Statement of the Award Committee 2013
The Award Committee of the Global Dialogue Prize (GDP) 2013 finds that this year’s nominee for the award, “The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy” (RVP) (http://www.crvp.org), fully deserves to receive the international recognition signified by this award.
According to the statutes of the GDP, the task of the GDP Award Committee is “to evaluate whether the nominee fulfills the criteria of the GDP.” This is a non-comparative evaluation that should ascertain whether the nominee fulfills, strongly and unambiguously, the goals and criteria of the GDP, which are stated as follows:
1. The GDP shall foster research communication among scholars in intercultural dialogue and value studies from around the world.
2. The GDP acknowledges exclusively scholarly endeavors, and serves exclusively scholarly and cultural goals.
3. The GDP is awarded in recognition of superior research in intercultural dialogue and value studies (by persons, institutions, or organizations), as well as outstanding achievements in applying such research to promote the goal of increasing intercultural understanding and competence.
4. The award shall primarily honor research that, besides scholarly excellence, also creates a tangible precedent of dialogical praxis.
The Award committee finds that the RVP fully meets each one of these conditions.
First, the RVP has been in existence for over four decades during which it has grown to become the currently largest network for intercultural value research. The organization has currently over 400 associated members from 65 countries, since 1998 it has produced over 150 workshops and conferences, and published 300 volumes of scholarly monographs and anthologies on values from a cross-culturally comparative or intercultural perspective.
Thus, in terms of size and diversity, the RVP is currently the most significant promoter of intercultural value research; it presents a particularly impressive effort of fostering research communication among scholars in intercultural value studies. The recognition of this effort strongly supports the first of the listed goals and criteria of the GDP.
Second, the purpose of the RVP is “to identify areas related to values and social life which are in need of research, to bring together the professional competencies in philosophy and related human sciences needed for this research, and to publish the resulting studies.” This is the organization’s expressly declared mission. Judging by publically available records, the unique cultural and religious diversity of the membership and the publications of the RVP manifests that the organization is not directed by any political group, religion, or ideology.
Throughout its history RVP has aimed to address value issues with increasingly wider geographic and cultural scope. RVP grew out of a series of international philosophical conferences in India, Jerusalem, Kenya, New York and Bogota beginning in the 1970s. In the 1970s and 1980s RVP established several colloquia series together with various of the National Academies of Science in Central and Eastern Europe; these events mainly investigated cultural conceptions of human dignity in an effort to provide philosophical foundations for ongoing social and cultural transformations. During the 1990s RVP further expanded its range of action, holding conferences and establishing local research teams all over the world including, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, China, Japan, East-Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Islamic world (Egypt, Iran, Central Asia and Pakistan as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia). In the beginning of the 21st century RVP established the Center for the Study of Culture and Values at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., USA. Thus the research that RVP promotes does not express any perceptible thematic and cultural biases but rather aims to increase intercultural understanding.
Third, the quantity of the scholarly output of the RVP is unique– the book series “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change” will have published its 300th volume in August 2013. In addition, also the production process of these monographs and editions ensures high scholarly quality. The volumes produced in this book series are commonly the result of a multi-step process, where RVP (a) first stimulates the formation of a research team, (b) co-sponsors a conference based upon the work of the research team, (c) guides the research team through the development of the manuscript, (d) supervises quality translations into English, (e) and assists with all aspects that ensure unbiased distribution and visibility, such as Library of Congress cataloguing and the mailing of copies to 350 university libraries across the world (e.g., 50 in Africa, 50 in East Asia, etc.). The composition of the relevant research teams is topic oriented and flexibly organized, allowing groupings at all levels, from local to international teams.
Fourth, the RVP has been seminal in developing and promoting research in intercultural dialogue and value studies, and in applying such research to stimulate global intercultural understanding and competence. The RVP has developed a specific method by means of which global perspectives and local research concerns are brought into dialogue, both at the scholarly and the personal level. Local research teams in all parts of the globe are interrelated through regional and international conferences and annual seminars in Washington. The organization of these seminars reflects not only great professional expertise in producing high quality research in an interdisciplinary and intercultural setting, they also implement a methodology that ties research as close to discussion and dialogical understanding as possible. (The seminars are topically well-focused, involve maximally 20 experienced researchers, and last for six to ten weeks; based on the discussions of the seminar the participants develop jointly a plan of papers and each participant work out one paper during the duration of the seminar.) In combination with a worldwide distribution of the publications resulting from these seminars, the RVP has unquestionably set a “tangible precedent for dialogical praxis” in the scholarly community, as required in point (4) above.
In sum, the RVP is an organization that meets the goals and criteria of the GDP unambiguously and, indeed, most strongly. Consonant with the objectives of the GDP, the RVP is borne by a spirit of scholarly sobriety that calls upon researchers to “respond to the new awareness of the cultural grounds of human life and the newly global character of their interaction” but also views such a response as a matter of the larger social responsibility of academics “to build cooperation among peoples by healing deep tensions and promoting peace and cooperation on a global scale” (ibid).
In awarding the GDP to the “Council for Research in Values and Philosophy” the committee acknowledges the work of all who, as a community of scholars, have realized the academic and cultural achievements of this organization. The committee wishes to recognize and honor in particular the outstanding personal initiative and professional accomplishments of Prof. George McLean who founded the Council, has been directing it since it was established, and has served as the general editor of the book series Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change. Prof. McLean has endowed the Council with irenic wisdom and a superior vision of global dialogue as a praxis and a spirit that has many human faces.