First Expert Meeting on the Implementation of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022)

UNESCO, Paris, France, March 24-25, 2015

The Action Plan for the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures was adopted by UNESCO's Executive Board in April 2014 and approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2014. Its implementation will be the focus of an Expert meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 24 and 25 March 2015.

Being the lead agency of the United Nations system for the Decade, UNESCO is called upon to mobilize different actors to set the basis for promoting mutual understanding conducive to the harmonious coexistence between peoples and countries.

This expert meeting takes on a special meaning today, with international news crystallizing a significant rise of intolerance and extremism, based on tensions and challenges of the management of cultural diversity and intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

The stakes of this Decade are to come to grips with this critical reality, the aim of which is “to illustrate the benefits of jointly promoting respect for human rights and cultural diversity, while acknowledging the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue to fight against new forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance, extremism and radicalization, thus forging ties among peoples and nations."

This will be the focus of some twenty experts considered by UNESCO to bring forward their enlightened thoughts for the implementation of this Decade, including, among others, intellectuals from different disciplines and backgrounds, political figures, representatives of UN agencies, international organizations, cultural institutions, of the civil society and foundations.

To make this happen, their discussions will focus on five main sessions on the following topics:

1. Why a rapprochement of cultures? Setting the scene
2. Promoting diversity for peaceful coexistence
3. Intercultural dialogue, social justice and resource sharing
4. Memorial processes, reconstruction and reconciliation
5. Rapprochement of Cultures for a global citizenship education

Beyond taking stock of the state of the art, this expert meeting will reflect on practical arrangements and concrete actions to trigger off at global, regional, national or local level, with a view to setting in motion a broad movement in favor of intercultural dialogue based on respect for cultural diversity and human rights.

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