(Left to Right: Dr Dimitri Spivak, R. Tyrala, T.Graff, J. Urban, P. Krokosz)
Photo Credit: M. Mastylo

In his capacity as UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Inter-religious Dialogue and Director of the Saint-Petersberg Branch of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research Dr Dimitri Spivak was invited to speak at the Papal University of John Paul II on 6 May 2019.

Dr Spivak’s talk, which had as its main focus intercultural and interfaith dialogue and its place within UNESCO’s Cultural Strategy, reflected on actual tendencies within the theory of intercultural dialogue, especially the general shift from its communicative aspect to the cognitive one.

Pragmatic issues were examined — based on the analysis of UNESCO’s Strategic Objectives 6 and 7 of the Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2021 37 C/4. In the former case, intercultural dialogue was regarded as an essential part of the sustainability science and in the latter case it was presented as an integral component of the preservation and revitalization of cultural heritage, especially the shared / cross-border one.

Actual trends in development of interfaith dialogue formed another focal point of Dr Spivak’s talk. The trends outlined were based upon the UN General Assembly Resolutions: (59/23 (2004) Promotion of interreligious dialogue”; (60/10 (2005) “Promotion of interreligious dialogue and cooperation for peace”; (60/11 (2005) “Promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation”; (60/150 (2005) “Combating defamation of religions”; (66/226 (2011) “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”; and the Action Plan of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures 2013-2022.

In conclusion, Dr Spivak looked at the key issues and prospects of the International Network of Interfaith Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding.

Post presentation, Dr Spivak was invited by the University to meet with the Vice-Rector The Reverend Dr Robert Tyrała, the Dean of the Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage The Reverend Professor Jacek Urban, Dr Paweł Krokosz from Institute of History and the Vice-Dean Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage Dr Tomasz Graff. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss trends in safeguarding cultural heritage, and in giving new impetus to intercultural and interfaith dialogue in Eastern and Central  Europe.