Note No. 5692
6 November 2001
Note to Correspondents
UNITED NATIONS ‘YEAR OF DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS’ IS MARKED IN BOOK
TO BE LAUNCHED AT HEADQUARTERS TOMORROW, 7 NOVEMBER
Crossing the Divide, a new book that presents “dialogue among civilizations as a soft tool of diplomacy,” is to be launched at a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 November, at United Nations Headquarters. The book is the product of a collaboration between a group of eminent persons appointed by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Giandomenico Picco, the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.
In a foreword to the book, the Secretary-General writes, “The United Nations itself was founded in the belief that dialogue can triumph over discord, that diversity is a gift to be celebrated and that the world’s peoples are united by their common humanity far more that they are divided by their separate identities.”
The launch of the book occurs as the United Nations General Assembly, is about to hold a two-day session, on 8 and 9 November, to discuss the topic of the Year of Dialogue. The meetings, which have taken on greater significance since the tragic events of 11 September, precede the Assembly’s general debate which is expected to be attended by several heads of State and Government.
At a press briefing last week Mr. Picco said the Year of Dialogue was philosophically at the opposite end of the spectrum from terrorism. “Terrorists believe that diversity is equal to enmity, and those who take the position that dialogue should be pursued believe in the opposite.”
Mr. Picco and seven other members of the Group of Eminent Persons will introduce the book to Secretary-General Annan tomorrow morning. They will then introduce it to the press at 1:00 p.m. in Room 226. Joining Mr. Picco there will be:
-- Dr. A. Kamal Aboulmagd (Egypt), Professor of Public Law, Cairo University; Judge of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal;
-- Dr. Ruth Cardoso (Brazil), President, Comunidade Solidaria; member of the Board of the United Nations Foundation;
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-- Dr. Nadine Gordimer (South Africa), author and Nobel laureate for literature;
-- Professor Sergey Kapitza (Russia) Kapitza Institute for Physical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences; Professor of Physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology;
-- Professor Dr. Hans Küng (Switzerland) Professor of Ecumenical Theology, University of Tübingen; President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic (Welethos);
-- Professor Tu Weiming (China), Director of the Yenching Institute; Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and of Confucian Studies, Harvard University;
-- Dr. Javad Zarif (Iran) Deputy Foreign Minister; Professor of International Law, Tehran University.
The book explains the context and the goal of the Dialogue, setting a new paradigm of global relations and advocating a key role for the United Nations.
Copies will be made available at the press conference. Information materials and a press kit in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian, can be accessed on the United Nations web site for the Year (www.un.org/dialogue). Public service announcements for television have been produced and can be requested by broadcast media from Department of Public Information’s Multimedia Resources Unit (fax: (212) 963-3430).
For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Ms. Laufey Love, Public Affairs Division, Department of PublicInformation, tel: (212) 963-3507; e-mail: love @un.org.
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