Fall Forum: Foreign Policy and the Clash of Civilizations

Foreign Policy and the Clash of CivilizationsThe World Affairs Council of Hilton Head’s sixth annual Fall Forum will consider the ideas presented in “The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order,” by political scientist, adviser and academic, Samuel P. Huntington. Published in 1996 it is the seminal book that presents a classical examination of how civilizations compete and survive. The book presents the idea that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary sources of conflict in the post-Cold War world. Huntington believed that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures and that Islamic extremism would become the biggest threat to the Western world.

The Forum consists of four sessions, with each session having a specific concentration. The Forum will begin with a joint meeting (see 1 below) and then continue with three facilitated discussions (see 2, 3, and 4 below).

  1. Professor Yale Ferguson, Ph.D. (see biography below) will address a joint meeting of the three groups, providing an outline of the processes, methods and content utilized to formulate foreign policy (or National Security issue) recommendations to executive branch officials within the U.S. government. This joint meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 18 at 10:00 in the Palmetto Electric Community Room.*
  1. Focusing on chapters one through five from the book, the discussion will consider the importance of civilizations and the shifting balance among them. and how those elements contribute to the formation of foreign policy and the outcomes of foreign policy decisions (Groups will meet in November, see dates at right)
  1. Focusing on chapters six to eleven, the discussion will focus on various civilization’s indigenous facets: culture; economics; military and religious, and how they may contribute to clashes of varying intensity. (Groups meet in December, see dates at right)
  1. In the final session, each group will examine case studies and how the insights gained from the previous material and discussions would help in the formulation of foreign policy in a particular hypothetical situation, and also examine how the factors looked at have influenced some of the outcomes of foreign policy positions formulated over the past few decades. (The groups meet in January, see dates at right)

Although the book’s themes will be used as a focus for discussion, the sessions will not be a book report. Each participant is expected to have read this 321-page book. Our local Barnes and Noble has the book on the shelf, as does the Beaufort County library.

The Fall Forum is open to all World Affairs Council of Hilton Head members and registration is required.


Yale H. Ferguson

YYale H. Fergusonale H. Ferguson is Professorial Fellow in the Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Global and International Affairs. He also is Honorary Professor at the University of Salzburg (Austria). Prof. Ferguson’s publications include 12 books and over 60 book chapters and articles. Recent books with Richard W. Mansbach include Globalization: The Return of Borders to a Borderless World?; A World of Polities: Essays in Global Politics; and Remapping Global Politics: History’s Revenge and Future Shock. Prof. Ferguson received the Rutgers University Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research. He is an elected member of Academia Europaea (the Academy of Europe) and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and the University of Padova (Italy), as well as Fulbright Professor at Salzburg. He is a Life Member of the graduate college Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge, and he and his wife Kitty divide their time between Bluffton, SC, and Cambridge UK.

* Dr. Ferguson’s lecture will be recorded and available to participants at the WAC HH web site by October 20.