About the Programme
The world’s cultural wealth is its variety in dialogue. While each culture draws from its own roots, it must not fail to blossom when crossing other cultures. Among UNESCO’s chief missions is to ensure space for and freedom of expression to all the world’s cultures. Therefore, it isn’t a matter of identifying and safeguarding every culture in isolation, but rather of revitalizing them in order to avoid segregation and cultural entrenchment and prevent conflict.
Equitable exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of all cultures is the essential prerequisite for constructing social cohesion, reconciliation among peoples and peace among nations.
UNESCO continues to exercise its watch function by highlighting the role that can be played by culture in conflict or post-conflict situations as a vehicle for reconciliation through cultural heritage and as common spaces for exchange via its Routes of Dialogue programme.
To know nothing of the culture of others is to impoverish one’s own; to destroy the culture of others is an act of self-mutilation. Respect for cultural diversity and its corollary dialogue, is essential to the survival of humanity. Culture, in its vast diversity, is a common source of wealth. Heritage and creation represent shared assets. In post-conflict and post-disaster situations, the recognition and implication of cultural diversity, as regards heritage and creativity, enhances the value of life and serves as a positive force behind dialogue, mutual understanding, reconciliation, social stability and reconstruction.
Promoting good practices in the area of intercommunity mediation, developing intercultural sensitivity particularly among young people, encouraging the exchange of culture goods and expressions as well as encounters between cultural actors who serve as symbols of national history, revealing the multifaceted nature of history and the so-called national culture: such actions can contribute to the construction of a common future for communities that are tempted to seek refuge in their roots after having suffered at the hands of humankind or the forces of nature.