and in alliance with Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, which issues books and a bimonthly periodical, Leadership in Action.

Jossey-Bass Company Profile:

       Mission. We publish books, training materials, periodicals, and other media for people interested in developing themselves, their communities and the organizations.

      Core purpose. Developing healthy and responsible leaders, communities, and organizations.

      Core Values. Passion - Teamwork - Authenticity.


Small Groups and the Dialectic Process includes these paragraphs:

Leading Congregational Change (LCC) was written by James H. Furr, Mike Bonem, and Jim Herrington in 2000. Its publisher, Jossey-Bass, has been working closely both with the Peter Drucker Foundation (now called Leader to Leader) and the "Christian" Leadership Network founded by Bob Buford.  The latter serves as an international tool for guiding large churches through the process of "congregational transformation." Its references to Rick Warren include these comments:

"We thank Rick Warren... for the opportunity to reach and refine our understanding of congregational transformation as part of Saddleback Valley Church's Purpose-Driven Church Conference. We are also grateful to Bob Buford.... and others at Leadership Network for the many ways in which they have stimulated and facilitated our work.
      "We were deeply influenced by Bill Hybles and Rick Warren and the successes of their congregations. We also saw many applications in Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline (1990) and in John Kotter's Leading Change (1996)."
[3, Acknowledgements]


"Pastor Russ Osterman... had an opportunity to attend a seminar at Saddleback Community Church in California. Seeing and experiencing the model of a dynamic congregation that was truly reaching uncharted people had a deep impact on Russ, and he returned to Glenwood a changed person. He had no experience in change leadership and no road map for how to lead congregational transformation.... [he] began to lead his church to embrace a new model based on what he had learned." [3, page 28]

See Social Change and Communitarian Systems.  Both Drucker and Buford have counseled and mentored Rick Warren at Saddleback church.

Other church leaders have also relied on Jossey-Bass for management guidance. Former pastor, Kenneth O. Gangel, is academic dean and Vice president of Academic Affairs at Dallas Theological Seminary. A prolific author, he wrote "Competent to Lead" and is considered an expert on this topic. A natural choice for Mr. Barna's book team, he wrote a chapter titled "What Leaders Do."


One of the six tasks of a leader, says Gangel, is to "think." Of course, we all think. But, in the context of managed change, thinking isn't really thinking unless your thinking fits the new formula.


Pastor Gangel quotes Stephen Brookfield who, for ten years, was Professor in the Department of Higher and Adult Education at the liberal Teachers College at Columbia University. While traveling as keynote speaker to national, and international education conferences around the world, Brookfield continues to serve as Adjunct Professor at Columbia. The statement Pastor Gangel used to support his own teaching came from Brookfield's book, Developing Critical Thinkers:

"Central to critical thinking is the capacity to imagine and explore alternatives to existing ways of thinking and living. ... Critical thinkers are continually exploring new ways of thinking about aspects of their lives....

Critical thinking is complex and frequently perplexing, since it requires the suspension of belief and the jettisoning of assumptions previously accepted without question." [Stephen D. Brookfield, Developing Critical Thinkers (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1987), pages 8-10.]

Did you catch the message?  "It requires the suspension of belief and the jettisoning of assumptions previously accepted without question."  That's the essence of "critical" thinking! Church managers can't establish the new view of "reality" without first undermining the old Biblical beliefs. Before they see success, the group must let go of the old absolutes and dare to flow with the changing currents.

Home   ~   See also The Dalai Lama & Global Spirituality