WELCOME TO THE 5th UNAOC GLOBAL FORUM IN VIENNA!
Austria welcomes you to the website of the 5th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations. The Global Forum is the Alliance’s highest-profile event. It brings together decision-makers, experts, and a variety of stakeholders in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue from all over the world.
At a time of dizzying change on a global scale, the Vienna Forum will focus on the promotion of Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue.
Our world today is more interdependent and interlinked than ever. However, this surge in communication and interconnectedness does not automatically generate an equivalent increase in understanding. In a global environment, where power is diffuse and various worldviews stand in direct competition, people around the world often see no other alternatives to either a complete loss of tradition or the frantic attempt to defend one’s own culture and basic values against all external influences.
Cultural diversity and integrity are universal Human Rights and fundamental conditions of human dignity – at the same time, human rights facilitate the respect for and the protection of cultural diversity.
Thus, we cannot leave people and states with these two choices. A new understanding of identity is needed. More than ever, we require new concepts that acknowledge the treasure of diversity, cultivate inclusive societies and thereby spark a new kind of pluralism: one that boosts peace and fosters social progress.
Only jointly can governments, private sector, civil society, religious communities, as well as academia, professional organisations, youth, and the media change obsolete narratives about “the self” and “the other”. “Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue” appeals to leaders from all sectors acting in accordance with the fundamental principles of human dignity. This in turn will lead to decisions that are based on cooperation and consensus and will provide for a long-term perspective. Responsible leadership means maximising the human profit – not only today, but also in 10 as well as in 50 years.
In our world of today, societies mutually depend on each other. Decisions taken by national governments or transnational companies influence the lives of people all over the world. The most pressing challenges of today – finding a sustainable balance between economic development and the protection of our eco-system, handling international migration for the good of migrants as well as host countries, conceiving a new religious pluralism and preserving our rich cultural heritage – can only be faced by the cooperation of decision-makers from all over the world.
Thus, by means of involving our greatest minds and the most creative and strongest opinion leaders in changing the perceptions of combating identities, it is imperative to find sustainable solutions for all of those challenges.
We are excited to host this year’s UNAOC Forum in Austria, a country that has a long standing tradition as a hub for international dialogue, thereby contributing to stability and peace worldwide. We look forward to fruitful discussions, enriching encounters and new perspectives for concrete action.
Dr. Michael Spindelegger
Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria