Seminar: When Confucius Came to the United Nations

- On Peng Chun Chang and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Open lecture by Hans Roth

After the lecture Asbjørn Eide will make a comment before we open for discussion.

Foto: Dialogos Förlag AB

Drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the best known and most translated documents in the world. For many people it represents a moral lingua franca in the words of the Canadian writer and researcher Michael Ignatieff. However, the main writers (or the drafters) of the document are not very well known generally, with the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt who was the chairman of the human rights commission which was responsible for the declaration. Other persons involved in the writing of the document were in addition to Mrs Roosevelt also very important.

Strived to make the text accessible for the layman

This presentation deals with one of the most important drafters of the declaration – the Chinese philosopher and diplomat Peng Chun Chang (1892-1957) who was a renaissance personality. Chang was a playwright and a professor of philosophy who had studied for John Dewey at Columbia University, and who later become involved in the ”high politics” of his country. One of Chang´s main contribution with reference to the Universal Declaration was to make the document religiously neutral. He was also a master of compromise who managed to overcome stale mates in the discussions, and he strived to make the text accessible for the layman.

The presentation is based upon a new book ”När Konfucius kom till FN" (Dialogos förlag Stockholm) – the first book ever written on Peng Chun Chang whose ideas heavily influenced one of the most important documents in world history.

Published Jan. 4, 2017 11:14 AM - Last modified Jan. 15, 2019 10:30 AM