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Other IYRC Messages and Statements
The World Harmony Run has been fortunate to receive the following encouraging and inspiring statements and messages:
Katérina Stenou, Director, Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue, UNESCO 19 April 2010
It is with great pleasure that I have received your proposal for the celebration of 2010: International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures: the World Harmony Run - The New York International Ceremony.
The practice of sport is a recognized instrument for promoting peace, as it disregards both geographical borders and social classes. It also plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Sport is indeed a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice.
Your proposed activity corresponds perfectly to the objectives of the Year and covers multiple aspects and opportunities to promote dialogue through cultural interactions and the promotion of dialogue amongst people. As indicated in our Plan of Action, the main objective of 2010: International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures is not only to foster respect for each other's culture and break down the barriers between different cultures, but also to promote ideals of peace, fraternity and wellbeing.
For these reasons, I am pleased to inform you that your activity has been integrated into the List of Activities for 2010. Please find attached the logo and related documents for the celebration of the Year. In addition, we would like to encourage both organizers to share with us, when convenient, images or photos related to their events to the following address Photo2010 [ at ] unesco [dot] org. We will then include these contributions in our online photo gallery.
We thank you again for your active participation, and commitment to the celebration of 2010: International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.
With my best regards,
Katérina Stenou, Director, Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue, UNESCO, Paris
Ms. Rochelle Roca-Hachem, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New York office - April 12, 2010, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York
Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome, and thank you for being here.
Thank you to the World Harmony Run organization for pulling this all together on a beautiful afternoon in New York. It's really a great honour for me to be here representing UNESCO. I really want to express my pleasure and pride and support for this initiative, and for what the World Harmony Run stands for, because really what it does is walk the talk. In fact, it runs the talk.
It is doing something effective and positive in that it brings individuals together and it brings people together. And that resonates very much with the work of UNESCO, because as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, we work for peace and security through exactly these types of initiatives, by working also with Governments and Member States. Education, culture, dialogue, understanding, communicating: these are all the things that come together to build the social fabric, the integration, the understanding that we need to foster peace and security.
As was mentioned already, 2010 is quite a remarkable year in the sense that there are a lot of United Nations initiatives that revolve around peace and dialogue. Indeed, it is the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. That was by UN resolution, but in fact UNESCO is the lead agency. And what that means is bringing together of cultures, bringing together of people. It is a year that provides a platform for us to learn about one another, mutual respect and understanding being taught, being experienced through schools, through families, through NGOs, through initiatives such as the World Harmony Run.
It is also, as Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned, the last year for the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World. This was a really important decade, and the fact that the whole United Nations community came around with another UN resolution to support it is an indication of the importance of culture and dialogue and mutual respect and understanding in the initiatives of the UN to bring peace to our world, and security and stability.
I also want to mention that on August 12 of this year we will have the launch of the International Year of Youth, and this is a particular outreach message I want to give to all the young people. You can seize upon the occasion of an International Year of Youth to also drive forward this incentive to communicate, because the theme that was decided by young people, and indeed by the Member States of the UN, for this International Year of Youth is in fact dialogue and mutual understanding.
So these UN initiatives, these three that I have just mentioned, all share the ideal of what the World Harmony Run is promoting.
These Runs, but also in fact the symbolism of the act of passing a torch, are really a way of celebrating our diversity, celebrating our cultures, celebrating mutual understanding and mutual respect, and celebrating the culture of peace. It is a way of connecting. When you are passing this torch, you are passing a smile, you are passing a hand, you are passing a message, you are passing on your language, your identity, your people, your nation.
Anyone who is doing the run and passing the torch is acting as an ambassador of peace.
And I want to congratulate again the World Harmony Run for all these great initiatives. It is really an inspiration to all of us. It is really embodying the messages of the United Nations and the Member States, and organizations like mine are trying to do, and they are doing it in such a concrete way and positive way that I can only applaud it and encourage them to great, great success and growing numbers and growing participation in future years.
So thank you very much, and congratulations