The imperative to realize UN vision of positive peace through international cooperation has never been stronger, nor more urgent than today. Never before have we been so interdependent through the social, economic, and technological systems of our own creation, and never have we been able to so profoundly disrupt these systems through our actions, including the ecosystems of the planet. It would be difficult to name a pressing social, economic or environmental challenge today that does not call for a coordinated international cooperation. This trend will only get stronger with time.
In the practice of international relations, it is common to look at the world as divided into the developed and developing, democratic and democratizing, rich and poor, North and South. Putting countries into distinct and simple categories serves as a conceptual tool for academicians and politicians alike. But it also obstructs our vision of the true diversity of humanity, and prevents us from understanding the shared values that make us one human family.
I firmly believe that the only way to achieve and preserve peace within and also among societies is through mutual acceptance and the respect of cultural diversity. I stand for listening, understanding, arguing. In other words, I stand for true dialogue.
“Dialogos” is a Greek compound-word widely mistranslated and often misunderstood, because of confusion between “duo” and “dia”. It does not mean a conversation between two people or two groups, but an acceptance, by two participants or more, that they will compare and contrast their respective arguments to the very end. Dialogue is accordingly a perilous enterprise, for it implies a risk that either participant may find his or her argument transformed, and thus their very identity put to the test. Dialogue retains, even when this is not apparent, a latent conversational quality; and this shines through in its written form. That keeps it alive. We need that kind of ongoing and open dialogue in order to achieve and maintain international peace and security.
Only this way we can live up to the high expectations of our forefathers.
We, the UN Ambassadors representing our countries are temporary occupants of this house, but what we do here will affect the global struggle for a peaceful tomorrow long after our mandates. Let us hope that during our tenures, despite the mistakes made along the way, we have set the right course for this venerable Organization.