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         10 July 2001

From 31 July through 3 August 2001, the United Nations University (UNU), in cooperation with UNESCO, will organize an International Conference on the Dialogue of Civilizations. This conference, part of UNU's contribution to the "United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations 2001," will draw upon UNU's unique identity as an academic institution rooted in the United Nations system to provide an in-depth analysis of the prerequisites and characteristics of meaningful dialogue across cultural, religious, language, political and other divides of modern-day societies.

The conference will be held in the U Thant International Conference Hall of the UN House in Tokyo on 31 July and 1 August, to be continued at the Kyoto International Conference Hall on 2 and 3 August. It is supported by Asahi Shimbun; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO.

Reflecting the UNU's global perspective, the conference will bring together academics, policy makers and other professionals from diverse backgrounds for in-depth discussions aimed at exploring such questions as: What is necessary to realize a meaningful dialogue among civilizations? What can we learn from past dialogues? What effect could an increased dialogue have on the substance and process of international relations? In what ways does multicultural society contribute to dialogue among civilizations? What inspirations can we draw, what lessons can we learn from the Asian experience in civilizational dialogue? Is there such thing as a "global ethos" - a common overarching human value system that transcends cultural and civilizational differences?

Keynote speakers for the conference will be Dr. Ataollah Mohajerani, Director of the International Center for the Dialogue among Civilizations in Tehran, Iran; Mrs.Vigdis Finnbogadottir, former President of the Republic of Iceland and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders; and Dr. Hayao Kawai, Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University. There will be a special session on Political Dimensions of the Dialogue of Civilizations, to be chaired by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, with the participation of Mr. Giandomenico Picco, Personal Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN for the Dialogue among Civilizations; Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the International Organization of French-Speaking Countries (la Francophonie) and former UN Secretary-General; and other distinguished speakers.

A copy of the programme is attached. The conference is open to the public, although advance registration is required. Further information, including the registration form, is available online at, where the conference will also be broadcast live. Simultaneous Japanese-English interpretation will be provided, with Japanese-French and English-French interpretation also available for selected sessions.

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For further information please contact UNU Public Affairs Section: Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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