“Culture as a source of resilience and reconciliation” says Irina Bokova at the 2011 Alliance of Civilizations Istanbul Series
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova was invited to be the first speaker in 2011 to open the Alliance of Civilizations Conference Series held at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul on 19 January. Her lecture is entitled “Building Bridges to the Future.”
Initiated by the Turkish Government, the Alliance of Civilizations Istanbul Series invites world-renowned scholars, intellectuals, artists, statesmen and leaders to share their views on cultural diversity and ways to reconcile differences in an increasingly complex world.
In her speech, Irina Bokova discussed the importance of culture as a source of resilience and reconciliation for societies that are increasingly complex and where identities are changing. The Director-General underscored the long experience of UNESCO in fostering innovative forms of cultural dialogue and in promoting cultural diversity. She identified areas for further cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, notably regarding quality education for all, youth and the media.
“We stand together to combat the false idea of humanity divided into clashing civilizations. We challenge the notion that culture is something static, opposed to change. We promote the dynamic plurality at the heart of modern identity. We seek to build bridges through cooperation”, she stated in her address.
During the visit, Irina Bokova held a meeting with the Turkish Minister of State Professor Mehmet Aydin, where they highlighted the strong cooperation between Turkey and UNESCO.
The Director-General also opened the exhibition on Evliya Celebi at the Dolmabahce Palace. UNESCO is associated with the celebrations of the 400th anniversary in 2011 of this famous scholar, traveler and writer, whose work remains a reference today.
In conclusion, Irina Bokova gave an interview to the Turkish television documentary series called “The River Flowing Westward,” produced by the Civilizations Studies Centre. She shared her views on the future of cultural diversity and the need for stronger dialogue and exchanges between peoples and cultures as the way to foster a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.