UNAOC High Representative Miguel Moratinos said his organization was proud to partner with Project Aladdin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco in “the new adventure” that is the Tangier Dialogue, knowing that dialogue is the basis of global understanding and diplomatic action.
Remarks by UNAOC High Representative Miguel Moratinos – Opening Session – June 10, 2022.
It always gives me great pleasure to be back to your beautiful country.
I am proud of the partnership between UNAOC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco, and Project Aladdin that resulted in this first iteration of the Tangier Dialogue which couldn’t have been more timely.
I cannot think of a better venue than Tangier to explore a path towards a new, shared Enlightenment. Historically, this city has long embraced diverse civilizations and cultures and served as a conduit of knowledge.
The Mediterranean was a beacon of civilization in the world. In the middle ages, in the Iberian Peninsula from which I came, the Caliphate of Cordoba, was a much more civilized entity than the Christian kingdom in the north of the peninsula. Quite often some Europeans have certain reluctance in recognizing these benefits.
We Europeans in the north of the Mediterranean benefited a lot from the knowledge that came with the Arab and the Moorish presence in the Peninsula. With our irrigations systems, with innovations in navigation techniques, chemistry, mathematics and astrology. So there is a profound heritage of Arab culture and civilization that nourished and enriched Europe for centuries.
As societies become ever more multi-ethnic and multireligious, we need to invest in social cohesion, so that diversity is rightly seen as a richness, not a threat. At the same time, we need to ensure that every community feels that their identity — their culture — is being respected.
Unfortunately, in times of insecurity and uncertainties, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats. Throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed an alarming surge in xenophobia, bigotry, misogyny and racism. These manifestations are an affront to international laws and human rights laws.
Discrimination on account of race, ethnicity, religion and belief diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential. It erodes trust among people within the same society.
Through advancing intercultural and interreligious dialogue, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations ‘mission is especially important in addressing racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance, which are increasing in many places, feeding each other and fermenting violent extremism.
Together, let us build bridges of understanding through advancing meaningful dialogue. Together let us build alliances of civilizations that brings us together rather than walls of division.
I thank you.