Secretary-General's remarks to Group of Friends Ministerial Meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations
New York, 27 September 2013
Thank you for your engagement and commitment to the Alliance of Civilizations.
I deeply appreciate your ongoing support to build communities of understanding and inclusion in our world.
We are coming to the close of a busy week.
The agenda has been full with pressing issues of war and peace. … opportunity and empowerment … dignity and human rights.
Our hearts are heavy with the ongoing war in Syria – as well as the violence that struck innocents from Kenya to Iraq to Pakistan and elsewhere.
This week we are addressing both immediate priorities and long-term challenges -- most notably sustainable development.
Many of the issues that have dominated our agenda have strong links with the work of this Alliance and the fundamental questions it seeks to address.
I know this is the closing session, and you have had the opportunity to discuss a broad range of the Alliance’s activities – partnering with young people … supporting grass roots organizations … training journalists … engaging the private sector.
Let me emphasize why I believe so strongly in the concept of the Alliance of Civilizations.
As I have often said, we do not need a large bureaucracy or a new agency to help bridge gaps of understanding.
There are many organizations doing outstanding work to advance cross-cultural understanding and to promote inter-religious harmony.
What we need – and what the United Nations can uniquely provide – is a platform – a space for them to engage with governments, the UN system and to learn from each other.
That should be the value added of the Alliance.
The good news is that the coalition of support continues to grow.
But, of course, the need is growing as well.
Our world faces profound challenges – a warring and warming planet … deep inequalities in wealth and income … historic levels of joblessness among young people.
Too often, we see discrimination against migrants and minorities, and political campaigns that feature bigotry and demonization.
We must confront persecution faced by many Christian communities and the intolerance that plagues us.
We must overcome anti-Semitism and the prejudice that divides us.
We must defeat Islamophobia and the fears that weaken us.
The Alliance is helping to change the narrative and, in the process, open minds and hearts.
This is essential to meet the priorities we have addressed this week – and to uphold our shared values of the United Nations Charter.
For development to be effective, we must include all communities.
For conflict prevention to work, we need education and dialogue.
Supporting the Alliance is an investment in peace and harmony.
Thank you once again for your commitment to this initiative.
Let us continue to work together for greater understanding and deeper inclusion for our world and our common future.
Statements on 27 September 2013
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Guinea [scroll down for French version]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on the situation on Syria
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Statement by the Middle East Quartet
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's message to event on the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute [delivered by Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Legal Counsel, and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the report of the IPCC Fifth Assessment
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's message to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs [delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at the Eighth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's message to Ministerial Meeting on Enhancing Preventive Strategies for the Responsibility to Protect [delivered by Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the death of a peacekeeper for the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Cooperation for the Rule of Law at the International Level
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's message to Global Counter-Terrorism Forum [delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at signing of Declaration on Establishing a Pacific Regional Data Repository for Sustainable Energy For All [as prepared for delivery]
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at his meeting with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders [as prepared for delivery]
- Stockholm, Sweden, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's video message on launch of IPCC Working Group I Report
- New York, 27 September 2013 - Secretary-General's message on World Tourism Day