Roger Berkowitz, professor of political studies and human rights and academic director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.
Roger Berkowitz, founder and academic director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, spoke to Jimmy Buff of Radio Kingston
about Arendt’s life and works, focusing on her ideas of friendship and politics, which are the topics of the Center’s annual international conference taking place October 12–13 in Olin Hall. “The beauty of Hannah Arendt was to say, politics has to be about unifying all sides, and it has to be solidarity of all people,” Berkowitz told Radio Kingston
. He stressed the idea of plurality in Arendt’s notion of how people can come together to build a meaningful common world for all. “The whole idea of a plurality,” he says, is that “the world presents itself, to me, to you, to the person on the street, in different ways. It’s the same world. And yet, each of us is going to interpret it and see it differently.”
The conference, “Friendship and Politics
,” presented by the Hannah Arendt Center, the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard, and the Open Society University Network, will bring together writers, thinkers, activists, and artists to collectively think about the importance of friendship in our world. “To create a community, you have to disagree, you have to be able to argue,” Berkowitz continues. “And yet then you have to build a little world, you have to build a bigger world. And so in a sense, personal friendships become a training ground for how you build friendships in the political sphere, but that means you have to actually be willing to be friends with people you disagree with.”