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Russkiy Mir Foundations Director for European Programs Presents Report at Roundtable on Cultural Diversity Confronting the Challenges of Globalization

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Russkiy Mir Foundations Director for European Programs Presents Report at Roundtable on Cultural Diversity Confronting the Challenges of Globalization


23.05.2009

The roundtable on “Cultural Diversity Confronting the Challenges of Globalization”, which took place at the academic conference “Global Studies – 2009: Exiting the Global Crisis and the New World Order”, was organized with support from the Russkiy Mir Foundation.  The Foundation’s interest in such discussions is quite understandable, as solving the task of supporting Russian language and culture and raising the attractiveness of the Russian language abroad is an example of a response to the challenges to cultural diversity posed by globalization.

Alexei Gromyko, Russkiy Mir Foundation Director for European Programs and Deputy Director for Academic Work at the Institute of Europe or the Russian Academy of Science, presented his views these issues as the keynote speaker at the roundtable.  Gromyko’s  summary review of the theoretical approaches to the problem of globalization’s impact on culture demonstrates that no clear instruments for discussing this topic have been developed.  The definitions of such terms as culture, civilization and globalization remain blurred, which can be an obstacle to constructive discussions.  Alexei Gromyko focused in particular on the understanding of “civilization” and noted the growing interest in the academic world to discussion of this concept and development of new approaches to its study.  In part, he suggested, this can be viewed as one of the signs that a multi-polar world is forming, which creates a need for recognizing the new reality and reconsidering many concepts that the humanitarian sciences use to describe the world, including such fundamental concepts as civilization.

These trends allow for new approaches in recognizing Russia’s place in the contemporary world.  Alexei Gromyko suggested that discussions of the civilized place for Russia always returns to the postulates of the old debate between slavophiles and westerners and in part the Eurasia theory.  The new elements of this discussion do not significantly change its nature.  Gromyko himself believes that it is most accurate and productive to consider Russia an integral part of European civilization with its own very specific nature.  In some sense Russia is “a different Europe”, Gromyko says.

Some of the debates about Russia’s identify and the postulates that are put forward in these discussions, according to Gromyko, are evidence that there is a crisis is Russia’s consciousness.  Both inferiority complexes and superiority complexes are evident in such debates, which is one of the clear indicators of a crisis on consciousness that has yet to be resolved in the public consciousness.  Getting beyond this could bring about deep changes in the perception of the place of Russia and Russian culture in the contemporary and globalizing world.

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