United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Dialogue: six heads of state gather in Tirana

Six heads of state from South-East Europe - Alfred Moisiu (Albania), Borislav Paravac (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Georgi Parvanov (Bulgaria), Stjepan Mesić (Croatia), Svetozar Marović (Serbia and Montenegro) and Branko Crvenkovski (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), will meet in Tirana on December 9 and 10 for a summit on “The Development of Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Dialogue - Important Factor for the Stability and Progress of South-East Europe”1, organized by the President of Albania and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erhard Busek, Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, and Viktor Opaschi and Thomas Mayer-Harting, the personal representatives of the Romanian and Austrian presidents respectively, will also participate in this Summit, which brings together around one hundred political and spiritual leaders, experts, and representatives of international and regional organizations from around the world.

The Tirana Summit will examine the role that inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue can play in UNESCO's fields of competence (i.e. education, culture, the sciences and communication and information) and will feature three panels: “Inter-ethnic dialogue in South-East Europe: Instead of walls, bridges - Lessons learnt”, “The contributions of inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-ethnic dialogue in the South-East Europe region”, and “Globalization and South-East European societies - challenges and dilemmas”.

Promoting dialogue is an essential part of UNESCO’s mission and activities. The Tirana Summit follows the High-Level Conference on Strengthening Co-operation in South-East Europe2 held at UNESCO Headquarters in April 2002, and a cycle of conferences organized on the occasion of the United Nations Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations in 20013.

Several international dialogue meetings were held in: New York (September 2000), Vilnius (April 2001), Islamabad (April 2001), Kyoto (July 2001), Paris (December 2001 and January 2003), New Delhi (July 2003), Ohrid (August 2003), Libreville (November 2003), Abuja (January 2004) and Issyk-Kul (June 2004)4.

1. The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Hotel. see: www.unesco.org/dialogue/tirana
2. http://erc.unesco.org/SEEConference
3. http://www.unesco.org/dialogue
4. The conferences’ proceedings are available in English and French at http://www.unesco.org/dialogue/en/publications.html

Source Media advisory No 2004 - 85
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Publication Date 02 Dec 2004
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