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President Sampaio pays a visit to Iran

October 9, 2008


Lisbon, October, 9, 2008
President Sampaio pays a visit to Iran

From 13 to 16 October, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, President Jorge Sampaio, will pay a visit to Tehran, where he will attend and address a Conference organized by former President Khatami on “Religion in the modern world”. Several other meetings are also planned with local authorities, members of the civil society and media to discuss a wide range of issues related to the Alliance of Civilizations’ UN initiative.
On the 14 October, President Sampaio will participate in a debate at the Islamic Azad University, a mega university with 1.300.000 million undergraduate students. He will focus on the ongoing works of the Alliance and the challenges.
About this visit President Sampaio said: “Iran has an important role to play within the Alliance of Civilizations because of its unique cultural and religious makeup; on the other hand, the Alliance can help implementing a national agenda for addressing a number of cross-cutting issues, ranging from education to migration, media and youth, as well as smoothly introducing a new overall approach to social policies based on respect for diversity”.

The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. It aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among States and peoples across cultures and religions and, in the process, to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.
In April 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal, as High Representative for the Alliance. This marked the implementation phase of the Alliance of Civilizations, with the development of an action-oriented implementation plan focusing on initiatives and projects in the areas of youth, media, education and migration.
The Alliance’s focus on concrete initiatives was reinforced and consolidated at the First Alliance of Civilizations Forum, which was hosted by the Government of Spain on 15-16 January 2008.

Iran is a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance and former President Kathami was member of the High Level Group who drafted the Report on the Alliance.
This conference on “Religion in the Modern World” is the closing session of a cycle of three meetings inaugurated one year ago. The Conference will address the issue of how religious and political leaders can cooperate to promote peace by protecting human rights, moral and religious values, diversity and peaceful coexistence in pluralistic, modern societies. Kofi Annan, Bondevick (former Prime Minister of Norway), Romano Prodi, Federico Mayor are among the participants as well as several scholars and religious leaders.

For additional information see:
For more information about the program, please contact Helena Barroco,
(tp.obactennull@ocorrabh; cell number + 351 91 777 63 09)
Speeches and any updated news will be posted on the website: