On the morning of February 27th, 2013, Professor Tu Weiming attended 5th Global Forum at United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna, Austria and delivered a keynote speech entitled “Making Sense of Intercultural Dialogue in Our Age.”
Professor Tu Weiming called for a more pragmatic approach by governments and civil society organizations in reaching out to build a more diverse and tolerant world. He highlighted China’s desire to create a dialogue based on diversity. He also suggested that China ought to learn to understand its own history with a view to the future as an integral part of the global community. China has been not only a dialogical civilization, a learning civilization, a tolerant civilization, but very ecumenical, very early on. As an example, he explained that before the time of Confucius, there was the idea of Tianxia, which means “all under heaven.” Professor Tu stated that human rights is not good enough for a society to flourish without responsibility, without a sense of decency, a sense of compassion. We need to broaden our scope from the legalistic language to the language of the heart, too. Therefore Professor Tu called on all societies to cultivate not only the great enlightenment values of liberty, rationality, due process of law, human rights, dignity of the individual, equality, but also the language of the heart, of the great spiritual traditions of justice, of compassion, of love, of care, and of the idea of a harmonious society. The speech was received with a great applause by the attendees.