Cosmopolitan consciousness and civic action in a globalized world, 2-7 August, Vitsa, Zagori.
The summer six days peripatetic seminar took place in the idyllic environment of Epirus (National Park of Northern Pindos), in the National Park of Northern Pindos and at the Land Beyond in Vitsa.
The main goal was to explore ways of building global citizenship in consciousness and in action, and of using it to address today’s impasses in democratic governance, sustainability, peace and security. A group of 25 dynamic individuals, scholars, professionals, from diverse nationalities, religions, specialization and age, from the civil society and think tanks, the media, international organizations, citizen society, Media and communication, international institutions and Universities, Professors and students, met during almost a week in a unique crossroad of thought, nature and inspiration. They engaged themselves into a collegial thinking, discussion and problem solving.
In the resolution that we have adopted using collaborative tools and consensual approach, we stated that, humanity needs to maximize the positive and minimize the negative aspects of globalization and its various manifestations, in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous world that allows all individuals to live happy and fulfilling lives in liberty and dignity. Existing institutions have to be adapted and/or, if necessary, replaced by new ones. We believe that what is needed, most of all, is a new frame of mind that would prioritize the common good above narrow personal, sector, national or regional interests, with human well-being at its center. This could be expressed with a new narrative of cosmopolitanism. We believe that citizens around the world are increasingly inspired by such ideals and for this purpose we intend to develop bonds among us to ever enlarge this network, to enhance our thinking and our action, through the initiative that has been taken by the Land Beyond and FOGGS, “Global Land Paths-GLAP”.
The full-text of the Vitsa Declaration follows:
We, the participants in the first Global Land Paths (GLAP) seminar, held at Vitsa, Epirus, Greece, under the auspices of The Land Beyond and the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS), from 2 to 7 August 2014, having shared in freedom and mutual respect our knowledge and views on the topic “Cosmopolitan consciousness and civic action in a globalized world”, and inspired by the beautiful nature of the Northern Pindos National Park, agreed on the following key points:
Humanity needs to maximize the positive and minimize the negative aspects of globalization and its various manifestations, in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous world that allows all individuals to live happy and fulfilling lives in liberty and dignity.
Existing institutions have to be adapted and/or, if necessary, replaced by new ones. This is to ensure that the growth of global economic and political interactions promotes equal opportunities and serves the common good of countries and individuals. We expect in particular the United Nations system and regional organizations like the European Union to take measures and adjust their structures and functions towards that end.
We believe that what is needed, most of all, is a new frame of mind that would prioritize the common good above narrow personal, sectoral, national or regional interests, with human well-being at its centre. This could be expressed with a new narrative of cosmopolitanism, where the following concepts would guide our thinking and action:
- Responsibility, personal and collective, towards all human beings and nature
- A cosmopolitan consciousness guiding private and public decision-making and action
- Embracing cultural, linguistic, religious and other diversity as a source of knowledge and life enrichment, while ultimately focusing on our common humanity
- An economic system that allows for and rewards innovation and productivity but also serves the needs of all human beings and respects nature
- Real-life, human interaction and collective knowledge creation and sharing as a cornerstone of global community building
We believe that citizens around the world are increasingly inspired by such ideals, which lead to much needed civic action by an informed and engaged global civil society. We commit to initiate a number of concrete projects, individually or through the organizations we work with, building as appropriate on initiatives that already exist:
- Virtual global demos with a global ethos
- Basic glossary of cosmopolitanism, to clearly define the concepts representing the contemporary narrative of cosmopolitanism
- Global civic education guide
- Studies of historical facts and related competing interpretations, starting with Balkan history
- UN Observatory to follow institutional developments at the UN and initiate interventions at critical junctures for the organization and global governance
- Regional Integration Observatory to follow progress in regional integration and distil good practices
- Series of GLAP seminars with a global agenda and diverse groups of participants.
We stand united in support of advancing the above in practice and will maintain the close links forged between us during this seminar.
Vitsa, 6 August 2014