New York, 13 May 2013
Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency Mr. Fernando Arias, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations,
Your Excellency Mr. Y. Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations,
Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin today by, first, thanking you member states, H. E. the Secretary-General, Civil Society actors, media and academia members, for your continuous support to this organization.
I would like to especially highlight the support of the Secretary-General and thank him for his kind remarks. None of the achievements he mentioned over the last 6 years would have been possible without his responsible leadership.
I’m especially moved by his prioritizing of the prevention agenda during his new tenure and looking forward to advancing it with him.
I would also like to offer my sincere gratitude to the Permanent Representative of Austria, H. E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, and convey through him our gratitude to the Government of Austria for hosting the 5th Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations this past February.
I would also like to thank the Government of Indonesia for agreeing to host the next Global Forum. I expect the next forum to take place sometime in the second half of 2014.
It is highly important to provide the UNAOC, the Host Country and all relevant actors with adequate time to prepare well for a successful Forum, with impact and solid results.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our actions should always have clear objectives, with an entirely unambiguous sense of our added value to the field.
This is necessary, because we live in an era of austerity, and we have a moral commitment to ensuring that we maximize the value of every dollar of support we receive from our partners.
Part of this process also requires that we ensure that we play a role that is coherent and coordinated with the rest of the UN system, with an eye fixed on advancing the International Community’s priorities to live in a better world.
As you know ladies and gentlemen, I assumed the leadership of the Alliance at the Vienna Forum, with identifying a new vision.
This vision needs an action oriented strategy. To serve this purpose I urged my team to work in an integrated manner and in coordination with the whole UN system, with Member States, Civil Society, Media, Academia, private sector and all partners.
Among the first tasks, I charged my new Director, Mr. Matthew Hodes, with conducting a strategic review of our activities. From what my Director has shared with me, I am very pleased to learn that some headway has already been made on this issue. I will invite him shortly to say more on this.
It is crucial to me that the Alliance continues to show measurable results. In this context, I expect all of you to also contribute your thoughts to the documents the Alliance will share with you in the coming weeks on this.
It is a personal priority of mine to ensure that we continue to have the utmost support of this critical community, the UNAOC’s Group of Friends.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
This is a testing time for the international community. We face urgent political challenges, from Africa to the Middle East to the Asia Pacific Region.
We also face serious development challenges, from the after math of the economic crisis to climate change.
At such times, we need to pull together – showing that multilateralism can serve people in a meaningful way as stipulated in the UN Charter.
That is what the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, strives ,to do each and every day.
This is how it can work closely with its partners and the UN system.
The Alliance is an instrument of the United Nations that is here to prove that diverse actors on the international arena can become further aware of their shared responsibilities, and can forge consensus on global challenges.
To give you a few examples:
We are working hand-in-hand with governments, universities, and leading thinkers in the Asia-Pacific to set a new agenda for diversity and inclusivity in that part of the world;
We are continuing our efforts to mobilize and strengthen youth-led efforts to build more peaceful communities at a local, national, and regional level;
We are working on the four priority areas—media, migration, youth, and education—set out in the original High Level Group Report, but in many cases we are combining those areas with programs in media and migration, for example.
We are also considering adding new concepts as additional pillars to the Alliance.
I agree with the Secretary-General who has just said, the Alliance can deliver results. It has time and time again. And it will continue to do so.
Ladies and gentlemen,
With your support and your counsel, the Alliance will be able to improve and flourish, to increase understanding among people and address polarization and tensions.