UNITED NATIONS, Oct 25 2012 (IPS) – The United Nations Association-New York (UNA-NY) honoured former General Assembly President Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nasser as the 2012 “Humanitarian of the Year”.
Speaking at a formal dinner during the award ceremony Thursday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “Ambassador Al-Nasser has dedicated much of his life in public service helping to advance cross-cultural dialogue, diversity, peace, and development.”
As President of the UN General Assembly during a very tumultuous period, he helped mobilize support for the transitions underway in the Arab world. “We travelled together to Libya and then again to Somalia to evaluate conditions on the ground, ” Ban said.
He kept disarmament, peacekeeping, and non-proliferation high on the UN agenda. He built consensus around mediation to peacefully resolve disputes. He garnered political support around sustainable development and the goals of Rio+20.
“Because of his strong commitment to inter-cultural dialogue, peace and development, I was pleased to appoint Mr. Al-Nasser as my next High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations”, the Secretary-General said.
The Alliance was founded to advance the most noble of the common ideals – greater understanding among peoples and nations … a deeper embrace of global diversity.
The Alliance is dedicated to showing practical ways to work together to address common challenges — across boundaries of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and culture, Ban added.
It links civil society, young people, media, the private sector, and governments for cross-cultural dialogue and action.
“To my mind, the Alliance represents one of the best hopes of preventing the sparks of interreligious or interethnic tensions and extremism from growing into flames of conflict.
“ I will rely heavily on Ambassador Al-Nasser to help make the Alliance of Civilizations all that it can and must be. Once again, I thank you for all your support. And I am proud to join with you in honouring Mr. Al-Nasser as we look to the work ahead,” he added..
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