United Nations : Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, president of the UN General Assembly, has said that encouraging cross-cultural understanding and dialogue was essential for peace and development.
The General Assembly president's statement came as he addressed a thematic debate on fostering cross-cultural understanding for building peaceful and inclusive societies, Xinhua reported.
"The UN was built on a premise that dialogue is the best path to peace. That cultural diversity, freedom of thought, and knowing each other fosters respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding. How to achieve this defines our task - a vital task," he said.
Al-Nasser said that understanding and engaging one another will help in global development, and produce collaboration and sharing of ideas in many sectors.
"Given the important contribution of dialogue for peace and development, we should recognise the wisdom of member states - when realising this need - they established the UN Alliance of Civilizations," said Al-Nasser.
The UN Alliance of Civilizations was created in 2005 to improve cross-cultural relations, working with partners worldwide including states, civil society, international and regional organisations and the private sector.
Al-Nasser said it was "encouraging" that the Group of Friends of the Alliance currently consists of 107 member states.
"I am hopeful that, in the future, the membership of the group will be universal. This would be the optimum show of support for the alliance," he said.
He spoke about the tragic consequences that can ensue when groups maintain exclusionary and intolerant outlook towards others.
"We have seen it happen throughout history, including in modern times -- in Cambodia, in Bosnia, in Rwanda, and in other instances where intolerance prevailed and led to historic tragedy," he said.
"And so today, the work of the Alliance of Civilizations as a tool for peace is more necessary than ever," he said.