Press Releases

    Note No 151
    29 August 2001



    SALZBURG, 28 August (UN Information Service) -- The Salzburg Dialogue among Civilizations was convened in the framework of the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations bringing together participants from various regions and backgrounds to discuss the potential of the Dialogue among Civilizations as a new paradigm of international relations. The results of these discussions will feed into the ongoing work of the United Nations on this subject which will culminate in a Special Session of the General Assembly on 3-4 December 2001.

    The following are some of the reflections which emanate from the discussions:

    As the reality of a more interdependent world is pushing us ever closer together, we will have to improve our management of diversity.

    Science, technology, communication, migration, trade, finance and diseases are becoming increasingly borderless, affecting our societies in an unprecedented manner. Yet, culture and religion are re-emerging as major driving forces in the political set-up of our world.

    Globalization and localisation are two sides of the same coin but it may need dialogue to avoid confrontation between the two. Dialogue necessitates a change of mindset, which has to be based on trust. Civilisations are anchored in a common set of values we all share and in our common aspiration for peace, justice, partnership and truth.

    We recognize that many walls have been build throughout human history, too many of them in recent times. Ethnicity, religion and culture have repeatedly been misused as reasons for enmity and war.

    The most practical way to create trust is "to build together" across the divide. We recognize a growing fatigue with human conflict and violence, therefore we are witnessing a common yearning for human solidarity. Much has been accomplished by the existing international institutions yet much more has to be done.

    The new heroes of this dialogue will be different from our heroes of the past. They will be those who stand ready to extend their hand, to listen to the other, to take advantage of the commonality which unites us, and to expand our faith in our common humanity.

    What we can pass on to the next generations is therefore a willingness to learn from reach other instead of a fear of diversity. Future generations will bear witness to the realisation of a successful policy of dialogue and reap the fruits. It is our responsibility to sow the seeds.

    The call for a dialogue among civilizations comes from those who want to meet this challenge aimed at governance through inclusion.

    "War begins in the mind of those who perceive diversity as a threat" (John Hume).

    "Peace begins in the mind of those who perceive diversity as an element of betterment and growth" (Kofi Annan).

    The following eminent persons took part in the Salzburg Dialogue among Civlizations:

    Kofi Annan
    Secretary-General of the United Nations

    Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner
    Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs

    Amb. Rosario Green
    Ambassador of Mexico to Argentina

    Prof. Joseph Ki-Zerbo
    Founder of the Centre d’Etudes pour le Developpement Africain

    Prof. Dr. Hans Küng
    Professor emer. of Theology

    Dr. Attaollah Mohajerani
    Director, International Centre for Dialogue Among Civilisations

    Giandomenico Picco
    Personal Representative of the Secretary General
    for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilisations

    Dr. Andrei A. Piontkowskij
    Director, Strategic Studies Center

    Surin Pitsuwan
    Form. Foreign Minister of Thailand

    Prof. Emer. Paul Ricoeur
    University of Paris-X (Nanterre)

    Prof. John Ruggie
    Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

    Dr. Nafis Sadik
    Form. Executive Director of the UN Population Fund

    Rabbi Arthur Schneier
    President, Appeal of Conscience Foundation
    New York

    Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel
    Federal Chancellor of Austria

    Prof. Klaus Schwab
    Davos World Economic Forum

    Shashi Tharoor
    Author and Interim Head, UN Department of Public Information

    * *** *