The 4th Annual Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, organized at the initiative of H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, member of the High Level Group of the UNAOC, ended on December, the 13th, 2011.
From December 11-13, 2011, more than 2,500 attendees met in Doha, including Heads of State, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, NGOs, representatives of civil society, young leaders, foundations, media, academia and corporate sector for the 4th Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The Doha Forum revolved around three key themes:
- How does cultural diversity impact development? – the missing link
- Promoting trust and tolerance to advance development goals
- New strategies for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation
This Forum, tackled the issue of the missing link between culture and development and the notion of cultural diversity with the necessary tools that must be established to make the cultural factor a key element in development policies.
The Closing session concluded these three days of meetings, exchanges and new ideas. In her final speech, H.H. Sheikha Moza renewed her message to the international community: “during this Forum, I have seen the involvement of the Youth and I was happy to hear their voice. In fact, despite what we think, their awareness is real and they have proven that we need their leadership and support to achieve the goals of UNAOC and MDGs”.
UNAOC High Representative President Sampaio stated: “this Forum is a big step forward in showing how the Alliance as a soft power tool can contribute to a global partnership for peace and development. These three days made it crystal clear that diverse societies do not have to be divided societies; cultural and religious differences do not produce exclusion unless they are hardened by discrimination. From this Forum emerged a positive narrative about diversity.”
Among the many highlights of the last three days, were also key moments such as:
Youth Event, where diverse group of 400 young leaders met to debate key aspects of cross-cultural and interreligious understanding
BMW Awards, a new kind of partnership between the private sector and the UN system that aims to select highly innovative projects that promote exchange and cross-culture understanding, and make a vital contribution to safety and peace in societies around the world
The Doha Forum confirmed the global scope of the Alliance of Civilizations and provided new and existing partners a platform to collaborate with each other on substantive projects in the field of intercultural relations.
The Alliance of Civilizations has been created at the initiative of former United Nations’ Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Its objective is to promote the understanding and collaboration between countries and peoples across cultural and religious borders. The UNAOC was brought to life as an initiative of government of Spain and Turkey in 2005. The organization is under the patronage of the United Nations and is led by the former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, the High Representative.