UPEACE and the Muslim World League Publish Book on Interreligious Dialogue




22 November 2020, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In the context of the UN 100 Years of Multilateralism, the commemoration of the 75 Years of the United Nations, and the 40th Anniversary of the University for Peace, the Muslim World League and the UN University for Peace launched a research proposal, “Promoting peace, human rights and dialogue among civilizations,” which has culminated in the publication of a book by the same name.

The launch of the book, held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was moderated by H.E. Mr. David Fernández Puyana, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the University for Peace to the UN in Geneva and UNESCO in Paris, who commented that this book highlights the actions of the United Nations, its agencies, programmes and funds, in the fulfilment of the great principles that guide its multilateral actions. UPACE Rector Francisco Rojas expressed his pleasure with the excellence of the authors who contributed to this book, as well as the distinguished political and diplomatic personalities who collaborated on it.

H.E. Mr. Francisco Chacón, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, indicated that they wanted to commend and warmly congratulate the Muslim World League and the University for Peace for this inspirational work that bridges us together and promotes a culture of peace, a cornerstone of Costa Rican Foreign Policy.

Through a video message, H.E. Mrs. Lubna Qassim, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other international organizations, indicated what an honour and privilege it was to have contributed to an unprecedented initiative on peace and human rights. She shared UAE’s exemplary model of tolerance and inclusion. She also stressed that this is critical time in the history of mankind to embrace our differences, and her hope that, through this book, we will engage in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues for peace and prosperity for all.  

Afterwards, H.E. Mr. Alvaro Iranzo Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Spain to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, stressed that Spain has also tried to play a role in international efforts aimed at providing structure to the dialogue between societies and religions. He added that this research project, coordinated by the University of Peace and the Muslim World League deserves full support and dedicated consideration, as it thoroughly provides the intellectual backing that is so necessary to rise above perceptions of the past that thrive on divides.

Also through video message, H.E. Mr. Larbi Djacta, Chair of the International Civil Service Commission and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, underlined the message that international civil servants have a special calling: to serve the ideals of peace, respect for fundamental rights, economic and social progress, and international cooperation. He added that UNESCO is the lead agency within the United Nations System in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue within the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures. He expressed his wishes that the Culture of Peace and tolerance inspire their daily work within the United Nations System.    

During the presentation, H.E. Archbishop Mr. Ivan Jurkovič, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other international organizations, stressed that looking at the current scenario, brotherhood is essential. Thanks, in large part to Pope Francis’s most recent Encyclical Letter, “Fratelli Tutti”, fraternity is not evoked as an abstract and consolatory aspiration, but as an effective and realistic criterion of coexistence. He added that the inevitable consequence of abandoning the civility of encounter is to resort to the incivility of conflict. It is urgent and exciting, that we – Christians, Muslims and all believers – are called to offer our specific contribution.

H.E. Mr. Patrick Simonnet, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, outlined that the EU remains one of the largest contributors to the UN and will continue working side by side with UN diplomats, funds, agencies and programmes to push solutions through dialogue and negotiation. The EU considers that the world needs to be governed by agreed rules and norms such as those embodied by the UN, and that global challenges call for multilateral approaches, now more than ever.

The event concluded with the words of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League. He stressed that Mr. Mohamed Levrak, Special Adviser for H.E. Al-Issa and Deputy Representative of the Muslim World League in Geneva, contributed to the coordination of the book on behalf of the WML.

The publishing of this book was made possible by the contribution of the UNESCO Chairs on peace of the Abat Oliba CEU University and Banaras Hindu University; Haceppette University; Caritas in Veritate Foundation; Paz sin Fronteras; the Sovereign Order of Malta; the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue; the World Jewish Congress; the Permanent Delegations of the United Arab Emirates and Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva; the Embassy of Spain in Saudi Arabia; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica; and the Vice Presidency of the European Commission/High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.