Director-General meets the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, Nobel Peace Prize 2016
On 2 February, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with the President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, in Bogota.
The Director-General congratulated the President on his commitment to end a devastating civil war, reaffirming UNESCO's support in all its fields of competence for the process of consolidation of peace and reconciliation in Colombia.
The President thanked UNESCO for its support, especially in the area of cultural heritage protection. He also requested to benefit from the Organization’s expertise in peace education as well as technical and vocational education, both essential for the reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian life.
Irina Bokova reiterated UNESCO's strong commitment to working with Colombia to develop a culture of peace, especially through education for global citizenship.
Finally, the Director-General commended the work of the President for peace, offering him the "Tree of Peace" sculpture created by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Special Envoy for Cultural Diplomacy, Hedva Ser.
Speaking at the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held in Bogotá until 5 February, the Director-General declared: “Building peace means including all voices, supporting communities, reintegrating former combatants. Building peace means rebuilding schools, ensuring every girl and boy gets the education they need. This calls for new approaches to education for human rights, education for citizenship, education for sustainable development. I pledge today the full commitment of UNESCO to accompany the people of Colombia every step of the way, working hand-in-hand with all partners in the United Nations system”.
In addition to Juan Manuel Santos and the Director-General, the opening day of the Summit included, among others, the former President of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias (Nobel Peace Prize in 1987), Rigoberta Menchú (1992), José Ramos-Horta (1996), Jody Williams (1997), Kawakkul Karman (2011) and Kailash Satyarthi (2014).
On the same day, Irina Bokova, together with Alfonso Prada, Director of the National Learning Service (SENA) as well as Federico Alonso Renjifo Velez, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Colombia to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, visited the Center for Agricultural Technology in Mosquera. On this occasion, the Director-General presented SENA with a plaque in recognition of its membership in the UNESCO-UNEVOC Network, a leading global platform for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
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