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10/28/08

Special Issue No 18


KAZAKHSTAN PROMOTES PROGRESS THROUGH DIVERSITY

Category: General
Posted by: admin

 
Kazakhstan
News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America

 

Special Issue No 18, October 28, 2008

KAZAKHSTAN PROMOTES PROGRESS THROUGH DIVERSITY

The Common World Forum which took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on Friday October 17th gathered representatives from Muslim and Western worlds to discuss political means to strengthen interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the Forum with an inaugural address in which he described the Kazakh experience of interreligious and interethnic peace and accord. He then strongly condemned the current trends of Islamophobia and Westophobia and declared: “In the current environment, it is imperative to stave off the division of the world along civilizational, cultural and religious lines”. This can only be achieved through political dialogue and the Common World Forum is Kazakhstan’s tangible contribution to this process.

Mr. Marat Tazhin, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, outlined the Forum’s agenda: He announced five core themes: youth and religious doctrines, women and religion, religion and mass media, religion and political action, and integration of religious minorities

Forum participants came from all over the world, including the Vatican, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and comprised representatives from all major international organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the OSCE.

Many of the participants emphasized that international law was the only basis for intercultural political dialogue. The Polish representative stressed that Roman Law was an important element for dialogue between cultures and a path to tolerance. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sergey Lavrov also insisted on the role of international law to resolve the current conflict issues.

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, reminded delegates of the role played by the OIC. The Organization, which is not a religious one, recently overhauled its charter to give due importance to the universality of human rights. Mr. Ihsanoglu concluded by giving signs of hope for the future, as a recent US study, handed to both US presidential contenders, acknowledges that the “sore relations between the USA and the Muslim world were generated by American policies rather than by Muslim religious or cultural beliefs.”

The delegate for Pakistan, Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira, said that intercultural dialogue can be achieved only after “the resolution of political and economic injustices”, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia insisted that it would take time to peacefully change concepts that have been implanted in the psychic of some societies for centuries. But it is the only way to avoid the so-called “clash of civilizations”, he said.

The United States was represented by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador to the United Nations.  He talked about current hotspots such as Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran and Afghanistan. Mr. Khalilzad also declared that just as the US supported progress in Europe and Asia in the 20th century, America’s own interests and values dictate that it should supports progress in the Islamic World. He added that American society was not anti-Muslim. On the contrary, the American way of life offers everyone the opportunity to integrate without giving up his or her religious or cultural identities. He concluded by reminding delegates that the Western and Muslim worlds share the same unshakable values: “the dignity of each individual, respect for all cultures and civilizations and the aspiration for intellectual, social and material progress from generation to generation.”

The Common World Forum ended with a common declaration of all delegates (Astana Declaration) reaffirming their willingness to work together towards improved intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

The Forum was held in the Palace of Peace & Accord, a pyramidal edifice designed by architect Norman Forster. Next Fall the Palace will host the third edition of the Congress of World Religions.

The idea to hold the “Common World: Progress through Diversity” Forum was initially discussed during high-level contacts between Kazakhstan’s officials and dignitaries and counterparts from different countries both from the Muslim World and the West. They cited the very nature of Kazakhstan’s society as a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious one, praised Kazakhstan’s experience of civil peace and accord. Taking into consideration Kazakhstan’s active foreign policy, it can naturally play a role to “bridge” the gaps existing nowadays between the Muslim World and the West.


  

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail:zhan@kazakhembus.com
 Web-site: www.kazakhembus.com  

 


Chairman’s report
of the 'Common World: Progress through Diversity' Conference,
hеld on 17th  October, 2008 Astana

  In October 17, 2008 the Ministerial Conference “Common World: Progress through Diversity” took place in Astana, which was attended by heads and the official representatives of more than 65 states and international organizations (Annex1). 
  H.E. Mr. N.A.Nazarbayev, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in his welcoming address to the Conference invited participants to hold a wide range political dialogue between countries representing the two most numerous cultural-civilization communities.        
 The Conference in Astana was held during an active search of ways and forms in deepening of understanding and overcoming of inter-civilization discords.
  Participants have exchanged opinions and discussed different topics related to the issues of inter-civilization dialogue. During open and fruitful debates, the ways of deepening of understanding between the Muslim world and the West were addressed; hotbeds of instability in modern world (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) and possibility of establishing lasting peace and stability; sources of islamophobia xenophobia, and 'westernophobia', enhancing the tolerance, issues of media activity. Discussions focused on problems, such as modern education, role of youth and women in strengthening the peer dialogue, human rights (Annex 2).
             Different points of views concerning events of international life were expressed. In general, high representatives have noted timeliness and necessity of holding this Conference and continuing of started political dialogue.        
 The Conference was concluded with adoption of Astana Declaration, calling upon to unite on the basis of diversity. In particular Declaration underscored the importance of diversity at global and national levels, within civilizations and cultures, religions as well as the multiple identities of individuals. Also any forms of tension, based on religious, confessional, cultural and civilizational differences, and their use for fuelling the hatred, xenophobia and confrontation were rejected (Annex3).
 In order to prepare and convene the Ministerial Conference, in April 2-3, 2008, the High Level Reflection Group Meeting, and in August 20-29, 2008, the Senior Officials Meeting were held. Experts and eminent scholars offered particular proposals, and also exchanged with constructive opinions, and considered the ways and means to overcome inter-civilization controversy (Annex 4). 
 In this regard, during preparation to the Conference the recommendations with practical measures  to  develop  the inter-civilization dialogue were received, summarized and is being offered for consideration by concerned parties for possible use. (Annex 5).        


Annex1
LIST
of Heads of Delegations to the Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
‘Common World: Progress through Diversity’
Astana, Kazakhstan
October 17, 2008
 
States
and International Organizations
 

Heads
1.  Afghanistan
 Ambassador of Afghanistan to Kazakhstan Mr. Aziz Arianfar

2.  Armenia Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Arman Kirakosyan

3.  Austria Ambassador of Austria to Kazakhstan
Mrs. Ursula Faringer

4.  Azerbaijan Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Mr. L.Gandilov

5.  Bangladesh
 Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury

6.  Bahrain
 State Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nizar bin Sadik Al-Baharna

7.  Belarus
 First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Igor Petrishenko

8.  Belgium
 Ambassador of Belgium to Kazakhstan
Mr.К. Meershman

9.  Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr.Sven Alkalaj

10.  Brunei
 Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Honorable Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng

11.  Brazil  Ambassador to the Alliance of Civilization
Mr. Jose Augusto Lingren Alves

12.  Bulgaria
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. L.Kyuchukov


13.  Canada
 Ambassador of Canada to Kazakhstan
Mrs. Margaret Scock

14.  Croatia
 State Secretary of MFA and European integration Mr. Davor Bozinovic

15.  Cyprus
 Special representative of the Minister (Ambassador) Mr. Stavros Epaminondas

16.  Czech Republic Minister on Human Rights and Ethnic Minorities Mrs. Dzamila Stehlikova

17.  Denmark Minister-Counselor of the Embassy (Moscow)
Mr. Soren Liborius

18.  Egypt Minister of WAQF
Mr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzok

19.  Estonia Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Urmas Paet

20.  EU Special Representative on Central Asia
Mr. Pierre Morel

21.  Finland
 Ambassador of Finland to Kazakhstan
Mr. Timo Lahelma

22.  FYR Macedonia Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Antonio Milososki

23.  France
 Former Advisor on Foreign Affairs to the President  (Ambassador) Mr. Regis Debray

24.  Germany Executive Representative of Federal Government on Intercultural Dialogue Mrs. Heidrun Tempel

25.  Greece
 Head of the Academic Centre of the Analysis and Planning (Ambassador) of  MFA
Mr. Aleksandros Filon

26.  Hungary Ambassador, National Coordinator, Alliance of Civilizations, Dr. Janos Perenyi

27.  Indonesia Ambassador to Kazakhstan 
Mr. Sjhril Sabaruddin

28.  Italy Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Mr. Bruno Antonio Pasquino
29.  Iran Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Manouchehr Mottaki

30.  Iraq Charge D’Affairs to Kazakhstan
Mr. Haldun Al-Jama

31.  Jordan Minister of Political Development
Mr. Kamal Naser

32.  Kuwait

 Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah
33.  Kyrgyzstan Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Ednan Karabaev

34.  Latvia
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr.Eriks Zunda

35.  Libya  Charge D’Affairs to Kazakhstan
Mr. A. Addeb

36.  Lithuania Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Petras Vaitiekunas

37.  Malaysia
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri

38.  Montenegro Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Milan Rocen

39.  Morocco Ambassador, Director General of Multilateral Relations  Mr. Azaroual Mohammed

40.  Netherlands
 Director of the Department of South-East Asia and East Europe Mr. Caspar Veldkamp

41.  Northway
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Raymond Johansen

42.  Oman
 Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs  
Mr. Talib ben Miran Al-Raisi

43.  Pakistan  Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Northern Ares
Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira

44.  Poland Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Andrzej Kremer

45.  Qatar Minister of State on International Cooperation
Mr. Halid bin Mohammad Al-Attiya


46.  Romania State Secretary for Education, Research  and Youth
 Mrs. Gabriela Pasztor

47.  Russia Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Sergey Lavrov

48.  Saudi Arabia State Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Nizar ben Obeid Al-Madani

49.  Serbia 1-Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Serbia to Kazakhstan
Mr. Dragon Zurovac 

50.  Slovakia Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Jan Kubis

51.  Spain Ambassador-at-large on Interaction with Overseas Muslim Communities and Muslim Organizations  Mr. Jose Maria Ferre de la Pena

52.  Sweden
 Plenipotentiary of Office of the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination
Ms. Katrin Linna

53.  Tajikistan Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Hamrokhon Zarifi

54.  Turkey State Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Mehmet Aydin

55.  Turkmenistan
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Khushgeldy Babaev

56.  Ukraine
 Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Mr. Mykola Selivon

57.  United Arab Emirates
 Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development
Mr .Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al-Awais


58.  United States of America   US Ambassador to UN
Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad

59.  Yemen
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Ali Muhammad Al Ayashi

60.  Organization
of Islamic Conference Secretary General
Mr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

61.  OSCE Special Representative of the Chairman of OSCE on Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims
Mr. O.Orhun
62.  PACE
 Vice-president
Mr. Paul Ville

63.  League of Arab States Deputy Secretary General
Mr. Mouafak Nassar

64.  Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretary General
Mr. Bolat Nurgaliev

65.  UNESCO Regional Director, Head of Bureau
Mr. Tarja Virtanen

66.  Vatican
(Observer) Postulant Nuncio (Ambassador)
Mr. M.Buendia

67.  Austria
(Guest of Honour) Former Secretary General of PACE
Dr. Walter Schwimmer


Annex 2

P R O G R A M
of the Conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs  “The Common World: Progress Through Diversity”
(«Peace and Accord» Palace, October 17, 2008, Astana)

October 17, Friday
08.30-09.30
 -   Registration 
10.00-10.30
 -  Opening of the Conference

 


     
                   Statement by the President of Kazakhstan H.E. N.A.Nazarbayev

Welcome notes by OIC Secretary General E.Ihsanoglu
President leaves  the Conference

Welcome address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mr. M. Tazhin 

10.35-11.45
 
1 Session
Moderator: M. Aydin – State Minister of Turkey           

 Theme of discussion – A way towards  deepening of understanding between Muslim World 
                                      and the West - Unity of aims in social dimension.
The important period to withdraw from oversimplification of  understanding the differences between the Muslim world and West has come. The need for overcoming artificially created images and stereotypes of the world is becoming more conspicuous, creating favorable grounds for disseminating radical ideas. It appears that the dialogue between religions has certain limits. What would happen if it were framed into the public dimension and tasked with the objectives to enhance welfare and prosperity not of Christians and Muslims, but civilians, ordinary people, who are affiliated with this or that particular confession? What positive contribution can politicians make in order to strengthen such dialogue?
 During the era of globalization, the issues of international migration, adaptation and integration of national minorities into other societies, have become acute. At the current stage, what are the concrete ways of solving the above problems, which will eventually define sustainability and viability of states?
 
The key speakers     - S.Lavrov                 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia
                                 - S. Alkalaj                - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and
                                                                      Herzegovina.
                                 - H. Zakzok              -  Minister of WAQF of Egypt   
                                 - K. Naser Barham   -  Minister of Political  Development of Jordan
                                 - A. Miloshosky        - Minister of Foreign Affairs of  FYR of Macedonia 
                                 - N. Al  Madani         - State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia
                                 - M. Rochen              -  Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
                                 - A.R. Bakri               - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia
                                 - Z. Khalilzad             - US Permanent Representative to UN   

                                  (duration of speeches 5 min)

 Discussion on a theme of session – free statement of participants  may be considered  (up to 3 min)
  
11.45-12.50
 - 2 Session
Moderator: M. As Sabah – Vice Prime- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait
                    J.Kubis        - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia
              
 Theme of discussion  - Hotbeds of instability in modern world (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) What
                                      are the aspirations of political leaders in achieving solid peace and
                                     stability at the current stage of the development of international
                                     relations
Instability has dramatically widened in modern world. Developments in instability zones have become more complex to be controlled by political establishment and international community, in whole. New challenges are evolving to add to the old unresolved socio-political conflicts, and this aggravates the situation even further. Military encounters have widened beyond their local scope. Internal and external factors have tightly intertwined, such as international terrorism and separatism, and at the same time growth of political awareness, rapid processes of globalization with their sharp response to mass media do largely build up the potential of future threats. Now, it is impossible to define which problem is a priority to be treated as urgency. Experts keep to the view that the world has surpassed the point of irreversibility and the problems of war and peace have acquired the traits of the systemic crisis. However, there is still hope for peace and stability. It stems from peoples’ aspirations. Political leaders are obligated to resolve conflicts to meet such hopes.          

 The key speakers  -  U.Paet           -  Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
                              -  E.Karabayev -  Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan
                              -  H.Zarifi         -  Minister of Foreign Affairs of  Tajikistan
                              -  R.Johanson   -  Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway 
                               (Duration of statements 5 min.) 

 Discussion on a theme of session – free statement of participants  may  be considered (up to 3 min)

14.00-15.00 - Official Lunch on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mr. M.Tazhin              
 
15.30-17.00 -  3 Session
 Moderator: O.Orhun  -   Special Representative of the Chairman of OSCE  on intolerance and
                                        discrimination against Muslims 

 Theme of discussion – Routes of Islamophobia / Westernophobia and ways of strengthening
                                      tolerance and overcoming Xenophobia in Mass Media. What modern
                                      education should be and what would be the role of Youth and Women
                                      in enhancing the equitable dialogue between the West and the Muslim
                                      world?
Social, ethnic, religious resistance has sharpened. It is now shaping the politics of a state and agenda of international life. Xenophobia, in whole, and Islamophobia, in particular, are becoming a real threat to mankind in the 21st century. In this regard, the hope for new educational systems may be justified provided that collective actions by international actors are taken, in full awareness of the goals under which such reforms are being carried out. Under these conditions, the ‘moderate and enlightened’ Islam will probably play its positive role in solving the problems of education, youth and women. What other actions should be jointly undertaken by West and Muslim world to overcome isolation and enhance tolerance?   
 
 The  key  speakers   -  I.Chowdhry     - Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh
                                 -  M.Mottaki       - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
                                 -  I.Petrishenko   - First Deputy of  Foreign Affairs of Belarus
                                 -  L.Kyuchukov  - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria     
                                 -  A.Kremer        - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland 
                                  (Duration of statement - 5 min.) 

 Discussion on a theme of session - free statement of participants  may be considered

17.00-17.30 -  Coffee-Break

17.30-17.45 -  Adoption of Astana Declaration
-   Closing remarks  by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Mr. M. Tazhin

17.45-18.30 - Time for bilateral meetings

19.00-20.30    
 - Private dinner
    21.00   - Arrival to Hotels,
 Departure


Annex 3

ASTANA DECLARATION

We, the official representatives of the countries and international organizations of the Conference of “Common World: Progress Through Diversity”, held on 17th October 2008, in Astana  

recognizing the importance of diversity at global and national levels, within civilizations and cultures, religions as well as the multiple identities of individuals,

welcoming efforts of international, regional and sub-regional organizations, fora and states, directed to supporting dialogue and achieving harmony between cultures, religions, beliefs, civilizations, and peoples for maintenance of sustainable progress and international peace, justice, security and stability,

highlighting our common aim to preserve tolerance, dialogue and cooperation based on mutual trust and understanding, accentuation of the common values of various cultures,  religions and beliefs,

recognizing that international relations should be guided by fundamental principles that underpin the corpus of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, equity, participation, non-discrimination at both national and international levels,

reaffirming that all human rights are universal, interdependent and interrelated,

reaffirming that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems,

recognizing that globalization, while opening up new opportunities for socio-economic development, presents a challenge to cultural and religious identities of nations,

rejecting any form of tensions, based on religious, beliefs, cultural and civilizational differences and their use for fuelling hatred, xenophobia and confrontation,  

reaffirming the pivotal role of education and culture for understanding, solidarity and social cohesion, ensuring the inclusion of youth and the participation of civil society in various related activities, 

underlining the importance of further cooperation between governments and citizens of countries in those parts of the world that are known as the Muslim World and the West in terms of strengthening dialogue and understanding on various levels,

being aware that responsible use of the freedom of expression and access to accurate and unbiased information can promote cross-cultural and inter-civilization relationships,

welcoming the Alliance of Civilizations and other existing initiatives and considering  them as an effective mechanism for promoting further understanding and respect between cultures and civilizations,


1. stress the need to encourage permanent contacts and dialogue within and between Muslim and Western societies at political, social, cultural, inter-religious and other levels;

2.  agree on the need to continue and enhance dialogue between relevant international, regional and sub-regional organizations, such as the United Nations, the Arab League, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization;  

3. call on all states to recognize that dialogue should reflect the multiple identities of peoples and individuals, but that within that context inter and intra-religious dialogue can be used to promote understanding between civilizations;

4. underscore the important role and the rights of women and the application of a gender perspective as a cross-cutting issue in the process of realizing equalities and right to development;
 
5. call on countries to take appropriate measures against acts of racial, ethnic, religious discrimination and violence committed on the basis of ethnic or religious dislike in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law and human rights;  

6. reaffirming that each country has the primary responsibility for its own development and recognition of  national efforts should be complemented by supportive global programmes, measures and policies aimed at expanding development opportunities;

7. confirm that education and information are key factors to avoid stereotypes and any form of prejudice and misconceptions of different cultures and encourage actors in the political sphere, educational institutions and the media to promote intercultural dialogue;

8. encourage the studying and teaching of the history of civilizations and the development of cultural itineraries highlighting the cultural heritage of those civilizations;  

9. uphold youth meetings and exchange programs to promote cross-cultural and inter-civilization dialogue, peace and democratic participation among young people;

10. encourage media professionals to establish a  group of journalists  to act as advocates for promoting inter-civilization dialogue; taking into account the recommendations already made by related forums such as the global inter-media dialogue and Alliance of Civilizations, including but not limited to journalist exchange; 

11. welcome  the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, to be held in Istanbul on 2-3 April 2009;

12. welcome the initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to convene the Madrid Conference for interfaith and intercultural dialogue, as well as the holding of the high level session of the UN General Assembly to support  the initiative;

13. express our appreciation for the hospitality and good arrangement and warm welcome made by the Government of Kazakhstan and its people.


Annex 4  
Minutes
of the High Reflection Group Meeting preparatory to
the Forum  “Common World: Progress through Diversity”  (2-3 April, 2008)

1. The High Reflection Group Meeting of the Forum – ‘Common World: progress through diversity’ was held on April 2-3, 2008 in Astana (Kazakhstan).  

2. The meeting was attended by 46 representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, international organizations; politicians and public persons, academicia and university scholars.

3. The High Reflection Group Meeting (HRGM) discussed the issues set forth on its agenda and the session themes, i.e. mutual coherence of cultures in the conditions of a western society; role of mass media in strengthening the notion of tolerance and overcoming xenophobia; perspectives of socio-economic and political modernization of the Muslim world; issues of contemporary education; suggested proposals on the agenda to be discussed at the Forum in October, 2008 in Astana.

4. The meeting was started by the welcoming remarks of the Deputy Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nurlan Yermerkbayev and were followed by his statement.

5. Generally, participants of the discussion noted the acuteness of the Meeting’s discussion themes. They came up with the constructive comments and proposals, which they suggested that Kazakhstan incorporate into the process of preparation for the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM). The HRGM elaborated a number of practical solutions to be potentially discussed and adopted at the coming October meeting of Foreign Ministers of Muslim and Western countries. 

6. A number of participants addressed the HRGM by delivering their statements, but some conveyed their views in writing; these will be carefully studied and taken into account during the aforementioned preparations for the SOM and FMM to be held in October, 2008 in Astana.

7. The HRGM proposed to extend participation in the October FMM and requested the Kazak Party to invite such international organizations and Global Initiatives’ representatives as UNESCO, ISESCO, Alliance of Civilizations, EU and OIK.

8. The opinion regarding the need to deepen and widen the inter-civilization and inter-culture dialogue; facilitate the development of innovative educational techniques, and also, the diversity, being mankind’s life value and asset, which have to be safeguarded and further developed, was expressed. Participants showed solidarity in identifying the need to work out practical solutions, which require deliverable actions for these to be implemented.

9. Participants supported the proposal on submitting the Astana Declaration to the Ministerial Forum. The declaration may highlight the common vision of the dialogue and different approaches to it with the view of the latter as the most acute issue of Muslim and Western countries. It may also focus on the discussion themes of the agenda. The request was posted to forward to the HRGM’s Secretariat the proposals relating to the content of the draft Astana Declaration. Such proposals may be due by mid-May at latest and forwarded to the following e-mail address: ali@mid.kz  The contact person for collecting and consolidating these will be Mr. Yerlik  Ali, Deputy Director of the Asia Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

10. Participants particularly noted the following:

Mr. Jamil M. Merdad, Ambassador, Director, Department for the Islamic Conference, MFA, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: supported the holding of the Ministerial Forum in Astana. According to him, the Islamic world is not idealistic but rather a threat, as portrayed in the eyes of the West. The time has come for the courage to be deployed for forging co-operation and finding ways of co-existing. He proposed to involve UNESCO, ISESCO and other international organizations in the work of the future Forum. In his view, this should help the dialogue process to institutionalize. He raised the issue of technology transfer, which, according to him, should go in line with the framework of co-operation, not charity. In this regard, he shared his experience derived from organizing the Conference on Anti-Terrorism.    

Mr.Siddharth S. Saxena, Chair, Central Asia Forum, Jesus College, Cambridge University, UK: offered his suggestions and proposals generated by case studies, which are being discussed daily amongst the university students with reference to issues of the inter-civilization and inter-culture dialogue. His expert viewpoint asserted that mass media should present a well-balanced information, featuring both, positive and negative sides of life in the two worlds. Assimilation and integration should make it possible to arrive to the notion of tolerance. Mr Saxena suggested that Kazakhstan may get itself actively involved in the elaboration of the Cambridge University Forum’s projects on study of Central Asia and on the development of inter-civilization and inter-culture dialogue. He drew the audience’s attention to the need for the ways of complementing the dialogue with brand new ideas in order to incorporate these into the dialogue as a whole. He spoke in favor of expanding participation in the forthcoming Forum and wished that points 5, 6 and 7 of Kazakhstan’s proposal be consolidated.         

Mr.Umar Khadi, Director, Department of People’s Democracy, MFA, Indonesia: supported the idea of convening the Ministerial Forum as the beginning of dialogue at political level between Muslim countries and the West. He noted the complexity of drawing defining lines between Muslim and the West since they are not  monolithic. Education was highlighted as having a special role in societal development; and in this regard civil society  had a crucial role in  promoting education. Therefore, students exchange, journalists exchange, and cultural  exchanges are still needed. In a society, much should be done jointly, which, in essence, should work for fortifying the notion of tolerance in relation to “other” faiths. He suggested arranging journalist exchange program. He also suggested establishment of a “Group of Media Professionals and Owners”, and “Advisory Group of Religious Leaders”.  Mr.Umar Hadi concluded, that the October meeting should be held at Foreign Minister’s Level, recalling that in almost all countries in the would, Ministers of Foreign Affairs act as “agent of changes” and function   as bridge builder to bring closer international-domestic gap.  

Mr.Alberto de a Calle, Chief of Foreign Policy Cabinet, MFA, Spain: placed special emphasis on the role of mass media and governments in developing the dialogue. He supported Kazakhstan’s initiative in its promoting the political dialogue. According to Mr Calle, the coming Forum should make up a serious political message. The recommendations for the ministerial meeting require consultations. Among his other proposals, there were: to select a group of ambassador envoys; to set up a special group of journalists for organizing the inter-civilization dialogue; to gradually single out common approaches to history in whole.    

Mr.Ismail Aramaz, Department Head, General Directorate of Multilateral Political Affairs, MFA, Turkey: admitted that Kazakhstan has captured the right momentum to hold such Forum and that it is well-fit for such a serious undertaking. He said that we should back the diversity up in all possible ways and means, and try to enrich our own diverse self, but not take it as a threat. The speaker came up with the idea of a single universe civilization. The Annex lists all his proposals and suggestions regarding the Forum participants’ list, event agenda and a draft Astana Declaration. He also noted of some “structural” complexities in education that migrants often face in the West.        

Prof. Yves Jeanclos, Strasburg University, France: indicated at a whole series of problems that prevail in the West. These were the issues related to social coherence, which, Prof.Jeanclos believes, are the most complex. He questioned whether these tend to inflict legislative issues. Are these the issues of social coherence or of assimilation? – he quired. Tailor-made education and an appropriate legal frame are needed. Western societies are confronted with the need to provide the autonomy. Bridges between cultures are necessitated. It is important to understand which path should be followed. He suggested establishing the Astana-based center for the study of differences, the diversity and, of ways to overcome inter-culture frictions.        

Ms.Anne Durufle, Representative, General Directorate of International Cooperation for Development, MFA, France: urged those states, which have neither signed nor ratified the international convention on cultural diversity yet, to do so, and strictly follow its provisions. “This will help preserve the cultural diversity as important as it is now for humanity. The European Union strategy, which is meant to develop the EU’s co-operation with Central Asian states, should not be off-scored,” ¾– France’s representative reminded.   

Prof. Yevgenii Kozhokin, Director, Russian Institute of Strategic Researches, Russia: especially stressed the complexity of finding another more suitable candidate than Kazakhstan for holding such a high-level Forum as one under deliberations, because Kazakhstan was able to preserve throughout hardships of the 90-s the interethnic accord within its boundaries. He also noted that: “democracy in some countries is coming to birth and in no way such a birth must be subjected to manipulation. Mass media draws a distinction between “good” and “bad” Islam. However, Islam is known as a complex, multifaceted and diverse phenomenon; as such, it should not be oversimplified, ¾ according to the Russian academician. 

Prof. Natalya Narochnitskaya, Director General, Historical Perspectives Fund, Russia: reminded participants of the UN Charter, which, according to her, “contains no mentioning of human rights, hence, monarchies and republics are to be equal. She cautioned of the utmost diligence and prudence that need to be exercised when dealing with terminology. “One should carefully explore how history is being presented in different countries; how the same historical events are inadequately disambiguated when being referred as history lessons learned,” – she noted. In the professor’s view, in the West, liberalism has surpassed itself to acquire radical forms of liberatism. She urged that “peoples should not be humiliated and taught how to live, given the deep-rooted history of their life style. The speaker attached higher value to Kazakshatn’s initiative on holding the Forum.          

Mr.Karim Al-Shakar, Ambassador-at-Large, MFA, Bahrain: focused participants’ attention at the acuteness of the timing of holding the Forum. He noted that the dialogue to be in Kazakhstan complements other dialogues similar to it and, from this stance, Bahrain would be interested in reaching the consensus on concrete proposals. 

Mr.Aziz Arianfar, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the Republic of Kazakhstan: gave his support to convening the Forum and wished that this initiative be continued at much higher level. He indicated that understanding by international community of complexities that are intertwined with the process of transformation in some countries from authoritarian rule to democracy, is needed. He made a reference to current practices of applying double standards. Security issues, he said, require special attention. The Afghan representative favored creating the web. portal and television channel to be for common use within the dialogue.

Sabine Kroissenbrunner, Unit Head, V.3a-Inter-Cultural and Inter-Religious Dialogue, Head of Task Force Dialogue of Cultures, MFA, Austria: stressed the importance of women and youth integrating into society; which otherwise may be given out to “extremism that may fill in the vacuum.” Pluralism and diversity should reign whilst being rested on the firm legal foundation and respect for law. She used an example of the assistance provided by an Austrian ministry to the Conference of European imams that aims also for the interpretation of Islam compatible with European values and integration.. She also mentioned about the Vienna-based Institute for Islamic Pedagogical Studies at the University of Vienna, which provides a master’s programs  for teachers of Islamic religion at Austrian public schools.. “There is a dire need, she said, to establish active interaction between theological academic departments; to hold seminars, symposia; issue manuals and textbooks.” The Austrian delegate suggested also to improve exchange programs for officials deaking with the issue of “dialogue” in order to improve understanding of different approaches, strategies and, hence, improve state and society co-operation in the field of “dialogue”. Ms.Kroissenbrunner stressed that “at this point, all should engage in the search of the unifying not dividing factors and deepen the process of institution-building and regularizing the consultations; elaborate mechanisms of the dialogue, which should not necessarily be formalized. She also suggested organizing training courses for diplomats on issues of dialogue in a very broad sense. There is not only stereotypes about Islam and the Muslim world (Islamophobia), but also increasing stereotyping against Europe and “the West” (“Westernphobia”). Both sides should get rid of existing stereotypes.  Referring to an Austrian media training project for women journalists in the Middle East and Europe, she pointed out that the problem was not a friction between “Islam and the West”, but about images upheld to pertain such a dichotomy.

Mr.Kamen Velichkov, Ambassador-at-Large, MFA, Bulgaria, and Coordinator of issues of the Alliance of Civilization (AoC): named Kazakhstan as a success story of the country to have perfectly integrated into world market economy and supported Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene the Forum. Bulgarian representative emphasized the crucial role of media for strengthening mutual respect among different cultures and religions. It is of a paramount importance to endorse professionals from written and electronic media who cover ethnic and religious issues with excellence and sensitivity. A best example is Dimitar Peshev Awards for Ethnic and Religious Tolerance in Journalism: a journalistic contest jointly organized by UNDP, foundation "Multiethnical Initiative for Human Rights", Bulgarian News Agency and the Faculty for Journalism of the Sofia University “St. Climent Ohridski”. The awards recognize publications or TV/radio broadcasts exploring topics on minority and minority interaction.


Mr.Nicklas Norling, Research Fellow, ISDP, Assistant Editor, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Central Asia ¾ Caucuses Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, Sweden: noted the importance of developing trade relations in setting up the dialogue. He stressed that obligations of western countries should be adequate to those of the Islamic world. Not only the acts of Islamophobia should be monitored, but the hatred towards West in Muslim countries should also be given due account, meaning that the problem of national minorities in differing communities needs to be solved first. 

Prof. Muhammad Khalid Masud, Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Islamic Republic of Pakistan: invited audience’s attention to the focus on the negative view of existing differences between Muslim and Western cultures. He called for a positive view of these social developments as signs of pluralism. He reiterated that, - “ the differences between the Islamic world and West are the positive development which needs further exploring, not a threat. Mr. Masud presented a specific view regarding the unity of the Muslim world being rather a conceptual notion than a geographical one. Journalists that are on the job today should be taught to not only specialize professionally, but stretch the specialist focus far beyond its narrow boundaries to embrace broader knowledge offered by academic studies in the field. He advocated for the liberal education to return and submitted practical solutions for foreign ministers’ regard (Annex ).              

Prof. Henk Voskamp, Deputy Director, Department of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, MFA, The Netherlands: noted the obviousness of globalization processes and echoed a previous speaker in admitting the diversity as a great value, not a threat. He suggested widening the OIC-AoC dialogue by having wide-spread civil society involvement within it. He informed that the funds to implement inter-civilization and inter-culture dialogues are being set up in the Netherlands these days. All those professionals practicing in the sphere of culture who advocate for the development of good contacts should be firmly supported, according to the speaker. Assessment of real threats and fairness in dealing with this particular matter are most needed. The speaker named the education, professional skills, the combat against extremism to be practical steps to go forward along this path.  

Mr.Walter Schwimmer, Chairman, International Coordination Committee, World Public Forum of the Dialogue of Civilizations, Austria: urged participants to move forward “from mere words to real actions.” He said the differentiation between the Muslim world and West has been stereotyped, already. Overcoming such stereotypes is a necessity. Diversity should be in the focus elsewhere and in everyone’s mind; the public awareness of it,¾should be raised. The most important role in this whole process, the speaker stressed, ¾ “should be assigned to education since it is not civilizations that clash, but education versus ignorance. Special educational programs, generation-specific, should be developed. To accomplish this, a set of needs-based teaching techniques should be in place. In this regard, theological education should undergo modernization. Tolerance is a half-measure because it ushers the way for the following notion: “I don’t like you, but I have to tolerate you.” The inter-civilization dialogue needs to engage other factors, unlike the latter, to facilitate rapprochement. He suggested to interact with the OIC Trustees’ Council and claimed points 2 and 3 of the Kazakhstan’s proposal to be rather within parliamentarians’ scope of activities. He suggested that the EU Chairman for Culture be invited to the coming Forum.        

Mr.Nur Kirabayev, Deputy Rector, Moscow University of Peoples’ Amity, Russia: offered participants his article issued in Russian “Islam in the context of civilizations: east-west” and concentrated mainly on the orientation on an innovative society, a society of knowledge. Having observed globalization as a multi-level dialogue of interests and trust, he proposed, as a concrete solution of the Forum, a draft roadmap, which could contain the following projects: the notion of the Muslim civilization; modernization and state symbolic attributes; Islam and globalization; westernization. He resented that the Lisbon Convention’s focus in the “Europe-knowledge” direction is withering. 

Mr.Hassan Safarkhani, Counselor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Almaty: put the prime significance on the dialogue. However, he said, “such special tool sets as teaching manuals should be prepared in advance. The speaker suggested the following: the Secretariat of the Forum, to be located in Kazakhstan, should established; other countries may host the Forum’s meetings; translation into Arabic should be provided.     

Mr.Adel Ali Al-Khal, Director, Department of International Organizations & Conferencing, Qatar: submitted his proposals for developing the dialogue in the Alliance of Civilizations’ framework (Annex .) He focused on the importance of education and the Code of Conduct to be elaborated. Spoke in favor of the support to Kazakhstan in practically implementing the initiative. The language of the coverage by mass media should be taken serious account of, - he noted.  

Mr.Abdula Manafi Mutualo, Staff Member, Islamophobia Observatory, General Secretariat, OIC: noted that whereas the extremism in the Muslim world reveals itself through the terrorism, - in the West, amongst multiple intellectuals, accessing mass media outlets, it finds its way out through writings. Mr Mutuallo circulated on OIC’s behalf the package proposal, which rose an interest among participants of the meeting (Annex .) He made recommendations for the Forum to have issues of Islamophobia listed on its agenda. He advocated for the need to teach non-Muslims deliberate on Muslims, and reversely, non-Christians -¾ on Christians. It could perhaps be done through instituting a so-called Inter-Faith Accord Day when mosques and churches could be visited by representatives, practicing other faiths.    

Ms.Regina Roy, First Counselor, Delegation of the European Commission to Kazakhstan: supported the timeliness of holding the Forum of Foreign Ministers of Muslim and Western countries.  

Mr.Olzhas Suleimenov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan in UNESCO: drew the group’s attention to the fact of demonstrating by every multiethnic state of its own model of inter-ethnic integrity as a product of the historical evolution. The Rep. noted that Kazakhstan presents the most perfected, elaborate model, which deserves a study. As one of the themes of the future Forum, he suggested the discussion of national models of the integrity of ethnic and religious diversity.

11. For the successful organization of the Forum of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Muslim and Western countries in October 2008, in Astana, the Kazakh Party proposed to hold the SOM during 27-31 August, 2008 in Astana. The exact date of the SOM will be communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, shortly.

12. Participants expressed their deep satisfaction with the discussions held and will prepare their positive reports on the event for their respective foreign ministers. They will also advise their ministers to partake in the coming Forum and take actions towards adopting and eventually implementing practical solutions of the Ministerial Forum.

13. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Marat Tazhin met with the High Reflection Group. During the meeting, the opinion on the need to hold the Forum of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Muslim and Western countries, was spelled out. According to it, the Ministerial Meeting may result in the adoption of the Astana Declaration as well as practical solutions, facilitating the inter-civilization and inter-culture dialogue.

14. The High Reflection Group conveyed to the Kazakh Party expressions of its appreciation of the attention, hospitality and comfort provided during its stay in Astana and for the well-organized meeting.  

Secretary
High Reflection Group Meeting
    
Astana
April 4, 2008


Annex  5
Proposals and practical measures
for development of inter civilization dialogue offered by experts for possible use
(According to the Summary of the High Level Reflection Group Meeting, April 2-3, 2008).     

  At the political level and in order to tackle the political issues within a comprehensive perspective, there is a visible need to develop regular consultation-dialogue mechanisms between the OIC and the EU and between the OIC and the OSCE. The dialogue must seek to address the root causes of terrorism, including political and economic injustices, foreign occupation and inequitable trade and investment regimes that promote poverty,         

Comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the Question of Palestine is of paramount importance for international peace and security and resolving the Arab-Israel conflict has a vital significance for convergence of the civilizations, 

Further improving the mutual exchange of information on a voluntary basis and  continue the dialogue to explore the possible models of economic relationship in building win-win partnership,   
 
Recommend to provide assistance in establishing the Islamic Solidarity Fund on Development on the IDB framework and call upon for debt relief of the least developed states of the Islamic world,

Recommend that all states should take necessary legal and administrative measures against publications of inflammatory, insulting and provocative materials in the media or postings of such materials in websites and encourage the media to avoid  selective reporting against Islam and Western civilization. In doing so, encourage the media and internet providers to develop a clear Code of Conduct and training programs for media professionals to cultivate diversity and tolerance,

Call for  countries  to impose appropriate punitive measures for acts of  racial, ethnical, religious discrimination and  violence committed on the basis of ethnic dislike,    

Recognize that the international media should be sensitive and properly trained to prepare  them to be more balanced in transmitting information and practice journalistic professionalism as opposed to sensationalism, 

Recommend all actors to refrain from public criticism of any religion  and call for a moratorium on adverse  criticism of opponents and on politically ‘incorrect’ comments during such holy observance periods for Muslims and Christians as the Holy Month of Ramadan and Christmas,

Endorse the establishing of a ‘Group of Journalists’ to act as advocates for promoting the inter-civilization dialogue,

Support the idea for the adaptation of an International Convention to proscribe incitement of hatred on the basis of race and religion and promote understanding, tolerance and respect between different cultures and religions and may develop joint plans to face up the challenges of Islamophobia / Westernophobia at bilateral as well as multilateral levels,  

Consider  it appropriate and request the relevant international institutions and non-governmental bodies to develop the ‘Code of Honor of Politicians’ and the ‘Glossary of Terms and Definitions’ to be consulted amongst politicians for its adoption,

Recommend  the promotion of the teaching in schools of the comparative history of Islamic and Western civilizations stressing their origins, the similarities and benefit of the diversity of their customs, traditions, festivals and rituals, 

Recommend  the establishment  of a ‘Joint Educational Fund’ in a European country with the aim of disseminating in t