of the World Welcome the Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures
Rene Wadlow, Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, Association
of World Citizens - 3-13-13
Building on efforts in the UNESCO General
Conference of October 2011, the United Nations General Assembly
has proclaimed the Decade 2013-2022 as the International Decade
for the Rapprochement of Cultures, with UNESCO as the lead Agency.
The Decade is part of a strong momentum created by the International
Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children
of the World (2001-2010) which called for peace and non-violence
at every level of society.
The 2006 UNESCO General Conference in its resolution on Promotion
of dialogue among peoples had called for the development
of a universal global consciousness based on dialogue and
cooperation in a climate of trust and mutual understanding and
for a new humanism for the twenty-first century.
The year 2010 had been designated as the International Year for
the Rapprochement of Cultures to promote universal respect
for, and observation and protection of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms. Cultures encompass not only the arts and humanities
but also different ways of living together, value systems and
It is true today that, to an unprecedented degree, people are
meeting together in congresses, conferences and universities
all over the globe. However, in themselves, such meetings are
not dialogue and do not necessarily lead to rapprochement of
cultures. There is a need to reach a deeper level. Reaching such
deeper levels takes patience, tolerance, the ability to take
a longer-range view, and creativity.
For any UN-sponsored Year or Decade to have a real impact, there
must be wide initiatives and actions by civil society: non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and the media.
As Citizens of the World have been in the lead in efforts to
create a new humanism for the twenty-first century, they welcome
this 2013-2022 Decade and will play their part to highlight the
creative efforts of individuals who have helped to create bridges
of understanding among cultures.