Biodiplomacy – nationalism and globalism as two sides of the same coin
by Prof. Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis
President and Founder, Biopolitics International Organisation and Hellenic Chapter of the Club of Rome
Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science
The rapid progress of technology has brought about an era of massive change. Distances have shortened, while IT has made communication easier, quicker and more reliable, providing a different perspective of time and space and driving social and cultural globalization by making the flow of ideas and information ever more accessible. But these amazing new possibilities are also giving rise to unprecedented challenges. A brush between globalists and nationalists is becoming increasingly common within and across many countries, particularly in the Western world. This divide may be bridged if both sides appreciate the value of differentiation and interdependence.
The emergence of new risks that cannot be addressed through conventional defense mechanisms is making the attainment of unity and cohesion increasingly difficult. A complete disengagement from the process of globalization would jeopardize security and stability across the globe. Therefore, the stake for leaders everywhere is to balance out the dangers of internal discontent with the positive consequences of a greater involvement in global processes for the prevention of conflicts. Through constructive dialogue, with a thesis, antithesis and synthesis of new priorities, they need to search for a unifying vision.
A crisis in values is experienced globally, raising tumultuous waves. Climate change is creating huge challenges on all fronts. Chemical warfare is generating new weapons that can cause mass destruction in completely unpredictable ways with very little expenditure of effort. Unemployment and migration, both internal and external, are posing extensive threats to security and social cohesion that are only now beginning to unfold.
In the light of these pressing urgencies, strong anchors like faith, language, culture, and tradition, have to be reassessed and re-examined. They constitute the beauty and richness of humanity and need to be protected and maintained. The appreciation of cultural and natural diversity can lead to a deeper understanding of how interdependent we are with each other and, therefore, to mutual respect. We can draw inspiration from this interdependence and apply human potential and creativity to avoid the traps of extremism and fanaticism, which have become a universal threat of sweeping proportions.
The precious gift of bios – life – has the potential to help us exit the catastrophic crisis in leadership and values. We exist as a small speck in the universe. Instead of considering every neighbour as a threat and breeding discontent in order to annihilate each other, we need to acknowledge the value of diversity, recognizing the unique attributes of all cultures. When genuine acknowledgement, appreciation of, and interest in diversity is experienced, respectful relationships develop.
The common threat of climate change can provide the opportunity for joint action, allowing biodiplomacy – international cooperation in environmental protection – to flourish. Biodiplomacy mobilizes all nations to commit themselves to environmental action and, through media and education channels, seeks to involve every individual on the planet in the fulfilment of this global campaign. Biodiplomacy also promotes interdependence and collaboration and focuses on the value of differentiation. Differences in religion, culture, language and biodiversity are the wealth of humanity. Just as all the parts of the human body function together in perfect coordination to maintain a healthy individual, modern society cannot secure a harmonious future without a shared vision of interdependence.
Biodiplomacy sees globalism and nationalism as the two sides of the same coin. Humanity needs a solid basis for building cohesive communities that maintain their distinct identity and contribute to the plurality and diversity of a global citizenry. We also need to be exposed more frequently and in more variations to the differences, but also to the great similarities, that surround us. Only by drawing inspiration from both our differences and similarities can we build a new paradigm, a new vision, that will lead to global harmony and peace.