Intercultural dialogue

UN News Centre: Why are you so committed to intercultural dialogue… with your readers and through your work with the UN?

Paulo Coelho:
It is because of my personal history. I lived in a dictatorship in Brazil and I was arrested three times. I felt in my flesh what it is to live under such a regime and experience deprivation of freedom.
When I realized my books were being read around the world – currently over 180 millions copies have been sold, and each book is read by an average of three people – I felt if I can share stories that touch the hearts of so many different people, then I can in some way collaborate to make improvements in this world. Each of those readers has a different background, from Iran, Israel, Iraq, Kurdistan, South Africa…but there is still a cultural bridge.

I think all people have the same question. At the end of the day we are all asking this classic and common question: what am I doing here?
Probably we don’t have the same answer. But if we have the same question, we can understand each other.

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbours are, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions. People have to understand that their neighbours are not different even if they have a different religion, different sociological background.
At this moment, I don’t see too much hope in political dialogue. But I see a lot of hope in cultural dialogue.