5TH GLOBAL FORUM OF THE UN ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS KICKS OFF IN VIENNA
The 5th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations kicked off
in Vienna on February 27. The Forums aims to unite the international
community against radicalism through inter-cultural and inter-religious
dialogue. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered opening remarks. The
event brought together high-level delegations from 136 countries and
H. E. Edward Nalbandian’s Address at the 5th Global Forum of the UN
Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna 2013
Dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to join the previous speakers in congratulating Mr.
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser as the United Nations High Representative
for the Alliance of Civilizations and wish him every success. I would
also like to extend our thanks to the outgoing High Representative,
President Sampaio for his leadership and excellent work.
I want to thank the Austrian Government for hosting the fifth Global
Forum of Alliance of Civilizations in a city known for its historic
multicultural traditions and for being a center of multilateral
Being the first Christian state in the world Armenia which is situated
on the cross-roads of cultures and religions for centuries has had a
unique opportunity of interaction with various civilizations. This
inter-civilizational interaction has enriched our own culture
and contributed to the others. One of the main benefits of such
a millennium long civilizational inter-connection probably is the
tradition of respect towards other cultures, religions and traditions
which the Armenian nation has cherished.
Today 2/3rd of Armenian people live outside of their homeland. The
survivors of the Armenian genocide are spread all over the world
and today they inhabit more than a hundred countries – from France to
Brazil, from Russia to Singapore, from the United States to Egypt, from
Argentina to Canada, from Lebanon to India, from Iran to Australia. The
Armenians created well-established, fully integrated communities,
at the same time, with well-preserved national identity in four
corners of the world. They leave a strong trace of Armenian culture
on all those places they inhabit, as well as bear the cultures and
traditions of those countries and civilizations. They act as a unique
civilizational bridge between Armenia and the rest of the world. When
we were organizing the Year of Armenia in France we presented our
culture by showing Armenian cultural masterpieces collected from
around 40 countries. This shows how deep the inter-civilizational
relations can get in our world.
When we talk about promotion of civilizations and cultures, about
multidirectional interactions among civilizations, such indispensable
notions come to our mind as diversity, harmony and peace, which
should go hand in hand, reinforce each other. Eventually, the
comprehensive concept of peace lies at the foundation of the Alliance
of Civilizations. Throughout history lack of peace and most notably
large scale of violence destroyed and uprooted entire civilizations and
cultures from their ancestral lands. The ideas of annihilating another
culture and civilization would have never been able to materialize
if there had not been breeding grounds cultivating hatred towards
diversity in those societies. It is not surprising that during the
Alliance of Civilizations’ previous Forum one of the points shared
by participants was that peace-building requires trust-building.
In order to ensure an efficient management of diversity, we agree
that a responsible leadership is an imperative and thus we welcome
the particular focus of this Global Forum.
Responsible leadership in encouraging media pluralism and diversity
of media content is widely known to encourage peaceful narratives
in conflict affected societies. Firm adherence to this fundamental
principle can positively impact on the conciliatory stance of
populations. In Armenia we are encouraging media pluralism, an
indicator of which is that our country is well ahead in the region
according to the World Press Freedom Index.
While translating our international obligations and political
commitments into actions there is a need for responsible leadership
empowered by a strong political will. There is a need for a leadership
initiating reconciliation processes; there is a need for a leadership
courageous enough to build bridges between peoples rather than
artificially creating dividing lines based on civilizational, cultural,
religious and other differences.
Any attempt to add religious or ethnic essence to conflicts can result
in dangerous consequences.
Even nowadays we sometimes witness expressions of intolerance and
hatred which remind us of the Middle Ages. Instead of such attitudes,
responsible leaderships could use differences between civilizations
to enrich one another by promoting inter-cultural dialogue.
Respect and tolerance to other’s ethnicity, cultural and religious
heritage is one of the prerequisites of harmonious and peaceful
Armenia is joining the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance
of Civilizations with open mind and strong determination to work
with member countries to advance the positive message of diversity
and civilizational harmony.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress