For information only - not an official document.
11 January 2001


NEW YORK, 7 December (UN Headquarters) -- A new Web site entitled "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations 2001" is now available on the United Nations home page, under the heading "Conferences and Events", or at

Prepared by the Department of Public Information in all six United Nations official languages, the Dialogue among Civilizations site encourages and facilitates worldwide dialogue through interactive, intellectually stimulating pages, and connectivity with others who are simultaneously visiting the site. Also containing information and news regarding the Year, the site features examples of human courage, "unsung heroes of dialogue", those who have reached across the "divide" to the "other" and who have been able to see through the alleged diversity of their neighbours and keep alive the flame of humanity.

Designed to appeal to all cultures and age groups, the site also highlights the group of eminent persons that has been invited to prepare a contribution on the issue of dialogue focusing on its core -- the perception of diversity. With the objective of sketching the main components of a new paradigm of international relations, this contribution will be presented to the Secretary-General during the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly in late 2001.

In 1998, the General Assembly proclaimed the year 2001 as the "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations" (resolution 53/22). It invited governments, the United Nations system, and other relevant international and non-governmental organizations to plan and implement appropriate cultural, educational and social programmes to promote the concept of dialogue among civilizations, including through organizing conferences and seminars and disseminating information and scholarly material on the subject.

The resolution was proposed by Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of Iran, and supported by a large number of Member States, with the hope that such dialogue would replace hostility and confrontation with discourse and understanding.

On 5 September, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "The United Nations, at its best, can be the true home of the dialogue among civilizations, the forum where such dialogue can flourish and bear fruit in every field of human endeavour". His Personal Representative for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, Giandomenico Picco, added in his provisional report annexed to the report of the Secretary-General (document A/54/546): "The establishment of the United Nations was intended to provide a paradigm of international relations based on inclusion rather than exclusion. It seems appropriate, therefore, to speak, within the United Nations context, of two sets of civilizations: those that perceive diversity as a threat; and those that perceive diversity as an integral component of growth. The dialogue should be between these two civilizations or set of civilizations". The Web site will be used to promote this dialogue.

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