Hosted by the Government of Spain on January 15-16, 2008 in Madrid, the First Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum convened political leaders, representatives of international and regional bodies, religious leaders, youth, corporate executives, civil society groups, and foundations for open dialogue on reducing polarization between nations and launching joint initiatives to promote cross-cultural understanding globally. The presence of over 900 participants and 89 official delegations in Madrid is testament to the interest that the Alliance is generating throughout the world.
The Global Forum was organized around 3 plenary sessions and 8 working sessions over the course of two days. Participants from 78 countries discussed issues as diverse as the role of the media in intercultural dialogue, the challenges and demands facing religious leaders as advocates for peace, and the opportunities that multiculturalism can provide to the business world. Taking a practical approach, the Global Forum offered a unique international platform to governmental agencies, international organizations and representatives of civil society to forge partnerships and develop concrete initiatives in the sphere of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, particularly in the Alliance’s priority areas of education, youth, migration and the media.
A High Level Political Dialogue meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance was also held. Attended by approximately 70 countries (46 at the Ministerial level or equivalent) and 13 international organizations, the meeting demonstrated the broad political support enjoyed by the Alliance. Noteworthy among the results of this meeting were the signing by the High Representative of five Memoranda of Understanding – with UNESCO, the League of Arab States, ISESCO, ALECSO, and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a Letter of Intent with the Council of Europe, and the unveiling of country strategies to implement the goals of the Alliance at the national and regional levels.
To see the outcomes of the forum, click here.