Where is the world heading at the turn of the twenty-first century? Towards a desolate landscape of disintegrating societies or towards the construction of new institutions to mitigate violence, reduce poverty and promote peace in a rapidly changing global context? Do ideas of globalization reflect reality and how far are they either new or helpful? Can trends identified in the near and distant past be helpfully extrapolated to predict the future and to understand the present?Ralf Dahrendorf, Amitai Etzioni, Johan Galtung, Anthony Giddens, Eric Hobsbawm, Fatima Mernissi, Tetsuo Najita, Emma Rothschild, Wole Soyinka and Tatyana Tolstaya take up these and other questions and provide some searching and provocative answers. Their discussions span academic disciplines and continents to provide a truly international dialogue on the future of humankind.