Saturday, May 18, 2013

Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures


Citizens of the World Welcome the Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures


            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 traditions.

            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.


            Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens