Feb 20, 1:15 – Rm 7 NLB
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to join you today especially that I can see here so many familiar faces of colleagues and friends that I have known or worked with along the past years.
We are gathered here today to discuss an important theme :” Global Citizenship and the Future of the United Nations” and to launch a very valuable book : “A Forum for Peace”. As you all know, peace and dialogue is also the business of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The book incorporates the proposals made by Mr. Daisaku Ikeda, President of SGI to the United Nations over the past 30 years. Among the themes discussed in the book is : the abolition of nuclear weapons, global education and our interconnectedness with the environment.
As you may 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 it is through the celebration of our diversity, as well as through the promotion of tolerance and dispelling fears of the “other”, that we will build more peaceful world. And we are bound together because we understand that the citizens of world share common problems that require global solutions. This is where “the abolition of nuclear weapons” and Global Citizenship Education” come to play.
The International Community regardless of their cultural differences has often expressed deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the threat they pose to international peace and security. The UN Member States has stated in the outcomes of Disarmament Machinery that mankind is confronting an unprecedented threat of self-extinction arising from massive and competitive accumulation of the most destructive weapons ever produced. It goes without saying, that the non-peaceful use of nuclear power poses a serious threat to humanity exacerbated by the proliferation of these weapons. In this context, the majority of Member States reaffirmed time and again, that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons which should be followed by a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to all non-nuclear weapons states. In this respect, we need to recall the advisory opinion of the July 8th, 1996 advisory opinion of the ICJ (The International Court of Justice ) on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons ; the ICJ said “That there is no specific authorization of the threat or use of nuclear weapons in the conventional law and that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law. I believe that ultimately one of the highest priority of the International Community is nuclear disarmament.
Moving to Global Citizenship Education (GCE) which is also interconnected to the culture of peace. I will explain why: if the culture of peace is to take deeper root in us and among us then we should reach out more effectively to the younger minds as they grow up and to nurture and educate them about the bonding value of peace in our world. We must place crucial value on peace education. The young generation of today deserve a radically different education – one that does not glorify war but educates for peace. As such, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Education First Initiative has three priorities including to “foster global citizenship”. The initiative explains this concept as transformative education that brings shared values to life and calls for an education that plays a central role in helping people to forge more peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.
Concluding, we all share common values. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is the ideal forum whereby we can start to make peace within ourselves, within our families and between our communities and our nations.
Thank you and I wish you a fruitful discussions.