In 2005, in what was to be one of his last major acts as Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan announced the creation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, the UNAOC. To send out a message of what the UNAOC stood for, Annan chose to deliver his address overlooking a bridge over the Bosphorus in Turkey, a bridge that connected Europe to Asia, and connected cultures.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is an initiative proposed by the Prime Minister of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the 59th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2005. It was co-sponsored by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The initiative seeks to galvanize international action against extremism through the forging of international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation. The Alliance places a particular emphasis on defusing tensions between the Western and Islamic worlds.

The UNAOC identified Connecting Cultures as one of the world’s leading civil society initiatives, and we have been involved in several UNAOC global forums, presenting at workshops in Madrid and Istanbul.

UNESCO was created  in 1945 in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. UNESCO is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. Building intercultural understanding through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity is a key pillar of UNESCO. Connecting Cultures has done several presentations to Irina Bukova, Director General of UNESCO, in Paris, and in Oman.

UNAOC High Representative Video Clip