May 5, 2014

Delivered by Mr. Peter Grohmann, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this important Conference on Civilizations in the Service of Humanity.  I thank Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa and the Bahraini Government for their kind invitation and for this valuable initiative.  

Dialogue across communities is essential in our time.  As our world becomes more interdependent, the nature of conflicts is evolving.  Interstate warfare is less common, while tensions and violence inside countries and within communities are on the rise – often fuelled by parties exploiting religious, ethnic, cultural and other divides. Against this background, I applaud you for bringing together leaders to share ideas on how best to address identity tensions and build relationships across communities.

This goal drives the activities of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

I am pleased that its High Representative, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, is to participate in your gathering.  I have asked him to report back to me on the outcome.

The United Nations is currently coping with troubling situations around the world marked by conflict and mistrust.  At the same time, we can be cautiously optimistic about a number of developments.

The successful conclusion of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference in January has demonstrated to the country’s people, the region and the world that positive change is possible when pursued through a genuine exchange of views where all social, religious and other communities have a real stake.  Through the Dialogue, the Yemeni people have agreed on building a modern, democratic and federal State.  This process has generated a new political dynamic of inclusive politics where constituencies participate on an equal footing.  This represents a strong foundation for national reconciliation and confidence-building toward a better future for all Yemenis.

We can find other heartening examples of situations – from South Africa and Mozambique to Timor-Leste and beyond – where, despite occasional setbacks, relationships across communities in very diverse societies have, for the most part, continued to evolve for the better.  I hope these examples will serve as a source of inspiration during your discussions in the coming days.  

I wish you a most productive Conference and look forward to its results.

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