UNAOC Statement at the Opening of the
Screening of the Documentary Film “ALL OF US”
at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
18 May 2022, Palais de Nations, Geneva
At the outset, I am very pleased to represent the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in this celebration. I would like to congratulate you for the long-awaited release and screening of the film “All of Us” to celebrate the International Day of Living Together in Peace, here in Geneva. The film is a masterfully crafted work that powerfully conveys the “#OneHumanity” message championed by UNAOC. That’s why we were very enthusiastic to partner with Pierre Pirard in the release of the global premiere of the movie. “All of Us” shows real stories of courage and reconciliation with strength and sincerity. It showcases the importance of civil society, and how change ultimately relies upon the work and commitment of the people who bring it forth.
Screening the film to our audience in Geneva pays clear homage to the importance of civil society. And we do so in a city that has been the safe harbor to numerous NGOS and civil society initiatives. In this context and as a representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the words of Kemal, one of our protagonists, have compelled me to think about the role that our multilateral institutions should play. When he says during his interview “this is about the lives of people”, not about politicians or UN entities, he gives us a powerful and humbling reminder.
Kemal and the other trailblazers we met through this film represent an open call, for us to amplify their voices in a way that can give them the international recognition they deserve. We need to build upon their examples, accompanying them with openness and generosity as representatives of global governance. The examples we have learnt from today, from Bosnia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Senegal, and the United States show how the Many Cultures that we encounter are manifestations of the One Humanity that the United Nations was made to serve and to represent. But most importantly, it perfectly resonates with the motto that the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations embraces “Many Cultures…One Humanity”.
To find harmony in pluralistic societies is a distinct challenge of our days. An issue that we have seen addressed in the testimonials and reflections. Equally, it is an issue that UNAOC has been addressing since its inception. We recognized that providing a safe space for civil society, especially youth-led organizations and grassroots working on peacebuilding and promoting diversity through intercultural and interreligious dialogue is crucial for building harmonious, peaceful, and inclusive societies anchored in human rights.
The challenges should not be underestimated. Enabling environments, like the weekend gatherings for Indonesian youth we discover through the story of Ella and Miska, are a prerequisite for living together in peace. There are multiple obstacles to the existence of these places of convergence. Helping to create and foster these spaces should be an integral part of our efforts, supporting those who are willing to undertake this challenging task.
Those who aspire to live in a world where segregation and separatism are understood as the only venue towards safety are clearly mistaken particularly as societies are increasingly becoming multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious. Discrimination based on religion or belief or ethnicity is an affront to human rights and international laws. The alternative to mutual respect and harmony would lead to the fragmentation of our societies and fueling hatred and bigotry.
In this context, I wish to recall the Press Statement issued by the High Representative for UNAOC, Mr. Miguel Moratinos on 16 May on the occasion of the International Day of Living Together in which he stressed that UNAOC – through its policy advocacy and cross-cutting programming activities – continues to foster unity in diversity, and combat all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief, race or ethnicity.
Once again, on behalf of UNAOC I wish to congratulate director Pierre Pirard and his team, for giving a platform to those who take on the “#OneHumanity” calling in such an outstanding manner. For allowing them to share their stories all around the world. At UNAOC, we cherish the shared vision of other partner organizations in this project, the European Committee of the Regions, AISA and many others, which, like UNAOC, have considered the importance of bringing these narratives to the forefront where they deserve to be. We hope this movie will be an inspiration to all of us.
I thank you.