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Globalization Needs 'Values' to Succeed, Says Blair

( [email protected] ) Dec 16, 2008 04:41 AM EST
Globalization needs a “solid basis of values” to succeed, contended former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a major address this past week.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair holds a conversation with Yale University President Richard C. Levin at the end of a speech by Blair on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Conn., Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. (Photo: AP Images / Bob Child)

Globalization needs a “solid basis of values” to succeed, contended former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a major address this past week.

Faith is one way to provide a values system for globalization, but not the only way, he told hundreds of students and professors at Yale University after completing his first semester as a visiting professor.

Blair’s hour-long speech on Thursday was focused on whether or not a value system could be introduced to globalization and how, according to the Yale Daily News.

“The problems we face today cannot be solved without alliances,” he said. “And alliances won’t work without common values.”

Blair says his experience at Yale has strengthen his belief that religious, economic, and social globalization are linked.

Multicultural and multi-religious societies are the result of “pushing people together,” and now “spiritual capital” and “human capital” need to be linked, he argued.

“Unless we find a way of reconciling faith and globalization, the world will be a more dangerous place,” Blair said, according to The Associated Press.

The former British leader called on the United States, Britain and its allies to emphasize the importance of social values in the fight against terrorism.

“It’s the force of argument, and not of arms, that will cause us to succeed,” Blair said, according to Ecumenical News International.

During his time as a visiting professor at Yale, Blair co-taught a seminar on faith and globalization with Professor Miroslav Volf, a theologian and the director of Yale’s Center for Faith and Culture.

Blair, who was an Anglican Christian, converted to Catholicism in 2007 after stepping down as prime minister of Britain. In an interview with BBC, Blair said that his belief in God played a “hugely important” role during his 10 years as prime minister.

The former British prime minister will continue to teach at Yale for the next two years as part of a three year partnership between the university and his London-based Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Blair said Yale will be the headquarters for the U.S. operations of his foundation, according to the Yale Daily News.