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The Alliance of Civilizations

The Alliance of Civilizations

photo by: Marilyn Turner

Members Advocate for Peaceful Means
The Alliance of Nations was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. The program seeks to counter extremism through action based upon cross-cultural dialogue and interfaith cooperation. Twenty individuals from a wide array of countries and disciplines were chosen by then Secretary General Kofi Anan to forge new partnerships and generate ideas aimed at building trust, while under no pressure to represent a state or national interest.

These distinguished members have much to share. Those from China and Senegal share long histories in which harmonious co-existence was achieved among citizens of divergent nationalities and religions. Perhaps most importantly, the Alliance exposes the “war of civilizations” to be a sort of mirage or even delusion. In watching member interviews (see Multimedia Content) we are reminded that clashing economic and political interests are the true drivers of conflict, forming a vortex into which religions are often secondarily swept, to devastating effect.

All religious traditions are vulnerable to the pitfalls of extremism. Groups who adopt extremist views that lead to violence are few, but their actions are potent and widely publicized. The Alliance strives to turn up the volume on moderate voices–particularly Muslim–which represent a vast majority of the Muslim world. The members have come together to clarify complex underlying causes, to create a written report, and to make their recommendations actionable, all with the understanding that equality, liberty and democracy are universal concepts, non-exclusive to any one system or region of the world.

See Multimedia Content below for Alliance of Civilizations VIDEO interviews, including members from Spain, Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and Morocco. Watch inspiring members from other countries as well, including Qatar, Turkey, Indonesia, China, Russia, North America, Uruguay and Brazil. See also the remarkable VIDEO of President Obama’s speech from Cairo Egypt, where he acknowledges the work of the Alliance of Nations, and articulates how the creative core of our American founding principles tie with the values of others around the world.


Multimedia Content

Brief on Favorite Alliance Interviews:

Federico Mayor, Spain
Solve poverty: choose diplomacy over force:
Co-Spoonsor, Alliance of Civilizations; President, Foundation for Culture of Peace

Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Egypt
On re-capturing the spirit of the ancient world’s first library:
North Africa Director of the Library of Alexandria

Dr. Mohamed Charfi, Tunisia, North Africa
On common principles shared by all branches of the Abrahamic religious traditions:
Former Education Minister of Tunisia, Law Professor, Human Rights Expert

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa
On the enrichment of coming to know the other:
The Rt. Hon. Archbishop of Cape Town

Ms. Shobana Bhartia, India
On media self-regulating for balanced perspectives on culturally sensitive issues:
Managing Director of the Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Mr. André Azoulay, Morocco, North Africa
On changing hearts and minds through cultural exchange:
Adviser to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco

See this VIDEO of President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World, delivered recently in Cairo, Egypt. Or watch the speech through Multimedia Content above.

Action Opportunities






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Filed under Culture  |  Comments: 0 | Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2009

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