From the global to universal
oday’s article is a piece by Pasquale Ferrara, who is currently the Italian Ambassador to Algeria. It was first published in the Atlas of Universal fraternity, the first edition of the United World Project file (2014), and it provides an interesting insight into the universal value of our Project
Trying to find the right image to represent the international relationships of our contemporary world, the choice is often between “the tower” or “the bridge”. The tower is an architectonic element, typically a military one, and it epitomizes a perception of threat that causes alarm and alert. The tower is the representation of defensiveness, of the “fortification”, of the sense of siege and the fear of invasion.
The bridge, on the other hand, is by definition something that unites two territories that would otherwise stay separated and defined by a river or a ditch that would be hard to overcome. The bridge, in a way, is an invitation to communication, to direct contact and dialogue.
Looking at the complex nature of peoples in the world we live in, we need to ask ourselves if these images – the tower and the bridge – are still two adequate options. We live in times where relations are mostly immaterial and they do not necessarily need “bridges” to exist; times in which it is all too easy to destroy both military and a civil “towers”.
To use another architectonic metaphor, the contemporary world – without indulging in the falsifying simplifications of the alleged “flatness” of the globe – is more and more like an open structure, an open-air assembly, a square: a meeting point, a place of equality.
But, is the world also a place where a new shared identity and a new sense of mutual belonging can be created? Not always. In fact, the truth is that there is a need for a new international political project, a global “new deal”, a new inclusive, pluralistic and equal alliance that goes beyond the military and economic alliances that already exist (beyond the “tower” and the “bridge”).
This is no utopia; it’s enough to look at the state of the world to understand that it is not only realistic, but also urgent and necessary. The often mentioned but little visible (apart from some neo-hegemonic projects) new “global governance” may represent a unique possibility but it needs to go from the global dimension to the universal dimension. The United World Project, with its highly prized symbolic value and its fresh ideals, is a precursor announcing a new day, a new start.
In our world there is an abundance of “grand” ideas but there is a lack of really “great” ideas, even those which appear as small seeds. Cultivating this seed together, letting it blossom and grow is a patient, daily (and “strategic”) duty of far-sighted young people who want to live for, and in, a united world, not just in a globalised world.
Atlas of Universal Fraternity, 2014