Diversity, Human Rights and Institutions

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This paper and presentation explore the tension between cultural diversity and the prospect for widespread acceptance and implementation of Universal Human Rights. It explores both Post Modern and Post Colonial responses to this issue. I will argue that the diversity of cultures and a rich variety of values is in fact a vital resource for institutions and for public policy. The influence of contrasting viewpoints can help in creating a broadly based vision that protects the rights of individuals, and recognizes the importance of the integrity of communities. The evolution of the UN’s declarations and covenants will be traced in this presentation. Specific attention will be given to the Bangkok Accords, through which a number of Asian Nations articulated a distinctive perspective on Human Rights. Issues such as the right to leave ones country of origin and to return to it will be examined, with particular focus on the control that communities should or should not have over the lives of individuals. A genuine pluralism, which does not give up on the prospect for common goals and shared ideals for humankind and their institutions, communities, and governments will also be articulated. In this paper, I will further develop my concept of “enabling diversity” which I have been working on for some time. I will try to demonstrate how institutions can benefit from a diverse work force and from a genuine commitment to pluralistic inquiry and related practices.


Keywords: Diversity, Pluralism, Human Rights, Institutions
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Bernard den Ouden

Professor, University of Hartford
West Hartford, CT, USA

Bernard den Ouden is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hartford. He is the author of Language and Creativity, Reason Will Creativity and Time, The Fusion of Naturalism and Humanism, and Are Freedom and Dignity Possible? He has edited four other volumes. Dr. den Ouden has evaluated development projects in Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. He has give guest lectures in Croatia, The Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, and Spain. At the University of Hartford he has been honored with the Larson Award for Distinguished Teaching and held the position of the Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Teaching Humanist. He assumed a leadership role in the founding of the University’s Honors Program and the creation of the Humanities Center.

Ref: D08P0075