We must all do better in reaching out across boundaries: SGListen /
The Syrian conflict, the ongoing tensions and unrest between Israelis and Palestinians and the situation in Mali – these are some of the regional tensions highlighted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in remarks to the inauguration ceremony of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and intercultural Dialogue.
As he put it, they are reminders of how important it is to promote long-term mutual understanding that transcends religious, national and ethnic boundaries and identities.
"That is why I believe so deeply in this Centre's vision to advance respect for human dignity and human rights … foster mutual respect … and generate cooperation for justice, reconciliation and peace. These values are central to all societies. Religious leaders have immense influence. They can be powerful forces for cooperation and learning. They can set an example of interfaith dialogue. They can unite people based on tenets and precepts common to all creeds."
But Secretary-General Ban says "we must also recognize that throughout history and in the present day, too many religious leaders have stoked intolerance, supported by extremism and propagated hate. He says we must all do better in reaching out across boundaries.
The Secretary-General welcomes the Centre's commitment to opening doors to all the world's religions, noting that the Centre grew out of His Majesty the King's initiative in 2008 for a United Nations General Assembly meeting on a Culture of Peace.
Donn Bobb, United Nations