Earth is originally a green oasis with no need for national borders; it is the venue for the shared existence of humankind, the embodiment of our common destiny. The times demand that we rethink the questions: to what end national identity? to what purpose national borders?
Rather than stand to one side and ponder how the future might develop, we must focus on what each of us can do at this critical moment, the role each of us can choose to play in changing the direction of history. We must strive to make a proactive, contributive way of life the prevailing spirit of the new era.
The problems confronting humankind are daunting in their depth and complexity. While it may be hard to see where to begin―or how―we must never give in to cynicism or paralysis. We must each initiate action in the direction we believe to be right. We must refuse the temptation to passively accommodate ourselves to present realities and embark upon the challenge of creating a new reality.
- The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life and living.
- The courage not to fear or deny difference; but to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures, and to grow from encounters with them.
- The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one's immediate surroundings and extends to those suffering in distant places.
These qualities are the essential elements of global citizenship.
What is most strongly required of us is the imagination that can appreciate the present crises as an opportunity to fundamentally transform the direction of history. By mustering the force of inner will and determination we can convert challenges into the fuel for positive change.
While celebrating the unique characteristics of different peoples and cultures, we must create solidarity on the level of our common humanity, our common life. Without such solidarity, there will be no future for the human race. Diversity should not beget conflict in the world, but richness.
While diplomatic relations are of course crucial, even more vital is dialogue and exchange at the grassroots level, the active embrace of the reality and richness of another person's existence. This is something that is too easily obscured by stereotyped approaches to other peoples and religions. I am convinced that when we, as individuals, use friendship and empathy to recast the world map in our hearts, the world around us will also begin to change.