Vienna, 28 September 2012 – “The outbreaks of violence and the vehement reactions to the defamatory Anti-Muslim video and caricatures of the past few weeks are shocking. They illustrate once again that the dialogue of cultures and religions is not a side issue, but a necessity in international politics. Promoting more respect and tolerance between people of different origins, cultures and religions is more important than ever before. Dialogue is the only viable way to conduct the debate on the freedom of opinion and the protection of religious symbols with the required objectivity”, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said. The Foreign Minister advocated interreligious and intercultural dialogue in the framework of the UN General Assembly in New York where he attended, together with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, a minister meeting of the Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) on the protection of the freedom of opinion.
“The Alliance of Civilisations has become the most important global platform for intercultural dialogue over the past few years. I am particularly pleased that the 5th General Forum of the UNAOC will be held in Vienna on 27 and 28 February 2013.”, Spindelegger continued and said that the general topic of the conference in Vienna would be “the promotion of responsible leadership in diversity and dialogue”. He also said that the items on the agenda of the conference will reflect the focal areas of the Alliance, i.e. youth, education, media and migration.
Some 800 opinion leaders from politics, business, media and the civil society are expected to attend the Vienna UNAOC Forum, plus 150 young people who will meet for a special event one day before the Forum. “We must invest in youth and convey the message to young persons that an open and objective dialogue between people of different cultures is the basis for peaceful coexistence”, the Vice-Chancellor concluded. For up-to-date information on the planned Annual Forum please visit the conference website at www.vienna5unaoc.org.
The UNAOC was founded at an initiative of Turkey and Spain under the auspices of the United Nations in 2004 and has been operative with concrete projects since 2007. 110 states and 23 international organisations are members of the Group of Friends.
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159 213