The end of September saw a real meeting of the minds with the annual Rhodes Forum event, full of informed and informative participants with many differing views meeting to discuss the future in a dialogue of civilizations.

International Association for the Intercultural Education board member, Erik de Vreede, was happy to discuss the benefits of attending the forum.  He believes that it is always useful to have a dialogue of possibilities, and not just for the Netherlands. Specifically he advocated for dialogue between Russia and the Netherlands as well as Russia and the EU. He said that the large amount of exports of fruit and dairy products between the countries has stopped due to the current trade restrictions but that the everyday Dutch person is not feeling the consequences. The bleaker participants spoke about being on the brink of war due to the current relationship between Russia and the EU. Erik however was more positive: ‘It’s hard to say, personally I don’t think we are on the brink of war but that may be wishful thinking. I must say I’m not really worried, as far as I can see the leader of Russia can’t gain anything’. He went on to discuss the forum and its benefits further, saying: ‘I come increasingly because I meet interesting people, make good friends, hear interesting things and I get in touch with ideas that are new to me, that makes it worthwhile’.

International Movement for a Just World, President, Chandra Muzaffar used the forum to speak of the importance of peace and security. He spoke of the many conflicts in the many parts of the world and said that it was important to ‘reflect on the underlying causes’. In particular he blames the eastward push of NATO for the conflict in Ukraine.

Others came to present their latest academic work. Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Loughborough University, Alexandre Christoyannopoulos came to present a paper.  Attending meant that he presented his research to a broader audience and had the pleasure of sharing something he feels passionate about with them. He also praised the interesting people who had attended, the exchange of ideas and the chance to satisfy a genuine curiosity. He hoped that his attendance could generate other avenues with which to continue his academic work.

The forum had over 400 participants and included a range of people from media, to academia, diplomacy and business.  They covered many nations and it was a real learning experience for all who attended. Whether it was casual discussion at the bar or formal debate in one of the sessions, a true meeting of minds and cultures was had.


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