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.