Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations

On 6-7 April 2009, the second Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to high-level plenary debates, the event is intended to feature:
  • An international platform for participants to develop joint initiatives and launch new programs.
  • A range of project-specific working sessions, which will provide an interactive, inclusive convening space for policy-makers, international organizations and civil society groups to share lessons on best practices and develop joint work platforms.
  • A unique 'Marketplace of Ideas' that will showcase some of the most innovative and successful grassroots projects with the purpose of transcending cultural divides and building peace.

The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. The AoC Secretariat, which is based in New York, works in partnership with States, international and regional organizations, civil society groups, foundations, and the private sector to mobilize concerted efforts to promote cross-cultural relations among diverse nations and communities, and in particular between "Muslim" and "Western" societies.

The Alliance works in four program areas to support such projects. These areas are: youth, media, education, and migration.

At a political level, mainly through role of our High Representative President Sampaio, former President of Portugal, the Alliance works to establish platforms for dialogue among political, religious, media and civil society personalities who are prepared to use their influence in advancing the Alliance of Civilizations’ objectives.

The Alliance has developed memoranda of understanding with a number of partner organizations, including UNESCO, the Arab Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ALESCO) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).

The Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends community is vital to the AoC’s implementation process. The Group of Friends consists of representatives of States, UN agencies, and other international organizations and bodies that have demonstrated active interest in and support of the Alliance.
Surprisingly, there is no representative of the United States Government listed among the Group of Friends. Perhaps this is something that the Obama administration can rectify.
The Alliance of Civilisations International Network of Foundations brings together foundations working to build trust and cooperation among religions, cultures and peoples. The Network includes U.S. foundationsL the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, as well as many of the most important foreign foundations.

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