Hosted by the Government of Spain on January 15-16 in Madrid, the First Alliance of Civilizations Forum convened political leaders, representatives of international and regional bodies, religious leaders, youth, corporate executives, civil society groups, and foundations for open dialogue on reducing polarization between nations and launching joint initiatives to promote cross-cultural understanding globally. The presence of over 900 participants and 89 official delegations in Madrid is testament to the interest that the Alliance is generating throughout the world.
The Forum was organized around 3 plenary sessions and 8 working sessions over the course of two days. Participants from 78 countries discussed issues as diverse as the role of the media in intercultural dialogue, the challenges and demands facing religious leaders as advocates for peace, and the opportunities that multiculturalism can provide to the business world. Taking a practical approach, the Forum offered a unique international platform to governmental agencies, international organizations and representatives of civil society to forge partnerships and develop concrete initiatives in the sphere of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, particularly in the Alliance’s priority areas of education, youth, migration and the media.
A High Level Political Dialogue meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance was also held. Attended by approximately 70 countries (46 at the Ministerial level or equivalent) and 13 international organizations, the meeting demonstrated the broad political support enjoyed by the Alliance. Noteworthy among the results of this meeting were the signing by the High Representative of five Memoranda of Understanding – with UNESCO, the League of Arab States, ISESCO, ALECSO, and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a Letter of Intent with the Council of Europe, and the unveiling of country strategies to implement the goals of the Alliance at the national and regional levels.
On 6-7 April 2009, the second Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was held in Istanbul, Turkey. The Forum is the world’s premier event aimed at advancing intercultural understanding.
The Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations mobilized the energy, imagination and ideas of a wide range of committed partners, from international organizations to media, from governments to civil society, and from religious leaders to youth. From 6-7 April 2009, over 1,000 participants – among them several Heads of Government, over 50 Ministers, as well as policy-makers, foundation, media and grassroots leaders from around the world – convened at the Ciragan Palace Hotel in Istanbul Turkey, to forge new partnerships and generate ideas aimed at building trust and cooperation among diverse communities. The Forum also served as an opportunity to take stock of initiatives developed by the Alliance of Civilizations and to launch practical projects in collaboration with civil society and corporate partners.
The 3rd Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was held from 28 to 29 May 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, allowing a network of political and corporate leaders, civil society activists, youth, journalists, international organizations, and religious leaders to join forces and agree on actions to combat prejudice and build the conditions for long-term peace.
From December 11-13, 2011, more than 2,500 attendees met in Doha, including Heads of State, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, NGOs, representatives of civil society, young leaders, foundations, media, academia and corporate sector for the 4th Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The Doha Forum revolved around three key themes:
- How does cultural diversity impact development? – the missing link
- Promoting trust and tolerance to advance development goals
- New strategies for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation
This Forum tackled the issue of the missing link between culture and development and the notion of cultural diversity with the necessary tools that must be established to make the cultural factor a key element in development policies.