Among the most fundamental ethical challenges humanity faces in the foreseeable future —all matters of dignity and equity—are those that by tradition have been the domain of the humanities and social sciences and that even today do not lend themselves to analyses not underpinned by value laden assumptions. Addressing these challenges, which include immigration for purposes of seeking employment or political enfranchisement and participation, ethnic and gender discrimination, poverty, climate change with its implications for resources fundamental to human existence, requires us to explore the moral and intellectual orientations of cultures that by tradition we have either overlooked, or, for whatever reasons, relegated to the margins of interest and relevance. These challenges are not simple matters of national jurisdiction or economics. They force us, ultimately, to come at the world whole, to approach it as an organism and to view each member of its human population as presumptively equipollent, that is, of equal weight in any distributive calculus. These assumptions underlie the Lincoln Center’s support for translation of the texts of other cultures for access by speakers and readers of English only, for the study of the efficacy in human terms of privatizing social institutions have traditionally been the domain of governments pursuing their citizens’ commonweal, for exercising and enforcing national sovereignty, and, finally, for examining strategies to reconcile those who have perpetrated and those who have suffered infringements on human dignity, including poverty, brutalization and systematic murder.
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