Director-General meets with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
On Tuesday, 13 March, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, held a bilateral meeting with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, to discuss priorities for cooperation in the fields of education and cultural heritage.
"The cooperation between Qatar and UNESCO is very strong and we believe in what you do," said the Emir. "Your action to safeguard and promote cultural heritage at risk is especially critical today".
The Director-General highlighted UNESCO's determination to protect heritage under attack and mentioned the role of the Organization as coordinator of global initiatives in this field, as the guardian of international cultural norms and treaties and as an actor on the ground. "There is a great deal of passion and interest on behalf of many countries for heritage protection and this commitment is positive and encouraging. These initiatives must be carefully coordinated and UNESCO will play its full role in this field as the recovery process will take decades", she said.
The Emir stressed the importance of cultural diversity for the identity of the Arab region, especially in Iraq. "Iraq is a land of cultural and religious diversity, with Christians, Muslims of different sensitivities, and this is something we are very proud of as Arabs. Preserving this diversity is important for Iraq but also for the whole region, and it is important to make people understand what we are," he continued.
In the context of repeated attacks on cultural heritage, the Director-General also welcomed Qatar's commitment to UNESCO and its decisive contribution to the Heritage Emergency Fund, which funded its first emergency safeguarding operations. "You can count on our support," concluded the Emir.
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