The Director-General meets the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
On 30 May, the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova met with H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The President expressed strong support for the objectives and programmes of UNESCO and underlined the importance of its mandate in a globalizing world. Irina Bokova thanked President Nazarbayev for the leadership of Kazakhstan in promoting opportunities for new forms of international cooperation and dialogue to further mutual understanding, peace and sustainable development. She welcomed the contribution of Kazakhstan to UNESCO’s work in these areas and more widely. She noted the success of the 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and the timely importance of the proposed international decade (2013-2022) on the Rapprochement of Cultures, both initiatives of Kazakhstan. The President recognised the current difficulties facing the organization and expressed his support. The Director-General also stressed the need for political leadership in addressing the sustainable development challenges affecting the world today, citing the forthcoming Rio+20 Conference and calling for strong Kazakh engagement to ensure its successful outcome.
At the invitation of the President, the Director-General participated as an Honorary Guest in the IV Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, on the theme of “Peace and Harmony as a Choice of Humankind.”
The congress was held in the Palace of Peace and Harmony, designed by British architect Norman Foster to symbolise the unity of cultures, peoples and religions across the world.
During the congress, speeches were delivered by political and religious leaders from across the world, followed by panel sessions on sustainable development, multiculturalism, young people, and women. In her intervention to the main Plenary Session, Irina Bokova underlined UNESCO’s longstanding commitment and engagement in strengthening “the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” through intercultural dialogue. "This includes inter-religious dialogue which must be woven into a broader process of intercultural dialogue," said the Director-General, "to enhance understanding between individuals of all faiths, beliefs and convictions".
The Director-General held a press conference following her intervention before the Congress.
Irina Bokova also attended an exhibition at the Palace of Students of the Kazakhstan National Federation of UNESCO Clubs.
"This is UNESCO in action," declared the Director-General, thanking all of the young girls and boys for their commitment and energy in taking forward UNESCO's values on the ground.
"This makes a difference here, in this country, and also across the world," said Irina Bokova.