Excerpts from

The Alliance of Civilizations

Mission Statement: The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General which aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, and to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.... The Alliance functions, both globally and within the UN system, in the following capacities:

  • A bridge builder and convener, connecting people and organizations devoted to promoting trust and understanding between diverse communities, particularly – but not exclusively – between Muslim and Western societies;

  •  A catalyst and facilitator helping to give impetus to innovative projects aimed at reducing polarization between nations and cultures through joint pursuits and mutually beneficial partnerships;

  • An advocate for building respect and understanding among cultures and amplifying voices of moderation and reconciliation which help calm cultural and religious tensions between nations and peoples;

  • A platform to increase visibility, enhance the work and highlight the profile of initiatives devoted to building bridges between cultures; and

  • A resource providing access to information and materials drawn from successful cooperative initiatives which could, in turn, be used by member states, institutions, organizations, or individuals seeking to initiate similar processes or projects." http://www.unaoc.org/content/view/39/187/lang,english/

United States Joins Alliance Of Civilizations (5-6-10): "The United States government today announced it is joining the UN Alliance of Civilizations. It will be the 100th member country of the initiative. 'I am pleased that the United States has announced its intention to join the Alliance of Civilizations.'"


Obama renews vow of 'new beginning' with Muslims: "Speaking at Muslim business conference, US president announces series of efforts aimed at boosting ties with Muslim world, including exchange programs for women in technology, high-tech leaders from Silicon Valley ....President Barack Obama on Monday renewed his commitment to a 'new beginning' with the Muslim world, vowing no let-up in US efforts to promote Middle East peace, curb militant violence and boost economic development."


Obama to Join the Alliance Of Civilizations and undermine freedom of speecha and religion (Video): "...from the Alliance of Civilizations website:


'Based on the recommendations made in the AoC High-level Group Report, the work of the Alliance of Civilizations is structured around the following three objectives:

1. Develop a network of partnerships with States, international organizations, civil society groups, and private sector entities that share the goals of the Alliance of Civilizations, to reinforce their interaction and coordination with the UN system;

2. Develop, support, and highlight projects that promote understanding and reconciliation among cultures globally and, in particular, between Muslim and Western societies. These projects should be related to the four main fields of action of the Alliance: youth, education, media and migration.

3. Establish relations and facilitate dialogue among groups that can act as a force of moderation and understanding during times of heightened cross-cultural tensions. In pursuing these objectives, the AoC will maintain and demonstrate through its choice of activities a universal perspective. At the same time, a priority emphasis on relations between Muslim and Western societies is warranted given that cross-cultural polarization and mutual fear are most acute within and between these communities and represent a threat to international stability and security."(May 12, 2010)

US to join advisory group with anti-Israel past: "The Obama administration is preparing to join an international advisory group that the United States generally has shunned due to fears it would adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Western positions, US officials said Wednesday. The officials told The Associated Press the administration plans to announce as early as this week that it will begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations....The five-year-old, UN-backed organization aims to ease strains between societies and cultures, particularly the West and Islam."

United Nations Nations Unies - HEADQUART ERS SIEGE NEW YORK, NY 1 0 0 1 7


"...The initiative responds to a broad consensus across nations, cultures and religions that all societies are interdependent, bound together in their development and security, and in their environmental, economic and financial well-being. The Alliance seeks to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action at the institutional and civil society levels to overcome the prejudice, misperceptions and polarization that militate against such a consensus. And it hopes to contribute to a coalescing global movement which, reflecting the will of the vast majority of people, rejects extremism in any society....

"Only a comprehensive coalition will be able to avert any further deterioration of relations between societies and nations, which could threaten international stability.The Alliance seeks to counter this trend by establishing a paradigm of mutual respect between civilizations and cultures.

• To guide this initiative, the Secretary-General... has established a High-level Group of eminent persons with the following objectives:
- To provide an assessment of new and emerging threats to international peace and security, in particular the political, social and religious forces that foment extremism;
- To identify collective actions, at both the institutional and civil society levels, to address these trends;
- To recommend a practicable programme of action for States,
international organizations and civil society aimed at promoting harmony among societies.

• Toward this end, the High-level Group will consider practical strategies:
- To strengthen mutual understanding, respect and shared values among different peoples, cultures and civilizations;
- To counter the influence of groups fomenting extremism and the exclusion of others who do not share their worldviews;
- To counter the threat to world peace and stability posed by extremism;
- To foster awareness in all societies that... global cooperation is an indispensable prerequisite for security, stability and

• The High-level Group will present a report containing analysis and a programme of action...:
- To emphasize the importance of mutual understanding, and to propose specific mechanisms by which it can be advanced, including but not limited to developing better international cooperation frameworks and using mass media (including the Internet) to foster and frame public debates in constructive ways;
- To cultivate cooperation... in the mainstream majority who are overwhelmingly moderate and reject the views of
extremists to set the agenda;
- To establish partnerships that will help diverse societies to better understand their differences while emphasizing and acting on their commonalities;
- To propose measures through which education systems can foster knowledge and understanding of other cultures and religions;
- To reach out to the youth of the world, in order to instil the values of moderation and cooperation, and to promote appreciation of diversity...."

The UN Alliance of Civilizations: "The Alliance seeks to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action at the institutional and civil society levels to overcome the prejudice, misperceptions and polarization that militate against such a consensus. And it hopes to contribute to a coalescing global movement which, reflecting the will of the vast majority of people, rejects extremism in any society..."


Address to the UN Human Rights Council by Jorge Sampaio, Geneva, 3-3-08

"The Alliance of Civilizations --

  • was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2005...

  • has a role to play in helping to build bridges between societies, promoting dialogue and understanding and forging the collective will to address the world’s imbalances.

  • is a renewed commitment to the UN values – in particular to the promotion of human rights.

"...we all share the most basic attributes, recognized, by the way, by all the great religious traditions.

"To prevent polarization, confrontation, conflict and intolerance and to develop a culture of peace, understanding, tolerance and respect, we need universalist values grounded on the common humanity shared by every man, woman and child on earth."

The UN Alliance of Civilizations -- The high level group: "Events of recent years have exacerbated mutual suspicion, fear and misunderstanding between Islamic and Western societies. This environment has been exploited by extremists throughout the world.... The Alliance seeks to counter this trend by establishing a paradigm of mutual respect between civilizations and cultures."

The Global Peace Project Of The 21st Century: ISTANBUL - “'We consider the Alliance of Civilizations the global peace project of the 21st century,' said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. Taking the floor at the 4th High-Level Group Meeting of Alliance of Civilizations Initiative at Istanbul’s Ciragan Palace, Prime Minister Erdogan said, 'the high-level group, which was set up by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has completed its report. The report will be a guide to be followed as a reference document for long years.... Our age entails us to remove the polarization among different cultures and religious beliefs..."

THE REPORT: "...the UN Secretary-General established a High-level Group of eminent personalities and tasked this Group with generating a report containing an analysis of the rise in cross-cultural polarization and extremism...."

Alliance of Civilizations - Report of the High-level Group, 11-13-06

Introduction: http://www.unaoc.org/repository/report.htm

Actual report: http://www.unaoc.org/repository/HLG_Report.pdf

Audio messages: http://www.unaoc.org/repository/HLG_statements.htm

BIOGRAPHIES HIGH LEVEL GROUP MEMBERS Presentation of Final Report Istanbul, Turkey 12-13 November 2006


1.2 We also live in an increasingly complex world, where polarized perceptions, fueled by injustice and inequality, often lead to violence and conflict, threatening international stability....Some political leaders and sectors of the media, as well as radical groups have exploited this environment, painting mirror images of a world made up of mutually exclusive cultures, religions, or civilizations....

1.4 ... the need to build bridges between societies, to promote dialogue and understanding and to forge the collective political will to address the world’s imbalances has never been greater. This urgent task constitutes the raison d’être of the Alliance of Civilizations. Launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2005... the Alliance of Civilizations affirms a broad consensus across nations, cultures and religions...

1.5 The Alliance seeks to address widening rifts between societies by reaffirming a paradigm of mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious traditions and by helping to mobilize concerted action toward this end. This effort reflects the will of the vast majority of peoples to reject extremism [Does that include uncompromising Christians?] in any society and support respect for religious and cultural diversity. To guide this initiative, the Secretary-General has established a High-level Group of eminent persons. This is their report.

1 ....it evaluates relations between diverse societies and examines the emergence of the contemporary trend toward extremism with special attention to relations between Western and Muslim societies.... It recommends a practicable program of action for states (at national, regional, and local levels), international organizations, and civil society....

II. GUIDING PRINCIPLES 2.1 An Alliance of Civilizations must by nature be based on a multi-polar perspective. As such, the High-level Group has been guided in its deliberations by principles which set out the framework for promoting a culture of dialogue and respect among all nations and cultures. The Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [See Trading U.S. Rights for UN Rules] of 1948 which seeks to free humanity of fear and misery....

2.2 An increasingly interdependent and globalized world can be regulated only through the rule of law and an effective multilateral system, with the United Nations system at its core. This requires adherence to international law and covenants including all rights and responsibilities....

2.3 ...These rights include the prohibition against physical and mental torture; the right to freedom of religion; and the right to freedom of expression and association. The integrity of these rights rests on their universal and unconditional nature.... [But as UNESCO has stated, certain uncompromising religions are not acceptable. See A New Global Ethics ]

2.4 .... There is no hierarchy among cultures, as each has contributed to the evolution of humanity. ...

2.5 Poverty leads to despair, a sense of injustice, and alienation that, when combined with political grievances, can foster extremism. Eradication of poverty would diminish those factors... as called for in the Millennium Development Goals.

2.6 Terrorism can never be justified. ...we need to address all the conditions conducive to it, recognising the links between peace, security, social and economic development, and human rights. In this regard, the recently approved UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy represents an important landmark.

2.7 Democratic governance that is representative of citizens and responsive to their needs and aspirations provides the most effective means for individuals to achieve their full potential. To be successful, democratic systems must emerge organically from within each society’s culture, reflecting its shared values and adapted to the needs and interests of its citizens....

2.8 Religion is an increasingly important dimension of many societies and a significant source of values for individuals. It can play a critical role in promoting an appreciation of other cultures, religions, and ways of life to help build harmony among them.


Identities and Perceptions

3.8 The exploitation of religion by ideologues intent on swaying people to their causes has led to the misguided perception that religion itself is a root cause of intercultural conflict. It is therefore essential to dispel misapprehensions and to give an objective and informed appraisal of the role of religion in modern day politics. Indeed, a symbiotic relationship may be emerging between religion and politics in our time, each influencing the other. ... Conversely, the overtly religious platforms of some contemporary movements conceal political ambitions that appropriate religion for ideological ends.

3.9 ... There is increasing support in many societies for a greater role for religion in public life. Most express this desire in peaceable ways, persisting in a world that many view to be increasingly hostile to faith. But a tiny proportion of religiously motivated groups worldwide take part in acts of violence.

3.10 ...it is important to clarify our understanding of certain commonly used terms. Fundamentalism” is a Western term coined by Protestant Christians which is not readily applicable to other communities. It is frequently used to describe movements which are disturbed by the marginalization of religion in secular society and seek to reinstate its central role. Even though all these movements are in fact highly innovative and even unorthodox, they often call for a return to the roots of religious tradition and a literal adherence to basic texts and principles irrespective of historical factors. ...such movements exist across most faith traditions. Moreover, they are not by nature violent. What is common to them is a deep disappointment with and fear of secular modernity, which many of them have experienced as invasive, amoral, and devoid of deeper meaning.

 Extremism, on the other hand, advocates radical measures in pursuit of political goals. It is not, by nature, religious, and can also be found in secular movements. In some cases, fundamentalist and extremist ideologies can be used to justify acts of violence and even terrorist attacks on civilians.

3.11 It is imperative to recognize that none of the world religions condones or approves the killing of innocents. All promote the ideals of compassion, justice and respect for the dignity of life. However, in a wide range of recent conflicts in many parts of the world religion has been exploited to justify intolerance, violence and even the taking of life. Recently, a considerable number of acts of violence and terrorism have been committed by radical groups on the fringes of Muslim societies. Because of these actions, Islam is being perceived by some as an inherently violent religion. Assertions to this effect are at best manifestly incorrect and at worst maliciously motivated. They deepen divides and reinforce the dangerous mutual animosity among societies.

3.12 Extremism and terrorism are not motivated solely by exclusivist interpretations of religion, nor are non-state actors alone in employing them. Indeed, secular political motives were responsible for some of the most horrifying reigns of terror in living memory, such as the Holocaust, the Stalinist repressions in the Soviet Union, and more recent genocides in Cambodia, the Balkans, and Rwanda, all perpetrated by state powers....

3.13 ... Effective counter-measures cannot rely solely on attacking adherents of such ideologies.... The only durable solution lies in addressing the roots of the resentment and anger that make exclusivist and violent ideologies attractive in the first place. Nowhere have exclusivist ideologies, adversarial perceptions, cultural arrogance, and media stereotypes combined more dangerously with conflicts bred of perceived and real injustices than in relations between Western and Muslim societies.


4.1 Building on the efforts of the Dialogue Among Civilizations and other related initiatives4, the Alliance of Civilizations must examine - within a multi-polar and comprehensive approach - the state of relations between diverse contemporary societies, their world-views and the reciprocal perceptions that shape these relations. ...

4.2 ... it is important to note that peaceful co-existence, beneficial trade and reciprocal learning have been hallmarks of relations between Christianity, Islam and Judaism from their earliest period until today. During medieval times, Islamic civilization was a major source of innovation, knowledge acquisition, and scientific advancement that contributed to the emergence of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in Europe. Historically, under Muslim rule, Jews and Christians were largely free to practice their faiths.