H.E. MR. NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED NATIONS ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS
FOR UNDERSTANDING ACROSS CIVILIZATIONS
& RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GENEVA – 31 OCTOBER , 2015
Your Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General
Your Excellency, Mr. Michael Moller, Director General of the United Nations Office of Geneva
Your Excellency, Mr. Luis Enrique Chavez Basagoltla
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Peru
Your Excellency, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos
President of ONUART
Distinguished Guests ,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is indeed a magnificent event under a magnificent dome. The genius work of the artist Miguel Barcelo. This room is personally close to my heart because it partly carries the name of the organization I lead, The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
Let me also thank my friend, Miguel Angel Moratinos whose role in the founding of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was instrumental and continues to be so through ONUART foundation.
And to Maestro Daniel Barenboim, thank you for founding the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra . That was a visionary idea.
Is building bridges of understanding through music a naive idea?
I think not. The proof is that we are all here today gathered to listen to one orchestra that comprises young Arabs and Israelis. They are playing together, in harmony and peace. This is the power of music and the way it can transcend cultural barriers, bring people together, defeat prejudice and overcome religious and political differences.
With that in mind, I added music to the Alliance toolbox emanating from my belief that music is part of the fabric of humanity.
Today’s concert is dedicated to Understanding Across Civilizations and Respect for Human Rights. Both issues are intertwined. Mutual respect, diversity, promoting dialogue and understanding among civilizations are conducive to peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies. As such, respect for human rights is a cornerstone for peace, security and sustainable development. We need to remind ourselves everyday of these values, particularly at a time when polarization between cultures is high and the wave of violent extremism is on the rise. The very reasons that led to initiating the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, 10 years ago. With that in mind, we decided to dedicate “living together in Inclusive Society” as a theme for discussion at our upcoming Global Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan in April 2016.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Let me conclude by quoting Plato who said: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
In that spirit, let’s all indulge and enjoy the music.