Spanish and Turkish “Alliance of Civilization” Initiative Seeking Civil Society Support

Ambassador Palacio earned his law degree from the University of Madrid, and is a graduate of the Madrid School of Diplomacy. He started his diplomatic career in 1983 and has served in Bolivia, Morocco, Brazil, Geneva and in 2004 was appointed Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. The Ambassador was very involved with Rotary and attended many meetings while serving in Brazil. As such, he commends Rotary as a great humanitarian organization working to improve the world.

Events of recent years have exacerbated mutual suspicion, fear and misunderstanding between Islamic and Western societies, and this environment has been exploited by extremists throughout the world. With this in mind, when the prime minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was first elected in 2005, he introduced the “Alliance of Civilization” initiative to bridge the divide between the Western and Islamic societies. Spain also invited a very special ally, the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to join in the initiative, because it is a nation at the crossroads of two different worlds and the dividing line between the Eastern and Western worlds.

Ambassador Palacio pointed out that the initiative needed to receive global legitimacy which is only attainable at the UN, Therefore, it had been presented at the 59th General Assembly and has forty members-states in support. At the same time, this is a plan for tangible actions and the plan asks for support from civil society , foundations, and all organizations that are currently working in these fields to reach out to the areas of conflict and disaffection