Official visit to the United Arab Emirates
The 2nd International Festival of Falconry was an occasion for the visit of the President of the General Conference, Ms Katalin Bogyay, to the United Arab Emirates, upon the invitation of H.H. Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
After delivering the opening speech on the 15th of December, the President of the General Conference visited the kiosks of the 700 participants who hailed from sixty countries. In her speech, Ms Bogyay highlighted the importance of the festival as “a very clear example of how the understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for others’ ways of life”.
On the 16th of December she met with H.E. Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) – the hosting organization of the official visit, and H.E. Mohammad Ahmad Albawardi, President of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (ADEA), as well as with H.E. Sheik Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC). She also met with Mr Zaki Nusseibeh, the Personal Advisor of the Head of State and H.H. Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al-Saud, President of National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of Saudi Arabia.
After the meeting with H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the United Arab Emirates, Ms Bogyay was invited to take part in the International Meeting of Camel Breeders. On the 17th of December Dr. Saeed M. Al-Shamsi, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs gave the President of the General Conference a reception at his residence.
Palestine flag raised over UNESCO
The President of the General Conference, Ms Katalin Bogyay, together with Ms Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Ms Alessandra Cummins, the President of the Executive Board, took part in the flag-raising ceremony for Palestine at UNESCO. The ceremony was also attended by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called the occasion a "truly historic moment”. In her speech, Ms Katalin Bogyay noted that “we are not here to emphasize our differences but to seek ways to enhance the well-being of the people of the entire world. Any extreme approach to the mission of this noble Organization would contradict and jeopardize its core values”. She also congratulated Mr Abbas, the Palestinian Mission at UNESCO, and personally H.E. Ambassador Sanbar for their enthusiasm and tireless work.
Meeting with H.R.H. Prince El Hassan, the prince of Jordan
H.R.H. Prince El Hassan, the prince of Jordan participated in Malta V Conference, hosted by UNESCO in December 2011, at its Headquarters in Paris, on the topic of Science Diplomacy in the Middle East: A Bridge to Peace. During his visit, H.R.H. met with Ms Katalin Bogyay, the President of the General Conference of UNESCO.
100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Georg Solti in 2012
The 36th General Conference of UNESCO decided to celebrate in 2012 the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Georg Solti, a Hungarian-British orchestra and opera conductor. Ms Katalin Bogyay, the President of the General Conference travelled to London to discuss the celebrations with Lady Solti, the widow of Sir George Solti. H. E. Mr János Csák, Ambassador of Hungary to the United Kingdom hosted a dinner for Ms Bogyay.
European launch of the World Servers Foundation, Geneva
The European launch of the World Servers Foundation took place on the 21st of November in Geneva, Switzerland. The President of the General Conference of UNESCO, Ms Katalin Bogyay, delivered the inaugural speech with Lady Montagu of Beaulieu giving the opening address.
The mission of the World Servers Foundation is to highlight and facilitate the positive work of others and to promote and cultivate the inherent ability within all human beings to bring about positive change. The foundation was set up by the Hungarian banker and philanthropist Mr Gábor Kovács.
- Speech (PDF)
Awarding Ceremony of the 11th Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation (Budapest)
18 November 2011
As the world’s leading scientists converged in Budapest, Hungary for the Fifth World Science Forum, an award ceremony of the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation took place in the presence of the President of the General Conference of UNESCO, as well as Dr. Madiha Ahmed Al Shaibani, Minister of Education of Sultanate of Oman, Dr. Samira Al Moosa, Permanent Delegate of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO, and Ambassador Moosa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, Advisor to the Permanent Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO. The prize was awarded to the Nigerian Institute for Forest Research, for their pioneering work in forest management and preservation in the country.
The President noted the importance of honoring best practices and innovative approaches to such critically important issues as preserving forests – the real lungs of our beautiful and fragile planet, and remarked the role of UNESCO as the catalyst of international scientific cooperation.
- Speech (PDF)
Official visit to Budapest, World Science Forum
From 17th to 19th of November 2011, Budapest, Hungary hosted the Fifth World Science Forum (WSF), dedicated to a global reflection on the “Changing Landscape of Science: Challenges and Opportunities”.
The Forum was opened by Mr Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, together with Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Prof József Pálinkás, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Ms Katalin Bogyay, President of the General Conference of UNESCO accompanied the Director General to her meetings with Mr Orbán, as well as with numerous high officials of the Hungarian Government, including János Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miklós Réthelyi, Minister of National Resources, László Kövér, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, and other official persons engaged in the activities of UNESCO.
The new Memorandum of Understanding laying down the framework of cooperation between Hungary and UNESCO was signed and a new World Heritage Plaque was inaugurated in front of the building of the Hungarian Parliament. The ambassadors and diplomats accredited and based in Budapest participated in the lecture delivered by Ms Bokova at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Declaration on a New Era of Global Science was adopted at the closing of the Forum with acclamation. In the closing speech, Ms Bogyay paid tribute to all those who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of human condition. She also highlighted UNESCO’s “pioneering role as a standard-setter and a catalyst for international cooperation in ethics of science and technology”. She emphasized the decision of the 36th General Conference to commemorate in 2012 the 100th anniversary of the birth of János Szentágothai, one of the most creative and renowned neurobiologists of the past century, as well as the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Georg Solti – one of the greatest conductors of the second half of 20th century.
188th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO
The newly elected Executive Board had its first meeting. Ms Katalin Bogyay sits ex officio in the Board.
Closing of the 36th General Conference
After the hard and intense, yet stimulating and productive three weeks, the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO came to its conclusion. As the President of the General Conference, Ms Katalin Bogyay highlighted in her closing speech, the “36th session of the General Conference broke several records, in a positive way,” and, among many achievements, designated the International Jazz day. As a celebration of the successful conference, and as the homage to the world’s cultural diversity, the Conference was concluded by a piano performance of Béla Bartók’s piece, featuring the President of the General Conference who started the musical performance, and Mr György Vukán, a famous Hungarian jazz pianist and composer, who continued the melody in four hands and transformed it into another genre of music composed by the American composer George Gershwin.
Launch of the World Heritage Sites Exhibition: The G-77 & China at UNESCO celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention
The G-77 and China celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention by hosting a photo exhibition that highlighted the natural and cultural wealth of the 936 World Heritage sites in 153 countries. The exposition was opened in the presence of the Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, the President of the Executive Board, Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of India to UNESCO, H. E. Mr Vinay Sheel Oberoi, Permanent Delegate of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr Mohamed El Zahaby, and the President of the General Conference, Ms Katalin Bogyay.
The elections of members of Committees, Commissions and other subsidiary organs
H. E. Mr David Hamaziripi, Ambassador of Zimbabwe, President of the Nominations Committee, announced the results of the ballots for each committee, commission and other subsidiary organ, in the presence of Ms Katalin Bogyay.
10th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Universal declaration on Cultural Diversity
2 November 2011
The President of the General Conference of UNESCO welcomed high dignitaries, including Mr Georgi Parvanov, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, and Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, to the special session dedicated to the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. In her speech, Ms Bogyay stressed that it is through the acknowledgment and respect for the diversity of world’s cultures that we, as human beings, come to understand and appreciate the core values and aspirations that make humanity one. She therefore remarked the importance of the Declaration in safeguarding cultural diversity as one of the most precious characteristics of human civilization.
- Speech (PDF)
Election of the members of the Executive Board
The Member States of the 36th session of the General Conference elected 31 new members to UNESCO’s Executive Board.
195th Member State, admission of Palestine
On the recommendation of the Executive Board on its 187th session, after a roll call vote, Palestine became a full member of UNESCO with 107 votes in favour, 14 against and 52 abstentions.
81 votes were needed for the approval from the 173 delegations present and voting. With the green light given by the Member States of UNESCO, and after completing the ratification procedure of UNESCO’s constitution on the 23rd of November, Palestine officially became the 195th member of UNESCO.
South Sudan - 194th Member State of UNESCO
After completing the ratification procedure of the UNESCO’s Constitution, South Sudan became the 194th Member State of the Organization.
“How does UNESCO contribute to building a culture of peace and to sustainable development ?” - Leaders' Forum
A High Level Panel organized on 26-27th of October with the participation of seven Heads of State was one of the highlights of the 36th General Conference. The discussions of the Leaders’ Forum focused on „UNESCO's contribution to building a culture of peace and promoting sustainable development”.
The first keynote speaker of the day was Mr Pál Schmitt, President of Hungary, followed by Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon, Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada, Mr Pascal Irenée Koupaki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, Mr Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, and Mr Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia. A special address was also made by Ms Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Ms Margarita Cedeño De Fernandez, First Lady of the Dominican Republic.
On Thursday, the 27th of October, Mr Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau spoke and Mr Kris Peeters, Minister-President of the Government of Flanders made a special address by a video message.
The Forum was moderated by BBC presenter Ms Zeinab Badawi, and Al Jazeera presenter Mr Stephen Cole.
First visit of the Head of State of Hungary, Mr Pál Schmitt to UNESCO
Mr Pál Schmitt, the President of Hungary, on the invitation of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, paid his first visit to UNESCO on the occasion of the Leaders Forum and the election of Ms Katalin Bogyay as the President of the 36th session of the General Conference. This visit had a historical value, as no Hungarian President has visited UNESCO before.
After the arrival of the Head of State of Hungary a short bilateral meeting was held with the Director General.
Election of the President of the 36th session of the General Conference
Ms Katalin Bogyay was elected as the President of the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO. The election took place in the presence of Mr Pál Schmitt, the President of Hungary.
After the acceptance speech of the President, Mr Tamás Vásáry, a celebrated Hungarian pianist, played musical pieces of Ferenc Liszt. UNESCO had dedicated the year of 2011 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the great Hungarian musician, as International Liszt Year.
Nomination of the President of the 36th General Conference
On its 187th session, the Executive Board proposed unanimously Ms Katalin Bogyay (Hungary) as the forthcoming President of the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO. With the explicit support of all the six electoral groups, the Hungarian Ambassador ran for the presidential post as the sole candidate.