The High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Miguel Moratinos said that the UNAOC would not have survived without the efforts of Turkey and stressed that Ankara was committed in maintaining the alliance.
The Spanish diplomat told Anadolu Agency that it was important for him to visit Turkey, which is a co-sponsor of the Alliance of Civilizations along with Spain.
Moratinos stated that he appreciated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's efforts under difficult conditions last year to preserve the alliance. "I am happy that I received the support of Turkey during my meetings in Ankara. We will prepare an action plan together soon," he said.
The Alliance of Civilizations is a political initiative founded in 2005 by then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain. Moratinos assumed the position of the initiative's high representative in January 2018.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with Moratinos and discussed possibilities on how to revitalize the UNAOC and make it more visible and action-oriented. Çavuşoğlu stressed that the UNAOC is a great asset in conflict prevention, mediation and peace building.
In relation to his plans for the UNAOC in the upcoming period, Moratinos said that wants to show that the Alliance of Civilizations is an essential tool for providing stability and peace in the world.
The diplomat stressed that his goal is to prevent cultural and religious misunderstandings between civilizations and enable mutual respect between the sides. "I believe that we can achieve this with the support of the two co-sponsors," he said.
Moratinos said that he would use "pre-emptive diplomacy" and "find concrete solutions" by understanding the reason behind misunderstandings in crises.
He said an idea has been put forward to organize student exchange programs similar to Erasmus, within the scope of UNAOC.
Moratinos said there could be student exchanges between India, China, Latin America, the MENA region, Europe and Arab countries. He underlined that these students can be taught a special curriculum that would enable better understanding between civilizations.