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Members' Activities 2015

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Need for a Global Response to Violence and Hate

Ten months after the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, a new tragedy that affected Paris has shocked us, left us without words. There are no words to express the deep sorrow and revolt that we, as citizens of the world, feel faced with this terrorist attack and the other attacks that in this new century have occurred in many countries, such as Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Indonesia, in many cities, such as Mumbai in 2008, Beirut and Baghdad several days ago... We are facing hate and violence whose victims are mainly young people. Political analyst Melissa Clarke rightly concludes: "If it seems like terrorist attacks are happening more and more often, it is because they are." By attacking the places of labour and culture, markets, sports stadiums and concert halls, our way of life, our freedom of expression, and our world view are attacked. We are witnessing a threat to global security.

Cultural networks throughout the world always have been engaged and are engaged in the struggle for openness and peace, tolerance and solidarity, communication and cooperation, for a world of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Cultural networks always work towards integration and social cohesion. They stand for a world without walls, both in a symbolic and the real meaning. Acting to the benefit of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue is never enough: today, intercultural dialogue lies at the core of international activities, and is, as UNESCO emphasizes, one of the key challenges facing humanity. It is an essential process in building new social and cultural models in a changing world, a world that should be much more open-ended and open-minded than the actually existing one, a world for all of us who want to live in peace and harmony with all the others who want the same, regardless of what they eat, to whom they pray for peace and understanding, what languages they speak or how they express their hopes, who play, dance, paint or act whether as hosts or as guests. After all, we all are both hosts and guests to each other at the same time.

For these same reasons, we must build a world without hate and xenophobic reactions demonstrated by some European governments and parts of the population concerning the world's largest mass migration/refugee crisis since World War II, such as the paths of desperate people on the Balkan route.

Terrorism, extreme poverty and degradation/devastation of our planet must be stopped, for they basically reinforce each other. Towards that end, it is necessary to strengthen the UN system in search for responses to the challenges faced by all countries of the world.

Biserka Cvjeticanin and Vjeran Katunaric