for the English edition of the International Interdisciplinary Encyclopedic
Global Studies Dictionary
(Prometheus Books, New York 2006)
In presenting this book to the world reader I would, first of all, like to mention two of its distinctive features. First, it deals with a fundamentally new area, which is of particular importance in a globalizing world. We live in a global world; global challenges and threats are in the forefront of international politics. The study of global problems is gaining increasing prominence in the social sciences, terminology is rapidly evolving and changing, and a new language of global studies is emerging.
Another feature of this publication is its interdisciplinary nature and its international team of contributors, bringing together in fruitful cooperation scholars representing both natural and social sciences. In this single volume over 350 prominent scholars from more than 50 countries in the world have cooperated to produce a work of over 600 articles that is, so to speak, an orchestral harmony.
The editors call this collection of articles an encyclopedic dictionary. It is not what one usually means by a dictionary. As a rule, standard dictionaries incorporate what is already known. In this case we have a book that considers the future state of the world. The editors of this dictionary tried to look into the future and were not afraid of presenting innovations in thought on even the most pressing issues of our day. What should be mentioned as well is not only the very broad coverage and deep scholarly analysis, but also—and this is of equal importance—the calm and moderate tone of the authors of this international dictionary, respectful of the diversity of existing viewpoints and positions.
So, it is possible to find common ground and a platform for a calm and constructive discussion even on the most difficult and sensitive issues. Here I should mention one of the lamentable patterns of our time: conflicts are contagious; acting like magnets, they attract the young whose positions and temperaments have not yet solidified. The world community has a pressing task ahead: we need to educate the new generations in a spirit of tolerance, with a broad and comprehensive vision of today’s problems.
I have no doubt that this collective work will be of use for people working in a variety of fields and occupations: employees of international organizations, governmental officials, leaders of political parties and movements, religious leaders, politicians and political scientists, and military and law enforcement officials. I also have no doubt that this dictionary will be a resource for young scholars and students. The broadness and depth of this book are designed not only to educate but also to inspire the minds of the young from all countries of the world to initiate creative inquiry.
I would like it very much, dear reader, if you would enjoy using this book. Although it may not be easy reading, the book is intelligent, rich in content and, I believe, necessary in our complex, turbulent, and fragile world.
6 Dec. 05