Opening remarks by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser,
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Opening Session of the 8th Global Forum of UNAOC in New York City, UNHQ
19 November 2018
Your Excellency, Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General,
Your Excellency, Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly,
Your Excellency, Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
Your Excellency, Mr. Fernando Martin Valenzuela, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my esteemed pleasure to welcome you all to the 8th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. It is being held for the first time here in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world. I would like thank the State of Qatar for its financial sponsorship.
At the outset, let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to the late Secretary-General Kofi Annan, an extraordinary leader who embodied the principles of the United Nations and who left an unforgettable legacy.
Indeed, it was Kofi Annan, who in 2005, with September 11 and other terrorist attacks around the world fresh in our minds, launched the Alliance of Civilizations. His goal was to build bridges of understanding and dialogue among peoples across diverse cultures and religions.
The co-sponsors the Governments of Spain and Turkey turned this vision into a reality. I would like to thank them for their political and financial support.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to UN Secretary General António Guterres for his trust and support for me and my Office.
The Secretary-General has placed prevention and sustaining peace at the center of the UN’s peace and security agenda.
I am confident that the overarching theme of this year’s Forum, “Commit to Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace” will make an important contribution to this agenda.
In the last few years, we have made significant progress in several key areas of work, namely in the context of preventing hate speech, supporting intercultural and interfaith dialogue, empowering youth and in strengthening peace education.
However, despite notable achievements, the delicate mosaic of our civilizations remains under threat.
In all corners of the world, inciters of hate take pride in driving a wedge between different ethnic groups and civilizations. For them, culture is a source of division, instead of a basis for dialogue and richness.
These challenges require our collective resolve. The battle for ideas, for our shared values, never ends.
During the course of the next two days, we have the opportunity to take stock of our achievements, identify challenges, and forge new and innovative partnerships in pursuit of peace, justice and human dignity.
I thank you and I look forward to our discussions throughout the Forum.