Day 1 of UNAOC Global Forum: Youth!

The Global Youth Forum took place on the 26th of February at the MuseumsQuartier and brought together 150 young people from around the world to come up with a list of recommendations to present to the 5th Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations.

This post will give a brief overview, followed by post or two about particular interesting issues that came up over the jam packed day.

(Photos Source)


The day started with keynote speeches from a very young State Secretary and various other dignitaries.  The dignitary of the morning however, was without a doubt, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon.

His visit was welcome and quite interesting. Interesting in that the paparazzi trailing him was enormous, and the dialogue that was had with young people largely tokenistic (simply due to the nature of the visit and the time available). However the Secretary General should be lauded for his personal commitment to youth, and the excitement brought to the room!  It would seem that the next stage is moving from this visual acknowledgment to true engagement with our ideas and concerns. 

The group were then split up into various groups based on the three themes. 

This is all around the central theme of ”Responsible Leadership”.

The recommendations that were produced were comprehensive and far reaching.  These included...

Freedom of media and diversity:

  1. Use social media to “transform media from monologue to a dialogue” and use this dialogue to prompt people to participate in more debates.
  2. In regards to the freedom of speech, The UNAOC needs to establish a legal basis for the exchange of ideas.
  3. Need to cultivate plural society through culturally diverse art.
  4. Need to create training programs for minority professionals in media.

Migration and integration:

  1. Must create policy law with an aim to enhance minorities in political society.
  2. Must strive for successful inclusion by providing children with education in mother tongue.
  3. Need to make the path to citizenship for migrants easier.
  4. Must create a taskforce.

Religious diversity and freedom of religion:

  1. States should invest in formal and informal education systems.
  2. Need to define relationships between youth and stakeholders so that stakeholders will listen to youth members of the population.
  3. Must enforce cooperation of various forms of ethical religious education in early childhood years.
  4. Need to ensure the right to freedom of religion.

Naturally the wording was slightly more detailed, but the sentiment remains. (Press Release)

**Personal comments – the wording of integration itself is slightly problematic, but that is for another post.  Furthermore, this abbreviated version that has been published on the UNAOC website should be, must be replaced by the full versions as these do not give the actual recommendations justice at all.


The day was wrapped up by a fantastic and inspiring presentation of the Intercultural Innovation Awards and some true Viennese Music.  The Alliance of Civilisations was truly epitomised in the 10s of different nationalities waltzing and dancing to melancholy Viennese music as well as Greek hybrid jigs. 

So, day 1 down... The next day bringing the big event.   Let's see how it pans out...!

Follow the proceedings and get involved by following the hashtag #UNAOC2013 on twitter!


***Note that the full topics were -

  • Promotion, protection and full enjoyment of the right to religious freedom in a context of religious pluralism which consists not only of greater diversity, but also of perceptions of that diversity and new patterns of interaction among religious groups;
  • Media pluralism and diversity of media content and their contribution to fostering public debate, democracy and awareness of diverse opinions;
  • Shaping a new narrative for migration, integration and mobility in the global economy.