Statement of the Holy See to the United Nations
at the UN High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace under the theme “Promoting a Culture of Peace in the Digital Era”
New York, 31 August 2023
My Delegation welcomes the convening of this year’s High-Level Forum on the theme “Promoting a Culture of Peace in the Digital Era.”
In recent years, digital progress has brought significant opportunities and challenges to the fundamental endeavor of promoting a culture of peace. In light of this, Pope Francis has chosen the theme Artificial Intelligence and Peace for his message on the 57th World Day of Peace, inviting everyone to explore how technology can promote peace and how to prevent its misuse, which fuels injustice, conflicts and antagonisms.
Addressing this High-Level Forum, my Delegation would like to focus on two specific areas.
First, digital technologies have an enormous impact on education. They can be instrumental in fostering the values and goals of a culture of peace, but an over-reliance on them risks commodifying education, demoting it simply to a tool to transmit technical knowledge and depriving it of an essential human element. The Declaration on a Culture of Peace states that “a key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belongs [inter alia] to parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups […]”. Indeed, it is in these communities, that the mind and spirit especially of the youth are formed. There, the human person receives integral formation “in dialogue, encounter, sociality, legality, solidarity and peace, through the cultivation of the fundamental virtues of justice and charity.”
Second, digital technologies play a crucial role in spreading “a culture of encounter, a culture of dialogue, a culture of listening to the other and his or her reasons.” These new innovations allow individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression. However, they must be used responsibly, since human rights also imply corresponding duties. As Pope Francis affirmed recently the “hope is this: that today, in a time in which everyone seems to comment on everything, even regardless of the facts and often even before being informed, we rediscover and return to cultivating more the principle of reality […]: the reality of facts, the dynamism of facts; which are never static and always evolve, towards good or evil, so as not to run the risk of the information society turning into the disinformation society.”
In conclusion, the promotion of a culture of peace and a “better world is possible thanks to technological progress, if this is accompanied by an ethic inspired by a vision of the common good, an ethic of freedom, responsibility and fraternity, capable of fostering the full development of people in relation to others and to the whole of creation.”