The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005 as a special political initiative of then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey. A High-Level Group of experts was formed by the Secretary-General to explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures and recommend a practical program of action to address the issue. The Report of the High-Level Group provided analysis and put forward practical recommendations, which forms the core of the UNAOC implementation plan. In 2013, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser became UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, operating with the UNAOC Secretariat from New York City.
The UNAOC Fellowship Program was launched in 2010 with the aim to build bridges between cultures and societies through dialogue and cooperation and to reinforce the global commitment to live together in mutual tolerance and respect. The Program was created to recognize the need for better understanding between peoples and societies from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America.