The 2020 edition of Transatlantic Dialogue aims to explore the complexities of human communication and develop our skills at engaging with them. By channelling discussion around three main areas of focus, it will encourage participants to reflect on our contemporary patterns of communication and the way they shape, hinder, and enable more meaningful relationships. Taking the lead from the historical, literary and spiritual layers of representation and interpretation of culture supplied by the powerful image of the Tower of Babel, these three focus areas are:
- Languages & cultures
- The practice of cultural diplomacy
- The pursuit of peace
A brief reflection on each element is provided below. One of these focus area will be features each day of the conference.
Three overarching questions will be examined.
How are languages and cultures enablers of and barriers to communication within and across cultures?
Around this subject matter, participants will be encouraged to discuss how languages and cultures enable and inhibit communication within and across cultures. They will be asked to consider the apparent contradiction between these perspectives and apply their competencies, skills, and experiences to explore paths towards the resolution of cases of impasse in communication at both local and global levels.
In what ways can we serve today as cultural diplomats within our personal and professional lives?
In the light of the focus on this subject matter at the last edition of Transatlantic Dialogue, participants will be encouraged to reflect on the ways in which the practice of diplomacy, based on the principles of listening and empathy coupled with a strategic approach towards conflict resolution, may be applied to our personal and professional lives.
In what ways can we promote inner peace and peace within, between, and among communities?
Participants will be asked to consider personal, local, and global perspectives on pursuing peace and to discuss the practice of peace processes regarding the principles of compassion, empathy and civility.
A Horizontal Component – Trust
A key component underlying and inspiring conversations will be trust. Participants will be encouraged to engage with openness, honesty, vulnerability, reliability, competence, and benevolence as we reflect on these concepts across the conference.
The conference will aim to achieve the following learning outcomes. Participants will
- Increase their understanding of their roles and personal identities in contributing to global communities
- Imagine communities that can achieve successful cultural cohesion to overcome the divisiveness of nationalism
- Develop skills to engage in cross-cultural communication through the arts and technology
- Promote inner peace and peace within and between communities.