Guest Speech | Miguel Angel Moratinos, UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations


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It is my pleasure to be here with you today. I thank my dear friend David Gosset for his kind invitation. I would like to begin this message by commending the work of the China- Europe-America Global Initiative and the co-organizer of this dialogue especially regarding the Youth Program. Now the East-West division has become a recurrent talking point and the basis for some grave events of our time. It is as brave as necessary to hold the conviction that working together can take us further than antagonism. This initiative responds to the need of creating a future where economic ties are interwoven with peace building, and where mutual respect and constructive dialogue are the roof of engagement.


17 years ago, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was created as a soft-power tool to promote intercultural understanding with a special focus on empowering and enabling the youth. We work with youth and for youth. Youth are not only the future, they are the present. Our focus and support in young social entrepreneurs continue. We believe that youth can and should contribute to the world's most pressing issues, such as sustainable peace, fostering mutual understanding, climate change, and combating hate speech and violent extremism. My dear friend, young professionals have the unique potential to shape both the present and the future building on the lesson they learn from the past. I can only emphasize how important it is that this dialogue is giving them an active role and an opportunity to present their voices.


The last years, we have experienced the consequences of failing to work together in an interconnected world, from the disruption of global supply chain and its impact on global economic welfare to the rise of our ignorant nationalism, and devastating effects of unilateral, shortsighted action that seeks justification in the refusal to understand others on their own terms.


Cultural understanding is a prerequisite for economic cooperation and win-win mutualism and an effective remedy to those shortcomings. I would like to invite us to think of this first dialogue as an example of how the main themes of our age are interconnected. If we cannot communicate, showing appreciation for each other's culture, we will not be able to create shared prosperity and to address our common environmental challenges.

Multilingualism, one of the core themes of today's session is not only a skill, but a mindset, a mindset that engages individual with the concept of the Alliance of Civilizations at a personal level. Now that the importance of developing the skill for intercultural dialogue should not be understated. Our youth is better equipped to represent this mindset, apply it to achieve better and more innovative solutions to our global challenges. From UNAOC, we shall continue to support and encourage initiatives that foster people-to-people connectivity as an end in itself, of which the CEA Youth Program is a clear example.


In the spirit of cultural appreciation, I would like to conclude by quoting an ancient Chinese saying. I quote, "Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand." I wholeheartedly welcome active involvement of global young professional in this discussion at the intersection of culture, economics, and vital innovation. Make no mistake, it is them that can improve our understanding. UNAOC remain committed to engaging with you to keep supporting our youth globally in their quest to bring for better intercultural dialogue, and to reap this growing understanding’s positive impact.


Let us continue to do this good work.

Thank you very much.


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