Intervention by Ambassador Bogyay on 9 September 2015, at the High-Level Forum of the General Assembly on Culture of Peace.
Your Excellency, Mr. President,
We have just heard a beautiful piece of music by Israeli and Palestinian musicians.
One of the greatest musicians of our times, the Argentinian-Israeli pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to promote understanding between Israeli and Palestinian musicians. “The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance.”- as the Maestro stated. Once a young musician of the orchestra said:” The orchestra is a human laboratory that can express to the whole world how to cope with the other.”
Artists remind us that poetry, music and art may not be practical and straightforward but their less tangible attributes can lead to unexpected revelations that enhance our lives and find the keys to the other human beings.
As the American poet Williams Carlos Williams wrote: “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day from lack of what is found there.”
I wish to thank The President of the GA for convening this important High-Level Forum on Culture of Peace. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Arun Gandhi for their inspirational statements.
One of the important components of the culture of peace is the “peace of cultures”.
Former Director General of UNESCO whom I am welcoming here, Mr Federico Mayor (between 1987-1999) created the Culture of Peace programme upon the pillars: human rights and democracy; the fight against isolation and poverty; the defence of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace. All of them based on education for peace.
Clear communication, helping everyone to develop sustainable human development, human capabilities, as Nobel Prize Lauriate Amartya Sen from India would say - are keytasks for all of us. The availability of education is a basic ground for human functioning, through which we have a choice for understanding and international co-operation.
Cultural diversity, as well as culture itself, has a major role in sustainable development and thus achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As co-chair of the Open Working Group on SDGs, Hungary facilitated the inclusion of culture of peace in the post-2015 development agenda. Under the SDG on education, Member States agreed to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.
Education plays a key role in promoting citizenship and the values of democracy, freedom and tolerance. In Hungary the role of citizenship education has been reinforced in public education with the adoption of the new National Core Curriculum in 2012. Student also participate in local community service projects in the areas of social and environmental protection which contributes to the development of important skills, such as empathy, acceptance of others and solidarity.
Upon the initiative of Hungary, the United Nations General Assembly, under the agenda item “Culture of peace”, declared 5 September, the International Day of Charity, and recognized that charity may contribute to the promotion of dialogue among people from different civilizations, cultures and religions, as well as of solidarity and mutual understanding.
Hungary is an active contributor to the promotion of tolerance. Although Rabbi Schneier would speak not about the importance of tolerance but the importance of mutual acceptance. And he is right.
As the current chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Hungary focuses on the fight against anti-Semitism, the promotion of education about Holocaust, the issue of the Roma genocide and the situation of the European Roma communities. With the involvement of governments and wide range of NGOs, we are ready to make further efforts in order to ensure practical implementation of the Stockholm principles constituting the basis of IHRA.
Hungary thinks, that women and youth play an essential role in advancing the culture of peace. We support greater involvement of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in activities promoting a culture of peace, including in post-conflict situations.
As a European, my education was much influenced by the egocentric thinking of Descartes: “I think therefore I am”. Lately, however, I feel that much can be achieved by following the African concept of ubuntu which states: “I am human because I belong. I participate”. A person with ubuntu is open and available to others and does not feel threatened by the apparent strengths and abilities in others. People with ubuntu have the self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong to a greater whole. They feel diminished when others are tortured, humiliated or oppressed.
Thank you, Mr. President.