Press Statement Attributable to
the Spokesperson for the High Representative for
the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
on the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Launch of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
New York – 14 July 2020
Fifteen years ago, on 14 July 2005, the Alliance of Civilizations was created as a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General. Mr. Kofi Anan, the then United Nations Secretary-General launched the Alliance of Civilizations at a time when the United Nations recognized an urgent need to fill a policy gap in the governance of cultural diversity, which was threatened by growing divisions between communities, the rise of violent extremism, the polarization of attitudes and world perceptions, and frequent manifestations of intolerance, xenophobia, and racism.
Despite all our efforts, hate mongers continue to drive a wedge between different ethnic groups, religions, and civilizations using fissures created by the eroding trust in state institutions and absence of true leadership. Societies are divided across ethnic and religious lines. Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia are on the rise and often lead to a vicious circle of extreme violence and terrorist attacks.
As our world today face a global human crisis, we are reminded every day of our common fragility and our interconnected fate. If a neighbor, family member, friend, or country is not safe, none of us is safe. We learned that our well-being and safety are linked to what happens to our neighbor. There is no alternative to standing together in unity and solidarity in inclusive societies. Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “building peaceful, just and inclusive societies,” is more imperative now than ever before. It is the raison d’être of UNAOC.
With its motto, “Many Cultures, One Humanity,” UNAOC was created to embrace and promote cultural diversity, religious pluralism and mutual respect. There is indeed no peace, no development, no security, and no human rights without accepting and embracing diversity as richness rather than a threat.
UNAOC continues to develop its flagship programs such as the Youth Solidarity Fund, the Fellowship programme, the Young Peacebuilders programme, the Intercultural Innovation Award, and the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival as well as broadening the space for dialogue with hundreds of young women and men from all walks of life, grassroots and religious leaders across the faith spectrum.
However, our work is far from being done. Amid the current crisis, we need to work even harder towards building bridges between cultures and civilizations and to strengthen dialogue and understanding as the basis for cohesive, resilient and inclusive societies. We have to win the battle of ideas.
Today more than ever, diversity is the reality that informs human life. Diversity means embracing pluralism in nations and cities, tribes, and villages, ethnicities and identities, beliefs, faiths, and traditions. Our cultures are tied to one another fundamentally and indelibly. We are all global citizens of the world. We are One Humanity.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is co-sponsored by the governments of Spain and Turkey. It benefits from the political support of UNAOC Group of Friends that has 152 members including 124 member states, 1 non-member state and 27 international organizations.
Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos is currently the High-Representative of UNAOC, appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General since January 2019.
Ms. Nihal Saad, UNAOC Chief of Cabinet and Spokesperson for the High Representative
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