15 February 2024, Geneva, Switzerland - This year's edition of the Geneva Interfaith Dialogue was themed around Common Human Values in Multilateral Diplomacy and took place at Palais des Nations, Geneva on February 9th. The Dialogue was co-hosted with the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations in Geneva under the auspices of UN General Assembly Resolution RES A/65/5, calling on the celebration and commemoration of World Interfaith Harmony Week. The occasion brought together over 80 representatives of the International Geneva community, a broad panel of ambassadors, and representatives from the world's main religions to discuss the connections between politics, religion, and society.

The 9th Annual Geneva Interfaith Dialogue brought together the following speakers: Amb. Khalid Walid Obeidat, Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Amb. Galib Israfilov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Amb. Sabri Bachtobji, Permanent Representative of Tunisia; Amb. Cristian Espinosa Canizares, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ecuador; Amb. Abdallah Saleh Possi, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania; Archbishop Ettore Balestero, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See; Amb. Maria Therese Pictet-Althann, Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta; and Amb. Nassima Baghli, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The 9th Interfaith Dialogue was opened by H.E. Amb. Khalid Walid Obeidat of the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Amb. Obeidat provided opening remarks:

In today's interconnected world, characterized by diverse cultures, beliefs, and identities, the imperative for interfaith dialogue and multilateral cooperation has never been greater. By arming ourselves with ideas, justice, and inclusive policies, we fortify our collective resilience against discord and division.

These opening remarks were followed by the Director of the Division for People and Social Inclusion of UNITAR, Mr. Alex Mejia, highlighting the importance of common human values. Mr. Alex Mejia stated:

Every human being carries with them the aspiration for peace, prosperity, and harmony. We do have common human values that guide us. This event serves as a platform for shared values and common human principles with representatives of multiple faiths and high-ranking international United Nations officials.

The Permanent Representation of Jordan also highlighted the fact that common values bind us to the UN Charter, emphasizing the link between faith, common values in the UN, and their commitment to peace.

Common Human Values


The 9th Interfaith Dialogue comprised a panel discussion on "Common Human Values in Multilateral Diplomacy." As stated by the representative of the Holy See, this annual conference fosters collective learning and unity, promoting harmony and mutual respect.

The Permanent Representative of Tunisia underscored the necessity for collective action to achieve peace, emphasizing the significance of multilateralism and common human values in addressing today’s complex humanitarian challenges. It was argued that multilateralism remains the only viable approach, with values such as peace, solidarity, and equality playing pivotal roles in fostering harmony and respect.

Following this, the representative of the Republic of Ecuador emphasized the importance and indispensable nature of interfaith dialogue. Reference was made to trust as another crucial element, with dialogues like this one playing a pivotal role in fostering trust among international actors, diplomats, and the people they represent. The importance of information and communication was stressed, highlighting the crucial role of dialogue in building trust.

The intervention by the permanent representation of Tanzania focused on the challenges of defining faith and underscored the importance of maintaining the separation between state and religion, a principle valued by nations like Tanzania. Conversely, the permanent representation of the Sovereign Order of Malta highlighted the invaluable contribution of faith to peacebuilding. As most religions share common human values, fostering harmony among faiths in the international arena contributes to building peace and guiding international relations toward peacebuilding. Similarly, the Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation emphasized the necessity of uniting over common human values in the current global context.

Concluding Remarks

At the conclusion of the conference, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of UNITAR, H.E. Amb. Luis Gallegos encouraged attendees to persist in their diplomatic efforts, with the shared values discussed during the conference serving as a guiding light towards a future characterized by unity and universal peace.

H.E. Luis Gallegos remarked:

Let us all be ambassadors of peace in a World that so dearly needs it. May out shared journey towards a more harmonious World be guided by the principles of compassion, understanding, and unity.

He stressed the significance of conferences like this one, where individuals from diverse faith backgrounds come together to reaffirm their commitment to upholding human values, serving as catalysts for innovative diplomatic solutions that transcend religious and cultural divides. Emphasizing the need for such conferences to extend beyond the event itself, he envisioned them as platforms for ongoing discussions, fostering an international community characterized by unity and shared commitment.


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