Remarks of the High Representative
for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
at the Official Dinner for
‘LA Dialogue on Creating Cities of Belonging’
LA City Hall, Los Angeles, California, 4 March 2020
Honorable Mayors, Governors and deputy mayors
Distinguished Consuls representatives of the governments of Egypt, Spain, Morocco, Iraq, Kuwait, France and Canada.
I would like to welcome you all and thank you for traveling all the way to Los Angeles to participate in the LA Dialogue: Creating Cities of Belonging.
Last May, I visited this beautiful city and met with the honorable Mayor Garcetti. We exchanged views on how cities can be hubs for cultural diversity, religious pluralism, multiple ethnicities and multilingualism. Mayor Garcetti told me about his ambitious plan of making the City of Los Angeles a city of belonging and I told him about my ultimate goal of creating a world where people live together in peace as One Humanity. Therefore, we were in synch. And we decided to co-organize this dialogue and explore with a small group of representatives of cities from MENA and Europe how can cities lead the way in promoting inclusion, a sense of belonging and living together or as we say in Spanish Convivencia.
I am very pleased that the honorable mayor of Rabat Mr. Mohamed Saddiki has accepted our invitation to participate in this dialogue. I was in your beautiful city less than 10 days ago and I visited the iconic city of Fez which will host our 9th Global Forum.
I am also glad to see the honorable Governor of Damietta, Manal Awad Mikhail. Damietta is one of the ancient cities in the Nile Delta of Egypt famous for its ability to combine together the Mediterranean and the River Nile. We look forward to hearing from you tomorrow about the developments in this beautiful city.
My friend Juan Espada Cejas is the mayor of one of the closest cities to my heart. Seville is simply the embodiment of the three Abrahamic faiths . Every stone in the city is a testament to that.
La Courneuve Mayor Gilles Poux, was unfortunately not able to join us at the last minute but his small municipality is a success story in integration. We are very proud to have partnered with him and we are starting a joint project this year. I am glad that Ms. Estelle Richel , his associate traveled to LA to share with us the story of LA Courneuve.
Deputy Mayor of Tunis Lassad Khedr is representing the honorable mayor of Tunisa Ms Souad Abdelrahim, who had to cancel at the last minute due to pressing unforeseen engagements in Tunisia.
And last but not least, Councillor Abdulsalam Khan representing the city of Coventry which has a remarkable story to tell. It is, indeed, a unique model for peace and re-conciliation that our world needs to be reminded of every day.
Enriching our discussions tomorrow civil society organizations such as Welcoming America, one of our collaborators represented by Ms. Christina Pope who will talk about good practices on the ground on integrating migrants.
Without further ado, I would like thank the City of LA and Mayor Garcetti’s office for their support and for hosting the meeting tomorrow in City Hall. I would also like to thank Ms. Antonella Caruso, Executive Director of La Medina for her support and efforts in this event, Ms Michelle Schwartz and Mr Gabriel Eshagian you for the VIP arrangements for the mayors at LAX and finally I would like to thank my office for their hard work in the past 3 months putting this event together.
I wish you a wonderful evening and looking forward to our discussions tomorrow.