Note to Correspondents

Note No 165
8 November 2001


VIENNA, 8 November 2001 (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilisations is being discussed by the UN General Assembly on 8 & 9 November. The importance of promoting a dialogue among civilisations has gained new significance in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001.

The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for the Year of Dialogue among Civilisations, Giandomenico Picco, said terrorism was at the opposite end of the spectrum from Dialogue, "Terrorists believe that diversity is equal to enmity, and those who take the position that dialogue should be pursued believe in the opposite."

The Year of Dialogue was declared to emphasise the importance of tolerance in international affairs and the role of dialogue as a means of strengthening friendly relations among nations and removing threats to peace. The General Assembly will consider a global agenda and a programme of action to promote dialogue among civilisations.

Crossing the Divide, a new book that presents "dialogue among civilizations as a soft tool of diplomacy," has been launched at a press conference on Wednesday, 7 November, at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The book is the product of a collaboration between a group of eminent persons appointed by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Giandomenico Picco, the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.

In a foreword to the book, the Secretary-General writes, "The United Nations itself was founded in the belief that dialogue can triumph over discord, that diversity is a gift to be celebrated and that the world’s peoples are united by their common humanity far more that they are divided by their separate identities."

For more information a press kit is available from

The press kit is also available in German on the UNIS webpage:


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