Inappropriate dialogue Dangerous forms of dialogue Destructive confrontations in meetings
Concerned groups frequently find themselves unable to translate the social conflicts in which they are involved into effective dialogues. By reducing complex situations to single issues, or in emotional and violent outbursts, or hysterical relating of issues to individual situations, the form and quality of the dialogue become inadequate and nothing is gained from the exercise. A first danger of dialogue is to rush into premature agreement, thus obscuring the differences that are the reason for the dialogue in the first place. Other dangers include: triumphalism, relativism and syncretism.
The only useful debates are those that are based on a clear agreement on what the argument is about, and in which the opponent's arguments are heard with respect. Journalists, politicians and academics have increasingly substituted destructive confrontations for the kinds of constructive argument that can clarify the way that people think. Without agreement on the nature of the differences, debate decays into argument over the terms of the disagreement, or even into efforts to destroy the standing or reputation of the opponent.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.