Lankan incidents draws UN attention

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china MAHINDAA UN official today noted that incidents in some countries, including Sri Lanka, clearly demonstrate that societies are grappling with identity based tensions.

The UN official highlighted the important role played by the initiative known as the Alliance of Civilizations in building bridges to peace, especially amid the current instability in many parts of the world, as he kicked off a global forum in Bali, Indonesia.

“The Alliance is here for you to serve as a soft power tool for conflict prevention, reconciliation, and to advance sustainable development,” said the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

Launched in 2005 through the initiative of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the UN, the Alliance seeks to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide.

“Globally, there is a persistent need for the work of the Alliance if we really want to pursue the future we want,” Al-Nasser told the gathering of government officials, business representatives, faith leaders, media professionals and young people from around the world.

Nasser noted that the Alliance retains a strong commitment to innovative approaches. For example, it is working with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to promote digital games and apps as avenues for cross-cultural dialogue and conflict resolution.

It is also working with private sector organizations such as the BMW Group and others to promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, while making vital contributions to prosperity and peace.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted in his remarks that too many of the world’s worst crises are driven by those who exploit fear for power. “Too many societies are fracturing along cultural, religious or ethnic lines,” he stated, adding “We have much work ahead of us across a landscape of tension.”

In this context, the many grassroots initiatives supported by the Alliance are making a real difference around the world, from encouraging Muslim-Christian volunteerism in Mindanao to helping Pakistani university students take the lead in healing sectarian divisions. (Colombo Gazette)