Building peace in the minds of men and women

'Inter-cultural dialogue has never been so vital,' declared UNESCO Director-General in Azerbaijan

On 30 May, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova participated in the 2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, at the invitation of H.E. Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The theme of the forum is 'Living together peacefully in a diverse world.'

'In this world of change and uncertainty, tolerance is not enough -- we need new forms of dialogue and exchange, based on respect, equal dignity and mutual understanding,' declared Irina Bokova in the opening ceremony.

President Aliyev reminded the participants about the vital importance of multi-culturalism today, as an essential factor for peace and stability.

'Azerbaijan has a long history of rich cultural diversity - this is a great asset, a great resource for the development of our country,' said President Aliyev. 

"We must recognise cultural diversity as a dynamic force that widens opportunities, that is a wellspring for the innovation and creativity we need for sustainable development and peace,' said the Director-General.

The Director-General took part in the Opening Ceremony, along with the UN High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations Mr Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser and the Director-General of ISESCO, Mr Abdulaziz Ottoman Altwaijri.

The ceremony occurred before the packed auditorium in the stunning H. Aliyev Centre, a landmark feature of world architecture designed by Ms. Zaha Hadid, UNESCO artist for peace.

Irina Bokova participated also the Forum’s session “Cultural corridors in Southeast Europe, Black Sea and Caucasus regions – shared heritage, common responsibilities, sustainable future”, co-organized with the Office of the President of Bulgaria, Mr Georgi Parvanov (2002-2012). This session explored the experience of different regions in building dialogue for reconciliation and lasting peace.