The United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, His Excellency Mr Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, visited the University this week, delivering a major keynote speech marking the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development which is celebrated today, on 21st May.
H.E. Mr Al-Nasser was hosted by Professor Mike Hardy, Executive Director of the new Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR). This was the first event hosted by the newly formed Centre which addresses the challenges posed by modernity and change, and cultivates deeper understanding of peace and reconciliation and of living side-by-side in complex communities. The visit was aimed to strengthen the links between Coventry, a city of peace and reconciliation, and the UN Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) and its position as a leader in addressing the global issues of cultural diversity. The event was co-organised by the University, the City and the Cathedral forming a unique civic, religious and academic partnership.
During his visit, H.E. Mr Al-Nasser visited community groups in the city such as the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre where he met city refugees and spoke with the Centre’s Chief Executive, Bhopinder Basi.
“In Coventry, I’ve been impressed by the work of this refugee centre and by the ethnic mix here who live in harmony. Coventry is a good example of what we are trying to promote.”
The visit was highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the UNAOC. This agreement will enable the University and the UNAOC to continue to work together on global issues of cultural diversity and make way for future partnership ventures between the two organisations.
Towards the end of his two day visit, H.E. Mr Al-Nasser and Professor Mike Hardy met up to discuss in more detail the partnership between CTPSR and the UNAOC and the shared issues they aim to address. H.E. Mr Al-Nasser praised the people of Coventry for its continued commitment to successful diverse communities:
“I see here in this beautiful city a diverse community, living in harmony. The University, your centre, the Cathedral and national and local Council are working together in the area of mediation, reconciliation and forgiveness. This is a great job and if we saw more of this work around the world, I believe that we would have a better world.”
The video below shows the highlights of the discussion.