Last weeks United Colors of Benetton’s new worldwide campaign, UNHATE saw a host of world leaders parodied to make out they were enjoying a bit more than a French kiss, in order to combat the “culture of hatred” and promoting closeness between people, faiths, cultures and the peaceful understanding of each others motivations.

The campaign UNHATE, which is the first initiative by the newly-formed foundation of the same name, was presented in a preview by Alessandro Benetton, Executive Deputy Chairman of Benetton Group, on Wednesday 16 November in Paris, at the flagship store in Boulevard Haussmann.

The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders, such as: Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao; Pope Benedict XVI and Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo (the most important and moderate centre for Sunni Islamic studies in the world); the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These are symbolic images of reconciliation – with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation – to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.