11.03.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Leading personalities from all over the world reflect on reconciliation to promote peace and dialogue among cultures

The High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures will meet, in New York on 11 March 2011, and will address the theme of “Building Peace: Reconciliation through the Power of Education, the Sciences, Culture and Communication”.

The High Panel will be followed, by a UNESCO Forum at United Nations Headquarters, which will be open to Member States, an invited public, and accredited media.

The Director-General of UNESCO established the High Panel in 2010 to chart new avenues for peace and promote cultural diversity in a globalized world. The main mission of the Panel is to accompany UNESCO’s work in this area reflecting diverse perspectives from various parts of the world and from a wide range of stakeholders. A key challenge in the Panel’s term of reference is the identification of new strategies and initiatives to foster the conditions of peace.

The meeting in New York is the second time the High Panel has met. The inaugural meeting was held on February 18, 2010 at UNESCO Headquarters. This meeting also marked the official launch of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.

Participants in the High Panel include: Jorge Sampaio, High Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Alliance of Civilizations and former President of Portugal; His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Chairman, Board of Directors, King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies; Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; Homi K. Bhabha, Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University; Günter Blobel, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (1999); John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Rockefeller University; Kjell Magne Bondevik, Founder and President of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and former Prime Minister of Norway; Chen Kaige, Chinese film director; Candido Mendes, Secretary-General of the Academy of Latinity and Dean of the Universidade Candido Mendes; Aminata Traoré, President of the “Forum pour un autre Mali” and former Minister for Culture and Tourism of Mali; and Forest Whitaker, Oscar winning artist, film director and producer; Turkish musician and writer Zülfü Livaneli as well as the Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijiri.

Reflecting on the worldwide celebration of 2010 as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, the Director-General of UNESCO has been invited by the President of the Asia Society, Vishakha Desai, to participate in the Asia Society President’s Forum. Ms Bokova and Ms Desai will examine how culture is leading the way to sustainable development and a redefinition of our shared humanity in the 21st century. The Forum will be held on 10 March 2011 from 6.30 pm to 8 pm at the Asia Society in New York.


Journalists not accredited to the UN need to obtain accreditation from Suzanne Bilello: +1 (212) 9634386, s.bilello(at)unesco.org

Report of the first Panel meeting

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