The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to promote and develop constructive relations between the United Nations and civil society organizations.

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Alliance of Civilizations Forum: 15-16 January, Madrid

On 8 January, the Acting Director of the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Shamil Idriss, announced the goals for the upcoming Alliance for Civilizations Forum to be held in Madrid on 15-16 January. This Forum will be a platform for politicians, media heads, industry executives, religious figures, grass-roots leaders, and academics to discuss cross-cultural concerns and promote new partnership initiatives to bridge divides and promote global understanding. This forum will advance the overall aims of a two-year-old initiative launched by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help overcome prejudices and polarization between nations and cultures and to promote interfaith dialogue.

The Forum will also be a place for high-profile initiatives promoting understanding among cultures in the areas of media and youth to be announced. The first major announcement will be the launch of a multi-million dollar Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund which will support major film productions that help promote cross-cultural understanding and combat stereotypes.

The Alliance of Civilizations Clearinghouse will also be launched and it will act as an educational tool for Governments and civic actors to share best practices and projects. Also, the Rapid Response Media Mechanism project will be announced; a project that would provide a platform for voices to help reduce tensions in times of cross-cultural crises. The final initiative will be a Youth Solidarity Fund, which will disperse small grants for cross-cultural cooperation between youth organizations.

Not only will these projects be announced, but participants will be able to engage in high level debates about emerging trends in relations between cultures and religions. The Forum will also feature project-specific working sessions on such topics as “the role of religious leaders and communities in promoting shared security” and “youth approaches to intercultural and interreligious dialogue”.

More Information About the Forum in Madrid: http://www.unaoc.org/aoc.php?page=10&id=102

Alliance of Civilizations Website: http://www.unaoc.org/index.php