Virtual Event in Observance of the
International Day of Human Fraternity
February 4, 2022
Your Excellencies, Esteemed Religious Leaders, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Permanent Missions of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) for sponsoring this event on the second observance of the International Day of Human Fraternity, as per the December 2020 General Assembly decision. Three years ago, the meeting between His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb culminated in the signing of the historic document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Togetherand provided fresh impetus for the promotion of a culture of peace, dialogue and mutual understanding.
Initiatives across the world, like this virtual event and that of those who gathered earlier today in Dubai to walk together at the Expo,seek to manifest the desire of the international community to journey together on the path of fraternity and solidarity. YetAt the same time, thepromotion of noble ideals must also take the form of concrete actions, lest they become a dead letter.
During his Apostolic Journey to Iraq last year, and followinghis courtesy visit to the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husayni Al-Sistani, Pope Francis reminded those gathered at the interreligious celebration onthe Plain of Ur that when we look to heaven, like Abraham, and discover there the “otherness” of God and his promises, we are helped to turn towards others and discover them as brothers and sisters with whom we journey on earth. This is a profoundly simple, yet powerful and challenging appeal, especially when made in a country that has been ravaged by war, hatred and destruction. It was precisely there, against the painful backdrop of cruel and calculated efforts to eliminate different religious traditions and cultures, that the Pope reminded us, once more, of the need to move beyond ourselves and journey together. It is when we extend a hand to others and begin to see “them” as one of “us” that we begin to fulfill what peace demands. This responsibility belongs to all of us, and not just to our leaders.
Dear colleagues, dear friends, each one has the capacity for concrete deeds. Such actions, however small, lead to greater trust. Trust or mutual confidence is sorely needed, especially in the world of multilateral diplomacy. There is a growing danger of “one-track thinking,” as Pope Francis reminded us in his January address to the Diplomatic Corps. “Multilateral diplomacy,” he said, “is called to be truly inclusive, not canceling but cherishing the differences and sensibilities that have historically marked various peoples. In this way, it will regain credibility and effectiveness in facing the challenges to come, which will require humanity to join together as one great family that, starting from different viewpoints, should prove capable of finding common solutions for the good of all.” This is among the concrete deeds thatall of us can do as we to seek to augment and implement human fraternity in our discussions and deliberations at the United Nations.
Thank you for your kind attention.
A/RES/75/200 of 21 December 2020.
Cf. Pope Francis, Interreligious Meeting, Plain of Ur, 6 March 2021.
Pope Francis, Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, 10 January 2022.