The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC)is an initiative proposed by the then President of Spain (and currently Prime Minister) José Zapatero at the 59th General Assembly of the UN in 2005. It was co-sponsored by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The initiative seeks to foster international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and co-operation. To fulfill the objective of the initiative, the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, assembled a High-level Group (HLG) consisting of 20 eminent persons drawn from policy making, academia, civil society, religious leadership, and the media. A full range of religions and civilizations were represented. The Group presented recommendations in each of four thematic areas: Education, Youth, Migration, and Media.
In April 2007, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jorge Sampaio, former president of Portugal, to the position of High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. The Secretariat of the Alliance of Civilizations, based at the United Nations headquarters in New York, provides support to the High Representative and implements the developmental work of the AoC.
As part of its educational outreach, The AoC has a strong interest in Education about Religions and Beliefs (ERB). Participants at the AoC January 2008
The clearinghouse has now been set up and was officially launched at the second AoC Forum in Istanbul in April 2009. Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) accepted an invitation by the AoC to be one of the partners to host the ERB clearinghouse website for one month per year for three years. The other partners are based in different parts of the world and are listed on the ERB clearinghouse website. The ERB clearinghouse website is still under construction and can be viewed at: http://www.aocerb.org