The concept of cosmopolitanism, championed by philosophers East and West, ancient as well as modern, is newly relevant in a world deeply divided along national, ideological, ethnic, and other lines. The China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue convened a panel of experts to address three key questions: What, if any, sense of cosmopolitanism finds resonance and support in both Chinese and Western cultures, and in particular the Jesuit tradition? Is such a conception thick and substantial, for example involving claims about universal human rights? Or is it thin and open-ended—centered on the importance of local practice and belief and a principled commitment to pluralism? How might different conceptions of cosmopolitanism contribute to dialogue and encounter in a divided world?
Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., is the editor in chief of the Jesuits' biweekly review, La Civiltà Cattolica. Since entering the Society of Jesus in 1988, he has worked in a variety of capacities, including joining the review's community in 1998.
Thomas Banchoff is vice president for global engagement, professor in the Department of Government and the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. His scholarship centers on ethical and religious issues in world politics.