After the „One world-many cultures” conference

V International Interdisciplinary Conference from the „One world-many cultures” cycle came to an end.  During two days (6-7.11.2014) at the premises of Kujawy and Pomorze University in Bydgoszcz nearly 300 participants listened to several lectures of outstanding experts and specialists. The main theme of this year’s edition was “Society in the face of multicultural challenges from legal, religious, economic and educational perspectives”.

The plennary session was inaugurated by the lecture of  prof. h.c. KPSW, Mons. Giuseppe Scotti, the Chairman of the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. The author of the lecture laid an empasis on the fact that the four thematic sections of the conference are essential to modern society for reconstructing the holistic vision of human, in which intelligence correlates with love – these four sections proposed as the subject of analysis during the two days of debate were:  social, religious, economical and educational aspects.

Meanwhile prof. dr hab. Olga Nesterchuk brought up the issue of multiculturalism illustrating it with an example of the development of Russian-Moscovite cultural identity.  In general, the Russian-Moscovite identity is an individual’s subjective sense of belonging, approach and identification with the Russian – as the citzen of the country – and Muscovite – the inhabitant of the capital at the same time – with these words Professor begun her lecture.  Then Professor continued by stating that only in Moscov over 40 categories of young people were  distinguished and that their identity is influenced by many external factors, such as : lack of understanding of Musovite traditions, migration of the yout to metropolis or problems with recreation.

During his speech Rev. prof. dr hab. Piotr Mazurkiewicz drew attention to the issue of cultural minorities illustrated by an example of pastoral dilemma about immigration problems. The speaker claimed that the spiritual ministry for immigrants should be free of any form of racial, national, cultural as well as religious discrimination.  Reverend explained that the essential is to refrain from perceiving immigrants as the threat to cultural identity or as concurrence in access to material goods, but to see them as brothers or sisters possesing various gifts -  their arrival should be an opportunity to celebrate the Catholic principle of being united in diversity.

After the plenary part during the first day of the conference, an academic discourse took place, divided into five main panels, such as:

  1. Legal, administrative and economic aspects of multiculturalism
  2. Religion in the face of challenges of multicultural society
  3. Diversity and complexity (of languages) of culture in education and pedagogy
  4. Education in the face of aspects of challenges of multiculturalism
  5. The youth in the face of challenges of multiculturalism (students’ panel)

Academics and representatives of various circles from Poland and abroad, as well as our students discussed about the aspects of intercultural dialogue.  Also the results of academic research on the subjects of main problems of the modern world were presented.

On the second day of the conference the Primate of Poland, Rev. Archbishop dr Wojciech Polak did us the honour of presenting a paper on the challenge of multiculturalism in modern Europe. During his speech Rev. stated that the subject of multiculturalism does not depend only from theoretical assumptions.  The attempt to comprehending multiculturalism shall not be based on speculative reflection, but requires a confrontation with reality. Rev. Archbishop stressed that every question concerning coexistance of cultures  is in fact a qustion about the human and his capacity of establishing and maintaining relations starting with the family, which cannot be substituted by anything, and finishing by the European community.

- I am glad and I present my recognitions for the organisators of this International Conference, because each speech and all thematic sessions concern particular aspects of the challenge of multiculturalism. Therefore it provides a platform for the meeting, without which it would not be possible to get to the core of the issue – concluded Archbishop Polak.

Prof. nadzw. KPSW, dr hab. Alicja Grześkowiak  during her speech titled „Conscience opposition in chosen professions” pointed out that this subject is still relevant today „especially in pluralistic societies, where occurs a conflict between one’s duty to obey the law and one’s moral obligation”.

Afterwards prof. zw. dr hab. Zbigniew Witkowski gave the speech about the idea of dialogue as a mean of cooperation and of solving conflicts in modern world, according to the thought of John Paul II who perceived religions not only as a way of creating relation with God but also with the other people and among people – explained prof. Witkowski.

Above that, during the second day of the debate the pannel for gymnazjum schools and higher schools was organised together with the economic contest  “Economical shirmishes”. Also students of Law at KPU prepared a simulation of a court trial concernng a murderer of passion, which was received with great interest. Another event that took place was  an oxford-model debate “Living in a global village – lost identity or unlimited perspective of freedom”.

The „One world-many cultures” conference is one of the main elements contributing to the realisation of the mission of KPU expressed in motto „Sapientiae Servientes – in the service of wisdom”, it also adds to the openness for the modern challenges of multicultural world. The event is a continuation of annual academic meetings, inaugurated by our University in 2010, aimed at intercultural dialogue and at the exchange of experiences and thoughts about modern world’s problems in a wide circle of cultural experts, political scientists, sociologists, theologians, historians, educationalists, economists, lawyers, media specialists and representatives of other fields of arts and sciences.

The conferene was oranised by the Kujawy and Pomorze University in Bydgoszcz,  Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation,  Marshal’s Office of the Kujawy and Pomorze and City Hall in Bydgoszcz. .