28 February 2019, GENEVA – A panel debate will be organized by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue – a think tank holding special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council – on the ways and means to cultivate and spread a culture of tolerance in all its dimensions, characterized by empathy and the celebration of human diversity.

The debate entitled “Celebration of diversity: beyond tolerance, the path towards empathy“ will be held on the occasion of the 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March  from 13:00 to 14:30. It will take place at the United Nations Office in Geneva in room XXIII.

The purpose of the conference will be to give new impetus to ongoing efforts to counter the rise of extremism and xenophobia in all its forms and to promote the harmonious and equitable integration of diversity in the context of equal citizenship rights.

This was recently and strongly reiterated in the Outcome Declaration “Moving Towards Greater Spiritual Convergence Worldwide In Support of Equal Citizenship Rights” adopted by the World Conference on “Religions, Creeds and Value-Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” held on 25 June 2018 at Palais des Nations by the Geneva Centre under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

In relation to the historic visit to the UAE, by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Great Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyib, a Joint Document entitled “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” was adopted on 4 February 2019 by these Eminent Dignitaries reiterating the importance of harnessing the collective energy of religions and faiths to uphold equal citizenship rights and promote tolerant and inclusive societies.

In this connection, the conference will take stock of the convergence and complementarity of these two pronouncements that offer an inspiring ideal of world citizenship fostering unity in diversity and building bridges of respect for our common humanity.

The 21 March panel debate will be opened by HE Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE Permanent Mission to UN Geneva, Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre’s Board of Management and Mr Alexander Mejia, Director, Division for People and Social Inclusion, UNITAR.

It will be moderated by the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy.

The conference will benefit from the participation of the following high-level panellists:

  • (1) Dr Farouk Hamada, Spiritual Advisor to the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi;
  • (2) HE Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa (TBC);
  • (3) HE Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta;
  • (4) Reverend Dr Peniel Rajkumar, Programme Executive for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, World Council of Churches.

All attendees who do not hold a UN badge are kindly requested to register by sending an email to info@gchragd.org




About the Geneva Centre:

The Geneva Centre is a think-tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and the Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. The Centre works towards a value-driven human rights system, steering clear of politicisation and building bridges between different narratives thereon of the Global North and of the Global South. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.


Media contact:

Blerim Mustafa

Project and communications officer

Email address: bmustafa@gchragd.org

Phone number: +41 (0) 22 748 27 95


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