Entrusted with the mandate to contribute to build "the defences of peace in the minds of men" by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture and communication, UNESCO has been designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year within the United Nations system. In fact, over the years and indeed in the past decade, the Organization has gained special experience and has won recognition through its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchanges between cultures.
The objective of this International Year is to help dissipate any confusion stemming from ignorance, prejudice and exclusion that create tension, insecurity, violence and conflict. The task will be, in campaigning for dialogue and mutual knowledge, to foster respect for each other’s culture and break down the barriers between different cultures. Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building peace.
Four main strategic lines of action for the Year have been devised They involve promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity; building a framework for commonly shared values; strengthening quality education and intercultural competences, and fostering dialogue for sustainable development.