Remarks by the High Representative to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At The Mediterranean Concert
Geneva – July 9, 2016
Your Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasanaa, the Kingdom of Marocco,
Your Excellency, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Former President of the Government of Spain and co-founder of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations ,
Your Excellency , Mr. Michael Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS,
Your Excellency, MR. Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean,
Your Excellency, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos President of Fundacion ONUART,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start with my heartfelt thanks to the Governments of Morocco, Egypt, Cyprus, France, Syria, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Palestine, Spain and Tunis for their support to this wonderful concert.
I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for their generous contribution.
I was truly thrilled to listen to the inspiring words of a Godfather of the organization that I lead, The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. President Zapatero whose role in co-founding the Alliance with the President of Turkey more than 10 years ago is a testament to his vision and wisdom.
We gather here this evening under this magnificent dome, the genius work of Miguel Barcelo , and I cannot see a more fitting venue for this concert dedicated to the Mediterranean region and the rich culture it embodies.
With the recent wave of outrageous terrorist attacks that took place from Turkey to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, we can reflect this evening on what more we can do as International Community, artists and corporate sector to advance peaceful co-existence , respect, understanding and tolerance . We can be inspired by voices of these talented artists and the sound of harmony of their music.
The theme of the concert tonight, The Mediterranean Concert: Encounter of Mediterrenean Cultures speaks for itself.
The Mediterranean has been for hundreds of years, if not thousands, the cradle of some of the most glorious civilizations.
The tenets of philosophy, poetry, sciences and the arts as we know them today can trace many of their roots to the men and women who came from the regions that surround the Mediterranean Sea.
All of us today have in one way or another roots in the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Hebrew, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Christian and Islamic cultures.
The history of the Mediterranean region is the history of the interaction of the cultures and people of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This wonderful sea has served as the cultural, economic and religious link between three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Its peoples have used it as a route for the exchange of goods, but also of knowledge and wisdom. The three Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all have their origins among the people of the Mediterranean Sea.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations core objective is to build bridges across civilizations and to help people from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds to understand, accept and learn from each other differences. I have always emphasized the role that art can play in building inclusive societies.
Tonight’s concert is a symbol of shared values. It brings together artists from different cultures, different languages, different religions and who all share the love of music.
In the spirit of the Mediterranean that embodies warmth, diversity, rich culture and valuable contribution to humanity, let’s all be inspired and enjoy the music.