Doha – April 30, 2014
Ladies & Gentlemen,
I would like to express my thanks again for the Government of Qatar for hosting this meeting in this beautiful and vibrant city of Doha and for providing us the opportunity to brainstorm and share our views on how to make the upcoming 6th Global Forum not only successful but also unique.
As you have heard and watched yesterday the presentation done by our colleagues representing the Indonesian delegation, we are confident that we are on the right track and I would like to extend my thanks to their hard work. The High Representative has designated a task force from the Alliance that includes two of my colleagues who are here with us: Dr. Hanifa Mezoui and Mrs. Anna Pavluychenko and myself to lead the Alliance’ tasks at the Forum.
You will all undoubtedly agree with me that Indonesia sets the perfect backdrop for the 6th Global Forum. You see, Indonesia has demonstrated time and again that diversity is a strong asset rather than impediment to the achievement of common goals and shared values. In a globalized world, unity in diversity is a source of strength and dynamism. In the context of development, which relates to the main theme of our meeting here in Doha, Indonesia’s and ASEAN experience showcases that differences, when handled properly, will benefit each country. Today, Southeast Asia is one of the most vibrant regions in terms of economic development, as well as one of the most stable areas. In that sense, this is the first Global Forum of UNAOC to be held in Asia pacific, as the Alliance seeks to have a footprint in this region and expand the scope of its activities there by collaborating and partnering with all stakeholders, state and non-state actors. And while we count on our Indonesian friends to encourage the participation of stakeholders from Asia Pacific, we at the same time, working with partners to ensure the global dimension of the forum.
We hope that the debates and discussions at the Forum will generate fruitful results, thus further strengthening the work of the Alliance.
For two days, the Bali Forum will provide participants with an insider’s look into the work of the Alliance of Civilizations with overviews of its activities and achievements since the Vienna Forum in February 2013.
The themes we propose for discussions at the various sessions, will enrich UNAOC agenda with new topics, integrating it further into the priorities of the global agenda for culture, peace and development and bringing the UNAOC into the context of the global challenge of promoting unity in diversity, respect for the common and shared values among different cultures and civilizations.
In this context, new themes will be brought to the fora for discussions such as: Fostering understanding through the power of sports, the art, music and entertainment. As you know , the High Representative has added those forms of human expressions to the Alliance toolbox. Other new themes, will include what is and what is not a migrant story exploring the best practices and how to give a greater context around the topic of media coverage of migrants. This session will be an opportunity to launch a media-friendly glossary on migration tailor-made for journalists. UNAOC have been developing this glossary for the past few months with Panos Institute and migration and media experts.
Tracking Hate Speech prevalent across the globe will be also addressed in one of the sessions. Again, this one of our new media projects under development. Bali will provide an opportunity to discuss this important topic as we believe that fruitful discussions will led to deeper and better understanding of the nature of the problem and will encourage ethical media coverage of sensitive and controversial topics, hence averting polarization and incitement to violence. Actually, yesterday to hear Amb Bilen Alfaro, The focal Point for Spain explain the interest and work of her Government when it comes to combating Hate Speech and incitement. It was music to my ears.
The work of UNAOC and DPA with a network of faith-based organizations will also be highlighted in a session on the use of interreligious dialogue to advance the broader interests of mediation in conflict-affected settings. A session on The Role of women in fostering understanding among culture, will explore successful case studies where women have been key players in conflict prevention and avoiding the escalation of violence in polarized communities.
The components of the high-level discussions and breakout sessions will contribute to UANOC agendas and as direct linkage to its future work after the Bali Forum. The Alliance in New York is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure smooth continuity of current and future activities.
During the two day forum, our partners with whom we have worked for years or those with whom we had recently signed partnership agreements, will have the opportunity to showcase the best of their work, through a series of side events and exhibitions at the forum. We believe that this cluster of partnerships during last year, will open up new avenues for cooperation allowing the Alliance to expand further its activities and to develop a closer working relation with these stakeholders. Moreover, those agreements will offer a consolidated framework for designing and implementing joint actions and for enhancing the Alliance’ capacity to deliver results. As such, we are studying with our Indonesian colleagues the following side events to proposed by our partners: UNESCO, Qatar Foundation: Education Above All, UN Global Compact, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie (OIF), Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), The Permanent Observer Mission of Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations (OIC), Universal Peace Federation (UPF), UNAOC Fellowship program to name just a few.
On the other hand, the Alliance will continue in Bali, its fruitful dialogue with Civil Society, which The High Representative had already started in Vienna and during the series of events celebrating “interfaith week”, “Culture and Development”, “the 20 Anniversary of the Year of the Family” and most recently with the launch of “Unity in Diversity- World Civil Society”, an autonomous assembly of NGOs contributing to our mission at the global levels.
The Bali declaration which is expected to be adopted at the end of the Forum, will be circulated with enough time ahead so as ensure that consensus is reached in Bali through properly arranged consultations with all members of the Group of Friends.
Once again, I would like to thank all of you and looking forward to sharing your views on The Road to Bali.