NATION SHALL SPEAK PEACE UNTO NATION?
The increasingly important role of effective communication in promoting peace and prosperity across national borders
On one level, we can regard communication as simply the transfer and dissemination of information. But this is only part of the story. Truly effective communication requires more of the participants and goes much deeper than this but the benefits of effective communication are exponentially greater. Global communication can be a uniquely powerful and positive tool bringing individuals, firms and national governments together with consequent benefits at an international level and benefits which impact well beyond the immediate transfer of raw information. The key is that information is not just traded but that it is properly understood – and it’s through understanding that the sum of global understanding is therefore promoted and increased.
Global communication, in its simplest sense, was of paramount importance in the exercise of command and control by imperial governments and trade organisations from the ancient world through to the 20th century. Although global trade, diplomacy and cultural exchange were key elements of this paradigm, the overarching feature was dominance by the senior trading partner over its junior partner or even, in many cases, its vassal state. Increasingly, this imperial model of dealings between countries has become less relevant and international relations are conducted on a more equal footing, both in terms of international trade and in dealings between governments. While English remains largely the international language of global trade, multilingual communication is an increasingly important skill as the global market place becomes more accessible.
The speed with which the transfer of information and ideas takes place is an important factor in this change, with the growth of the internet and information technology linking global finance being important elements in the rapid expansion of international communication. A good example of the way in which information technology can be used to real advantage in a practical sense can be found in the form of global, multilingual SEO.
While information technology has become a key feature in facilitating international finance and trade, the rapid and free exchange of information facilitated by modern communication tools such as the internet can fulfil what is arguably a much more important role than this. In promoting genuine exchange of cultural views and understanding between different outlooks, languages and cultures, modern global communication can help to deliver significant benefits and improvements in levels of international peace and tolerance.
Surely the greatest legacy which can be delivered by the global information revolution is that the BBC’s historic motto – “Nation shall speak peace unto nation” - is that much closer to becoming a genuine and attainable reality.