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Carter at global Alliance of Civilisations forum

Hon Chris Carter
Minister for Ethnic Affairs

17 January 2008 Media Statement

Carter attends first global Alliance of Civilisations Forum in Madrid


Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter brought a New Zealand perspective to the first global Alliance of Civilisations Forum in Madrid this week.

“The forum is the first global meeting on the Alliance of Civilisations initiative, which aims to build relationships across the boundaries of civilisations and works to reduce the level of suspicion and fear between the Islamic world and the West,” Mr Carter said. Over 95 countries and organisations gathered in the Spanish capital, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“The Alliance seeks to focus on practical action to strengthen mutual understanding, respect and shared values among different peoples, cultures and civilisations.

Chris Carter in his opening address to the conference yesterday stressed New Zealand’s tradition of respect and inclusiveness towards people of different religions and cultures.

“While there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to resolving or preventing conflict, New Zealand firmly believes tensions arising from ignorance, unfamiliarity and a lack of understanding can be mitigated by dialogue, education, and a willingness to learn from and be respectful to others,” Mr Carter said.

New Zealand was an early supporter of the Alliance of Civilisations initiative, with Prime Minister Helen Clark chairing the first regional meeting to consider the Alliance of Civilisations in Auckland last May.

The report of Symposium proceedings is available at www.mfat.govt.nz. Further information on the Alliance of Civilisations and the Madrid forum can be found at www.unaoc.org and www.madridaocforum.org.


ENDS

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