King Mohammed VI has pleaded for putting the “living together” principle at the core of any development process, and stressed the need to combat hate speech, promote interreligious, intercultural dialogue and tolerance as salvation will only come from dialogue.
“At this very special moment in history, as we fight climate change and terrorism, as we seek to promote sustainable development and ensure water, energy and food security – in fact, development in general – we must go back to that which is paramount: namely ‘living-together’,” stated the Sovereign in a message he addressed to the 9th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
The forum of UNAOC, which aims to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between communities, cultures and civilizations, opened Tuesday in Fez, under the theme: “Towards An Alliance of Peace: Living Together as One Humanity.”
“The dialogue fostered by the Alliance should hold its rightful place and bring about the conditions for success. It is from dialogue that salvation will come,” the King pointed out in the message that was read out by Royal Advisor André Azoulay.
“There is really no point in carrying out major projects if we do not manage to go beyond this first link in the chain of ‘living-together’, in the name of a single humanity, which puts back human beings at the center of its concerns.
“The current context is marked by the resurgence of the very causes which led to the creation of the Alliance of Civilizations,” the message said. “Never before has our civilization been so exposed. Never before has living together come under threat on a daily basis.”
“Rarely has the Other been perceived with such a level of suspicion, or used to stir up fear and foment hatred,” the King stated, deploring that “radical positions are permeating the debate and cancelling out moderate voices,” and that “religions are too often manipulated, when they are not simply stigmatized.”
The king also deplored how populism is rocking societies and how migration is being brandished as “a scarecrow or an electoral weapon,” turning migrants into scapegoats.
Pointing out that continents that had turned away from war are going back to arms and violence, King Mohammed VI noted that Covid-19 signaled the resurgence of withdrawal into oneself, at a time when the crisis could have given rise to a firm belief in a common destiny and that at a time when the planet is producing enough food to feed all humans, food insecurity is looming large over the world.
The King also brought out the scourge of terrorism, saying “terrorism feeds on separatism” and “lurks in places where political instability slows down socio-economic development.”
Likewise, King Mohammed VI stressed the importance of dialogue When there is a resurgence of conflicts, dialogue always holds a positive promise: when it does not settle disputes, at least it enhances mutual understanding. It is from dialogue that salvation will come.
The Sovereign pleaded for this dialogue to be inter-civilizational, that it is inclusive and has all segments of humanity at heart in order to understand the world in its plurality, acts through non-vertical multilateralism and embodies universal values, in their true meaning.
“This dialogue needs to be inter-generational, meaning that it should involve young people and be concerned with the present as well as the future. Young people do not only represent the generations we must shield from the scourge of war and hate speech; they are the ones already making peace,” he said, adding that this dialogue should be inter-continental and not ethnocentric.
Pleading for Africa’s rightful place in the concert of nations, he stressed that the continent should not be left in some backyard and should receive the treatment it deserves: a continent neither assisted nor left behind. “Africa needs to have the partners it deserves, and the partners that deserve our continent; one that is appreciated for what it is: namely the demographic lung of the world and the planet’s economic reservoir, with its hopes and its assets.”
In his message the Monarch said the fact that the international forum is convened on African soil, gives a strong signal of its continuity and universality as unites everyone around a shared purpose, which is to foster ‘an alliance of peace’, responding to the imperative need of ‘living together’, in the name of ‘one humanity’.
Morocco one of the founding members of the Alliance of civilizations and Fez which is hosting its 9th Global Forum is home to the Al-Quarawiyin University in Fez, the oldest university in the world and the place where Muslim and Jewish scholars, and even a pontiff, completed their instruction, said the King.
Today, the Euro-Mediterranean University, based in Fez, is fostering academic and intercultural dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean, added the Monarch, noting that Fez is the very incarnation of a fruitful alliance of civilizations.
Furthermore, After New York, Baku, Bali, Vienna, Doha, Rio, Istanbul and Madrid, it is only natural that the Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations meets on African soil as Africa is the cradle of humanity, the melting pot of civilizations, the pool of youth and the promise of the future, said the King.