I met the UNAOC High representative and the former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, in September when I gave a speech on inter-religious dialogue during his visit to Finland. That was my first touch with the organization, which is the actual global actor, dealing with the topic of my speech. The pressure was high to deliver something meaningful for the head of such an organization. Luckily he told me afterwards that he was impressed by my words – possibly out of diplomatic courtesy. Now few months later I am participating the annual high-level meeting of Alliance of Civilizations in Doha, Qatar.
The four-day conference is held in Doha this year after being organized previously in Madrid, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. Roughly 2500 participants representing the world governments and civil society will discuss the main topic of Intercultural Dialogue to Boost Development. It intertwines around themes of education, tourism, creative industries, migration, sports, UN MDG’s, sustainable development, humanitarian aid, religious minorities, media, inter-religious dialogue, the Arab spring and of course the youth.
Opening speeches are made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Atalay, Vice President of Spain Manuel Chavez, President of Austria Heinz Fischer, Vice President of Brazil Michel Temer, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Jorge Sampaio, President of Germany Christian Wulff and President of the United Nations General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
Some of the other speakers include the presidents of Mongolia, Slovenia, Mali, Albania, Romania, Sierra Leone, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Director General of UNESCO, Executive Director of BMW Stiftung and Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
I’m looking forward to the discussions and meeting new people. I represent both Finnish Youth Co-operation Organization Allianssi and the European Youth Forum with delegations of about 20 people.
Greetings from the heat!
P.S. More info on the forum at http://www.qatar4unaoc.org/