10 November 2008 --
On behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Jorge Sampaio, UNSG High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations (and former president of Portugal), informed Serageldin of his appointment as Alliance of Civilizations Ambassador. Established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations, the Alliance aims to improve understanding across cultures and religions and to counter the influence of extremism and its threat to world peace. Serageldin participated in the launching and development phase of the Alliance as one of 18 eminent members of the High-level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations, a panel appointed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan. The High-level Group held five meetings between November 2005 and November 2006 and presented a report analyzing the increase in cross-cultural polarization and making a set of proposals to counter this trend.
In his letter to Serageldin, President Sampaio said, “Your knowledge of the origins of the Alliance and of the context in which the initiative emerged, your contribution to the High-level Group report, which forms the basis for the Alliance’s Implementation Plan and its further efforts, along with your wide-ranging experience in building bridges across cultures, will, no doubt, allow you, as a distinguished AoC Ambassador, to strengthen the work of the Alliance and promote its objectives”.