World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Group Formed To Foster Respect Among Cultures

Annan Appoints Head Of Group Formed To Foster Respect Among Cultures

New York, Nov 14 2005

A prominent writer and researcher on the history of relations between Christendom and Islam has been named by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the director of a new United Nation initiative to foster respect and dialogue among cultures.

Tomas Mastnak, currently a director of research at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, was chosen to be the first Director of the Office of the Alliance for Civilizations, and will take up his duties toward the end of December, a UN spokesperson said today.

Shamil Idriss, formerly Senior Adviser dealing with Islamic-Western relations for the international conflict resolution organization Search for Common Ground has been named Deputy Director of the office.

The establishment of the office of the Alliance of Civilizations follows up on a Spanish and Turkish initiative, announced this past July, meant to respond to the need for the international community to bridge divides and overcome misconceptions that threaten world peace, according to a statement issued by Mr. Annan at the time.

Today, reiterating that theme in a message delivered to a meeting in Vienna by his Special Advisor, Lakhdar Brahimi, Mr Annan called for unity between cultures in addressing extremism in all faiths.

"The great religions all contain pluralistic traditions, yet, increasingly, many of their followers are succumbing to exclusivism," he said in the message to a conference titled Islam in a Pluralistic World and taking place in Vienna, Austria. "We must respond to extremists, but not in kind," he continued, saying that the answer should come from the logic of "reconciliation, of inclusion and mutual respect."

The inaugural session of the high-level group of the Alliance of Civilizations, chaired by former UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Frederico Mayor and including eminent personalities such as Desmond Tutu, is expected to take place in Spain on 27 November.

Mr. Annan expressed regrets today that he will not be able to attend the inaugural session, but will be sending as his personal representative S. Iqbal Riza, who currently serves as his Special Advisor on the initiative.

Meanwhile in New York, the General Assembly, also emphasizing the need to foster understanding of all civilizations and enhance engagement among cultures, today welcomed 800 years of Mongolian statehood, through a resolution that also encouraged efforts to preserve and develop nomadic culture and traditions in modern societies.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 



Save The Children: Ukraine: 21 Children Killed Or Injured In Horrific Week Of Violence

At least 21 children have been killed or injured in just a week in an uptick of violence across Ukraine, Save the Children said today... More>>


UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
More>>
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>



UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>