On June 15th, the Geneva Centre received 13 International Relations students from Boston University, in the framework of a Geneva-based summer school in Conflicts Resolution. The meeting aimed to brief the students about opportunities and challenges for dialogue among civilizations, as well as to present the work of the Geneva Centre in this area.
Mr. Imad Zuhairi, Executive Director, welcomed participants and outlined objectives and activities of the Geneva Centre, focussing on its role in promoting and protecting human rights through the advancement of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. He then highlighted the existence of divergent approaches to human rights on the basis of different cultures and traditions, mainly in the MENA region, and emphasized the need to promote dialogue among civilizations in order to overcome challenges deriving from such differences.
Judge Fatsah Ouguergouz, Senior Advisor to the Geneva Centre, encouraged students to look at the Human Rights Council as an example of a forum where different cultures clash in their attempt to promote and protect human rights worldwide. In this context, the need to enhance intercultural dialogue is, therefore, undeniable.
Mr. Ricardo Espinosa, Head of Development and Global Initiatives, briefed participants about the role and importance of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights and, to this purpose, in enhancing dialogue among civilizations. He then touched upon ways to strengthen civil society’s action power in order to accomplish its objectives.
As a civil society actor, the Geneva Centre is proud to contribute to the work of its peers in the human rights arena, and is even more proud to have the advancement of global dialogue at the core of its mandate. A constructive dialogue among different peoples and cultures is the only true means to ensure the sharing of common values in order to promote and protect human rights worldwide.