H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At the Meeting for Friendship Amongst People: “The Human Person: A state of Emergency”
Dear participants of the Meeting for Friendship amongst Peoples,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my thanks to Rimini Meeting for inviting me to address this distinguished gathering and to applaud the efforts and commitment of the Governments of Italy to host the Meeting for Friendship Amongst People for the 34th time under the theme: “The Human Person: a state of Emergency”.
Clearly, the Government of Italy recognizes the importance of interreligious dialogue and understanding, which promotes international peace and development. We currently live in a world of unbalance. Polarization increases violence and religious conflict in far too many places. This not only slows down, but also threatens international peace and stability.
We must build bridges between diverse religious actors and institutions. It is necessary to address these imbalances before they become greater and harder to recover from. It is needed now, more than ever. This is where we come in, to serve as promoters of interfaith and religious understanding.
Religion can be a force for the good of humanity. As such, religious tolerance is vital to achieve our mutual goals of peace and stability. Tolerance is also the ability to accept opinions or behaviors that you may not agree with. It means showing respect for various races, genders, opinions, nationalities and ideologies.
Moreover, the Alliance seeks to foster cooperative relations across difference religions by promoting pluralism and cultural diversity. Our motto, at the Alliance, is: Many Cultures, One Humanity. Because of this, it has developed many initiatives and partnerships that illustrate the growing awareness of religion’s value. I pledge to engage all faiths and seek their cooperation, so that we can combat intolerance, extremism and terrorism together.
Last June, as the President of the General Assembly, I discussed with Pope Benedict XVI, matters related to interfaith and cross cultural dialogues as crucial components for building peace, tolerance, harmony and mutual understanding around the world. Throughout my tenure as the High Representative, I will spare no efforts to continue to collaborate with the Vatican especially with the new Pontiff as there is a revival of concern for the poor. I pledge to re-strengthen these initiatives along with our Fellowship Programme, aimed at facilitating exposure for emerging leaders from the Western and Muslim worlds and fostering knowledge exchange across borders.
As we approach the 2015 deadline of the MDGs, it is necessary to assess our progress and adopt a new development agenda. It is widely accepted that one of the overarching goals of the new agenda is universal peace.
In my view, interreligious dialogue, understanding and tolerance can truly diminish conflict. Therefore, I hope to further incorporate this cross-cutting issue into UNAOC’s Post 2015 Agenda, specifically by strengthening the Education about Religions and Beliefs online programme and encourage theme based partnerships of religious institutions and actors. I am confident that our diverse, interreligious initiatives and partnerships contribute to the promotion of interreligious dialogue that will “Leave No One Behind”.
Thank you and I wish you a successful conference.