© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency
The first Expert Meeting on the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures takes place from 24 to 25 March 2015 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This is a key step ahead of the follow-up to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 67/104 of 2012, entitled "Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace", which proclaimed the International Decade for the period from 2013 to 2022.
As a specialized UN agency tasked with the mandate to build peace in the mind of men and women, UNESCO is at the forefront in the fulfilment of this International Decade. In particular, it is committed to urgently find new avenues, modalities and tools for promoting mutual understanding and peace and to avoid the instrumentalisation of cultures, identities, religions and beliefs the consequences of which are growing intolerance, stereotyping, conflicts and violence.
UNESCO has drafted an Action Plan for this Decade, which was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December 2014 and includes four priority areas of action: i) Promoting mutual understanding and reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity; ii) Building a pluralist framework for commonly shared values; iii) Disseminating the principles and tools of intercultural dialogue through quality education and the media; and iv) Fostering dialogue for sustainable development and its ethical, social and cultural dimensions.
In this context the Expert Meeting will have to contribute providing concrete guidance and the necessary recommendations to help chart a road map with clear targets and traceable results to be achieved with a view to make the "Rapprochement of Cultures" a tangible progressive reality.
Three professors of the University of Padua have been invited by UNESCO to take part into the Expert Meeting: Antonio Papisca, UNESCO Chair 'Human Rights, Democracy and Peace', Marco Mascia, Director of the University Human Rights Centre and Léonce Bekemans, Academic Coordinator of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence 'Intercultural Dialogue, Human Rights and Multi-Level Governance'.
The list of participants, the programme as well as further information and documents about the International Decade are available in the resources box below.