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The ifa conference “Cultures of We” held on 13 September 2017 in Berlin cut to the core of world politics today. It asked: How can we stay true to the principle of equality, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), when “othering” has resurged in identity and politics validated by a newly-vocal narrative of “us versus them?”
Populist movements formalized by Brexit in the United Kingdom in June 2016 and the election of Donald J. Trump to the US presidency five months later march in lock-step with other racist-nationalist regimes in the Philippines, Turkey, Austria, and so on. Many pockets of Scandinavia, previously models of liberal tolerance, also exhibit similar sympathies. Renewed commitment to the UDHR will not suffice, I’m afraid. Its insistence on singularity to convey universality sinks the proposition.
L. H. M. Ling is Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York. Her research focuses on a post-Western, post-Westphalian approach to world politics called ‘worldism’: we live in a world of multiple worlds.
She is the author of several books.
From 2012 - 2015 Ling was Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Schools of Public Engagement (SPE) at The New School New York.