Remarks by H.E. Miguel Angel Moratinos
The High Representative for UNAOC
at the Closing EVENT of EDIN
New York- 18 February 2022
Good morning, distinguished guests,
Dear EDIN participants,
Allow me first to welcome you to New York and to this special event in which we celebrate what I can call the graduation of 20 young faith actors, religious and community leaders, and media makers.
I am very happy that our teams UNAOC, UNOCT and UNCCT succeeded in bringing you to New York and organizing this event in person after almost one year of virtual extensive peer-to-peer learning.
My dear friend Vladimir: I still recall our first meeting together in 2019 when I visited you in your office and we exchanged views on a number of projects and initiatives that we can do together. And here we are sitting celebrating the closing event of one of these projects.
It is always refreshing and inspiring to see young people so passionate about what they do…full of energy and enthusiasm because they believe in their cause and their role in their communities.
This is how I see all these young women and men who traveled overseas all the way to New York to be with us today. I also thank those who couldn’t make it and are joining us virtually. Most of all, I am very pleased to meet the facilitators who are also joining us in person and who have worked since January 2021 with those young people in a peer-to-peer learning experience between faith actors and media makers.
I wish to echo what Mr. Voronkov said about the EDIN project, that its value as a tool to prevent and counter violent extremism conducive to terrorism.
This project is a model of how interfaith dialogue can be one of the tools that help us re-discover and remind ourselves of how much there is in common between the different faiths…to celebrate our diversity and respect the differences in our beliefs and convictions.
I was thrilled to see a rabbi from France, A Jewish faith actor from the UK or Italy, a Muslim from Saudi Arabia or Egypt, a Christian from Lebanon or Norway, Germany or Ukraine, or a community leader from Bosnia and Herzegovina. These young people coming from different backgrounds, different faiths, different cultures, and languages…interacted together, debated with each other, agreed on many issues, and disagreed on other issues. Yet they continued to respect each other and worked together for one year and delivered. They learned and we learned from them.
I thank you all because what you achieved is at the heart of the mission of UNAOC..subscribing to the motto “Many cultures. One humanity”. I most of all thank your facilitators who are similarly coming from different backgrounds.
That being said, we need to expand the scope of this project to include other faiths and religions.
In our world today, we see raging hate, xenophobia, and discrimination based on religion, belief or ethnicity tearing our societies apart.
EDIN as a pilot project is an example of good practices in countering terrorist narratives and radical ideologies.
UNAOC has been working on exposing younger generations to media literacy and critical thinking skills with the goal to help them acquire a set of skills needed to create counternarratives against hate and intolerance and develop innovative techniques to create compelling content that promotes positive values and responds to misrepresentations of facts.
I am very pleased that today we are walking the talk.
Without further ado, I will let you hear directly from these young women and men and their trainers about their experience and the social media campaigns, the toolkit, the handbook they produced together addressing radicalization, hate speech, and extremist views and highlighting the positive examples of peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony.
I am proud of this pilot initiative and I thank the team at UNOCT/UNCCT and my team at UNAOC for their dedication and diligence over the past year. I look forward to exploring opportunities to adopt this initiative and approach to different regions and different faiths. We stand ready to further collaborate with UN partners, member states, civil societies, and the private sector in finding innovative and effective approaches to counter violent extremists’ misuse of new communication platforms.
I thank you and I look forward to the interactive discussion.