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In 2015 the UN Secretary-General told the Vatican Workshop on Climate Change that protecting the environment is 'an urgent moral imperative', a 'sacred duty'. How can Buber's extensive writings, life and legacy help us address this imperative?


Paul Mendes-Flohr (Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago and the Hebrew University, and President of The Global Lehrhaus)

Kate Pahl (Professor of Arts and Literacy, Manchester Metropolitan University)

Essi Maria Ikonen (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University)

Reading list for this seminar:

Buber, Martin, and Walter Kaufmann: I and Thou. New York: Scribner, 1970. Pp. 57-60, 172-177.

             UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: 'Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity'. Remarks at a workshop on the moral dimension of climate change, Vatican City, 28 April 2015.

Both inside and outside of the academy we witness the continued attempts of bringing people and disciplines, scholars and themes 'in dialogue' with each other. But how are we to understand dialogue in digital terms, in times of war and after a global pandemic? Is it possible to establish a dialogical relation despite or even through conflict? What can a praxis of dialogue look like that would be able to help us live through the besetting realities of our time? In this seminar we will explore answers to these questions, inspired by Martin Buber’s dialogical philosophy, but welcoming other authors and perspectives to address these issues. Taking a cue from last year’s reflections on Buber’s philosophy of communication, this year we will approach its main tenet – the mutual relation of trust and individual recognition at the core of dialogue – from the angles of a variety of different approaches and in the light of the pressing issues of the contemporary moment.  

This seminar series is hosted in collaboration with The Global Lehrhaus, an international platform for education and reflection on issues of common concern, initiated in 2020 by Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jessica Brown and inspired by the Freies Jüdisches Lehrhaus (Free House of Jewish Learning), a centre for continuing education that used to be directed by Franz Rosenzweig, and after him by Martin Buber. 

Convenors: Johan Siebers (Bloch Centre/Middlesex University) and Federico Filauri (IMLR)

Seminars will be held online, via Zoom. Advance online registration essential (via The Global Lehrhaus)

Information about other seminars in the series

Image: Camille Pissarro, 'Conversation' (1881) [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]