The Chairperson of the African Union Commission visits UNESCO
Her Excellency, Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, took part in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pan-African Women Organization (PAWO) held at UNESCO Headquarters on 15 November 2012.
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma recalled the objectives of PAWO and the pioneering spirit of African women who founded it, many of whom took part in national liberation movements and other political and armed struggles, sometimes even at the highest price of their lives. This resulted in the emergence of a “specific women’s perspective” and brought “the issue of women emancipation to the national liberation struggles”.
Looking forward to the Africa-wide development agenda, the Chairperson highlighted the need for the gender and women’s movement to advance the creation of “a peaceful Africa and world” and the integration of Africa as a prosperous continent.
The UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova expressed her pleasure to celebrate the 50th anniversary of PAWO at UNESCO Headquarters, in an event bringing together the two global priorities of UNESCO -- gender equality and Africa. “The rise of women means the rise of Africa”, declared the Director-General, placing this in the context of the 2010-2020 Decade of the African Woman. The Director-General paid tribute to the work achieved by PAWO for women and girls’ empowerment, and recalled that the basis of this empowerment is Education. This is why UNESCO is fully engaged to ensure that gender equality is part of education policies and teachers training.
Founded in Addis Ababa in 1962, the Pan-African Women Organization is the first and oldest women’s organization in Africa. Its mission is to lead and support action against the violation of human rights, to reinforce peace, and to foster friendship and cooperation among African women and women all over the world.
During their bilateral meeting, the Chairperson and the Director-General exchanged views on the challenges Africa faces for its sustainable development and the importance of a peaceful environment for this. They reaffirmed the engagement of UNESCO and the African Union Commission to continue working together in the critical areas of education, science, technology and innovation, and for a culture of peace. In this regard, they both underlined the importance of young people and the need to ensure a sustainable future for them.
Referring to the pedagogical use of the General History for Africa with the Director-General, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma underlined the need to better highlight the role of women in the history of the continent.