Alliance of civilizations

On 14 July 2005, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced the initiative of establishing an “Alliance of Civilizations” intended to mobilize a concerted policy action at global level in order to fight prejudices and divisions between cultures and religions (with special reference to the Islamic and Western ones) and to devise a model of understanding and mutual respect.

The initiative of the UN Secretary General (SG) that was co-authored by Spain and Turkey had its roots in the proposal presented by the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in September 2004 at the 59th session of UN General Assembly.

 

Institutional framework

On 26 April, 2007, the current UNSG Ban Ki-moon appointed former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. From February 2013, the new High Representative is Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar), former President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.

The Alliance of Civilizations is supported by a Group of Friends, which is an informal structure consisting in more than 130 countries and international organizations, including the EU Member States and the European Commission.

The Alliance of Civilizations activities are assisted by a Secretariat which is functioning within the UN Secretariat in New York.

 

Romania's participation in the Alliance of Civilizations

Romania deems that the Alliance of Civilizations can contribute to improving relations between cultures and religions and the international political climate.

In early 2007, Romania joined the GF and since then participated in the main meetings under the auspices of the UNAOC: the annual Forums (Madrid, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Doha); and the ministerial meetings held in the margin of the annual Sessions of UNGA.

On 18 May 2010, the Romanian Parliament hosted the event marking the official launching of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative in Romania.

Among the initiatives included in the national strategy for the UNAOC was the appointment of prestigious personalities in the cultural, academic, artistic and sport fields like Prof. Dr. Răzvan Theodorescu, Member of the Romanian Academy, Prof. Dr. George Grigore, and actress Maia Morgenstern as "national ambassadors" of the Alliance of Civilizations.

The activities under the aegis of the UN Alliance of Civilizations are organized in Romania by various partners, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department for Interethnic Relations, representatives of the national minorities in the Romanian Parliament, NGOs, UN Team in Bucharest, foreign Embassies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs elaborated Romania’s 1st National Plan for the UNAOC, which came into action in March 2009, after being signed by the Prime Minister of Romania. A National Coordinator for Romania was nominated, at the level of general director in the MFA. Romania’s 2nd National Plan for the UNAOC was signed by the Prime Minister of Romania in April 2011.

In October 2013 the High representative of the UN Secretary General for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, visited Romania.

In 2015 and 2016 Romania continued the process of consolidating the political dimension of the Alliance of Civilisations.  The most important moment in 2015 was the inclusion, in the Third National Plan of Action for UNAOC in Romania, of the 3rd edition of the Educational Forum for Asia-Europe, celebrating 60 years since Romania’s admission into UNESCO. 

In 2016, Romania’s  partnership in UNAOC activities was proven by the participation of a Romanian delegation, led by Daniela Gîtman, secretary of state in the Romanian MFA,  at the VIIth  Global Forum of the UNAOC (Baku, April 26-27, 2016), as well as at the Annual reunion of the Group of Friends of the UNAOC and at the meeting with Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative of UNAOC The results of these events generated renewed interest in our country’s participating in UNAOC’s regional strategy  in South-Eastern Europe and the Danube area, and helped define EU positions using imput from our country’s national experiences  and priorities.