Second World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

18 June 2013

The Baku World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held between 29 May and 1 June, addressed challenges of intercultural dialogue in its various aspects regarding conceptual frameworks, governance, policy, and practice. The speakers on hand tackled the barriers to dialogue and explored how dialogue may best be pursued in diverse contexts. The Forum provided an excellent opportunity for sharing good practices and for launching new initiatives within this intercultural platform. 500 representatives from 102 countries across the planet, representing international organizations, NGOs, media channels, together with scholars, experts, etc. participated in the Forum, organized under the motto “United through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity.”

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser participated in the 2nd World Forum as a speaker at the official opening ceremony. On May 29th, Mr. Al-Nasser inaugurated, together with UNESCO and ISESCO, The National Tolerance Center. The Center aims to serve as a hub for promoting inter-religious tolerance and mutual respect, another aspect of the intercultural dialogue promoted by the forum.

Intercultural dialogue is one of the most pressing and intriguing challenges of the contemporary world and, indeed, one that increasingly manifests itself on a global scale. In this regard we should open our eyes to the reality that global development must be based on the diversity and richness of cultures, a basic code of human understanding. Our acceptance will contribute to an open, progressive repository of wisdom, experience, knowledge, exchange, and solidarity, and will create new ways of living together by widening the range of options open to everyone.

Azerbaijan is one of the unique places in the world where so many different cultures and civilizations, have historically met and still meet under present circumstances. Situated at the crossroads between East and West, North and South, Azerbaijan has been shaped and transformed through time by its cultural exchanges, and has evolved in the process into a setting that expresses itself open to the reality of intercultural dialogue.

In Mr. Al-Nasser’s address to the forum, entitled “Living Together Peacefully in a Diverse World”, the High Representative outlined his vision and priorities for the UN Alliance of Civilizations and defined the role the Alliance can play amid the challenges that our world is facing today, and will continue to face in the future. He reminded listeners of persistent intolerance between nations in some parts of the world, and of the challenges that need to be overcome, linking also sustainable development to cultural understanding as interconnected global ambitions.

Second World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

01 June 2013

The Baku World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held between 29 May and 1 June, addressed challenges of intercultural dialogue in its various aspects regarding conceptual frameworks, governance, policy, and practice. The speakers on hand tackled the barriers to dialogue and explored how dialogue may best be pursued in diverse contexts. The Forum provided an excellent opportunity for sharing good practices and for launching new initiatives within this intercultural platform. 500 representatives from 102 countries across the planet, representing international organizations, NGOs, media channels, together with scholars, experts, etc. participated in the Forum, organized under the motto “United through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity.”

The UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser participated in the 2nd World Forum as a speaker at the official opening ceremony. On May 29th, Mr. Al-Nasser inaugurated, together with UNESCO and ISESCO, The National Tolerance Center. The Center aims to serve as a hub for promoting inter-religious tolerance and mutual respect, another aspect of the intercultural dialogue promoted by the forum.

Intercultural dialogue is one of the most pressing and intriguing challenges of the contemporary world and, indeed, one that increasingly manifests itself on a global scale. In this regard we should open our eyes to the reality that global development must be based on the diversity and richness of cultures, a basic code of human understanding. Our acceptance will contribute to an open, progressive repository of wisdom, experience, knowledge, exchange, and solidarity, and will create new ways of living together by widening the range of options open to everyone.

Azerbaijan is one of the unique places in the world where so many different cultures and civilizations, have historically met and still meet under present circumstances. Situated at the crossroads between East and West, North and South, Azerbaijan has been shaped and transformed through time by its cultural exchanges, and has evolved in the process into a setting that expresses itself open to the reality of intercultural dialogue.

In Mr. Al-Nasser’s address to the forum, entitled “Living Together Peacefully in a Diverse World”, the High Representative outlined his vision and priorities for the UN Alliance of Civilizations and defined the role the Alliance can play amid the challenges that our world is facing today, and will continue to face in the future. He reminded listeners of persistent intolerance between nations in some parts of the world, and of the challenges that need to be overcome, linking also sustainable development to cultural understanding as interconnected global ambitions.

Language in Intercultural Dialogue

27 April 2013

Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, invited diplomats, journalists and people working from various walks of life in India, who have a knowledge of Hindi and endeavour to use it in bringing cultures closer. It is chaired by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee is the Vice Chairperson. She is also the granddaughter of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. After an introduction by Ms. Gandhi Bhattacharjee and a key note address by Ranjan Mathai, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, the participants were felicitated and a very dynamic panel discussion ensued, kicked off by Sir Mark Tully, formerly of the BBC. People shared their personal and professional experiences on how the use of the local language had helped them in promoting a culture of peace and appreciating the national character.
 
In today’s globalized world, language has become a significant component to unlock cultural diversity, and in the words of Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, “it is a mirror of cultures which reflects not only to the reality, the actual value system and perception, but also serves as a bridge between cultures”. Mahatma Gandhi was extremely keen that one should learn languages and he encouraged that one should learn a new word of another language every day”. 
 

The United Nations is a world body, composed of nation-states, but also a place where various cultures, customs and languages meet”, said UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman. “It is diverse and therefore it is natural that multilingualism should be of particular importance, and the balance among the six official languages has been an ongoing concern of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. To ensure that UN goals and actions are understood by its global audience, we take this even further”, said UNIC Director.  “We try inasmuch as possible to tailor our activities using local languages when and if that is possible. This always creates a rapport with the people and we feel that the UN message gets across more easily”.

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International Mother Language Day in Zimbabwe

23 February 2013
 

On 23 February, over 500 children joined UNIC Harare and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in commemorating International Mother Language Day. The children from Children in Performing Arts Workshop (CHIPAWO) Centres in Harare Norton, Domboshava, Chitungwiza and Bindura, performed traditional dance, drama and recited poetry in different local languages thereby demonstrating the cultural diversity and multilingualism existing in Zimbabwe.

The children also made totemic praises to demonstrate the need to master different and rich cultural forms of expressions and to emphasize and enlighten the audience on the importance of totems, their role in promoting identity and to strengthen relations. In addition, Emerald Hill School for the deaf taught some children sign language.

UNIC also mounted an exhibition of UN publications translated into Shona and Ndebele. These included the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Calendar of UN Observances.

Further, UNIC translated the International Mother Language Day message issued by the UNESCO’s Director-General, which was read in Shona at the event.

There are more than 16 languages spoken in Zimbabwe. These include Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999, and adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2009. The Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism and to highlight greater awareness of the importance of mother tongue education.