UNESCO Urged to Initiate "Dialogue Between Cultures"

Vatican Aide Calls for Reflection on Current Challenges

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PARIS, OCT. 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).- UNESCO must become a “catalyst” for dialogue between cultures by more reflection on issues such as life, poverty and globalization, a Vatican aide says.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is holding a meeting here from Oct. 15 to Nov. 3 to reflect on the “problems, failures and tasks” it inherited after World War II, in order to promote peace.

Addressing UNESCO´s general conference last Friday, the Vatican´s permanent observer, Archbishop Lorenzo Frana, emphasized the need to foster “dialogue between cultures.”

Archbishop Frana urged UNESCO to make a qualitative leap and become a “catalyst, through further ethical reflection on specific issues: life, poverty, humanization of cities, economy, new technologies and, especially, globalization.”

He suggested that the U.N. agency reflect seriously on current ethical questions.

Answering the question “What must be done to act well?” means “keeping one´s sights fixed on man, the dignity of every person, and the relation between truth and freedom,” the archbishop said.

Regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the United States, the archbishop said: “Although it is the right of states to struggle to eliminate terrorism, our duty as a civil society, especially as UNESCO, is to do everything possible so that the future will be a dialogue of cultures.”

In this way, he said, “´peace on earth´ can be built — the title of an encyclical of Blessed Pope John XXIII, who was the Vatican´s first permanent observer at UNESCO.”

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