How has the Charter for Compassion affected your life as a theologian and writer?
Because of TED's wonderful outreach and expertise in technology, my ideas are reaching people who would probably never read my books. The Charter was an outcome of my studies and research for the last fifteen years. One feeds the other. But it is marvelous to have been taken out of my ivory tower and having the opportunity to make these ideas live, so that they don't just exist on the page, in a way that makes a difference to our troubled world. Because theology is ultimately about action; it cannot simply be a head trip.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, what changes do you think the Charter can make globally?
I think the Cities program could help us to break down the divisions in our polarized world. I hope that we can "twin" the Compassionate Cities, so that a city in the Middle East could link up with a city in the USA, so that people can form electronic friendships, universities and colleges link up together across the divide, and the twinned cities share news and problems. Also the fact that the Charter is working so wonderfully in Pakistan and now Jordan and the UAE is wonderfully hopeful. But beware. There can be no quick fix. In both the cities campaign and in Pakistan/Middle East, we are working on a ten-year schedule. We don't expect instant results. We want our work to be deep and lasting.