Addressing a youth meeting on the eve of the fourth Forum of Alliance of Civilisations (AoC) in the Qatari capital on Dec. 11-13, both AoC ambassador Sheikha Moza, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, and the top AoC representative Jorge Sampaio, stressed the “new role of the 2 billion young people of the world who can be now educated and connected like no other generation in the history of humanity.”
”You are equipped to make your generation a true alliance of civilisations,” said Sampaio, while Ban Ki-moon urged the youth ”Don’t just stay connected! Be united!“.
The whole youth meeting was under the motto of “empowerment, self confidence, leveraging diversity to tackle global challenges,encouraging youth to fully embrace the fact that they are leaders for today, not only the leaders of tomorrow.”
In front of so many pressing and critical challenges, there is no more time for business as usual. Youth should not just demand and wait for actions from leaders, instead they should use, according to Sampaio.
”The powerful tool you have to create the world you want, your capacity to navigate plurality with ease and with empathy“.
**“A Miracle in the Middle of Trillions of Galaxies”**
“This is the kind of citizens who can help build the great multilateral moment which is indispensable to address existential and global challenges such as the protection of our fragile planet, a miracle in the middle of trillions of galaxies,” Ban said.
Drawing lessons from the Arab Spring Ban warned that transitions are long periods where the balance has to be done every day; that we always need a State, therefore institutional building is of paramount importance and should not be delayed in the transition phase; finally, that in this process ,economy cannot be left apart, because restoring the economy is necessary to consolidate institutions and to provide fulfilment for the population.
The concluding remarks of sheikha Moza focused on the need for the youth to concentrate on ”concrete, solid and systematic” propositions, leading to result-oriented and to impactful on-the-ground action.
She advised the youth to be “assertive” and not just “idealists”. In return, she said,”we have to listen to you and to create the right environment for you to flourish“.
”Your generation has a huge advantage, thanks to your unprecedented levels of education and access to information,you can judge. You are the engineers of your conscience. Nobody should engineer your conscience”.
An empowered new generation of diverse and global e-citizens who enthusiastically echoed sheikha Moza’s appeal to the youth: ”Never, never give up your leading role!”.
**The Key Topics**
The fourth AoC Doha Forum focusses on three main topics: How cultural diversity matters to development? The missing link; promoting trust and tolerance to advance development goals, and new strategies for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation.
More than 2,000 participants, including political and corporate leaders, civil society activists and faith communities gathered in Doha on December 11-13 to take part in the UN Alliance of Civilisations Forum (UNAOC) to discuss how to improve relations across cultures, combat prejudice and build lasting peace.
The Alliance of Civilisations was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. So far, it has organised Forums In Madrid, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and now in Doha.
According to AoC the aim is “to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions.” AoC works mainly in four areas: youth, media, education, and migration.
**Values Are Being Tested**
Addressing the AoC Forum opening session on December 11, Ban urged AoC members “to combat extremism and promote tolerance” at a time when universal values are being tested in many parts of the world, particularly in countries undergoing political transitions.
“Speaking out against extremism, advancing tolerance, standing for justice, dignity and mutual understanding. These values are at the core of the Alliance of Civilisations,” Ban said.
“Everywhere, these values are being tested. We see in the daily news headlines: in Syria, North Africa, across the Middle East, and beyond.”
Related: [www.unaoc.org](http://www.unaoc.org) – [www.qatar4unaoc.org](http://www.qatar4unaoc.org) | 2011 [Human Wrongs Watch](http://human-wrongs-watch.net/)