Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami introduced the idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations as a response to Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of a Clash of Civilizations. The term was initially used by Austrian philosopher Hans Köchler who in 1972, in a letter to UNESCO, had suggested the idea of an international conference on the 'dialogue between different civilizations' (dialogue entre les différentes civilisations) and had organized, in 1974, a first international conference on the role of intercultural dialogue ('The Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations') with the support and under the auspices of Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor.
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