Globalization has transformed modern citizenship. Most modern democracies are trying to develop an ideal of common citizenship for populations that come from every corner of the globe, worship in different faiths, speak different languages and disagree on basic matters like the place of religion in politics and the role of women in private and public life.
The unfolding story of multicultural citizenship poses difficult ethical issues: how to balance tolerance and respect for difference with the minimum core of shared values necessary for citizenship; how to create the shared assumptions and national identity necessary for inclusive democratic debate with respect for cultural, religious and sexual identities that are increasingly diverse; how to deal peacefully and inclusively with groups that are not considered citizens.
If they are granted citizenship, how do people in such societies agree to disagree? How do they live together when they do? How much common life must be shared for democratic deliberation to be possible? What limits to tolerance and "live and let live" are necessary to the maintenance of the public goods of shared discussion and common order? How do we adjudicate disagreement when citizens no longer share the same premises or allegiances? Multicultural citizenship is an unfolding experiment: we need to understand why it has been so successful in some societies, and so problematic and fraught with conflict in others.
--Centennial Chair Michael Ignatieff
Excerpt from Global Ethical Dialogues: Concept Paper