Al Kawari hits out at racial discrimination

 14 Apr 2016 - 2:00

Al Kawari hits out at racial discrimination
H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Cultural Adviser to the Emiri Diwan and Qatar’s candidate for Unesco Director-General’s post, speaking at Mandela Hall in Johannesburg.

By Mohamed Iqbal 

DOHA: Acting against racial discrimination is a step towards achieving lasting peace between nations, because racial discrimination has always entailed disunion, rivalry and confusion in societies, says H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Cultural Adviser to the Emiri Diwan and Qatar’s candidate for the post of Unesco Director General.
In a speech at Mandela Hall in Johannesburg, during his recent visit to South Africa, in the presence of diplomats, political, cultural and media figures, Dr Al Kawari paid tributes to anti-Apartheid hero Nelson Mandela describing him as an inspiring role model for people around the world in his struggle against Apartheid.
“I am pleased to convey to you on behalf of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the people of Qatar, their highest esteem for your wonderful country and the courageous example it set under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, who became an inspiring role model for people around the world in his struggle against Apartheid, construction after liberation and embrace of tolerance and peaceful values. I would also like to praise the bilateral relations between our countries at the political, economic and cultural levels and the positive impact it has had on laying the foundation for dialogue and peace,” Al Kawari told the gathering.

He said that racial discrimination has taken on new forms, hiding behind sectarian ideologies that made room for further hatred and calls for ethnic and cultural cleansing.

“We have, in our contemporary world, concrete evidence of such acts, which includes widespread hatred, destruction of human heritage and incitement to reject others,” said Al Kawari.
“These indications can be found in the consequences of campaigns falsely launched in the name of religion, and implemented as a form of slavery based on ethnic and religious grounds. 
“They can also be found in the consequences of the global refugee crisis that has unfortunately been used as an excuse for the spreading of intolerance, hatred and incitement for war between civilizations,” he added. 
Al Kawari said that Unesco has diligently fought against racism and racial discrimination since its inception. From its earliest beginnings, it did not refrain from conducting intensive research and study on this subject, and took a lead role against racism in 1976, at its General Conference, with a Declaration against Racism and Racial intolerance in order to further combat racism through education, communication and the establishment of laws.
Global Citizenship Education is a creative tool that can promote understanding among human beings and strengthen dialogue between cultures, as cultural heritage is a form of soft power that helps to immunize communities and build bridges of communication between human beings regardless of their race, language and beliefs, said Al Kawari. 
However, cultural understanding requires tools for  raising greater awareness and sensitizing people towards the consequences of “the Culture of Death and Hatred”.
Perhaps the steps taken by Unesco to spread awareness need qualitative efforts to invest even further, in a creative manner, such as with the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) and the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024). 
The international coalition of cities united against racism is an example of sharing experiences to further educate people against racism. “I am proud of this historic moment and I am proud to be standing here on this land, where values of tolerance and fraternity have been exemplified within the framework of diversity and mutual respect. 
“I feel that my presence among you provides my candidacy for the position of Unesco Director-General with a deep resonating humility and an appreciation for all cultures that follow your enlightened example. 
“I strongly believe that in my future role I will be able to promote educational and cultural initiatives, which, in their turn, will continue to spread prosperity and development amongst the wonderful people of South Africa,” he concluded.

The Peninsula