The Forum will be opened by the Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodgriguez Zapatero; the Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayvip Erdogan; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; and Mr Sampaio. Some 400 people will take part in the event, among them Queen Noor of Jordan, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa; Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.
The Director-General will address the opening plenary session of the Forum on 15 January, which will analyze the challenges of managing diversity in the age of globalization. He will also take part in the meeting of the high level political dialogue group alongside many ministers of foreign affairs.
During this meeting, Mr Matsuura and the United Nations’ High Representatives for the Alliance of Civilizations will sign a Memorandum of Understanding whose purpose is to determine concrete areas of action to promote dialogue between cultures and civilizations, mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and peaceful coexistence.
The Memorandum, which will be in force for an initial period of two years, stipulates that UNESCO and the Alliance of Civilizations undertake joint projects and activities in association with public authorities at all levels, civil societies, NGOs and the private sector.
The Memorandum stipulates that projects and activities be undertaken in areas such as the development of educational, cultural and scientific content favourable to dialogue and mutual appreciation; increasing youth exchanges to overcome cultural barriers; highlighting the role of the media in fostering dialogue and mutual understanding; establishing new multi-stakeholders partnerships in order to, for example, promote multilingualism; identifying and bringing together students, researchers and scientists – as well as religious leaders and other opinion-makers - from varied cultural backgrounds with a view to fostering mutual respect.
More information and accreditation: www.madridaocforum.org