Speaking at a joint press conference, Miguel Angel Moratinos, UNAOC High Representative, and Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Expatriates, spoke about the Forum and its results. They also praised the large and high-level participation that enriched the dialogue that took place during the two-day meeting.
‘The people are thirsty for peace’
“In a very complex geopolitical context, we are talking here in Fez about peace, understanding, mutual respect, a commitment to live together,” Moratinos told reporters, adding: “This is something people need…They are hungry for peace . And I think that’s what we need to remember.”
The High Representative noted the outcome text of the Forum, known as the Fez Declaration, called it a “roadmap for the international community, including the Alliance of Civilizations” and pointed to the Moroccan example that should serve as an inspiration to all.
“The Moroccan model has yielded real results in terms of the urgent need for mutual respect, for brotherhood, for peace, for understanding,” he explained.
In his opening remarks to the Forum on Tuesday, UN Secretary General António Guterres praised Fez “with its rich and secular history, [as] an ideal place to meet and engage in reflection on the state of our world.”
It’s time to affirm tolerance, dialogue and understanding
Noting that “the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave this meeting a special character”, Mr. Nasser Bourita praised the success of the Fez meeting in terms of participation but also the nature of dialogue and discussion, pointing out that “the meeting took place at a time when the world needed to affirm the value of dialogue, understanding and tolerance.”
“The current international situation requires us to listen to the language of reason, the language of wisdom, and affirm that the values of dialogue are basic values, and regardless of differences in interests and differences in religions and races, this human being has many things. similarities,” he said.
Corroborating Mr Moratinos’ comments, the Foreign Minister outlined what Morocco stands for, and what the city of Fez represents, stating: “What has worked in Morocco can work in the world. What Morocco can do at the national level in terms of harmony and coexistence over the centuries, can be a source of inspiration for other regions.”
‘We need to build on the Fez Declaration’
In an interview with UN News, Antonio Vitorino, Director General of the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that the agency he leads is present worldwide, in 80 countries, “but we have undoubtedly very important operations on the African continent. for the protection and support of migrants.”
He explained that 80 percent of African migrants leave one African country for another. “This shows the importance of IOM’s action across the African continent. And we hope that this first meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations in Africa will be an important moment to underscore our commitment to the protection of migrants.”
Asked how he views the adopted Fez Declaration, Mr Vitorino said, “The Declaration has always been important – politically. But that’s not enough. We need to build on top of Declarations. And we are committed.”
“Every day, everywhere, together with people who need us, IOM aims to translate the essence of the Declaration into concrete actions, protecting migrants, supporting safe, orderly and regular migration, and fighting human trafficking, which is an attack against the migrants’ fundamental rights.”
In another activity on Wednesday, around 100 young participants from various countries gathered at Fez’s University of Euromed to talk about “the future they want”. They stressed the importance of intergenerational dialogue and the benefits that younger generations can bring in terms of countering hateful rhetoric.
Ali Mahmoud from Lebanon, one of the Youth event participants told UN News that he and his colleagues in an association called ‘Adiyan’ are working on a program to fight hate speech and its impact on Lebanese society, both psychologically and physically. , through workshops and campaigns targeting everyone in the country.
Overall, the Fez Forum witnessed enthusiastic participation by some 42 participants at the ministerial level, 90 heads of regional organizations and 12 former Heads of State or Government, a high point for an Alliance meeting, as stated by the Moroccan Foreign Minister.
Since its inception, UNAOC has been the leading United Nations platform for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation. It has connected governments, lawmakers, local authorities, civil society organizations, media and individuals who are devoted to promoting understanding in various communities.