Dear Alumni of the Alliance of Civilizations,
You come from six continents, from places such as Viet Nam, Cameroon, Ireland, Guyana and New Zealand. You are our representatives from six UNAOC programmes: from the UNAOC Fellowship, the Intercultural Innovation Award, PEACEapp, PLURAL+, our Summer Schools and the Youth Solidarity Fund.
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all this morning for the second time in Baku. I know how important these programs are for you and for the Alliance of Civilizations.
First, I would like to thank the Government of Azerbaijan for hosting this event and allowing you to present your work and share with us the impact of your participation in UNAOC programmes on your lives at personal and professional levels.
Let me also extend my special thanks to our major partners, the BMW Group, EF Education First, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Government of Australia, Government of Finland, Government of Spain, Government of Sweden, IOM and UNDP, without whom these programmes would not be possible.
This breakout session is the opportunity for you to demonstrate the concrete action taken within our programming at a grassroots level and relate the influence your work has had within the four pillars of the Alliance.
Through our programmes and with your collaboration, UNAOC builds knowledge on cultural diversity, enhances tolerance and peace across religions, and develops intercultural partnerships.
But UNAOC activities and programming do not only focus on promoting dialogue between cultures. They also emphasize other forms of concrete action in the four pillars of education, media, migration and youth.
PLURAL+ supports videos produced by youth on migration, diversity and social inclusion. The Fellowship Program helps challenge stereotypes by providing emerging leaders with a first hand exposure to cultural diversity.
The Intercultural Innovation Award selects the most innovative grassroots projects working on intercultural understanding and aims to amplify their impact. PEACEapp encourages innovative action by inviting developers to create apps or mobile games designed to generate new opportunities for cultural dialogue and conflict prevention.
The Summer School brings together young people from around the world, exposing them to critical peace education topics, fostering global citizenship and intercultural harmony.
The Youth Solidarity Fund provides seed funding to outstanding youth-led initiatives that promote long-term constructive relationships between people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
Your projects have been selected for their potential in shaping opinion and taking strong initiatives within your communities.
They contribute greatly to advance UNAOC goals of promoting dialogue and understanding between people of all cultures and backgrounds.
You are all intercultural leaders within your community. You are our messengers of peace.
The Alliance counts on you to pass on the torch and raise people’s aspirations for what they can become.
I wish you a lot of success.