The United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), HE Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, has begun his consultations and meetings at the Alliance’s headquarters in New York with his successor former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and his working team who will take over from January 1, 2019.
The two sides began intensive sessions in light of the recommendations resulted in the 8th Global Forum of the UNAOC which was hosted by the United Nations at its headquarters for the first time under the theme “Commit to Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace” on November 19-20.
Before the end of the current year, the United Nations has presented an exciting and important phase of achievements and changes witnessed by the Alliance of Civilisations under the leadership of the Qatari diplomat HE al-Nasser after five years of great effort and strong relations based on ambitious visions for the future of the Alliance which has overcome challenges that have led to the building of strong bridges that have established trust among people across cultural and religious lines.
The five-year period, in which HE al-Nasser spent as the UN High Representative of the Alliance of Civilisations, witnessed escalating progress and quantum leaps.
HE al-Nasser has been able to establish constant values and inheritance in order to consolidate a trustworthy approach based on the principles of the United Nations, as he affirmed in his ‘farewell’ speech during the Forum in front of more than 1,000 participants of officials, intellectual leaders and youth from different countries of the world.
In an exclusive statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), he expressed his thanks to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his support to UNAOC since the beginning of its mandate, expressing appreciation to the co-sponsors of the UNAOC (the governments of Spain and Turkey), for the ongoing support, both political and financial.
In his speech at the opening of the UNAOC 8th Global Forum, the UN secretary-general praised the efforts made by HE al-Nasser as a High Representative for the Alliance, stressing that the Qatari diplomat has led the UNAOC over the past years with distinction.
HE al-Nasser also praised the stewardship of former secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, saying “he always had UNAOC in his heart and was always keen on actively participating in all our previous Global Forums.”
The High Representative of UNAOC said: “Every era experiences its unique set of challenges and tribulations. Last week, we paused to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Nine million combatants and 7mn civilians perished as a direct consequence of the war.”
In his statement to QNA, he lauded Qatar’s great support for UNAOC programmes and for its long-standing financial support under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in addition to the unwavering commitment and support since the UNAOC’s inception by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
The State of Qatar was a pioneer in supporting the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations by facilitating his programmes aimed at highlighting the role of the Alliance in supporting world peace.
In various statements, Qatar expressed its appreciation for the great efforts exerted by HE al-Nasr during the past six years.
Qatar also expressed its appreciation for the valuable efforts of the Group of Friends of the Alliance towards achieving its objectives.
He said Qatar does not deny that countries have interests and that governments work to serve them, which is the case everywhere, but Qatar believes that the Alliance of Civilisations is specifically the field of positive interaction and participation on issues already known (education, youth, immigration and media). In this context, Qatar reiterated its full commitment to the priorities set by the UNAOC’s High Representative, particularly with regard to further efforts to achieve the goals of education, youth, media and migration and to strengthen partnerships and co-operation within and outside the United Nations.
In a statement during the UNAOC Group of Friends Meeting, which was held at UN headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 8th Global Forum of the UNAOC, Qatar appealed to all member-states to achieve the objectives of UNAOC, namely, to promote rapprochement among civilisations, to reduce tensions among followers of religions, cultures, and civilisations, and to increase their contribution to raising the UNAOC ability to carry out its mission as required.
The statement, delivered by HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi, reiterated Qatar’s commitment to continue working with the Group of Friends to promote peace and security in the world.
The statement also stressed that in line with the policy of Qatar, which is known for its active and effective contributions to the promotion of international peace and security as well as its diplomatic relations characterised by openness, co-operation and respect for international law, it will continue to support UNAOC’s mission, initiatives and projects, and coordinate with the Group of Friends to promote the values of peace and tolerance among communities, peoples and nations, in order to achieve the common goal of renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism in addition to promoting harmony among religions, civilisations and cultures.
At the end of the statement, HE al-Muraikhi congratulated the UN secretary-general for appointing former Foreign Minister of Spain Miguel Angel Moratinos as the High Representative for UNAOC to succeed HE al-Nasser and said that Qatar will support the UNAOC’s new High Representative to succeed in his mission.
As part of its efforts to support the Alliance of Civilisations, Qatar has established the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue in 2008, that aims to encourage the peaceful coexistence of cultures and acceptance of others.
Qatar also created the Qatari Committee for the Alliance of Civilisation.
In addition to hosting the fourth UN Forum of Alliances of Civilisation in 2011, Qatar also hosted the International fellowship Program of the Alliance of Civilisation, which involves a group of young leaders from Europe and America form 2010- 2013.
Qatar organised the Preparatory Conference of the sixth UN Forum and the annual meeting of the Focal Points of the Alliance of Civilisation in Doha in 2014, in addition to many donations in millions of US dollars Qatar has provided to the UN Development Fund for the Alliance of Civilisations.
By the end of November, HE al-Nasser would have handed over the flag to the High Representative of the new Alliance of Civilisations from Spain to end five years of great effort in building relationships and charting an ambitious vision for the future of the Alliance identifying challenges and good practices in building, restoring and consolidating trust among people across cultural and religious lines.
The 8th Global Forum provided a unique platform for exchanging ideas, dealing with current and future partners and reaffirming commitment to sustain the peace agenda.
The secretary-general and members of the international organisation commended the achievements of the Alliance of Civilisations under HE al-Nasser in recent years in many major areas of work, particularly in the context of preventing hate speech, promoting dialogue between cultures and religions, empowering youth and promoting peace education.
Al-Nasser’s speech at the closing session of the Forum in New York City had a great impact on the participants at various levels, where he emphasised that the establishment of peace through dialogue and broad partnerships is the cornerstone of stability.
Al-Nasser urged the attendees to renew determination to co-operate, share innovative solutions and oblige to the commitments set.
He added that recognition of the inherent word, of all members of human society, is the foundation for freedom, justice and peace in the world, pointing to the opportunity to assess achievements, identify challenges, forming new and innovative partnerships in search for peace, justice and human dignity.
He further urged more efforts to restore the inherent dignity of man to prevent future societies from sliding into violence.
As part of his initiatives, HE al-Nasser worked, during his tenure as the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilisations, on laying the ideal bases for Alliance principles, which are based primarily on Qatar conviction, that the Alliance of Civilisations is a unique opportunity for all nations to turn the traditional selfish framework that disregards the interests of others to the exchange of ideas on what brings together nations, and ways to confront the threat to their stability.
Al-Nasser sought to bring to the UN the work of the Forum, for the first time, which included a variety of activities involving more than one hundred young men and women graduates of various Alliance initiatives from 60 countries around the world.
Participants discussed the achievements of young people in intercultural and interreligious dialogue, the use of new media and technologies to reduce violent extremism and deepening partnership between young people and the Alliance.
Al-Nasser outlined several critical steps to achieve the common objectives of the Alliance.
He reiterated the commitment to pluralism and mutual understanding and that dialogue remains the only privilege for religious scholars and anthropologists and to continue to provide space for community leaders, youth groups and women to engage in dialogue between cultures to support efforts to prevent conflict, reconciliation and social cohesion.
He explained that the media plays a key role in influencing ideas, concepts and opinions and in combating misconceptions in the context of the diverse challenges faced by societies, in particular by promoting accurate information and building partnerships between the media and civil society, in addition to the commitment to promote systematic and meaningful participation of women in peace processes where women remain marginalised in many formal peace processes.
He pointed the Alliance has intensified its efforts at this stage to mobilise the transformational power of the youth around the world, and presented a unique platform to showcase the capabilities of young people.
He explained that this year, more than 100 young people participated in the Alliance’s programs to gain good experience in preventing and resolving conflict and violent extremism.
He explained that the Alliance has also highlighted the virtues of global citizenship education by empowering students of all ages with the tools necessary to meet our global challenges.
The new High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations Miguel Angel Moratinos has a rich experience through his previous work as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of Spain.
He has also held several important positions in his country, including the Director of the Institute for Co-operation with the Arab World (1991-1993) and Director General of Foreign Policy for Africa and the Middle East.
He co-organised the historic peace conference in the Middle East in Madrid in 1992, between December 1996 and June 2003, and promoted the peace agreements in the Middle East and the implementation of the European Union’s measures to transform the Mediterranean into a region of peace and prosperity.
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