NEWS REGISTER NOW

1st World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

7-9 April 2011, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan

“United Through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity” 

Based on the global agenda on the Dialogue among Civilizations adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (November 2001), the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), the Islamic Declaration on Cultural Diversity, which was adopted by ISESCO in 2004, Declaration and Action Plan of the Third Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member states, the Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (May 2008), Baku Declaration for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue Azerbaijan hosted the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue on 7-9 April, 2011 in Baku under patronage of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan that was declared by the President at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly(23 September 2010, New-York).

Building on previous events held in the Azerbaijani capital on this theme and on the corpus of work developed by the stakeholder organisations in recent years, the forum marks a recognition that intercultural dialogue is one of the most pressing challenges of our world and, indeed, one that increasingly manifests itself on a global scale.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr.Ilham Aliyev and President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP MehribanAliyeva attended the official opening ceremony of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.

500 representatives from 102 countries from all continents of the World – Cultural Ministers from 20 countries, deputy ministers of numerous states, leading international organizations including the ISESCO Director General, the Assistant Director General of UNESCO, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, mayors of various world cities, diplomats, media organizations, international NGOs, scientists, scholars, distinguished cultural experts, practitioners, intellectuals and activists are attending the forum, which is organized under the motto – “United Through Common Values, Enriched by Cultural Diversity”.

The main aim of the Forum, supported by prestigious international organizations such as UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, Council of Europe, North-South Center of the Council of Europe, ISESCO and held in this format for the first time ever, is to advance the initiatives, realized by Azerbaijan in the sphere of intercultural dialogue, from regional context into the global level, and to establish a fully-functioning International Forum in the country. Euronews as a media partner has promoted the forum through its broadcasting networks.

5 A – Intercultural Cooperation Platform has been established at the Forum, which attracts wide attention for its scope of discussion items. Bearing in mind the Azerbaijani language acronym of the first letters of the five continents, represented with huge delegations at the event – “Avropa, Asiya, Amerika, Afrika, Avstraliya”, the new platform was symbolically named the “5 A’s”.

The Forum was organized in the framework of the Baku process launched at the Conference of Ministers responsible for Culture in Europe and its neighbouring regions (Baku, 2-3 December, 2008). The aim of the “Baku process” is to establish a platform in which today’s challenges can be discussed in the spirit of intercultural dialogue and universal values. The Baku Process is understood as a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage living on different continents, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.

Key conclusions:

  • What needs to be highlighted now is what we share rather than what divides us
  • Making intercultural dialogue an explicit component of cultural policies is to ensure the development of instruments and measures that promote intercultural dialogue and respect to cultural diversity within societies.
  • Education is the cornerstone of any process of intercultural dialogue
  • While it is important to recognise that some problems require political and economic solutions, intercultural dialogue can play a role in securing the basic understanding and cooperation necessary for political and economic action
  • Women play a key role in intercultural dialogue and it must be supported
  • Interreligious dialogue is an essential part of intercultural dialogue
  • New media and social media are intrinsic to contemporary intercultural dialogue and more must be done to encourage an understanding of their use and potential
  • Cities are sites of challenge but also laboratories of innovation

Key recommendations:

  • To embrace a conception of culture that promotes creativity and change
  • To implement the CEDAW process and make the most of existing institutional and legal constraints to promote and protect the role of women in intercultural dialogue
  • To refrain from using culture to justify discrimination and violence

Key commitments

  • To turn the World Forum into a regular event. Next Forum will be held in 2013.
  • To use appropriate means to place cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue higher on the international agenda

Key proposals

  • 5 A – Intercultural Cooperation Platform has been initiated by Azerbaijan at the Forum, which attracts wide attention for its scope of discussion items. Bearing in mind the Azerbaijani language acronym of the first letters of the five continents, represented with huge delegations at the event – “Avropa, Asiya, Amerika, Afrika, Avstraliya”, the new platform was symbolically named the “5 A’s”
  • To establish Baku Global Think-Tank Group for Intercultural Dialogue as a research group of World Forum