General Assembly opens two-day debate on 'dialogue among civilizations'

General Assembly opens two-day debate on 'dialogue among civilizations'

The General Assembly today opened a two-day debate on the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations - an initiative aimed at fostering understanding across borders that is widely seen to have taken on greater importance in the wake of the September terrorist attacks against the United States.

Delegates from several countries took the floor to denounce the extremist beliefs and intolerance that led to those attacks. Dialogue, they argued, had enlarged the common understanding of values and principles - including the values of liberal and participative democracy, rule of law, and tolerance - while terrorism denied the universality of those human values.

Other delegates noted that the United Nations represented the diversity of the world's civilizations and was a forum for all different civilizations. In promoting dialogue, they urged the Organization to conduct the dialogue among civilizations so as to remove the negative impact of the cold war mentality from international relations; promote the principles of democracy and equality in international affairs; and push forward the establishment of a just and equitable new international political order.

Tomorrow, the Assembly is scheduled to hear statements by seven members of the group of eminent persons appointed by the Secretary-General for the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, as well as Ahmad Jalali, President of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference.

The seven eminent persons are: A. Kamal Aboulmagd of Egypt, Ruth Cardoso of Brazil, Nadine Gordimer of South Africa, Sergey Kapitza of the Russian Federation, Hans Küng of Switzerland, Tu Weiming of China and Javad Zarif of Iran.