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II Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations – Istanbul, 6-9 April, 2009

March 22, 2009

United Nations



February 16, 2009

Global Leaders to Convene in Istanbul at Premier Forum
to Advance Intercultural Understanding

6-7 April 2009

Several Major Innovative Projects to be Announced

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, President of the Government of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and President Jorge Sampaio, High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations are among the public figures who will convene in Istanbul to help bridge the growing divide between nations and cultures worldwide, and to establish new partnerships that further global intercultural dialogue.

Hosted by the Government of Turkey, the Alliance of Civilizations’ Istanbul Forum will bring together a powerful network of global leaders, heads of international organizations, corporations, media, foundations, civil society, religious groups and youth to forge partnerships aimed at building substantive interaction between diverse communities and strengthening trust and reconciliation across cultures.

The Istanbul Forum follows the success of the inaugural Alliance Forum which was held in Madrid, Spain, in January 2008. Like Madrid, the Istanbul Forum will be firmly action-oriented, with an emphasis on delivering concrete projects and practical outcomes. A number of high-profile initiatives will be unveiled, including:

• A highly innovative multi-stakeholder led project that lies at the unique intersection of youth, media, and city diplomacy, called Café Salam

• A cluster of Euro-Mediterranean projects aimed at restoring trust and rebuilding bridges in this region

• An Alliance Fellowship Program to facilitate meaningful exchanges of young leaders across North and South as well as East and West will be revealed by the Alliance’s network of philanthropic foundations and private funders

• A new set of partnerships with the International Labour Office, the Ibero-American Community, the Commonwealth, l’ Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and the Communidades de Países de Língua Portuguesa – CPLP (Community of Portuguese speaking countries) will be signed with announcements of future joint initiatives

• A compilation of reflections by the High Representative on his two-year experience at the helm of the Alliance as well on his outlook for the future.

Further, major expansions in three ongoing projects of the Alliance will be made public:

• The AoC Rapid Response Media Mechanism, an online resource featuring experts on intercultural issues whom the media can turn to in times of international crises.

• The Alliance of Civilizations Clearinghouse, an online educational tool on multiple issues aimed at improving cross-cultural understanding; two new clearinghouses – on education about diverse religions and beliefs and on global initiatives to mobilize young people toward advancing intercultural understanding – will be launched.

• The results of the AoC Youth Solidarity Fund will be showcased: innovative youth-led projects aimed at building bridges across diverse cultures.

The Forum will feature:

• A range of project-specific working sessions that will convene policy-makers, international organizations and civil society to share lessons on best practices and develop joint work platforms.
• A unique Marketplace of Ideas to showcase the most innovative and successful grassroots projects aimed at transcending cultural divides and building peace.

Note to Editors
Information about the Alliance of Civilizations Forum is available at

Documents that can be found on the website include:

• Basic information on logistics, Forum venue and services
• Contacts to arrange interviews with participants
• Background information about the Alliance
• Recent updates

For general information about the Alliance of Civilizations and the Forum, please contact: Emmanuel Kattan (tel: +1 917 238 2043; gro.nunull@nattak) or Daanish Masood (tel: +1 917 847 3084; gro.nunull@ddoosam)
The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions and, in the process, to help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism. It was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. In April 2007, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal, as High Representative for the Alliance. The AoC is supported by a Group of Friends – a community of over 90 countries and international organizations and bodies.