The Alliance of Civilizations is a United Nations political initiative of the Secretary-General. It was launched in 2005 by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with the co-sponsorship of the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey. The goal is to merge joint action beyond different societies and cultures in order to fight extremism and overcome cultural, religious and social barriers mainly between the Western and the Muslim world.
The fundamental values of the UNAOC are respect and tolerance among human beings. Values, which define how we handle the diversity of beliefs, cultures and languages. The Alliance aspires to the ideal of a culture of peace and dialogue, based on the conviction that “differences within and between societies be neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset of humanity.” (UN Development Millenium Declaration, 1-6)
The primary mission of the UNAOC is to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action aimed at improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities. The Alliance develops its actions at both governmental and civil society levels. It also works to counter forces that fuel polarization and extremism. The UNAOC’s particular focus is on improving relations within and between Western and Muslim societies and addressing persistent tensions and divides.
The three main tasks of the Alliance are:
While active on a number of crosscutting issues, the Alliance works mainly in four priority areas, which are: