A perennial set of problems in human society concerns group understanding (in ethnic, racial, religious, familial, and voluntary-association terms), cultural identity, and issues of interaction. How do we understand ourselves in relationship to the various groups in which we have a stake? What happens to our identity as multiple affiliations encroach upon one another? How do we understand others—groups and their individual representatives? On the political level: how does one nation or state-like group respond most appropriately to the rise of another to greater economic and/or military power? How to preserve the national dignity while optimally (without needless conflict) caring for one’s own population? Such questions may profitably be treated from social-scientific perspectives (through anthropology, political science, sociology, social psychology); they may also be analyzes in historical, philosophical, and literary terms.
For example, the current engagement of broadly Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures in the West has much to learn from the long past of their interaction and the texts produced by this past.
The PACE contributes to both public and academic discussion of these issues in a coherent and focused way. Our approach is to select a few important authors from the ancient world who stand conspicuously at the confluence of cultures, and to build resources around them.