Global Youth Exchange Program 2005
Toward a New Paradigm for the World -
How to bring young people together in the world to overcome differences?

Introduction

We, the participants in the Global Youth Exchange Program (GYE) 2005 from twenty-nine countries, have convened in Japan to address the critical role that young people play in embracing diversity and creating a new paradigm for the world. The central topics included Partnership for Justice in the Globalizing World, Development as Capability Expansion, and The Arts in the Age of Globalization. We approached these issues by building on our experiences, backgrounds and beliefs with the objective of reaching a general consensus in our recommendations.

We feel obliged to voice our concerns, hopes and aspirations to make this world a safer, better place to live in. We aspire to articulate these goals through GYE 2005.

Sub-Theme 1: A Partnership for Justice in the Globalizing World

World civilization is an ideal, and can only be approached incrementally and with due recognition of the diversity of political culture and experiences.

The Making of a World Civilization

We believe that world civilization can emerge from processes of interaction and collective responsibility in all spheres of human civilization, including peace and security, development, as well as inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue.

Yet we must also acknowledge the ambiguities inherent in the concept of a world civilization, as well as the distorted nature of the dialogue that is currently taking place when there is unequal access to information technology.

Nation States and Civilization

Nation states must realize that non-state actors have a growing and legitimate role to play in nation building and in emerging democracies. The process of communication between societies that is entailed in a world civilization can be partly facilitated by them.

The resurgence of state power that has accompanied the rise of terrorism on many national security agendas should not be a pretext for states to undermine non-state actors and international institutions.

International Justice and Global Justice

Though we acknowledge the need for an inclusive and comprehensive notion of justice, the present discussion links global justice to questions of international military intervention. International intervention has been an issue beset by contested legitimacy and collective action problems. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the central body for the legitimate authorization of international military intervention.

We endorse the emerging norm that there is a collective international responsibility to protect, exercisable by the UNSC, justifying military intervention only as a last resort, when all other measures have failed, in the event of serious and systematic violations of international humanitarian law which sovereign Governments have proved powerless or unwilling to prevent.

Though states carry the responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all peoples, the international community must resolve the debate on the legitimacy and effectiveness of military intervention in response to the challenges of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Recommendations:

The international community should:

  • Reform existing international institutions and commence a dialogue for the formation of a world civilization, based on tolerance and justice;
  • Establish a more transparent and representative decision-making process on intervention by broadening the membership of the UNSC and admitting observers to its debates, such as NGOs, experts from civil society, and the private sector;
  • Provide resources to ensure the effectiveness and success of international military interventions when they occur;
  • Implement a broad, parallel non-military assistance strategy to address the needs of the civilian population, who suffer the most from conflict. This strategy should envisage immediate humanitarian aid, strengthening of state capacity and longer-term development assistance.

Sub-theme 2: Development as Capability Expansion: Alternative Paths to Justice, Freedom and Well-being

Development entails freedom and capability expansion through respect of civil and political rights, economic growth, technological innovation and wealth distribution, social justice and cohesion, embracing respect and tolerance of cultural diversity and guaranteeing environmental protection.

Unequal development constitutes both our primary challenge and shared responsibility. Although contemporary societies have achieved an unparalleled degree of complexity and sophistication and humanity has benefited from modern technology in many fields, many people still lack the satisfaction of basic needs, freedoms, and rights. Development is not only culture or natural resource dependant. While these elements play an influential role, political and economic institutions are the fundamental cause and precondition of development. Effective institutions can be built in many cultural contexts. Under this perspective, culture should not be an excuse to impede development.

Development is a global responsibility to be implemented by each sovereign state; nonetheless, alongside national strategies the resources of the international legal and institutional system have to be harnessed. The prerequisites of development are human security and rule of law.

Democracy and the Market Economy

Democracy and the market economy can provide a path to global justice. However, they require major reform of the current political and economic order, to ensure that one global sector does not advance towards human development at the expense of another.

In working towards the goals of democracy and the market economy, it is important to accept the legitimacy of local democratic mechanisms and avoid an imposition of external solutions. To make democracy work, efficient state government and domestic justice are needed to complement genuine free elections. Attempts to impose quick or generic prescriptions often result in injustice and socio-economic polarization.

Recommendations:

The international community should:

  • Ensure real democratic decision making procedures at both national and international levels by improving governance, which can be achieved partly through reform of international organizations, and the redistribution of influence within and among them. However, nation states must be represented in those bodies by legitimate governments that respect fundamental human rights;
  • Foster accountability and responsibility of elites and broad popular participation through civil society networking; in particular the strengthening of independent media, education systems, academic community, legal sector, NGOs, etc both at a state and global level;
  • Reform markets by providing fair trade through the removal of unfair subsidies and restrictions on imports that the EU, the US and Japan, among others use, exacerbating the impoverishment of developing nations. These reforms should be supplemented by strengthened economic connections and debt relief in the South;
  • Give priority to the poorest nations and increase developing countries' access to technology and innovation. Intellectual property rights should be limited or revised in the case of threats to human survival or a global health emergency. At the same time, supplementary international financing of medical research programs should be widely accessible;
  • Implement minimum wage requirements and welfare programs to protect poorer workers in developed countries, and strive towards attainment of these goals in developing countries. End child labor and other forms of exploitation, through the legislation and implementation of labor law;
  • Promote regional co-operatives and small and medium enterprises in order to diminish the transactional costs between the sellers and consumers: this would increase dividends for the producer, allowing further investment geared towards development;
  • Support sustainable environmental development through burden-sharing of the costs of environmental protection between developed and developing nations, and encourage all nations to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol.

Sub-Theme 3: The Arts in the Age of Globalization

Art is relative and can be an expression of culture and identity, both traditional and modern which represents a way of life. It is a creative, cross-cultural and inclusive medium of self expression that rejects homogenization and speaks to the emotion. Art is a dynamic testimony of humanity, and a language with no boundaries.

Artistic expression is important because it can play a role in shaping information and perception, which are key to making political and economic decisions. It can preserve the traditional, cultural and historical experience of people, especially indigenous peoples and minorities; and can create harmony (add spice to life and cater to the soul), enhance the quality of life, and increase cross-cultural understanding.

Globalization doesn't change art as a medium of self-expression; however it increases access to art, and makes it readily available. It also improves communication between artists, making art more cross-cultural. Globalization creates new artistic forms, and popularizes and commercializes certain forms, sometimes at the expense of others.

Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization

Art faces several threats and challenges as a result of globalization, such as the risk of an unbalanced projection of a homogenized culture which could limit choices and make some forms of art (and the values associated with them) more appealing than others. There is a risk of violent or aggressive reactions to this imbalance, and unfair competition: cultural globalization can suppress resources available for local cultural production.

Globalization can reinforce the construction of stereotypes influenced by commercial popular culture. In addition, the lack of access to resources, technology and communication in some communities can undermine their capacity to reap the benefits of the globalization of arts. Globalization can also allow media conglomerates to define and influence art by concentrating control of art distribution.

On the other hand, globalization offers opportunities for cheaper, quicker, and easier forms of self-expression, as well as access and dissemination of arts and culture locally and globally. It facilitates cross-cultural dialogue through the creation of a social community using common artistic language and sharing common values; providing greater opportunity for art to raise awareness of specific national and international issues. Globalization popularizes and creates opportunities for all forms of art, helping to link diasporas and promoting unknown cultures and arts. It can also foster reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Recommendations:

The international community should:

  • Acknowledge the importance of art as an aspect of identity or expression;
  • Improve access to technology which may facilitate the flow of art;
  • Acknowledge and promote cultural diversity and cultural rights;
  • Ensure choice and a balance of local and international cultural products;
  • Ensure preservation of traditional art;
  • Support and facilitate art education, at all levels and across all disciplines;
  • Promote and create cross-border art networks (private, public sector, civil society and NGOs) that can facilitate the transmission and diffusion of art especially that of developing countries and indigenous peoples.

Support mechanisms for art could include: more research, financial support, regulation, and developing inter-cultural exchange programs.

Conclusion

We believe in the importance of moving toward a new paradigm for the world based on global justice, capability expansion and enhanced understanding through arts. Despite diverse backgrounds, faiths experiences and languages, our discussion and interaction during GYE 2005 has demonstrated to us the value of dialogue for a better future. This document has explored the challenges we face as a global community and proposed general guidelines and concrete recommendations. We take these and the spirit of GYE back to our own countries to continue the dialogue and strive to realize these principles.


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