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MISSION STATEMENT

 

1. Goal. The goal of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (CRVP) is to promote cooperative philosophical research that draws upon the cultural resources of the peoples of the world and applies them for human progress in these global times.

A first objective is to build bridges of contact, scientific collaboration and critical discourse on issues relating to cultural retrieval and application. There is need for intercultural understanding between the scholars of diverse regions so that each can draw upon and contribute to the genius of all. This is done by the participation of professors in local research teams, by the participation of the work of these teams in regional and global conferences, and by participation of the professors in ongoing inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural seminars exploring such current issues as relations between cultures, civil society, urbanization and values, etc.

The second objective of the seminars is to provide substantial access to the intellectual resources of the great libraries and think tanks. Here the goals are to provide the resources to enhance the visiting professor’s present research projects, and to develop the scientific disciplinary and professional expertise needed by a new generation of leaders through enhancing the skills and contacts of the participating scholars.

In particular, the program brings together scholars from the various regions with local professors in extended seminar investigation and publication on central issues regarding the foundations of social life. This enables participating institutes and scholars to open a dialogue on their heritage with other’s historic experiences in order to overcome recent ideological interruption; to study modes in which their heritage can be adapted to support life in the new pluralistic global context; to draw therefrom some indications of how their culture might contribute to a more pluralistic democratic future for their multi-ethnic region; and to build interchange and networking in specific regional focus groupings.

            2. Human Progress. Here "human progress" includes the physical and economic welfare of peoples in the context of their environment. It includes as well their spiritual welfare as realized in their interior consciousness, their social relations to other persons and peoples, and their appreciation and response to their created origins, present dignity and transcendent goal. The search is for an ever more rich appreciation and realization of these in the context of family and civil society, nation and world.

            3. Cultural Resources. These are the values and virtues by which responsible human freedom is exercised in a consistently creative matter, enabling in turn the formation of succeeding generations and the preparation of the way ahead for the advancement of human life.

           4. Research. This research is:

(a) Philosophical. Drawing upon the full resources of the field, as concerned with the deepest human problems related to culture and human progress as described above.

(b) Cooperative Work in Research Teams.  The team structure makes it possible to draw upon multiple approaches to philosophy and, as needed, of allied sciences, that is, to call upon the many modes in which the spirit is at work in the world; working at specific university centers allows for regular interchange as the work is in progress.

(c) Global. While each team chooses its own theme and applies the cultural resources of its peoples, the results are exchanged and the horizon is global in terms not of an economic or political hegemony but of a meeting of unique cultures each bearing its proper gifts.

            5. Mutual Critique. Mutual critique is needed to assure the rigor and balance of the work. This is first in regular team meetings to discuss the chapters as they are drafted by the individual team members, second in regional meetings with representatives of related teams, and third in extended seminars drawing philosophers from all areas of the world for joint explorations of basic emerging issues.

            6. Publication. The Council publishes the resulting studies and assures global distribution of the volumes (over 100 thus far) to 350 research libraries, throughout the (especially) “second and third” worlds, as well as making the complete texts available on the Web (http://www.crvp.org) and through the usual commercial book distribution channels.

            7. Outcomes. The effect is a global philosophical network as a process of cultural renewal. It initiates sustained coordinated cooperation between philosophers and with allied sciences. Its goal is to uncover and promote the stirrings of the spirit in the many cultures, to share this between peoples, and to contribute thereby to the convergent progress of humankind. By overcoming egoism and promoting cooperation it seeks that deep peace which, surpassing all understanding, has formed the basis of the multiple authentic cultures and must be renewed in new ways in a time of global interchange.

 

In sum, over the past 30 years the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy has worked with faculties at leading universities and academies of science in some 60 countries. Its effort is to identify the deepest human issues and to bring to bear the appropriate scholarly capabilities for mining the resources of the sciences and cultural traditions for responding to the challenges of building democracy and civil society.

The work is characterized by its professional level and breadth of horizons, and not least by a sense of fraternity that cuts across nationalities, philosophies and faiths, and which may account for much of the reason that the Council is invited to participate in the search for what a country wants to stand for. This fosters a sense of common purpose among those who seek ways to strengthen the proper cultural values, beliefs and energies that establish the distinctive character of their society and make it not just a rich or powerful, but a good, society.

Throughout all this the goal of the Council is to undergird this with deep scientific discovery and publication which contribute to the social life of humankind in our times. 


ORGANIZATION AND ACTIVITIES

The purpose of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (CRVP) is to identify areas related to values and social life which are in need of research, to bring together the professional competencies in philosophy and related human sciences needed for this research, and to publish the resulting studies. It does this through local research teams, which are interrelated through regional conferences and annual 10 week seminars.

The Council grew out of a series of international philosophical conferences in India, Jerusalem, Kenya, New York and Bogota beginning in the 1970s. It has promoted team research on cultural heritage and contemporary change resulting in the publication and distribution of over 100 volumes.

The Council is constituted of prominent philosophers and social scientists from the many countries across the world. It was formally organized and incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1983 with 501 C3 statutes where it directs the Center for the Study of Culture and Values.

 



PROJECTS

Project I.  Team Research on Building Democratic Societies: Civil Society

 

Central and Eastern Europe: In Central and Eastern Europe, facing the difficult problem of how effectively to break through the ideologies in order to engage deep human concerns, a series of joint colloquia was developed in the 70s and 80s with the national academies of science. The issues centered largely on how human dignity, as seen by the various cultures, could provide philosophical foundations for the transformation of their social lives and systems. Held alternately at sites in Western and Eastern Europe, they gradually unfolded new horizons in the area. One conference in Poland provided the philosophy of Solidarity with its final critical review before it became the main transforming force in the public arena and, by 1989, transformed the entire region.

At that point, the Council convoked the Institutes of Philosophy of the Academies of Science in a project to retrieve the foundational values found in their national cultures and to begin to apply them for the task ahead. The drafts of their first eight volumes on cultural retrieval and social reconstruction were presented for critical debate by the other teams from the region, first at a meeting in Krakow in 1991, then at meetings in Stara Lezna and Smolenice, Slovakia, in 1992 and 1994. Eight of the teams have published a second round of volumes on: "Building Democratic Societies: Values and Rights" and a third round of volumes on “Joining the West in Global Times” is in process as part of the Council's series on “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change”. Some of the participants have taken leadership positions in governmental and newly-formed non-governmental and financial organizations, and/or moved between these action roles and continuing research work.

China: The first Chinese joint colloquium was held at Peking University in 1987. This has been followed since 1991 by annual colloquia of the Shanghai Academy of Social Science (SASS) and the Faculty of Philosophy at Fudan University alternately in China and around its perimeters: Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, India. These have engaged Chinese philosophers with other Asian philosophers on such themes as humanization of technology, economic ethics, civil society and spiritual values, all in relation to Chinese culture. Some 20 volume, have resulted thusfar.

Africa: The Council continues to develop similar sets of working teams, especially on civil society, in Africa in post colonial and post apartheit times.  They have published 8 volumes. 

Islam: Since the early 90s with Moslem scholars at the al-Azhar, Qom and across the vast Islamic world from Casablanca to Indonesia. The series began with M. Ashmawy’s Political Islam and treats especially hermeneutics and the Islamic religious and metaphysical traditions. It includes the first critical Arabic text of al-Ghazali’s Munqid. The RVP has published 14 volumes in its Islamic series, thusfar.

Africa, Islam and Latin America The Council continues to develop similar sets of working teams, especially on civil society, in Africa, Islam and Latin America, with major conferences in Lima and Panama.

Project II. Inter-Disciplinary and Cross-Cultural Seminars for Visiting Research Professors on Fundamental Issues of Contemporary Social Life

             For direct access by professors and advanced students from key universities and academies of science to methods, bibliography and horizons for research and teaching on current issues. In order to build a viable future and train new leaders for a global age there is need for access to the latest scientific methods and to open horizons for the inquiring mind. An integrated seminar program has been structured to respond to these needs. It is built on intensive coordinated seminar discussion with visiting research professors from all regions. It supports this with access to library resources, to teaching and research methodologies, and to key social institutions. The effect is a vibrant resource and stimulus for the work of university departments in the development of faculty for teaching and research. This is intended to enable their country to make sound decisions regarding their region's social, political and economic growth, and to form a nucleus of a new responsible generation of leaders able to take part in building a global network of deep understanding and cooperation.

 Need  

Modern times have been marked by a search over centuries for a more humane and civic minded social organization based upon mutual understanding and respect, free participation and cooperation. Progress in this search has been uneven, and many obstacles have been encountered.

The case of Central and Eastern Europe can be illustrative where the current generation must exercise responsibility for their destiny and for the society in which they live, develop balance between private and common goals, and live in a world subject to an overflow of information in all fields. Success in this will depend not only upon the individual responses of countries, but also upon regional efforts to assess the events and systems which they have experienced and in which they now desire to participate. Moreover, ethnic and religious questions that have simmered for centuries remain unresolved, and many have been aggravated by migration and political manipulation.

Analogously, China combines progress with unresolved dilemmas in the formation of adequate social structures. In the former colonial lands of Africa and Latin America the apparent dawning of second stage of liberation has proven ambiguous and often unsure. For Islam globalization has intensified the threat from a secularizing Enlightenment and obscured the proper path of fidelity to its holy traditions.

Everywhere the global situation would seem to require a new level of cultural awareness and respect for diversity, not only at home but abroad. There is need for a greater sense of the quality, indeed the dignity, of other cultures and for the will to work toward cooperation.  To undertake this general task across the world scholars who shape the vision of a country need access to new and appropriate working methodologies, research tools, horizons and attitudes.

 

Response 

 

The Council hosts annual 10-week faculty seminars in Washington, to which it invites philosophers and others in positions formative of the public vision and outlook of their countries. These are joined by scholars from other disciplines. Working as a team the 20 scholars think through issues bearing on ways to draw upon the cultural and spiritual resources of the various societies in fostering humane governance and civil society. Upon returning to their countries, the participants in these seminars continue to pursue these issues in their university faculties and academies of science, and/or through their writings or participation in public or non-governmental organizations.

To promote direct access by professors and advanced students from key universities and academies of science to methods, bibliography and horizons for research and teaching on current issues. These seminars have a number of distinctive characteristics:

 

- restricted in size--under 20 scholars--in order to facilitate intensive interchange, basically around one table;

- interdisciplinary, in order to draw upon the contemporary capabilities in the various humanities and sciences;

- inter-cultural, in order to reflect the multiple rich experiences and perspectives of mankind, as well as the many modes of a problem and the ramifications of proposed responses;

- advanced level, consisting of professors generally at the postdoctoral level, generally with many years of scholarship in their field;

- focused upon a single topic, in order to make possible a convergence of efforts and insights;

- 10 week duration, in order to allow the issues to mature and the participants to establish a growing degree of mutual comprehension;

- consisting in the intensive discussion of the papers planned in common and written by each of the participants during the seminar; and

- published as a volume in a series in order to make the work available to many.

 

The seminars in this series reflect the evolution of the social challenges over the last 20 years:


The
Social Context of Values (1984)

Culture, Human Rights and Peace in Central America (1985)

Relations Between Cultures (1986)

Urbanization and Values (1987)

The Place of the Person in Social Life (1988)

Moral Imagination and Character Development (1989)

The Humanization of Social Life (1990)

Democracy, Culture and Values (1991)

Freedom and Choice in a Democracy (1992)

Evangelization and Culture (1993)

Inculturation (1993)

Religion in Public Life (1993)

Diversity in Unity (1994)

Civil Society and Social Reconstruction (1995)

Civil Society: Who Belongs? (1996)

Civil Society as Democratic Practice: Solidarity and Subsidiarity (1997)

Civil Society as Narrative Reconstruction: Restorying the `Polis'  (1998)

Cultural Identity,  Pluralism and  Globalization (2000)

Models of Thinking about Reality: Individual, Communitarian and Global, Virtual and Religious (2001)

Globalization and Identity (2002)

Communication across Cultures: The Hermeneutics of Culture in a Global Age (2003) 

Project III. Moral Education for Responsibility in Social Life

 

The Council has been asked to participate in the development of programs on character education in Latin America and in Eastern Europe, on business ethics in China, and in several countries on teaching tolerance for ethnic, national and religious diversity.

The Council has developed an epochal project on the foundations of moral education with four teams of philosophers, psychologists, social scientists and specialists in education. This has published seven books on character education thus far, with articles by such well-known authors in this field as Robert Coles, Thomas Lickona, Kevin Ryan and some two dozen others. The 100,000 member Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development has summarized this work in a 50 page booklet distributed to superintendents of schools and those charged with designing the content of the curriculum. This is the closest approximation to a policy paper on moral education for a public school system. The Phi Delta Kappa, a teacher's organization, has sent summaries in smaller booklets to some 250,000 classrooms. The Council has co-hosted several international conferences on this subject: in Peru and four other Latin American countries, Asia and Central Europe. 

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The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy

P.O. Box 261, Cardinal Station

Washington, D.C., 20064

tel/fax: 202/319-6089

website: www.crvp.org

e-mail: RVP

 

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Last Revised 19-Aug-09 05:24 PM.