Ideas matter, and philosophy, too–according to the new Santa Monica, California-based think tank. Using the expected tools of “prizes” and contests the Berggruen Institute plans to do something novel. Employ the power of philosophy to promote cross-cultural understanding.
You could say that they are taking the long view.
In November 2013, the council held a meeting with the senior leadership of China, including President Xi Jinping. Mr. Xi, Mr. Berggruen recalled, began the meeting by citing China’s 5,000-year-old culture.“He started the whole discussion not with short-term political or policy issues,” Mr. Berggruen said, “but by sort of saying: ‘Listen, before we have a relationship, you have to understand who we are. We have to start with understanding and respect for very different views of the world.’ ”Bridging conflicting views, Mr. Berggruen said, is at the core of the center’s mission. “We want to find solutions, not just underline differences,” he said. “We want to come up with new ideas.”
Notable names who have lined up to be a part of this include Jared Cohen, Amy Gutman, Mohamad A. El-Erian, Daniel Bell, Juan Luis Cebrian, Ernesto Zedillo, and Arianna Huffington.