The High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations Al-Nasser participates in the 6th Annual World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)  participated in the 6th Annual World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) under the theme “Imagine-Create-Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education” which was held in Doha-Qatar from November 4th to 6th, 2014.

Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations stressed that the main obstacle to advancing education remains its lack of funding and reiterated the necessity for governments to refocus the priority of their national  policies on education. Education represents one of the four pillars of the key focus areas of work of the Alliance, which considers it a top priority for the Post-2015 Education Agenda.

UNAOC firmly believes that Education in relation with Global Partnership, are critical elements in view of preparing youth for lasting sustainable social change.

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with “Education Above All”  (EAA) in October 2013. EAA aims at improving access to high quality education for vulnerable and marginalized people in developing countries.

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The Secretary-General Message to the Conference: “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion: Protecting Religious and Cultural Diversity in Iraq & Syria” Delivered by Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

U N I T E D   N A T I O N S            un            N A T I O N S   U N I E S

THE SECRETARY- GENERAL

MESSAGE TO THE CONFERENCE:
“UNITED AGAINST VIOLENCE IN THE NAME OF RELIGION:
PROTECTING RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY
IN IRAQ AND SYRIA”
Vienna, 19 November 2014

Delivered by Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser,
United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations

Your Eminences,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the utmost pleasure to be here with you today as United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, the UN entity which is charged with tackling the cultural and religious tensions. Today, the world is looking at us while we are discussing an emerging challenge that poses serious threat to the International Peace, Security and Human Development.

H. E. Mr Ban Ki-moon has invited me to represent the United Nations on his behalf and deliver his remarks to this auspicious gathering, and with great honor hereby I quote:

I thank His Excellency Secretary-General Faisal bin Muaammar, and commend the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for organizing this timely conference.

You come together at a critical time. Religious and cultural diversity are under sustained attack in Iraq and Syria. Communities that have lived and worshipped side by side for centuries are being driven from their homes and subjected to unspeakable brutality.

In too many other parts of the world, religion and faith are being distorted and abused to justify atrocious violence. World religions founded upon peaceful principles are being cynically manipulated by extremists whose actions undermine the very teachings they profess to uphold.

Against this disturbing trend, I welcome the constructive efforts of religious leaders to promote inclusion, forgiveness and equality.

In Iraq, minority communities and others have been the systematic target of Da’esh, which has committed acts which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. I welcome the establishment of an inclusive Iraqi Government and look forward to its efforts to promote national reconciliation while also seeking regional engagement. This is crucial to ending terrorism and the conditions that breed it.

In Syria, international support for a political solution to the bitter conflict is critical if conflict and the sectarian tensions that have grown with it are to be ended.

The Syrian and Iraqi Governments, as well as all armed groups in areas under their effective control, have the moral and legal responsibility to protect all civilians, regardless of their religion or ethnic affiliation.

The United Nations is dedicated to defending freedom of belief, fostering inter-religious dialogue and advancing greater understanding among peoples, including through the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. I look forward to working with all partners to establish peace and stability in the region through dialogue and determined action. Thank you for your commitment, and please accept my best wishes for a successful Conference.

End of quote.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please accept my open invitation for all of you to work hand in hand with the UNAOC, the organization that I am entrusted to lead in service of humanity. I look forward for concrete engagement with your organizations and personally with you, to develop many important initiatives for our collective security and stability.

I sincerely wish you a successful meeting.

Thank you

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Remarks by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, at the Forum on Global Citizenship

Remarks
By
H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
At
The Forum on Global Citizenship
November  18, 2014
(Delivered on his behalf by Nihal Saad, Spokesperson for the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,
Good morning,

H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations couldn’t be here today as he is in Vienna representing the UN Secretary General at a conference titled “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion”. Mr. Al-Nasser asked me to deliver remarks on his behalf :

When someone turns 50… the big five zero… he or she would say “age is just a number”. Not so in the life cycle of news organizations, especially IPS. Because IPS fifty years on, continues to provide in depth news from journalists from all around the world. As it turned fifty, it enters a new phase if its life that adapts to the events that are transforming our world today – primarily globalization with all its advantages and shortcomings. We, at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations are very proud of our partnership with IPS and I was honored to Chair its board for the past years.

I am very pleased to be addressing this forum on Global Citizenship , a topic that I had the opportunity to talk about in multiple occasions against the backdrop of the opportunities and challenges of Globalization.

Globalization has been welcomed and embraced as a paradigm of economic and social interdependence and linkage among states, particularly areas of finance, markets, trade, technology, media and communications as well as education.

In fact, the UN Secretary General has identified Global Citizenship as the third priority area  in his Global Education First initiative. The reason for that is that Education, which is one of the four key areas of focus for the Alliance of Civilizations, is much more than an entry point to the job market.

It has the power to shape a sustainable future and better world. Educational policies should promote peace, mutual respect and environmental care. It does not suffice for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education should and must bring shared values to life. It must cultivate a sense of caring and belonging to the global world which all we share as human beings.

Nurturing the noble values of peace, human rights, respect of the other, cultural diversity and justice in the younger minds is key . Those values which are often absent from today’s curricula and textbooks is an impediment to raising a generation perceptive of social, cultural and religious diversity. Sadly, today’s textbooks often reinforce stereotypes, and foster fear of the other rather than fostering the bonding value of the culture of peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear colleagues,

As you all know too well, the peaceful and prosperous co-existence of people and nations is the cornerstone of the United Nations mission. We are bound together as the international community in the belief that despite different cultures, languages and religions, there are fundamental shared values and principles that underpin our humanity.

We are bound together, as the UN family because we recognize that is through the celebration of diversity as well as promotion of tolerance and dispelling fear of the other that we build a more peaceful world. And because we are bound together, we understand that citizens of the world share common problems that require global solutions.

To conclude, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this important and timely issue.

I wish you fruitful discussion.

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Remarks by the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations at the Symposium on the Protection of Religious Minorities Worldwide

Remarks
By
H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations
At
The Symposium on the Protection of Religious Minorities Worldwide
13 November 2014 – ECOSOC – UNHQ

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by saying that I am very pleased to convene this symposium co-organized with Pax Romana on a timely subject that addresses key issues that challenge minority communities, in particular religious minorities and States in all regions.

The rights of Minorities and the principles of non-discrimination are inherent in the UN Charter and various international treaties and declarations. Foremost among these is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. Almost two years ago, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the adoption by all Member States at the General Assembly in 1992 of this essential declaration, which marked a global recognition that the rights of minorities everywhere must be respected, protected and promoted in the face of continuing violations of the rights of those belonging to certain communities.

As a major United Nations instrument that specifically addressed the special rights of minorities, the Declaration can be viewed as a point of reference for the international community. Yet, much remains to be done to make the rights stipulated in this Declaration a reality. Today, many ethnic and religious minorities continue to face discrimination, marginalization and exclusion, let alone systematic persecution in some countries that amounts to crimes against humanity.

In that respect, the United Nations is all too aware of the dangers of intolerance when it comes to minority populations. The United Nations Secretary General himself has taken up this cause saying : “The United Nations work to promote tolerance is fundamental to both conflict prevention and peace-building. Without tolerance, our work on development and good governance would achieve little”.

Allow me to remind you that in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document , which is the same world gathering that re-affirmed the role of UNAOC as a platform for dialogue, all Heads of State and Government committed to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, including their incitement , and to provide assistance to states under stress to fulfil their responsibilities towards their populations.

In that sense, UNAOC takes these facts seriously when conducting its mission since minorities are the vulnerable parties who become the subject of discrimination and xenophobia. This is where the four pillars of the Alliance of Civilizations come into play, namely Youth, Education, Media and Migration.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In today’s globalized world, multi-ethnic communities and religious pluralism weave the fabric of our diverse societies. Sadly, some myths resist reality and a majority group or a dominant religion or culture in countries around the world seek to impose their beliefs or identity on other groups who are a minority.

I see a world today grappling with a rising wave of hostility and extremism, and this poses serious threats to the establishment, promotion and advancement of the Post-2015 development Agenda; especially to the eleventh and sixteenth goals of the SDGs. I cannot stress enough the fact that peace & security and sustainable development are a “two-way relationship.”

Hostility towards the other is manifested in demonstrating intolerance and extremism that escalates to violence, and too often, to systematic persecution. The innocent victims of such criminal acts are usually the vulnerable populations including religious minorities. Sectarian violence is dividing societies, fueling violent conflicts and feeding the furnace of intolerance.

Extremists and radical ideologues misuse religion and incite hatred to foster hostility towards other minorities who embrace different beliefs or faiths. By doing so, those fundamentalists contradict the most sacred tenets of sacred faiths.

None of the faiths, all existing faiths advocates for violence or intolerance.

On the other hand, at the States level, a growing number of governments are imposing restrictions on religious beliefs and practices by minority religious groups, hence nurturing a conflict-ridden environment and enflaming sectarianism.

Wherever communities believe they face persistent discrimination, humiliation, or marginalization based on ethnic , religious or other identity markers, they are likely to assert their identity more aggressively. This is where we see those who try to enflame the feelings of resentment and collective anger.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I ask the question: What can be done? There is a lot of work ahead of us.
But let’s first agree to the notion that intolerance and violence are obstacles to peace and security in any given society and in the world where we all live.

Governments, the international community, religious and political leaders have a shared responsibility to confront and curb hostility towards minorities.

Good governance plays a vital role in including minorities in societies and protecting their rights and interests. States should contribute to the elimination of negative stereotypes against individuals on the basis of their religion or belief, in particular members of religious minorities.

Education programmes, awareness-raising campaigns, monitoring and preventing hate speech , interreligious and intercultural dialogue initiatives can help broaden horizons towards an appreciation of the real diversity and creativity of human beings in this universe.

I would like to take a moment to explain how all this relates to the work and the mission of the Alliance of Civilizations.

The Alliance is one entity in the UN that is particularly devoted to fostering inter-cultural and interreligious dialogue and promoting tolerance. We strive to achieve this goal through wide-ranging approaches to our four pillars which I mentioned earlier with the added priorities of sports, music and the arts.

Recognizing the vital role of religious leaders and faith-based organizations in promoting tolerance and curbing incitement , we at the Alliance , are now working more closely with relevant UN Departments and agencies to ensure that the voices of faith-based communities are heard when we discuss these controversial topics. We continue to work to bring more religious leaders into the mainstream of the UN’s activities around conflict resolution and mediation.

When it comes to media, the modern media is a source of information for many people.

This industry can, therefore, greatly influence public opinion and shape perceptions.

Media can be used as a propaganda machine presenting a distorted view of particular issues, thus fueling hatred and violence. It can also play a constructive role. For that reason, we have been particularly active in skill- building with training for media professionals. We had recently launched a media-friendly glossary on the coverage of migration, thus providing journalists covering migration and migrant-related culturally sensitive issues with a viable tool. By doing so, UNAOC is contributing to strengthening discussions among media professionals on ways of improving standards of reporting to avoid intolerance and hate speech towards minorities. We are now in the early stages of developing a project on monitoring Hate Speech & Incitement.

The Alliance has developed programs that ensure a diversity of voices and free quality content. We continue to create opportunities for young men and women to launch for-profit social enterprises, and empower youth by educating them on the values of tolerance, diversity and respect of the other, therefore, providing them with opportunities to be leaders of social change within their own communities. Our initiatives are based on the conviction that youth are the driving force for change, and education, formal and non-formal is the ultimate short, medium and long-term solution to secure lasting change in the future.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,

Let me conclude by re-affirming that the protection of religious minorities worldwide is an integral part of the protection of human rights. It is our collective responsibility, as international community, governments, NGOs, religious and political leaders and educational institutions to collaborate together to achieve this goal.
Thank you and I wish you fruitful discussions.

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PLURAL+ 2014 Youth Video Festival Awards Ceremony

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are proud to announce The PLURAL+ 2014 International Jury Award Winners from Spain, Canada and Jordan. The PLURAL+ 2014 winners will accept their awards and share their videos on December 4th, 2014.

Admission is free of charge. Everyone is welcome.

PLURAL+ is a youth video festival focusing on migration, diversity and social inclusion, emphasizing intercultural dialogue, youth expression and the desire for peace and better understanding world-wide. It is a joint initiative of the UNAOC and IOM, with the support of many partner organizations from across the world. Over the last six years, PLURAL+ has received over 950 video entries representing 113 countries from around the world.

The 2014 winners of the PLURAL + International Jury Awards for the age categories of 9-12, 13-17 and 18-25, respectively, are: Aldo Abril, Mauricio Buendía, Sofía Marvizón, César Hernández, María Hernández and the team from Telekids Workshop (Spain); Michael Born, William Snyder, Matthew Steinman & Nathan Martin (Canada); and Al-Mothana Al-Ghizzawi and Anas Yahya from BlueLight Film Productions (Jordan).

With the support of PLURAL+ Partners, other award winning videos will be screened and discussed prior to the International Jury Award Ceremony during the daytime workshops. These videos include entries from India, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Palestine, Dominican Republic and Malaysia, among other countries. Many of the youth video makers will be in New York attending the workshops and the Awards Ceremony.

The Partner Award Workshops will take place from 4pm to 6.30pm.

The International Jury Awards Ceremony will start at 7pm.
Followed by a reception sponsored by CW Film Foundation.

The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street, Manhattan.

All events are free and open to the public.

To RSVP please click HERE.

For more information on PLURAL+, please visit http://pluralplus.unaoc.org/.

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United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group Host a Capacity Building Workshop for Recipients of the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award

Strategic communication, planning and implementation were the main focus of a capacity building workshop for ten recipients of the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award. Hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group, the workshop took place at BMW Group Headquarters in Munich, Germany from October 12 to October 17, 2014.

Participants from Italy, Australia, Lebanon, Sweden, Germany, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, USA and Rwanda participated in various training sessions designed to build their capacity with a view to enhance the long-term effect and sustainability of their projects, such that their initiative can expand and replicate in other contexts. The first part of the event focused on strategic planning, implementation and impact analysis. Experienced trainers explored with the attendees case studies, success stories, and experiential group learning to develop a strategic plan for their individual projects. The second part of the workshop focused on the communications aspect of the workshop, where attendees received training on public speaking and media, with the chance to participate in mock interviews in a real television studio. The highlight of the workshop was the opportunity for awardees to interact with BMW Group managers, with a simulation of a pitch to potential sponsors. Awardees were asked to “sell” their own projects and received invaluable feedback from BMW Group employees.

The training in Munich is part of the one-year support program provided to finalists of the Intercultural Innovation Award, whose mandate is to select highly innovative grassroots and sustainable projects of non-profit organisations that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, while making vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies. The Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) was established in 2011 by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group in a historic partnership geared towards creating a new model for collaboration between the private sector and the UN system.

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Global Citizen Forum “Globalization & Sustainable Development: The Role of Government, NGO’s & the Private Sector”

Sponsor: United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Organizers: Universal Peace Federation and Global Citizen Forum
UN DAG HAMMARSKJOLD AUDITORIUM

October 31, 2014
NEW YORK

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today for this very special event that the UNAOC is sponsoring and co-organized by Universal Peace Federation and Global Citizen Forum.
I have had many opportunities to work with Dr. Thomas Walsh and to support his organization in its interreligious and intercultural activities dedicated to building peace between nations leaning on families and spirituality. We are happy to count him and Taj Ahmad among our friends in our search for solutions to global problems.
I am very pleased to introduce an accomplished businessman and philanthropist Dr. Modi. He has been highly active in developing intercultural and interfaith understanding, focusing on how to bridge the gap between artificial boundaries and the real world through technology. I can say that the Global Citizenship Program serves as a shining example of the transformative power of technology in changing hatred into understanding.
I now welcome the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities of globalization and sustainable development, which encompass both complementary and contradictory themes.
Globalization has been welcomed and embraced as a paradigm of economic and social interdependence and linkage among states, particularly in the areas of finance, markets, trade, technology, media and communication.
The social and economic advances brought by globalization through technological innovation may serve to help us in our daily lives easing our activities. But it is much more than this.
It represents a soft power tool that allows us to bring peace and to bring communities closer. And in this search to advance security and sustainable development, governments, NGO’s and the private sectors play an essential role.
Globalization can facilitate the achievement of sustainable development goals through improved integration between countries, better technology and improved communication. Sustainable development, however represents, a different trajectory for development. With sustainable development, we are not talking simply about economic growth, but also about the impact of economic growth on the environment and the social structure of countries.
And, if countries are to gain the benefits of globalization, the task of public policy must be to preserve and advance social, cultural and environmental values. In this sense, the demands of globalization and of the Sustainable Development Goals increase the importance of government policy and international cooperation.
To succeed in dealing with these challenges, we need stable and predictable governance that includes widespread civic participation and partnerships at different levels of society. This implies a vision of governance that integrates, rather than further fragments, public policies, actions and institutions. It means a “whole of government” approach that fully incorporates the values of civil society, the private sector and non-governmental organizations in decision-making.
Interaction and partnerships between NGOs, governments and the corporate sector are proving highly dynamic and rapidly evolving. At present two distinct approaches are evident.
At one end of the spectrum, some NGOs continue to pursue a confrontational approach, applying a wide range of campaign strategies such as provocation, consumer boycotts, litigation and direct protest.
At the other end, a growing number of NGOs, have entered strategic partnership with multinational corporations recognizing that corporations can become effective role models or advocates for broader societal concerns.
We should be aware however that the expanding role of NGOs in governance has implications for public debate and policy making in terms of their legitimacy and accountability. NGOs bring with them new implications for democratic engagement.
Finally, globalization and sustainable development are issues that transcend national boundaries and cultures. Thus, we must use the benefits of contemporary innovations and economic development not only to address them; but to find the adequate long-term solutions.
Let us focus on initiatives based on the business, technology and social sectors; ones aligned with the Post-2015 Development Agenda. I personally wish that this meeting brings better understanding of the sustainable development Goals and the role of Government, NGOs and Private Sector in contributing to their implementation through an enhanced learning, and dialogue.
I also expect that all participants will learn from each other’s experiences, share ideas, and formulate the best ways to engage themselves and create a plan of action in achieving sustainable development through the means of dialogue.

I thank you for your attention.

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FIRST WORLD CITIES DAY People-centered Urbanization, Managing Ethnic Diversity in Today’s Cities

ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
New York – Friday, 31 October, 2014 – 9.30 am

Your Excellency Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa ,President of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly,
Your Excellency, Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations and Vice President of the UN Economic and Social Council,
Your Excellency, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of the Popular Republic of China to the United Nations,
Distinguished guests,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In my role of High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, I am very honoured to co-host the first World Cities Day together with UN-Habitat, the Permanent Mission of Italy and the Permanent mission of China to the United Nations.
In 2005, when the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was created with the aim of countering polarization and extremism by promoting tolerance and cultural diversity within and among societies, most of the world population was living in the countryside.
Today, only 9 years later, for the first time in human history, more than half of the world’s population is recorded to be living in towns and cities. This number is constantly on the rise and is expected to reach almost five billion by 2030.
Given their very nature, complex geographical areas with a very high concentration of diversity, cities are the spaces where many of today’s challenges are faced for the first time. World leaders often watch carefully the ways that cities manage their challenges because local administrators can identify solutions that can be scaled up to meet national and international challenges.
Managing diversity is therefore a day-to-day challenge for local authorities. Global public debate has addressed the issue of the environmental, economic and demographic sustainability of cities. However, cultural and religious dimensions are a crucial element of this equation.
A sustainable city is one where communities with different cultural and religious backgrounds are able to contribute to the well-being of their own societies. As migrants from different cultural and religious backgrounds should contribute to the well-being of these cities, sustainable cities must also empower migrants by giving them equal opportunities and support for their social integration.
Historically, urban spaces have been the theatre of segregation and artificial separation that have been sources of violence and for long-lasting pain. Minorities and migrants have been at times limited in their freedom to select housing, resulting in the development of ghettos, their use of public transportation has been restricted. In short, they have been treated as second class citizens.

Today, the international community is well aware of the pain suffered by minorities and migrants in the past. However, issues posed by concentrated urban contexts remain a challenge for most local administrators around the world.

The riots that suddenly hit some European cities in 2005 and 2011 reminded us that marginalization could produce violent and irrational phenomenon.
The lesson we draw from what happened then is that in an era of unprecedented mobility, migration and the resulting growth in cultural and ethnic diversity have become key topics of debate on a global but also a local level.
International Organizations, national and regional governments, and civil society are all engaged in dialogues on how to address the issue of integration at the city level, ensuring that communities are establishing the right initiatives to support the successful integration of migrants into host societies.
The UN Economic and Social Council is the entity that officially deals with civil society organizations within the UN system. I am therefore pleased to see that in this ECOSOC Chamber today there is a good number of civil society organizations represented.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations relies on civil society organizations in order to listen to suggestions that can be scalable and replicable in other contexts. Some of the partners we are honored to collaborate with, such as CRT Foundation and as well some of the youth who are participating in our programmes, Entrepreneurs for Social Change and the Youth Solidarity Fund, will showcase some good practices of social inclusion in urban settings.
However, my message goes to all present in this room. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is an open laboratory of ideas that bridge successful civil society activities with the highest political and institutional level.
We are therefore eager to listen to other case studies and best practices, which can be an opportunity of mutual learning for all.
I thank you all for your attention and I wish you a successful continuation of this event.

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Media Advisory Globalization and Sustainable Development : The Role of Governments, NGOs and the Private Sector

October 31, 2014 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm)

What : The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the Universal Peace Federation and the Global Citizens Forum are organizing a meeting on Globalization and Sustainable Development : the Role of Governments, NGOs and the Private Sector. The interactive discussion will focus on how to use the private and public investment to foster inclusivity and harmony, best practices for achieving the SDGs and the revitalization of the UN system towards achieving the SDGs.

Who : Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, The UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations , Dr. B.K. Modi, Founder & President of Global Citizen Forum, Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of Universal Peace Federation, Ms. Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer of IOM.

When : Friday, 31 October 2014 (10:00 am-12:30 pm)

Where : UN Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium

Meeting is open to the media. For further information, check attached program and concept note.

Press contact : Ms. Nihal Saad, Spokesperson for the UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, saadn@un.org

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Media Advisory World Cities Day 2014 Leading Urban Transformations

October 31, 2014 (9:30-12:30)

What : On the occasion of World Cities Day, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, The Permanent Mission of Italy, the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) are organizing an interactive discussion between international organizations, governments, mayors and civil society representatives on the need to pursue people-centered urbanization and manage social inclusion and diversity in today’s cities. The event aims at sharing ideas on how to enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and how to empower migrants for effective integration in cities.

Who : Opening remarks by Mrs. Maria Emma Meja Velez, VP of ECOSOC , President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (tbc), The UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, The PR of Italy , Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the PR of China. A panel of experts will lead the discussions after the opening segment.

When : Friday, 31 October, 2014 (9:30 am – 12:30 pm)

Where : ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Event is open to the media. See attached Programme and concept note.

For more information, contact Ms. Francesca De Ferrari (deferrari@un.org) and go to http://unhabitat.org/wcd/

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