UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, has set up a High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures to provide guidance on how to build increased tolerance, reconciliation and balance within societies and throughout the world.
The High Panel will meet for the first time on 18 February 2010 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, thus marking also the launch of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures for which UNESCO has been designated by the UN General Assembly as lead agency of the UN system.
When being installed as Director-General last November, Ms Bokova announced her strong commitment to uphold and strengthen UNESCO’s cardinal role, to help build the defences of peace in the minds of people, especially in light of new challenges posed by globalization, the multiple crises and mass migration in recent years. To that end she called for a “new humanism”.
“UNESCO holds all of the keys to providing and intellectual and humanist response to globalization and the current crisis” she stated.
Moreover, many new dimensions and developments have an important impact on peace, such as cultural diversity, gender equality, new scientific trends and discoveries. New forms of sociability and solidarity may thus be necessary to facilitate dialogue between communities and help strengthen social cohesion.
The High Panel will engage in a broader reflection on the various new dimensions of the peace paradigm. The role of education in conflict prevention is among the key areas that are likely to be highlighted.
Following the inaugural meeting of the High Panel, there will be a public round table discussion in the afternoon of 18 February at UNESCO. Participants include Panel members, Permanent Delegates to UNESCO, representatives of other international and regional organizations, NGOs, the media and the general public on the theme “The Dialogue of Cultures: New Avenues for Peace”.
Asmina Sopova, Bureau of Public Information, Tel: +33(0)1 45 68 17 17.