Video On Demand

Building an Alliance of Civilizations in an Age of Disruption

May 17, 2023 • 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

Please join the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development for a conversation on building alliances in an age of disruption, featuring UN High Representative Miguel Ángel Moratinos and Moderated by CSIS Senior Vice President Daniel F. Runde.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was set up in 2005 under the sponsorship of Spain and Turkey. Through its efforts it seeks to build-cross cultural trust through projects on youth, media, education, migration, and most recently women as peace mediators. The program is administered in New York by High Representative Miguel Ángel Moratinos alongside a Secretariat and is also supported by a Group of Friends including 129 UN member states, 1 non-member state, and 29 international organizations. 

Religion and spirituality play an instrumental role in conflict prevention and resolution, yet religion is also often described as the “missing dimension of statecraft”. The Alliance can be seen as a response to Samuel P. Huntington’s 1993 article Clash of Civilizations, in which he argues that people’s religious and cultural identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era. Religion, The Missing Dimension of Statecraft, edited by CSIS alumn Dr. Douglas Johnston,  also posits that although religion plays a central role in many conflicts a vast majority of Western diplomats and policymakers tend to ignore or misunderstand its positive potential. The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) represents, in part, a response to Huntington’s thesis as it works to “improve understanding and cooperative relations” across diverse communities and to “counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.”

This event was made possible by general support to CSIS.


Daniel F. Runde
Senior Vice President; William A. Schreyer Chair; Director, Project on Prosperity and Development