In 1992, two prominent people, political scientist Samuel Huntington and political economist Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama, set the world before two theories “The Clash of Civilization” and “The End of History”. The former was announced during one of Huntington lectures, the latter came out as a book, – and both had a powerful impact on the world’s society. Since then, numerous debates arouse around the theories and their validity.
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First of all, it is important to note that “The Clash of Civilization” appeared as a response to “The End of History” offered by Huntington’s former student, Fukuyama. In any case, the two ideas represent contradictory ideas; thereby, the followers of one theory are essentially the opponents of the other.
The principal idea of Fukuyama’s end of history resides in the assumption that the spread of western liberal and democratic values signifies the end of the sociocultural evolution. Political scientist and economist supposed that the western democratic model represented the finite form of human government. He was firmly convinced in the ideological prevalence of this model as well as in its universal character. In other words, Fukuyama believed that the basic principles of the western democracy could be implemented successfully in any governmental structure around the world. Moreover, he assumed that the relevant implementation was sure to have positive outcomes (Fukuyama 2006).
Fukuyama’s theory is, in fact, the rebuttal of Karl Marx hypothesis that predicted the spread of communism that was supposed to improve the world’s structure. The reversed connection with Karl Marx is critical as it partially explains the overall popularity that “The End of History” gained within a short period. The point is that the theory came out right after the end of the Cold War. Hence, the American society interpreted it as the manifestation of the victory. Its appeal seemed reasonable and, most importantly, grounded – the results of Cold War served to be the evidence of the superiority of the liberal and democratic values over the outdated communistic convictions.
In the meantime, some analysts and political scientists considered the theory to be too idealistic. A lot of critics appeared in relation to Fukuyama’s idea of the universality of the liberal democracy. Numerous rebutting articles came out trying to persuade the author and his followers of the impossibility of applying one political model to any country in the world and reeving similar results. The key argument of the opponents was, thus, the idea that in spite of all the benefits of democracy in America, its appropriateness for other countries should be, at least, doubted unless rejected at all. Whereas some of the critics were rather moderate in their disagreement, others accused the theory of advancing liberal hegemony (Christensen 2004).
The most significant criticism of Fukuyama’s theory was offered by Huntington. While other disagreements came out in the form of articles and public speeches, the political scientist decided to advance a theory of his own. Huntington put forward a hypothesis suggesting that the end of World War and the victory of the liberal democracy did not signify the end of world’s conflicts. It is critical to note that the author did not deny the advantages and the strengths of the democratic form of government. His principal idea resided in the fact that the cultural diversity of the world’s society would inevitably lead to a series of severe confrontations. Huntington believed that the major part of conflicts would be caused by religious and national factors (Riemer & Stivachtis 2002).
The opponents immediately accused Huntington of advancing aggressive and military ideas. The thesis about cultural diversity, likewise, received a considerable amount of criticism. Paul Berman, for example, refused to admit the presence of different religious and national clusters, such as “Islamic civilization” or “Western civilization”. His main argument was the possibility of political relationships between countries with different cultural and religious background.
Thus, the ability of the United States and Saudi Arabia was supposed to illustrate the insignificance of the cultural diversity in the world order (Levine & Papasotiriou 2010). On the whole, it was assumed that Huntington exaggerated largely the significance of religious and national contradictions.
The most interesting points for discussion are the way the social attitude and interpretation of the relevant theories have changed throughout the time. Thus, as it has been described above, at the time of their coming out, it was Fukuyama’s “The End of History” that received more appraisal and understanding in the society, while Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilization” seemed to be too pessimistic and pathetic. The world has changed significantly since that time. Numerous conflicts in the Middle East and the events of the Arab spring seem to have changed the public view of the two concepts offered at the end of the Cold War.
Most of the journalists and political analysts now agree on the point that Huntington’s assumption that national and religious diversity would lead to conflicts and wars was more than reasonable. Former supporters of “The End of History” now admit that “there is no universal civilization; instead, there are these cultural blocks, each within its own distinct set of values” (Brooks 2011). Whereas some analysts find general connections between Huntington’s hypothesis and the set of things in the modern environment, other political scientists draw direct parallels between particular events and Huntington’s predictions. Thus, some journalist immediately found some connotations for Huntington’s ideas in the recent terroristic attacks in Parris (Ranchman 2015).
Another proof of the reasonableness of Huntington’s hypothesis is the recent change in the general rhetoric of the United Nations. The newly developed appeal for the dialogue, the focus on the compromise and the search for alternative solutions – all this might be considered as a response to the already occurred “clash of civilizations”.
Finally, it is critical to note that most appropriate interpretation of the two theories is performed not by the political scientists or economists but the society itself. Thus, an average student is more likely to provide an adequate evaluation of the offered hypothesis than the analysts prompt by the desire to proof his or her rightness. The point is that the major part of the society supports the balanced world order that is free of Fukuyama’s liberal hegemony or Huntington “clash” of cultures, natures, and religions. The major problem resides in the fact that the relevant theories are skillfully implemented in political appeals and slogans. Politicians at all the levels use them in order to support the intended measures or to gain more votes, whereas ordinary people continue to live in the world of diversity and learn to adopt.
The core discussion theme during my last week in the academic problem was connected with the civilization dialogue. The week began with a serious of Dr.Masoumeh Velayati’s lectures devoted to religious and Quran. A particular emphasis was put on elucidating the basic principles of the two approaches: the exclusivist approach and the inclusive approach. As long as the theoretic part of the lectures was over, the group was suggested to speculate upon some questions.
My group decided to reflect on the extent to which Quran tolerates other religions. One of our principal tasks was not just to assess the extent of tolerance but to define the notion of tolerance in this particular case. As a result, we prepared a group discussion the photos of which are provided in the attachment.
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Another question covered during Dr.Masoumeh Velayati’s lectures was the problem of civilization dialogue. The lecturer provided an explicit explanation of this complex question that was assisted considerably in preparing the final report. As well as in the previous case, the group was encouraged to generate a discussion on one of the questions offered by Velayati. This time, my group decided to share our views on the fundamentals for a good dialogue interaction between people of different cultures and or religious. The pictures illustrating the course of the discussion can be found in the attachments.
At the end of the week, all the students were welcomed to attend a closing ceremony. Before the official closure, every participant of the academic training had a chance to meet with delegates. Moreover, the last week of studies was also supposed to be preparatory – each group worked on its final presentation. The relevant task required a lot of time and effort as the presentations were supposed to be given in front of a large audience. My group decided to prepare a presentation about dialogue civilization that was the key topic of the course.
The Academic training program at Al-Maktoum College of Dundee is a well-structured and thoroughly worked out program that helps students enlarge their knowledge base, gain new experience and obtain valuable skills. The college offers innovative approaches to education assuring that the initially set goals are achieved completely. First, and foremost, it is important to note the program of every subject is designed in order to meet the needs and demands of the twenty-first centuries. Secondly, a particular emphasis is laid on such critical concepts as cultural involvement, diversity, multiculturalism, mutual understanding and due respect. The design of the studies is post-orientalist and multicultural that allows the student adapt to the new environment within the shortest time possible.
The principal aim of the educational program in the college is to get the students acquainted with the basic principles of multiculturalism. The relevant goal is completed through both intense academic training and a friendly atmosphere.
Another concern of the college is to provide the students with knowledge that can be incorporated beneficially into their academic programs and studies. It is essential to admit that the training program is composed in such a way that it elucidates critical problems and questions that the students have already studied in their colleges or are about to learn in future. Thus, the training provides valuable support and lets the students operate a large scope of information in almost any field.
Finally, one of the targets of this training is to assist the students in developing their future careers. From this perspective, the training supplies one with valuable experience of multicultural and multinational communication that will be highly useful in any work regardless of the occupation field. Moreover, numerous participations in group discussions and debates help the students develop their argumentation and orator skills.
The students learn to express their opinion in a persuasive and illegible manner, provide various arguments for every thesis they put forward. I believe that this experience will be very valuable for career development; particularly, in the framework of generating and presenting projects and offers. Finally, the students receive a unique chance to develop their leader skills that are currently in demand in the modern job market.
Working in a group is always a challenging task as it requires participants to show different qualities in accordance with the circumstances. In some cases, the students should be insistent and convincing, in other cases, they are required to show tolerance and flexibility. The fact that these qualities will be required in future career development seems to be undoubted. Therefore, the training program lets the students evaluate their skills and point out the current flaws that need to be improved.
In conclusion, I shall note that the experience of going abroad in order to receive academic training is utterly new for me. My principal aim was to improve my knowledge in the field of leadership and multiculturalism as well as to discover some new fields for investigation. It is critical to point out that I received precious lessons not only during the classes but also in the course of communication with students from other countries such as Malaya and Egypt. I believe that the training I received will help me considerably in my further academic studies and career development.
Brooks, D 2011, ‘Huntington’s Clash Revisited ‘, The New York Times. Web.
Christensen, J 2004, Romanticism at the End of History, JHU Press, London.
Fukuyama, F 2006, The End of History and the Last Man, Simon and Schuster, New York, New York.
Levine, P & Papasotiriou, H 2010, America Since 1945: The American Moment, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, New York.
Ranchman, G 2015, ‘Do Paris terror attacks highlight a clash of civilisations?‘, Columnists. Web.
Riemer, AK & Stivachtis, YA 2002, Understanding EU’s Mediterranean Enlargement: The English School and the Expansion of Regional International Societies, Peter Lang, London.