17 September 2008. Mollina.Three-day Seminar on “Youth and the Alliance of Civilizations” held in Mollina, Spain within the week-long program of annual “University of Youth and Development” finalized its work today. The Seminar was organized by Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC) and European Youth Forum (YFJ) in cooperation with the North-South Center of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Youth Partnership between the CoE and the EU. The Seminar was supported by the UN AoC as part of its consultation process with international in preparation of the AoC Youth Strategy.

During three-day Seminar the youth participants from the member organizations of ICYF-DC and YJF have had the opportunity to discuss the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) Initiative launched by the UN in July 2005. In order to produce joint vision by the OIC and European youth on the prospects of the AoC the participants have engaged into deliberations on subjects such as “The purpose of intercultural dialogue among youth representatives from different cultures”, “Cultural identities and civilization” and “The White Paper on Inter-cultural Dialogue” published by CoE. The participants also attended thematic workshops and presented their recommendations on the themes of “Education for inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue”, “Youth, Migration and Globalization” and “Youth Participation in Institutional Processes”.

Youth for the Alliance of Civilizations (YAoC) Movement established in Baku on 2 November 2008 at the Inter-generational High Level Conference co-organized under the patronage of H.E. Mehriban Alyeva, The First Lady of Azerbaijan by ICYF-DC and Heydar Aliyev Foundation in collaboration with CoE, YFJ, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has become a prime focus during all discussions with specific presentation on the YAoC held by ICYF-DC during the working group and the conclusion panel discussion. The participants have stressed the importance of YAoC to become a global platform for deepening youth contribution toward the objectives of the UN AoC.

The Seminar was concluded by the outcome panel with presentations by Ms. Bettina Schwarzmayar, the President of the YFJ , Mr. Elshad Iskandarov, Secretary General of the ICYF-DC and Mrs. Isabelle Legare, Youth Program Manager of the UN AoC Secretariat. The participants in particular dwelled on the contribution by youth discussion within the YAoC into the forthcoming draft UN AoC Youth Strategy Paper. Mrs. Legare has fully supported the vision expressed by the leadership of the ICYF-DC and YFJ on strengthening youth voice within the framework of the UN AoC. The participants have underlined a need to build on and learn of the rich instrumentation developed in the field by the UN AoC and its partners as well as failures such as youth frustration during the Alliance First Annual Forum. The panel has also stressed the importance to utilize the momentum of the forthcoming 2nd AoC Annual Forum to be held in Istanbul in April 2009 for raising global awareness on the importance of youth segment of the AoC.

In conclusion youth participants adopted Recommendations on youth role in AoC. The main recommendation of the Seminar towards the UN AoC is to ‘recognize, assist and support “Youth for the Alliance of Civilizations” ( YAoC ) Movement … as a sustainable youth-platform and recommend its affiliation to the UN AoC” and ensure “that the platform should provide overall umbrella for implementation of all other recommendations”. Given this the recommendations further provided youth view on specific topics such as migration, youth and media, non-formal education, easing of the visa procedures for participants of the AoC activities among others.

The recommendations also addressed ICYF-DC, YFJ and other multilateral institution as well as national youth organizations to join efforts in support of the UN AoC in particular through advocacy of youth voice as well as tangible programs in reaching out to those “none converted” and widening constituency of the Alliance.

In accordance with the mandate of the Seminar its outcomes will be utilized as a basis for reflection for the further development of youth approach to the UN AoC Initiative and will be distributed to youth participants of the 2nd AoC Annual Forum as a base for discussion and moving forward with ensuring sustainable role of youth as key stakeholder of the UN AoC.

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