2010 - International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures


The celebration is a way to stimulate the development of actions to promote mutual understanding on cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity at regional, national and international level, for peace.

“The objective of this International Year is to help dissipate any confusion stemming from ignorance, prejudice and exclusion that create tension, insecurity, violence and conflict”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in her official message on this International Year.

Bokova emphasized the role of UNESCO in the celebration of this mark thanks to international cooperation in the areas of its competence. Over the years, the Organization has gained special experience and has won recognition through its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchanges between cultures.

Four main strategic lines of action for the Year have been devised. They involve promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity; building a framework for commonly shared values; strengthening quality education and intercultural competences, and fostering dialogue for sustainable development.

As part of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, Brazil will host the III World Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, on 28 and 29 May, in Rio de Janeiro. The event is promoted by the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in partnership with UNESCO.

The Forum will bring together political and business leaders, mayors, civil society activists, foundations representatives, international organizations and religious leaders in order to rethink how to deal with tensions between cultures and promote trust and understanding between heterogeneous communities.

The following authorities will attend the forum: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, United Nations High Representative for Alliance of Civilizations.

Additional Information

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations website

For additional information regarding the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, please visit UNESCO's Culture Sector web site.

For further information on the III World Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, click here (in Portuguese).


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