How does that relate to the idea of hospitality?
If hospitality is to become more than just an idea, a good intention, we must go from the idea to the practice of it. We need to draw a path from hostility to hospitality. The host is a guest, a stranger, potentially an enemy. We can meet him or her with hostility, indifference or hospitality. According to Georg Simmel, indifference is what characterizes the mental state of the city dweller. We ignore those around us. We adopt a blasé attitude because it is the easiest way to cope with the multitude of people around us.
It takes a special effort to offer hospitality, but it also brings special rewards. The way we structure the world around us contributes to determining our ability to be hospitable.
Peace is one of the rewards of hospitality. Prosperity and safety are others. Securing peace, preventing conflict, or more modestly, mitigating the impact of war on the population, were some of the intentions that triggered the creation of international institutions such as the UN and the Red Cross.
Both of these organizations have headquarters in Geneva, along with a dozens more international organizations and NGOs. The Red Cross emerged from within civil society, thanks to the humanist vision of people such as Henry Dunant and others before him. The Red Cross is Geneva’s own homegrown international organization.
Another founder of "International Geneva" was William Rappart who, nearly 100 years ago wrote a book called, “The Geneva Experiment”, where he described the structure, the mission and the origins of the League of Nations (which later became the United Nations). In this book he traces the idea of international peace back to Immanuel Kant, who stated that one of the condition for perpetual peace was universal hospitality. Kant defined universal hospitality as the right of any individual entering a foreign land not to be treated as an enemy.
Welcoming the stranger is considered one of the greatest virtues in Judeo-Christian tradition. Abraham was said to be providing hospitality to visitors, offering lodging for the night along with food, drink and companionship, either in his own house or in a shelter built for this purpose. Welcoming guests and treating them with care, regardless of their origins, is a duty in Islam. Hindus consider a foreign guest as no less than the expression of the universal spirit of God. To welcome a guest is a sign of high moral standards in religion and political philosophy.
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