“A World Without Walls“:
An International Congress on "Soft Power", Cultural Diplomacy and Interdependence
Dr. Benjamin Barber
Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland,
Author of bestseller, Jihad vs. McWorld
Benjamin Barber is one of the most influential political theorists in the United States, and author of over 17 books exploring the role and function of democracy in modern societies. Barber’s central thesis, and constant theme in these works, is to prescribe a form of representative democracy based on a strong and active civil society and engaged citizenship, as oppose to modern participatory democracy. The main threats to such engaged citizenship, identified by Barber, are political particularism (such as religious fundamentalism) and the increasing influence of “unchecked” capitalism. His work is widely influential across the world, from students to NGOs to Presidents, and has been under renewed focus since the financial crisis.
Barber’s academic background includes degrees from Grinnell College (BA), Harvard University (MA, Ph.D.), as well as certificates from the London School of Economics (1957) and Albert Schweizer College (1959). He has served as an unofficial national political advisor to the President during the Clinton Administration, and has also advised numerous other political bodies and politicians, including former German President Roman Herzog and former Democratic National Committee Chariman Howard Dean. Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Policy.
In addition to his position at Maryland University, Benjamin Barber is Director of the International NGO CivWorld, which is the organization behind the annual Interdependence Day event, taking place this year in Istanbul on September 10-12th.