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Message to the second Peace and Tolerance Conference of Kofi Anan, Secretary General of United Unions.

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UNITED NATIONS

THE SECRETARY – GENERAL

MESSAGE TO THE SECOND PEACE AND TOLERANCE CONFERENCE:
DIALOGUE AND UNDERSTANDING IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE,
THE CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
Istanbul, 7-9 November 2005

Delivered by Mr. Jakob Simonsend
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Turkey

Dear friends,

I am delighted to convey my warm wishes to all participants in this second conference on peace and tolerance. You are all valuable friends and allies of the United Nations, as you pursue our shared mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in support of greater stability in your region.

The United Nations, whose vocation is to bring together all the peoples of the world, must by necessity include people of many faiths, and of none. Its task is not to deny or to relativize the contribution in its own way, and to scan the contribution of others not for what is alien or worthy to be eschewed, but for what is of universal value and worthy of further study.

As the Outcome Document of the recent World Summit has put it, “we recognize that all cultures and civilizations contribute to the enrichment of humankind. We acknowledge the importance of respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world. In order to promote international peace and security, we commit ourselves to advancing human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encouraging tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.

Indeed, such exchanges and efforts of mutual respect and understanding are more than ever necessary in an age when acts of violence are committed in the name of religion, with the effect – and perhaps the intention – of provoking mutual mistrust and conflict between people of different faiths. All of us who prize the ideals of the United Nations must struggle with heart and soul against such reactions, and unite to defend the universal values of peace and of learning through dialogue.

It is in that spirit that I welcome gatherings such as yours. I join you in the prayer that the ideals of the United Nations may be realized in deed as well as in word, and wish you a most productive conference.

Kofi A. Annan