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Karen Armstrong

Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 2017

Statement by Karen Armstrong on being bestowed with the 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences

“I want to express my deep gratitude to the Foundation of the Princess Asturias Award for Social Sciences for this very great honour. We are living in perilous times. We have created a global market where we are more closely linked to one another than ever before: our economies are deeply interdependent; what happens in Syria or Yemen today can have repercussions in London or Manchester tomorrow; we are electronically connected on the world-wide web; our histories are deeply intertwined; and we all face the same environment challenges. We cannot live without one another and yet increasingly we are retreating aggressively into nationalistic, religious and cultural ghettoes.

It is therefore essential that we understand the religious, political and ideological aspirations and fears of our global neighbours. There is much talk about winning the battle for hearts and minds, but we shall unable to do this unless we know what is really in them, as opposed to what we imagine might be there. We urgently need to examine received ideas and assumptions, look beneath the sound-bites of the news to the complex realities that are tearing our world apart, realizing, at a profound level, that we share the planet not with inferiors but equals.”.

Karen Armstrong
London, 31st May 2017

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