Historical Background

The World Tensions Project 2.0 is a follow-up and a re-launching of the initial World Tensions project that dates back to the 1940s. 

Shortly after the end of World War II, the United States under the auspices of UNESCO, launched a major research initiative for determining the conditions that affect international understanding.   The initial World Tensions Project resulted in numerous studies that examined the role of communication and media in fostering and hindering international understanding among people living in different countries.  This effort brought together sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, educators and others but lasted only for a few decades (see link for historical document that describes the initial World Tensions Project). 

Over time, the interest of new generations of researchers in carrying out the type of investigations that were encouraged by the initial World Tensions Project subsided. My perspective is that it is unfortunate that this effort was not continued as our planet has continuously experienced international conflicts, some among state actors and more recently among non-state actors.  In a continuously changing world, we undoubtedly still need to understand the conditions that facilitate peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic groups, national affiliations, different religions, etc.  and the role that communication plays in achieving this goal.  The idea of World Tensions 2.0 is to relaunch the effort and continue the mission that was started in the 1940s.