Meeting on Rejecting Violent Extremism and Advancing Shared Well-being

Meeting on Rejecting Violent Extremism and Advancing Shared Well-being
Abu Dhabi – New York , December 18, 2014

The High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser addressed an emergency meeting on “Rejecting Violent Religious Extremism and Advancing Shared Well-being,” held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 12-13 December, 2014. Click here for the High Representative’s full remarks in (English) and (Arabic).

Participants in the meeting co-organized by the Religions for Peace (RfP) Executive Committee and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies Abu Dhabi, rejected every form of violent religious extremism, noting that they were “false religious ideologies of hatred, not Peace”.

The meeting was co-moderated by, His Eminence Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General of RfP and His Eminence Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Abu Dhabi Statement and a relevant Action plan was adopted unanimously by all participants. The statement while categorically rejecting all forms of violent extremism, urged for the need to forge a multi-religious response  to such extremism. It called on the United Nations, notably the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Governments and other stakeholders to facilitate forming alliances to counter violent extremism.

Both documents will serve as a blueprint for on-the-ground-multi-religious action. Click here for the Abu Dhabi Statement in (English) and (Arabic).

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, who held a meeting with the participants, encouraged them to continue their work in the area of combating violent religious extremism and expressed his strong support for the collaboration between RfP and the Forum.

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Remarks by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser before the meeting on advancing a multi-religious response to violent religious extremism (in Arabic)

سماحة الشيخ عبد الله بن بيَّه، رئيس منتدى تعزيز السلام في المجتمعات المسلمة،

الدكتور ويليام فِندلي، الأمين العام لمنظمة أديان من أجل السلام،

أصحاب السيادة،

أصحاب السعادة،

السيدات والسادة،

أود بدايةً أن أشكر للشيخ عبد الله بن بيَّه والدكتور ويليام فِندلي دعوتي إلى التحدث أمام هذا المنتدى الهام المنعقد في التوقيت المناسب،حول تقديمالادين تعمل معا لمواجهة التطرف و العنف. إن تحالف حضارات الأمم المتحدة يثمِّن عاليا جهود الشيخ بن بيَّة في مجال الحوار بين الأديان وبناء السلام. وأود أيضا أن أشيد بالدكتور ويليام فِندلي لالتزامه المثير للإعجاب بتعزيز القيم الجماعية والمشتركة، ولاسيما انخراطه المستمر في العمل مع التحالف.

اسمحوا لي أن أبدأ بالعودة في الذاكرة لنُمعِن النظر في الأحداث التي ما برحت تؤثر على عالمنا في الأشهر القليلة الماضية. فنحن نرى ارتفاعا في موجة التطرف والنزعة إلى التشدد. إن مواجهة آفة التطرف العنيف تمثل تحديا خطيرا للسلام والأمن الدوليين. والأمم المتحدة مُدركةٌ لمدى جدية هذا التهديد وهي اعتمدت استراتيجية خاصة بها للتصدي لهذه المسألة. وكما يعلم الجميع، إن السواد الأعظم من أسوأ الهجمات الإرهابية التي وقعت في السنوات الأخيرة ناجمة عن أعمال قام بها متطرفون دينيون. بيد أنه ينبغي لنا أيضا أن نسلِّم بأن الإرهاب يمكن أن يتخذ أشكالا أخرى وأن تقوم به جماعات أيديولوجية أخرى ودول وكيانات أخرى وأفراد آخرون.

في أيلول/سبتمبر من هذا العام، اتخذ بالإجماع مجلسُ الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة قرارا تاريخيا يهدف إلى وقف تدفق المتطرفين الأجانب إلى ساحات القتال في جميع أنحاء العالم.

ويطلب القرار 2178 من الدول الأعضاء اتخاذَ خطوات محددة من أجل منع المشتبه في أنهم مقاتلون إرهابيون أجانب من دخول أراضيها أو المرور عبرها، وتطبيقَ القوانين من أجل محاكمة هؤلاء المقاتلين. كما يدعو الدولَ أيضا إلى القيام بخطوات عدة من أجل تحسين التعاون الدولي في هذا المجال، من قبيل تبادل المعلومات عن التحقيقات الجنائية، وسبل منعهم وملاحقتهم القضائية.

والمهم في الأمر هو أن هذا القرار اتُخذ بموجب الفصل السابع من ميثاق الأمم المتحدة، الذي يوفر الإطارَ الذي يتيح لمجلس الأمن أن يتخذ ضمنَه الإجراءات اللازمة لإنفاذ قراراته. ويأذن هذا الفصلُ تحديدا للمجلس بأن “يقرر [...] ما إذا كان قد وقع تهديد للسلم أو إخلال به أو كان ما وقع عملاً من أعمال العدوان” وبأن يقدم في ذلك توصياته أو بأن يلجأ إلى عمل عسكري أو غير عسكري “لحفظ السلام والأمن الدوليين أو إعادتهما إلى نصابهما”.

كما يشدد الفصل السابع على الطابع الإلزامي بالنسبة إلى الدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة في ما يتعلق بالتدابير المفروضة وهو يتضمن أحكاما تدعو إلى اتخاذ إجراءات إنفاذاً للقرارات المتخذة.

إن جدِّية الإجراءات التي يتخذها المجلس تعكس خطورة الوضع السائد على الأرض. فقد ارتفع عدد المقاتلين الإرهابيين الأجانب في سوريا والعراق إلى ما يزيد عن 000 15 شخص ينتمون إلى أكثر من 80 بلدا. وعَلِمنا مؤخرا أن ما يصل إلى 000 3 من هؤلاء المقاتلين هم من مواطني الاتحاد الأوروبي.

وفي ما هو أبعد من التهديد الذي تشكله إمكانية عودة هؤلاء المقاتلين إلى ديارهم، أود أن أتطرق بشكلٍ مقتضب إلى البلدان التي لا يزال النزاع العنيف دائرا فيها، حيث لا تزال الجماعات الإرهابية التي تحفزها أيديولوجيات متطرفة – مثل داعش وجبهة النصرة في العراق وسوريا، وتنظيم بوكو حرام في نيجيريا والكاميرون، وحركة الشباب في الصومال وكينيا – تقوم بأعمال وحشية، وتعيث فسادا وتتسبب بمعاناةٍ لا توصف في صفوف المدنيين، بمن فيهم الأطفال والنساء. وفي كل هذه الحالات الثلاث، يتلطى الجناة وراء الإسلام لتبرير أعمالهم.

وببروز التطرف العنيف المعلَّل بتبريرٍ ديني، على نحو جعلَ منه أداةً للنقاش السياسي في مجالات مختلفة، بتنا اليوم نرى العالم يتخبط في أزمة. فهذا الواقع يشكل تهديدات جدّية للقانون والنظام الدوليين وللسلام والأمن العالميين. والمهم في الأمر هو أن هذا الواقع يحمل في طياته تحديات لخطة العمل العالمية المتعلقة بمستقبل المجتمعات ويشكل انتكاسةً لمؤشراتٍ متعددة تتعلق بخطة التنمية المستدامة لما بعد عام 2015.

ومع أنني أعتقد أنه يجب الحفاظ على إيلاء الأولوية للقرار 2178 تحديدا، وإنفاذ القانون عموما، باعتباره إحدى وسائل مكافحة الإرهاب، فإن النجاح الطويل الأجل يعتمد على اتّباع مقارَباتٍ استراتيجية لمعالجة الظروف المفضية إلى انتشار الإرهاب.

وينبغي لهذه الاستراتيجيات، في جزء كبير منها، أن تقوم على مكافحة الأيديولوجيات التي تسهم في تبرير القضايا الإرهابية وفي استقطاب الدعم لها. فالأيديولوجية أداة قوية من أدوات تعبئة. لذا ليس من المستغرب أن يستغل المتطرفون الدينَ تحقيقا لغاياتهم السياسية – أو الأطرَ عينَها التي يستخدمها البشر لإضفاء معنى على وجودهم على هذا الكوكب وتحديد سلوكهم في ضوئها. فالمنظمات المتطرفة تتوسل تحريفَ المبادئ الدينية في تنظيمها الداخلي وفي تبرير أعمالها وتعبئة الدعم الشعبي لها.

من هنا الأهمية الحيوية التي يتسم بها عمل الشيخ عبد الله بن بيَّه بإصداره فتوى ضد تنظيم بوكو حرام في نيجيريا في أيار/مايو 2014، وضد داعش في سوريا والعراق في أيلول/سبتمبر من هذا العام. وأنا أوافق تماما على دعوة الشيخ بن بيَّه إلى إجراء حوار حول مبادئ الإسلام الحقيقية وأتفق معه في اقتناعه بأن التصدي للتطرف وللنزعة إلى التشدد سيستغرق وقتا إلا أنه خير وقتٍ يمكن قضاؤه لأن العمل العسكري وحده لن يقوم بالعمل المطلوب. وهذا هو بالضبط السبب الذي نحن مجتمعون كلنا من أجله هنا اليوم.

وعلى غرار المجتمع الدولي، أنا أؤمن بقوة بأنه يتعين علينا توفير بدائل مجدية قابلة للاستمرار، لأوجُه تحريف الدين التي ينشرها الإرهابيون.

وبالنسبة إلى الشباب المسلم، ينبغي لممارستهم للإسلام على المستوى الشخصي أن تكون مصدر إلهام للعيش في العالم بطريقة تسلِّم بأن الترابط والتكافل هما في صُلب وجود البشر، وأن ترصّ صفوفَهم في سبيل خدمة وتحسين العالم وحياة كل مَن هم حولَهم.

هذا هو السبب الذي يحمل تحالف حضارات الأمم المتحدة، وهي المنظمة التي أقودها، على التعاطي بشكل مباشر مع الشباب كي نوفر لهم منبرا يُسمعون منه صوتَهم في المناقشات السياسية الأوسع نطاقا في المجتمعات التي يعيشون فيها. إننا نؤمن إيمانا راسخا بأن هذا هو أكثر السبل فعالية وقابلية للاستمرار من أجل توفير بديل من النزعة إلى التطرف.

ونحن نعمل أيضا مع الزعماء الدينيين في أنحاء مختلفة من العالم، غالبا من خلال شراكةٍ طويلة العهد مع منظمة “أديان من أجل السلام”، من أجل إسماع صوتهم والعمل على نحو أكثر فعالية لنشر رسائل التعددية في أوساطهم.

كما نعمل مع الصحافيين. فعلى سبيل المثال، نظَّمنا مؤخرا الحلقةَ الأولى من سلسلةٍ من أوجه التعاون مع صحافيي الاغتراب الصوماليين المنتشرين في أنحاء أوروبا وأميركا الشمالية في مجال الخطاب الإعلامي المعتمد سواء كان هذا الخطاب يبلسم جراح مجتمعاتهم أو يُمعِن في نكء جراحها. وكان هذا العمل مجديا، ولكن بالنظر إلى أن معظم عملنا قائم على التعاطي المباشر، فنحن نسعى إلى تحسينه باستمرار، ووجدنا بالتالي أنه ما زال يمكننا القيام بالمزيد.

ولكن من الأهمية بمكان أيضا أن نتذكر أن المسألة ليست مجرد إسماع صرخة الأصوات المهمَّشة وتعميم مراعاتها في المجال السياسي. فالظروف الاجتماعية والاقتصادية داخل المجتمعات المحلية وفي ما بينها مهمة هي أيضا. ونحن لا يمكننا أن نقلل من شأن العلاقة بين النزعة إلى التشدد والتطرف والعنف، من جهة، والتنمية الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، من جهة أخرى، فانعدام التنمية يمكن أن يهيئ الظروف للنزعة إلى التشدد التي يمكن فيها للتطرف العنيف أن يعوق التقدم المحرز من أجل التنمية.

بتعبير آخر، وعلى غرار المجتمع الدولي، يجب أيضا على برامج انخراطنا في العمل مع المجتمعات المحلية أن تجد حلولا حقيقية وفعالة لما تواجهه تلك المجتمعات من صعوبات اجتماعية واقتصادية.

هذا هو الواقع الذي يسلِّم به الهدفان الحادي عشر والسادس عشر من أهداف التنمية المستدامة، اللذان يتناولان العلاقة بين النزاع العنيف وتحقيق التنمية المستدامة، ويدعوان إلى رصد الموارد لزيادة قدرات المجتمعات المحلية على الصمود في وجه تلك الصعوبات.

وإلى جانب الزعماء الدينيين، يجب على الحكومات أن تضطلع بدور حيوي في مواجهة هذه التحديات من خلال انتهاج سياسات وقائية فعالة وزيادة التركيز على عمليات تحقيق الاستقرار في الحالات التي يتكرر فيها العنف؛ واستهداف العوامل المؤدية إلى التطرف؛ ورصد موارد كافية بصورة عادلة بين الفئات الديموغرافية المختلفة.

وأخيرا، إن تحالف حضارات الأمم المتحدة، بوصفه الكيان الرائد في الأمانة العامة للأمم المتحدة في مساعدة البلدان على مواجهة التحديات العالمية ذات الأبعاد المشتركة بين الأديان والثقافات، هو على أهبة الاستعداد لدعم الدول الأعضاء في التصدي لحالات التوتر المتزايدة التي يمكن أن تتخذ شكل نزعة إلى التشدد أو عنف أو تطرف.

أشكر لكم  حسن إصغائكم.

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Remarks by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser before the meeting on advancing a multi-religious response to violent religious extremism (in English)

Remarks
by
H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

The United Nations High Representative
for the Alliance of Civilizations

before
The Meeting on Advancing a Multi-Religious Response to Violent Religious Extremism

Abu Dhabi – December 12-13, 2014

Shaikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of Forum for Peace in Muslim Societies
Dr. William Vendley, Secretary-General of Religions for Peace

Your Eminences,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

At the outset, I would like to thank Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and Dr. William Vendley for inviting me to address this important and timely forum on advancing a multi-religious response to violent religious extremism. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations highly values the work of Shaykh Bin Bayyah in inter-religious dialogue and peace-building. I would also like to applaud Dr. William Vendley’s commitment to promoting shared and common values, particularly his constant engagement with the Alliance.

Let me begin by looking back at the events that have been shaping our world in the past few months. We see a rising wave of extremism and radicalization. Facing the scourge of violent extremism constitute a serious challenge to global peace and security. The United Nations recognizes the significance of the threat and has adopted its own strategy to deal with the issue. It would be stating the obvious to say that much of the worst terrorist attacks of recent years have been the work of religious extremists. But we should also acknowledge that terrorism can take other shapes and can be perpetrated by other ideological groups, states and other entities and individuals.

In September of this year, the Security Council of the United Nations unanimously approved a historic resolution aimed at stopping the flow of foreign extremists to battlefields around the world.

Resolution 2178 requires Member States to take specific steps to prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from entering or transiting their territories and to implement legislation to prosecute such fighters. It also calls on states to take various steps to improve international cooperation in this field, such as by sharing information on criminal investigations, interdictions and prosecutions.

Significantly, this Resolution was passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides the framework within which the Security Council may take enforcement action. Specifically, it allows the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to make recommendations or to resort to non-military and military action to “maintain or restore international peace and security”. Chapter VII also underlines the mandatory nature for UN Member States of those measures imposed and contains provisions that call for action to carry out the decisions adopted.

The seriousness of the Council’s actions reflects the gravity of the situation on the ground. The number of foreign terrorist fighters in the Syria and Iraq conflicts has grown to over 15,000 from more than 80 countries. We recently learned that of these fighters, up to 3000 are EU citizens.

Beyond the specter of these fighters returning home, to speak for a moment of the countries where violent conflict is ongoing, terrorist groups spurred by extremist ideologies — such as Da’esh and the Al-Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon and Al-Shabab in Somalia and Kenya – continue to carry out brutal acts, wreak havoc, and cause untold suffering to civilians, including young children and women. In the case of all three examples, the perpetrators are using Islam to justify their actions.

With the rise of religiously justified violent extremism, as a tool of political debate in many different areas, we are witnessing a world in crisis. This poses serious threats to international law and order and global peace and security. Crucially, it also challenges the global agenda for the future of societies and sets back multiple indicators on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

While I believe that Resolution 2178 specifically and law enforcement more broadly, as a means of combating terrorism, must remain a priority, long-term success depends on strategic approaches to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

A big part of this comes from, countering the ideologies that help justify and build support for terrorist causes. Ideology is a powerful mobilizing tool. It is no surprise that extremists usurp religion for their own political ends—or the very frameworks that human beings use to make sense of their lives on this planet and to inform their conduct thereof. Extremist organizations use perversions of religious tenets to organize internally, to justify their actions, and to mobilize popular support.

This is why the work of Shaikh Abdullah bin Bayyah in issuing a fatwa against Boko Haram in Nigeria in May 2014 and against Da’esh in Syria and Iraq in September of this year is absolutely vital. I totally agree with Shaykh bin Bayyah’s call for dialogue about the true tenets of Islam and his conviction that addressing extremism and radicalization will take time but that it is time worth spending because military action alone won’t work. This is precisely why we are all gathered here today.

As the international community, I firmly believe that it is incumbent on us to provide viable, meaningful alternatives to the perversions of religion that terrorists propagate.

For young Muslims, their personal practice of Islam should be a source of inspiration for being in the world in a way that both recognizes the interdependence at the heart of human existence, and marshals them to serve to improve the world and the lives of everyone around them.

This is why at the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the organization I lead, we work directly with young people to provide them with a platform to mainstream their voices in broader political discussions in the societies in which they live. We firmly believe that this is the most viable and effective way to provide an alternative to radicalization.

We also work with religious leaders in many different parts of the world, often through our longstanding partnership with Religions for Peace, to amplify their voices and more effectively disseminate messages of pluralism to their constituencies.

We also work with journalists. As an example, we recently held the first in a series of collaborations with Somali diaspora journalists from across Europe and North America on narratives that heal and narratives that harm their communities. This has been meaningful work, but as so much of our work is iterative, we are seeking constant improvement, and so we have found that there is more we can do.

But it is also crucial to remember that the issue is not just one of narratives and political mainstreaming of marginalized voices. Socioeconomic conditions within and across communities also matter. We cannot understate the relationship between radicalization-extremism-violence and economic and social development, where the absence of development can create the conditions for radicalization, and where the existence of violent extremism can impede advances toward development.

In other words, as the international community, our engagement programs with local communities must also generate real and effective solutions to their socioeconomic difficulties.

This fact is recognized in the eleventh and sixteenth goals of the Sustainable Development Goals, which speak to the relationship between violent conflict and sustainable development, and call for resources to be dedicated to building greater resiliency in communities.

Alongside religious leaders, governments must play a critical role in addressing these challenges through active prevention-oriented policies and an increased focus on stabilization processes where violence is recurrent; on the targeting of the drivers of extremism; and on allocating adequate resources justly across different demographic groups.

Finally, as the lead entity of the UN Secretariat in assisting countries to address global challenges with interfaith and intercultural dimensions, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) stands ready to support Member States in addressing rising tensions that appear through the faces of radicalization, violence and extremism.

I thank you.

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UNAOC and IOM Announce Plural+ 2014 Award Winners

On Thursday 4 December the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced the PLURAL+ 2014 Award Winners at the Paley Center for Media in New York City.

The International Jury Award winners for the video entries of the age category of up to 12 years are Aldo Abril, Mauricio Buendía, Sofía Marvizón, César Hernández, María Hernández and the team from Telekids Workshop (Spain); for the age group 13-17 are Michael Born, William Snyder, Matthew Steinman & Nathan Martin (Canada); and 18-25 age category Al-Mothana Al-Ghizzawi and Anas Yahya from BlueLight Film Productions (Jordan). Ms. Kim Brizzolara and Mr. Laurent Imbault, both members of the PLURAL+ 2014 International Jury, presented the awards to the winners.

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Photo: UNAOC/Verlaine Soobroydoo

Addressing the gathering, The United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser underlined that “PLURAL+ is another example of UNAOC’s commitment to supporting youth empowerment with the aim of mainstreaming the voices of young people in media regarding topics that truly touch and influence their lives, such as migration, diversity and social inclusion.”

Ms. Lea Matheson, Charge Affairs ad Interim at IOM’s Office of the Permanent Observer to the United Nations, and Mr. Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the Department of Public Information of the United Nations, also addressed the packed auditorium of New York’s Paley Center for Media. The event was hosted by award-winning actress Susan Rybin and featured as well an extraordinary performance by the 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana.

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Photo: UNAOC/Collin Giberson

Prior to the evening ceremony, PLURAL+ 2014 Partners Awards were presented and the videos screened. An engaged audience had the opportunity to discuss with the young media makers attending the event. The noon activities included a workshop, co-coordinated with UNICEF/Voices Of Youth, with the young media makers in New York for PLURAL+ Awards.

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. With the support PLURAL+ partners, PLURAL+ videos are screened and broadcast on a variety of media platforms across the world. For more information and to view the twenty-eight PLURAL+ 2014 award winning videos, please go to pluralplus.unaoc.org

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Photo: UNAOC/Collin Giberson

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Remarks By H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations at Plural+ 2014 Awards Ceremony

Remarks
by
H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
at
Plural+ Awards Ceremony
Paley Center for Media – December 4, 2014

Good evening everyone,

I am very happy to see a full house here at the Paley Center for Media.

This is our 6th year of collaborating with IOM in the development and implementation of PLURAL+ – we would like to thank IOM for this excellent partnership. We would also like to thank all PLURAL+ partners, but tonight – in particular – we would like to express our gratitude to the Paley Center for Media; they have been a PLURAL+ partner and supporter from the very beginning, opening their doors and inviting us to celebrate PLURAL+ Awards Ceremony in this magnificent setting. Thank you!

PLURAL+ , which is one of UNAOC flagship programs, is another example of our commitment to supporting youth empowerment every where. In this particular case creative, artistic, empowerment towards mainstreaming the voices of young people in media regarding topics that truly touch and influence their lives, such as the main themes of PLURAL+: migration, diversity and social inclusion.

We often speak about youth, but we seldom give them platforms to express themselves, to broadcast their own media representations.

PLURAL+ is an initiative that aims at precisely that: provide global platforms of multi-media distribution of youth-produced media messages on the themes of human rights, social inclusion, and peaceful co-existence among individuals from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Tonight we will have the opportunity to see and experience three outstanding videos made by young people, sometimes very young (younger than 12 years of age). They are all conveying very clear message, inviting us to question our own assumptions when it comes to mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue.

We look forward to seeing the three PLURAL+ International Jury Winners, coming to us from Spain, Canada and Jordan; and to seeing you all after the ceremony during the reception.
I wish you all an enjoyable evening.

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Remarks By the High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser At The World Family Summit+10 “Families in Balance: Building the Future We Want”

Remarks
By
The High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

At
The World Family Summit+10
“Families in Balance: Building the Future We Want”

Delivered by
Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs and Civil Society
Hanifa Mezoui

Organized by
The World Family Organization & The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China & The Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government

December 2 to 4, 2014

Your Excellency, Mme, Liu Yandong, Vice-Premier of the State Council, People’s Republic of China,
Your Excellency, Ms. Li Bin, Minister, National Health and Family Planning Commission,
Your Excellency, Mr. He Ningka, Mayor of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Dr. Deisi Kustra, President of the World Family Organiization
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Participants, Colleagues and Friends: it is a great for me to be able to participate in the WFO 10th Family Summit on the theme “Family in Balance: Building the Future We Want” And particularly to deliver a message on behalf of His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative of UN Alliance of Civilizations, who conveys his profound regrets on being unable to participate personally on your deliberations as he is presently on official travel.

He asked me to express his thanks and appreciation, to the World Family Organization members for their kind invitation, and he looks forward to their close collaboration in the future.
He asked me to convey the following message to you:

Statement by his Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
United Nations High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations

“I am pleased to address this distinguished audience, gathered to celebrate the Tenth Family Summit of WFO in harmony with the Twentieth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

As we all very well know, China is a great cultural center of Asia, and is recognized as a crucial international partner in diverse areas to include economic and social dimensions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the country was the chosen place to launch the first World Family Summit, ten years ago, by the World Family Organization, the Minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, and with the participation of the United Nations.

As you know, in 2004 Doha was the host of the International Year of the Family to mark the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and adopted the Doha Declaration on the Family under my good offices.

In 2004, the World Family Summit was created with the intention of reviewing and evaluating the goals accomplished since the 1994 International Year of the Family, but also in view of implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which is to end by the end of this year – and the International Conference on Population and Development program of Action.

Throughout this decade, the World Family Summits, which orderly took place in China, Brazil, Jordan, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, France, Abu Dhabi, and Germany – served as the beacon in realizing the efforts of strengthening and promoting a strong Family policy language. The World Family Organization very well understood that if we are to live in a world where the eight goals of the MDGs are to be realized, we have to include families in the development of our policies at both local and international levels.

It is now undeniable that men, women and children are at the heart of the issues and provide meaningful contributions when it comes to poverty and hunger – particularly through migrations and to education as recently highlighted by H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his December 2013 message regarding the preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

While the main purpose of the precedent editions was to promote Family’s contribution to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, this tenth edition, may I say, is very special and entails other additional particularities, respectively, the tenth anniversary of the World Family Summit, the 20th anniversary of the UN International Year of Families, and the achievements of the MDGs.

There is an intrinsic relationship between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and Family, and we have early recognized Family as a fundamental agent for sustainable, social and cultural development. We believe that healthy and stable families provide significant economic, social and legal benefits for men, women and children. Families also play a fundamental role in social development because of the connection between well-functioning families and well-functioning societies.

Unfortunately, we are all accustomed to hear daily negative news about families; and the non-functioning of this unit has considerable costs. For instance, many examples in history and in contemporary settings – either through desired or non-desired migrations – have demonstrated that family breakdown threatens the well-being and proper development of future generations, and impacts the overall of society. Therefore, it is not surprising that the United Nations General Assembly designated the intergenerational problems of families, including poverty, one of the main themes to focus on for the celebration of the International Year of the Family in 2014.

The UNAOC was founded in 2005 as a political imitative and tool of preventive diplomacy to apply towards global tensions rooted in culture, identity, religion, and related to disparities and misunderstanding. With the focus of our work in the areas of education, youth, migration and the media, the Alliance has quickly become the foremost initiative advancing the rights of men, women and children that form our global society and we invest considerable energy in these areas that strengthen the kernel of families.

The relationship between the UNAOC and family was reinforced by my own experience. While serving as the 66th President of the UN General Assembly, I sought to promote the vital role of parents in the family within society by proposing the adoption of a draft resolution declaring June 1st as the Global Day of Parents, for THEY serve as the first educators of children and are the ones who teach children to be responsible citizens.
Our efforts are continuous and relentless.

As High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, I sought to continue promoting the idea of family. Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, who heads the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development has become an essential partner of the Alliance of Civilizations in advancing educational developments and human capital.

Moreover, through the youth and education programs we have launched, we aim at empowering youth to reduce marginalization and to build inclusive societies through social enterprises; Thus, breaking the vicious cycle of intergenerational transfer of poverty and inequality. The UNAOC’s work remains in line with the recommendation of the UNGA to consider undertaking activities that support not only the objectives of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family for 2014 but also onwards.

In the migration area, our programme is based on the notion that in a world of thin borders and rapid technological developments, diverse people are destined to interact with each other through continued migration. Pope Francis recently highlighted that the number of people moving regionally and internationally helps social and governmental cooperation at all levels. Migrations and demographic diversity represent an incredible opportunity for many countries. Nevertheless, migrations can also be a threat to families and represent an important external pressure on its members, as highlighted by the October 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican.

The UNAOC has restated its high consideration of family and has recently agreed to participate to the World Meeting of Families under the theme “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” organized by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family in September 2015 in Philadephia.

What we need today are comprehensive policies for migrants; policies that respect each members of families and, of course, meet the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, for Family was essential in advancing the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.

The technological innovations of our century also influence family. By the year 2020, it is advanced that over 50 billion of people will be connected to what is now called the Network Society. Our common duty is to find a way to help present and future families use the best of the network society to reinforce their members. For instance, some technological advances, which are already available, offer incredible leverage for families in the area of health and education. Men, women and children are now able to receive the assistance of health care experts in remote places, allowing better diagnosis and cures. As for education, you do not require the physical presence of a teacher anymore, especially in hardly accessible places. Remote schooling programmes have become available and effective ways to educate the future generations and to give them the necessary tools to create economic and social opportunities, as requested by the Rio+20 through the programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in 2012.

As mentioned in the introduction, this TENTH edition of the World Family Summit is very special. The Tenth year anniversary of the Summit also celebrates the 20th anniversary of International Year of the Family. Therefore, it is the opportunity to refocus our thoughts and policies on the role of families in development for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The current rapid socio-economic and demographic transformations will surely challenge families while strengthening and making them indispensable. In its resolution of July 25th, 2013, the UN Economic and Social Council  encouraged member states to establish or strengthen – when necessary – relevant national agencies and governmental bodies of family.

Family is not only necessary for a proper and stable development of future generations but also in the advancement of the now closer Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Because development fails when there is a shortcoming of ethics, values, and priorities, it becomes a requirement for families to help determining the success of their children’s social, personal and economic development, which consequently will become the stepping-stone for long-term sustainable global development.

The advancement of the Millennium Development Goals has unquestionably been facilitated by the resources of families, for a number of governments have demonstrated regional success by introducing family-based policies in the different regions of the world. Let’s mention that the World Family Summits include partners in over  180 countries, thus giving us the necessary leverage to implement the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The deadline of the MDGs may be at the turn of this year, but the goals – surely undertaken and highly advanced – remain to be completed by the international community and the Alliance of Civilizations has made them part of its priorities. Working together towards the Post-2015 development agenda does certainly pose a number of challenges, to include the different timelines of the processes and the various regional priorities.

Daniel Rose once pointed out that effective activities all have the same structure. “They have messages and messengers, specific agendas and vehicles to promulgate them.” It is clear to me, as it must be to you, that the World Family Organization’s agenda on Family is unambiguous and part of a larger development agenda that has been successfully spread for ten years.

Today our message is clear:  To build the future we want we need to fortify our message – in this case the necessity of Family. We need to reinforce our messengers – who are you, me and all the families around the world. I truly believe that nothing is impossible when you are active rather than passive; when there is a concretive effort that plays a critical role in setting the stage for intergovernmental cooperation.”

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Remarks by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations at Long Island University

Remarks
by
H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

The High Representative
For the UN Alliance of Civilizations
At
Long Island University
December 1, 2014

Dr. Kimberly Cline, President of Long Island University
Dr. Jeffrey Kane, Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Amb. Oscar de Rojas, Director of Global Partnerships,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor for me to be with you here today at Long Island University.

Greek philosopher Aristotle once said “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”.

It is a very wise saying that proves to be true every day.

The new settings in our contemporary world have highlighted opportunities, but also challenges. Our world is undergoing a period of profound turmoil, radicalization, polarization and violent extremism. On-going conflicts are shattering communities from the MENA region, and through much of Africa. Their effects are felt in Europe, Asia and the Americas. They are a constant reminder of the absence of the culture of peace and tolerance.

There is not a day that passes without news headlines informing us of interreligious and intercultural conflicts at the domestic and international levels. One of the reasons is that, sadly, a high percentage of people may have received intellectual education in their lives, without receiving the necessary emotional education for their hearts. This element is essential in order to grasp the essence and importance of diversity, culture and the potential for dialogue across faiths.

The opportunities brought by the technological revolution of the last thirty years enhanced our ability to reach out to diverse people across the board and to promote the often missing culture of peace.

It is estimated that by 2020, over 50 billion people will be connected through computers, telephones, and tablets (which my son loves!) to what is now known as the Networked Society. Therefore, I believe that we should use this technological advantage to get the message across.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to take a moment to explain the work we do at The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance represents today one of the most relevant UN platforms for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation by connecting governments, civil society organizations, the media, academia , the corporate sector and, of course, religious leaders devoted to promoting trust and understanding between diverse communities.  We strive to achieve this goal through wide-ranging approaches to our four pillars: Education, Youth, Migration, and the Media.

And since I am here today speaking to faculty and students of Long Island University, which offers one of the most comprehensive international education in the world, I would like to reflect on the power of good education .  Education that does not only focuses on producing individuals who can read, write and count. But rather an education that brings shared values to life and one that cultivates a sense of caring and belonging  to the global world which we all 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 a requirement today. Those valuescan be absent from textbooks and curricula. When we undervalue them, we miss an opportunity to raise a generation that respects social, cultural and religious diversity.

Built upon the foundation of equal opportunity, mutual understanding and diversity, UNAOC’s global mission of peace shares the same interests that characterize scholarly enterprise. We recognize that academic institutions play a vital role in our society. Young people, like many who I see here today, are our most powerful agents of social change. Some of you may be familiar with twentieth century poet Khalil Gibran, who once said, that “progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing what will be.” The world we see now and tomorrow is a world in which bridges can be built between different cultures to secure peaceful coexistence.

How does all this relate to our work at the Alliance?

Much of our work consists of empowering marginalized communities and young people. As previously mentioned, two of the four pillars of the Alliance consist of Education and Youth. We believe that education is a timeless and effective weapon to counter violence and extremism, and that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Therefore, young men and women have to be part of  the conversation when it comes to peace and development.

We hope to help educate young people about the complex, transnational issues of our time, and provide a better sense of global citizenship. Our vision is based on a two-way relationship. On one hand, it is one of empowering students and faculty members to take their learning beyond the classroom – to their friends, families, and communities. On the other hand, it is one that wants to bring the ideas and proposals generated by academic institutions into the global arena, including to the UN system.

At present, we have already launched an array of crosscutting, educational initiatives, to include Memorandums of Understanding with several academic institutions here in the United States and abroad; Educational Working Arrangements to reinforce avenues of cooperation; and of course programmes that involve youth directly.

We cannot ignore that in today’s revolutionized world, the forces that move and drive society include science, technology, music, literature, the arts and other fields of creativity, including athletic achievement. These human expressions bond us together and contribute to the basis of a united and global community.

The Alliance, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and media-focus partners, has also developed PLURAL+, a youth video festival on migration, diversity, identity, human rights and social inclusion. It provides young people with an effective platform to express themselves through a creative lens. Not only does it project these voices through a variety of media platforms and distributions worldwide, but it also allows entrants share their thoughts, struggles and fears about their identity as youth.

I would like to seize this opportunity to announce that the upcoming PLURAL + Award Ceremony is taking place this week, on December 4th, at the Paley Center for Media. You are all invited and I will be delighted to see you there.

Another educational initiative developed by the Alliance is our flagship Fellowship Programme, launched in 2009. It is aimed at facilitating exposure for emerging leaders worldwide to media, culture, politics, institutions, civil society and religion. This generates knowledge exchange, cross-cultural understanding and productive partnerships across borders.

These types of programmes highlight the need for narratives that promote greater sensitivity regarding cultural and religious-based issues. It has always been gratifying to see that those who have had the opportunity to be part of our programs have been impacted in a positive way.

Let me also address the role of the media:

Modern media is a source of information for many people and has the power to shape people’s perceptions. When used as a propaganda machine presenting a distorted view of particular issues, it can fuel hatred and violence. Used in a different way, media can play a constructive role. With that in mind, the Alliance has been active in providing training and skill-building workshops for media professionals. We recently launched a media-friendly glossary for migration, thus providing journalists covering migration and culturally-sensitive issues with a viable tool. By doing so, UNAOC is contributing to strengthening discussions among media professionals on the best practices of improving standards of reporting to avoid intolerance and hate speech when covering minority-related stories.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing, let me re-iterate, that young people  are the most promising drivers of positive change. You have the power to propel us into a future of social harmony and cultural diversity. Your input and work are invaluable in the upcoming years as we shape a new agenda for the world we share together. The UN Alliance of Civilizations always welcomes the ideas of our future leaders who will facilitate implementation of this agenda.

I would like to thank you again for inviting me here today.

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Entrepreneurs for Social Change Kicks Off its Second Edition in Torino, Italy

The second edition of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) program Entrepreneurs for Social Change (E4SC) took place in Torino, Italy from 16-22 October 2014. The training sessions, held at Fondazione CRT headquarters, brought together 20 young social entrepreneurs from 14 different countries, selected from among more than 700 applicants.

Ten experts from the roster of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations provided training sessions which  focused on building business models, fundraising, generating employment, facilitating intercultural understanding, engaging local communities, and addressing marginalization. The ultimate goal was to guide those young entrepreneurs to the best practices of how to foster non-violent  social change while, at the same time leveraging their businesses.

Following the training, these young social entrepreneurs  will have the opportunity to benefit from one-on-one and group mentoring sessions, where they practically apply lessons they learned during the training, such as  how to approach potential investors and strengthen their business plans, as well as test their social impact. One mentor works with each trainee for a period of 9 months to incubate his/her entrepreneurial idea and help move it forward.

By drawing on the network of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the social entrepreneurs become part of an international community of practice.  This enables them to create opportunities to expand their start-ups, learn how to use intercultural challenges to their advantage, stay in touch with and learn from their peers around the world, present their projects to potential investors and donors, and become mentors for future entrepreneurs.

In his message to the participants, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, encouraged the “young social entrepreneurs to be agents of positive change when it comes to building peaceful and inclusive societies”.

Stories of the participants got a lot of traction from La Stampa, one of the major Italian newspapers:

http://www.lastampa.it/2014/10/28/medialab/webdocauto/dalle-primavere-arabe-al-business-sociale-i-nuovi-imprenditori-del-mediterraneo-pMugIrKhrh689SohYPmgtJ/pagina.html

For more information on Entrepreneurs for Social Change Program, go to: www.unaocyouth.org/e4sc

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Remarks for H.E. Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nasser Before the 28th Conference of the Academy of Latinity

SHARED VALUES IN A WORLD OF CULTURAL PLURALISM

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 23-25 November 2014

At first, as United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, I would like to thank The Sultanate of Oman for hosting this important meeting while celebrating the 43rd year of its National Day. I wish this country, under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the best health, prosperity and development for its people.

I’m not stranger to this country since I come from Qatar, another GCC state that looks highly and with admiration at the Omani pluralism, as an example for how diversity can prove its relevance to advancement and welfare.

I am also grateful for the invitation of my dear friend Professor. Candido Mendes, to speak at this very important 28th Conference of the Academy of the Latinity. Professor. Mendes is an international treasure.  His commitment to exploring and promoting the best of our collective values is remarkable, not only as member of the UNAOC High Level Group, but also through his constant engagement with the Alliance.

While I’m entrusted to lead the UNAOC, the UN entity charged with critical responsibility at this juncture of Human History, it is my mandate to seek out the best ways forward to promote dialogue between and among civilizations, to build bridges between identity groups, frequently in conflict or facing tensions, and by doing so, have the Alliance serving as a soft power tool of the United Nations Secretary-General in the field of conflict prevention.

Mindful of the challenges we are facing, I will attempt to address the major topics of this conference around its theme “SHARED VALUES IN A WORLD OF CULTURAL PLURALISM”.

Let me begin by discussing the challenge of confronting the scourge of terrorism. The United Nations recognizes the significance of the threat and has adopted its own strategy to deal with the issue. Much of the worst terrorist attacks of recent years have been the work of religious extremists.  While I also agree that terrorism can take other shapes and can be perpetrated by other ideological groups, states and other entities and individuals.

Religious terrorists have the ability to hijack sacred faiths, such as Islam. They recruit their young followers, through a mixture of attractive methods, and using brainwash methodologies to steel the representation of religions.  This, I fear, is particularly prevalent among those groups claiming to represent Islam, my own faith of peace and pluralism.

The first pillar of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism strategy is focused on tackling the environmental elements conducive to the spread of terrorism. These include “combating violent extremism”.  Many of the activities that have been undertaken to further this goal have been focused on building a counter-narrative to the version promoted by extremists, who selectively and wickedly quote holy books to justify the unjustifiable.

We have seen girls in Nigeria, kidnapped by men who claim that they are not entitled to what they see as “western” education, men who claim to act in the name of God. We have seen schools burned in Pakistan because they taught secular topics, again by men who claimed to act in the name of God.  And, in the same time we have seen minorities facing horrific deaths in Myanmar, because they are denied integration in the local society.

Of course, we have also seen the horrific acts of the death monsters called ISIS, who claimed superior knowledge of God and intimidated the residents of Iraq and Syria through the most horrific forms of violence.  And because they have among their membership some people who are literate with the newest tools of social networking, they are able to reach a large audience of young people who visit those sites and among those most dis-possessed, most lonely, most disconnected from society, they are able to recruit new converts to help them pursue their awful agenda.

The United Nations is committed to fighting back against such groups. And against all groups that look at the others as a problem, either because they are different or because they are weak, desperately living under suppression, or occupation as the vulnerable party to the equation of power.

I’m sure that the UN and all of the participants in this room can say that we are all committed to winning the war of ideas that is at the core of this issue.  One version of global society is one that is based on the shared humanistic values reflected in the most ambitious human rights documents, including the Universal Declaration and the Covenants for Social and Political Rights and Economic and Social Rights.  The other is a vision for society where only one version of one sect of one religion, and the values that singular vision insists upon, dominates the lives of all.  The Alliance of Civilizations exists to change the latter, to promote the highest level of inclusion within and between groups.  Indeed, the very issue of social inclusion is essential when we look into the issue of multiculturalism.

Societies today, particularly those who have only recently started to face the challenges of absorbing new immigrant groups into their countries, are struggling to address the deep meaning of pluralism. I know that the pressures created by population movements, directly impact on the peacefulness and prosperity of modern societies. But I also know that responsibilities exist on both, the receiving countries need to accommodate and the immigrants themselves need to accept some adaptation.

At the Alliance of Civilizations, we focus our programming around four pillars – Youth, Education, Media and Migration. Our objective is to promote equal opportunities for youth, to see no children deprived from their right to education, to see balanced relation between migrants and their receiving countries and to see the media playing constructive role to bring people together rather than inciting and exacerbating.

We also struggle to open the eyes and hearts on some new human expressions that bring people together, such as music, entertainment, art and the values of sport that work like magical bridge between nations.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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. This, in my opinion, is an important principle to believe in, if we are to look rightly at what we want from Globalization and how we can utilize it for the good of all human beings.

In fact, Globalization started thousands of years ago through migration.

The Alliance, which supports the United Nations in its efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals, encourages the development of ethical practices, thus promoting inclusive development involving governments, NGOs and the private sector. Lets not forget that, to build a world of peace, it needs to be centered on universal spiritual and moral values along with principles of good governance.

I hope that this meeting will explore the ways in which governments, NGOs and the private sector can collaborate productively toward the achievement of sustainable development in the context of globalization. Special emphasis needs to be given to consideration of the ways in which the private sector and civil society can support the mission of the United Nations and the post-2015 sustainable development goals.

I hereby suggest that the Alliance, through the recommendations of this important conference, get the support of all of you, to convene a UNAOC summit at the UN General Assembly, to discuss the worrying state of the Global Harmony that we are all facing. It will be imperative to stress on the need to promote reconciliation and forgiveness among all nations and between parties at conflicts. This is what I aim for from my endeavors to convene such summit at the most universal United Nations body.

My team and I, are already in touch with the President of the UN General Assembly and his team, to discuss the appropriate modalities for the summit and suitable time to convene it at the highest possible level.

I would like to share with you that I’m starting very soon, the necessary communications with political and religious leaders around the world, to establish an Advisory Council of Religious and Political Leaders under the platform of the Alliance. I look forward to discussing with the Omani Authorities, their nomination of an Omani candidate to take part in this Council.

And Dr. Candido; You are also very much invited to join this Council.

Let me conclude by stressing on the need to have a holistic approach, when we discuss the issues on our agenda today, in order to sincerely discover, the shared values we have, and to understand how can they serve our cultural pluralism, to build environment conducive to development and human advancement.

I thank you and look forward to engaging with all of you in a fruitful discussion, and wish us all good results.

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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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