UN NEWS (Morocco) – Mr. Guterres was speaking at the opening of the 9th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) which is taking place in Fez, Morocco.
“The forces of division and hate are finding fertile ground in a landscape marred by injustice and conflicts,” said Mr. Guterres, calling for the creation of an alliance of peace through recognizing “diversity as richness” and investing in inclusion; and making sure that “all of us – regardless of race, descent, origin, background, gender, religion, or other status – can live lives of dignity and opportunity.”
“The Holy Quran teaches us that God created nations and tribes ‘so that we might know one another’,” said the Secretary-General, stressing that at this time of peril, all should be inspired by the essence of these meanings and “stand together as one human family – rich in diversity, equal in dignity and rights, united in solidarity.”
‘Clash of interests and ignorance’
Miguel Angel Moratinos, the UNAOC High Representative, recalled the thesis of prestigious American political scientist Samuel Huntington, in his famous lecture on the “clash of civilizations,” but also gave his views on the idea.
Mr. Moratinos asserted that “international conflicts cannot be the sole consequence of religion, culture or civilizations. It must be stated bluntly: there is no clash of civilizations. There is a clash of interests and a clash of ignorance.”
For the High Representative, we are not facing a clash of civilizations, because the world of the 21st century is global and interconnected. Hence, “we are one humanity facing multiple global challenges.”
“The recent crises affecting the international community have shown us that there are no borders that can stop viruses and wars, whether they occur in Europe or in any other corner of the world,” Mr. Moratinos stated, noting further that, even “a regional war, in Ukraine, has affected the peace and stability of the entire international order.”
“In the face of defending tolerance, let us defend mutual respect. In the face of defending coexistence, let us defend living together: “convivencia” [coexistence].
Indeed, he continued: “In the face of defending minorities, let us defend the equal rights of all citizens; In the face of exclusion and separatism, let us defend inclusion and fraternity; In the face of only a dialogue of civilizations, let us engage ourselves in an Alliance of Civilizations, in a collective commitment.”
‘Politics speaks to citizens, religion speaks to their souls’
The Forum takes place against the backdrop of an extremely complex global context marked by myriad challenges, ranging from the surge in violent extremism, terrorism, xenophobia, and hate speech, to racism, discrimination, and radicalism, among others.
Over 1,000 representatives from nearly 100 countries participated in the event, including Advisor to the King of Morocco, André Azoulay, who delivered a powerful message of solidarity on behalf of the King, focusing on the importance of finding pathways to peace, unity and solidarity, and how Fez and wider Morocco embodied these values.
“Morocco is built around a model of openness, harmony and synergy that has seen the convergence of Arab-Islamic, Amazigh and Saharan-Hassanian confluents, and that has, at the same time, been enriched by African, Andalusian, Hebrew and Mediterranean tributaries,” he said.
In his remarks to the Forum, Mr. Azoulay explained that Morocco was committed from the beginning has been committed to this avant-garde and has remained there with constancy through: Firstly, promoting openness as a pillar of the culture of peace; secondly, living religion as a vehicle of peace; thirdly, working for development – in the broadest sense of the term – as an ingredient for peace.
“Politics speaks to citizens, religion speaks to their souls, dialogue speaks to their civilizations,” stressed Mr. Azoulay, adding that there is really no point in carrying out major projects “if we do not manage to go beyond this first link in the chain of ‘living-together’, in the name of a single humanity, which puts human beings at the center of its concerns.”