Ladies & Gentlemen,
It always gives me great pleasure to be on stage celebrating the IIA awardees. This is the 4th edition. But this time, the ceremony has a special significance. It is the first time that the UN Headquarters in New York plays host to the awards ceremony. We are very proud of this flagship project with the BMW Group and we want it to share it with the membership and our partners here in New York.
Mutual respect, diversity, and understanding among civilizations are all values required in peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies. These are at the core of our work at UNAOC. But we cannot accomplish the mission alone. Collective efforts with state and non-state actors including the civil society, the corporate sector, religious leaders and the media are crucial to our success. The robust partnership that we forged with BMW Group since 2011 is a good example of such collective efforts geared towards creating a new successful model for collaboration between the United Nations and private sector. In the words of the Deputy Secretary General, we need to think of innovative ways and to expand the space for dialogue.
As such, I salute BMW Group and especially Mr. Bill McAndrews who became a friend as well, for their commitment and constant support year after year to this flagship project.
In a short while, we will be hearing extraordinary stories. Coming from all over the world, the awarded initiatives provide outstanding examples of how grassroots help in bridging cultural divides.
Let us support these leaders, so they can expand their activities and so others can be inspired from them!