We, former Heads of State and Government, along with other former and active politicians, diplomats, academics, scholars, researchers and journalists, participants at the Conference “Levant Initiative for Global Peace. Through Cultural Diplomacy towards a Long Lasting Peace”, which took place in Bucharest on 20-21 November 2017, organized by the Romanian Institute of Advanced Studies for the Culture and Civilization of Levant, under the auspices of the Parliament of Romania and in partnership with the University of Bucharest and the National School for Political and Administrative Studies,
Stressing the importance of learning about the common cultural background of all people from the old region of Levant, and convinced that the region’s cultural diversity, as well as cultural heritage, is a wealth to be cherished and sustained by all as a factor of peace and development;
Recognizing the importance of understanding for religious diversity and encouraging tolerance, respect and dialogue among all people from the Levant historic region, in order to promote a culture of peace;
Alarmed by the developments, over the last decades, of intolerance, extremism and violence, including terrorism that jeopardizesinnocent lives and causes destruction to Levant’s historical and cultural heritage, parts of which being already lost or irreversibly damaged;
Reaffirming that the cultural diplomacy can play an important role in connecting people by building bridges, identifyingand supporting common grounds, recognizing and promoting the human dignity and encouraging the creation of a culture of peace;
Encouraging the promotion of relevant activities in the areas of education and youth;
Stressing the importance of creating synergy among Levant Initiative and UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations and ALECSO (Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization);
- Underline that Levant historic region has a unique place on the map of past and current civilizations, as a witness of a multi-millenary history of ethnic, religious and cultural peaceful coexistence in diversity and as a host of atremendousshare of world heritage. We emphasize the need for this unique place to be preserved for the benefit of future generations.
- Acknowledge that Levant historic region has not only a past, but also a very promising future, being situated between West and East, Europe and Asia, at the crossroad of major economic global routes, with huge geopolitical and geostrategic significance
- Express deep concern about the expansion of conflicts, along with ethnic and religious tensions, rooted in poverty, inequality, lack of full access to education and basic human rights, andabout the spread of terrorism based on gravemisinterpretations of religious ideologies, that already triggered one of the biggest migration wave in the history of humanity. This has led some to the mistaken perception that religious belief itself is the root cause of intercultural conflict.
- Acknowledge that our religious traditions that have also been sources of misunderstanding and conflict, offer a living sense of moral order and that our religious communities have profound spiritualties and large social networks that are unique assets for working toward the common good.
- Express our conviction that onlypeaceful political solutions, backed by economic and social incentives,are acceptable in order to solve the current conflicts in the region, and that is our duty to bring our own contributions in this respect, using our tools of preference: dialogue, culture and education.
- Encourage governments, international organizations and all other relevant stakeholders to update and strengthen the tools and strategies of the cultural diplomacy in the Levant region.