The mission of Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) is to foster cooperation, as opposed to confrontation, among people of different religions and cultures. CECF focuses on factors that led to the rise and fall of previous civilizations, and how people of this millennium can benefit from lessons of the past in an increasingly interdependent world, in which closed societies are no longer viable in the age of a “Global Village”.
Many civilizations passed through the cycle of life having been born, grown, prospered, declined, and then fallen. Some have undergone renewal. Some have left descendants- clear remnants of their presence. And some have disappeared altogether, not even leaving us their name. There were inspiring factors that aided the growth and prosperity of these civilizations, and there were also destructive factors that led to their collapse.
It is to our personal and collective benefit, during our short journey on earth, to study these reasons and factors, to learn all we can from the positive, and to avoid having to repeat the negative. To fully appreciate what humanity has accomplished in the twenty-first century, and effectively confront the challenges we still face, we need to look through the window of the past, learn from the lessons of previous civilizations and cultures, and listen with both the mind and the heart, not just the ear, to what they can teach us.
The three Abrahamic religions – Islam, Christianity, and Judaism – call for peace, love, mercy and cooperation. These values inspired billions, and led to the prosperity of many civilizations in the past. Judaism, for example, flourished during the Golden Age of Islamic rule in Spain, which lasted for eight centuries. The arts and letters flourished in all three faiths in their times of cultural cross-fertilization and cooperation. Under Muslim rule, the religious freedoms of the People of the Book, Islam’s elder spiritual siblings, were protected. Moreover, the contributions of Muslims to science, math, medicine, astronomy, and the arts greatly impacted Christian Europe- from the algebra that made the construction of the great cathedrals possible, to the astrolabe that allowed sailors to navigate by the stars and discover trade routes to Asia and the Americas.
There is no doubt that these three religions of common heritage, believed by their followers to have been divinely revealed, had, and continue to have, a tremendous amount of influence not only on Western Civilization, but on people all over the world. Moreover, the values, beliefs, and practices they espouse have direct parallels in other faith traditions too, for all human beings share similar yearnings and struggle to find peace and harmony in their lives- each in their own way.
Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) will focus on this subject, and objectively explore both the positive and negative experiences people have undergone in the pursuit of their traditions, and try to understand how and why they have done so. Learning from our collective past, and the interconnectedness of our respective traditions, we will consider how the people of this new millennium could establish mutual respect and cooperation rather than confrontation, and NOT a clash of civilizations.
We are blessed to live during a time in human history in which people are able to travel and communicate with increasing ease and speed, making available to everyone a vast trove of information. CECF believes that the blessings of technology and mobility should be used to assure that information becomes true knowledge. We seek to provide programs that will bring about better understanding for a better world and help to eliminate our ignorance of the “other”, transforming mere knowledge into wisdom.