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    Attended by Azerbaijani President and Co-organized by ICESCO… World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue Kicks off in Baku

    1 May 2024

    The Sixth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue kicked off in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the participation of His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and high-level representatives from 110 countries. The Forum, co-organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), UNESCO, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is themed ” Dialogue for Peace and Global Security: Cooperation and Interconnectivity.”

    In his opening remarks, H.E. President Aliyev commended the international organizations involved in organizing the Forum, highlighting the contributions of the distinguished participants in developing new methodologies to address major issues in the international agenda. H.E. President Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan has always been a crossroads of cultures throughout history thanks to its strategic location between the East and West, which added to the Azerbaijani society’s cultural richness and ethnic diversity, and its commitment to tolerance, coexistence, respect, and partnership.

    In his address, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General (DG) of ICESCO, emphasized the Organization’s openness to all in light of its forward-looking vision and strategic orientations in an international and regional context that calls for practical solutions to resolve conflicts through strengthening the foundations of culture and dialogue and urging regional and international research centers to adopt reliable standards in issuing information and analysis on which policies are based. Dr. AlMalik added that the state of peace and degree of security are two reliable standards that reassure people to look forward to a better future.

    Dr. AlMalik commended the efforts of the Republic of Azerbaijan, its President, government, and people and expressed his gratitude to H.E. President Aliyev for his efforts to promote dialogue among nations. Dr. AlMalik stressed the importance of the Forum in a world that is still regressing at the level of security and coexistence. Dr. AlMalik reviewed statistics showing that 2023 recorded the highest rates of deteriorating security and escalating conflicts internationally, with 183 armed conflicts, a 28% increase in violent incidents, 800 million people below the poverty line, a decline in the number of teachers, and 459 armed groups whose activities provoke humanitarian concerns, with 195 million people living under their full or partial control.

    Furthermore, Dr. AlMalik lauded the outcomes of the “Baku Process” and the several events being held in Baku, expressing pride in the distinguished partnership between the Organization and Azerbaijan, to be reinforced by the upcoming activities of celebrating Shusha as the Culture Capital of the Islamic World for 2024. Dr. AlMalik reviewed a set of ICESCO programs in this regard and stated that the two sides have identical views of the cultural and civilizational scenes as they have the same aspirations and understanding of global dialogue.

    For his part, Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, called for joint efforts to achieve peace and stability globally and for greater solidarity and complementarity among civilizations and cultures to resolve conflicts. Mr. Moratinos stressed the need to intensify dialogue to stop wars and affirmed that the alliance of civilizations is a crucial step in preserving human dignity and a moral duty that guarantees the protection of human rights.

    Following the opening session, the Forum’s three-day working sessions began with the participation of a high-level delegation from ICESCO, including Mr. Anar Karimov, Head of the Partnership and International Cooperation Sector, Ambassador Khalid Fath Al-Rahman, Director of the Civilizational Dialogue Center, Dr. Weber Ndoro, Director of the Center of Heritage in the Islamic World, Dr. Hesham El-Askary, Advisor to DG, and Musallim Afandiyev, Expert in the Partnership and International Cooperation Sector.

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