High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
“Strengthening Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue through Knowledge Sharing: Opportunities and Challenges”
Co-organized by UNAOC and KAICIID International Dialogue Centre
10 July 2018, 10:00 – 13:00, Conference Room 9, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset I would like to thank our panelists for taking the time to join us this morning.
His Excellency, Mr. Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations;
His Excellency, Mr. Philipp Charwath, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Austria to the United Nations;
His Excellency, Mr. Alvaro Albacete, on behalf of the Secretary General of KAICIID International Dialogue Centre;
Her Excellency, Ms. Belen Alfaro, Ambassador at Large for the Alliance of Civilizations and for Interreligious Dialogue, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain;
At the outset, I would like to say that we are very glad we are partnering with KAICIID in organizing this joint event. Strengthening Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue through Knowledge and Opportunity and Challenges is a theme in which both our organizations share a common interest.
With the rise in violent extremism, xenophobia and discrimination, the promotion of a culture of peace and dialogue at the local, national, and international levels remains paramount.
During the past few years, UNAOC has redoubled its efforts at promoting the use of interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a vehicle for combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.
Since 2013, my Office has organized or co-organized over 30 events involving religious leaders creating a global platform for dialogue and cooperation. Our aim is to help bridge the gap between religious and faith-based leaders and policymakers.
We are all too aware that the absence of dialogue between and among civilizations strips everyone of the benefit of new cultural experiences. Segregated and inward-looking communities fuel mutual ignorance and prejudice. They also breed social exclusion, intolerance, and serious violations of human rights.
Promoting genuine dialogue is an essential feature of inclusive societies.
But for true dialogue to succeed, it must be firmly anchored in equality, mutual understanding, and respect. Developing the necessary preconditions supportive of cultural pluralism is a challenging task. It entails an education system that promotes critical thinking and innovation. Non-formal learning venues, museums, cultural centers, media and sport also play a key role in promoting diversity and peaceful coexistence.
The learning and teaching of intercultural competence also involves partnerships, particularly with the private sector, which acts as a gateway for information in the digital age.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Creating an enabling environment for intercultural and interfaith dialogue is a collective task. I look forward to the presentations from our distinguished panelists.
I thank you.