Director-General meets with the highest authorities of Malta
During her first official visit to the Republic of Malta today, Ms Irina Bokova met in Valletta with the President of the Republic, H.E. Ms Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, and the Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Muscat.
As the meetings took place immediately after her participation in the opening of the 3rd Mediterranean Forum 2016 of the Anna Lindh Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue in Valletta, the Director-General expressed her appreciation for Malta’s continued efforts in promoting UNESCO’s priorities and programmes involving youth and encouraging intercultural dialogue at the national, regional and international levels. She commended Malta for its engagement in promoting intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, stressing that the country is a bridge between Europe and the southern Mediterranean region.
Ms Bokova informed the high authorities of Malta of UNESCO’s several vectors of action aimed at the prevention of violent extremism and at countering violent extremism, as well as on the Organization’s programmes on Global Citizenship Education and youth empowerment.
During the discussion, the Director-General reiterated UNESCO’s interest in strengthening the cooperation with Malta in view of its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, especially given that Malta’s priorities for the presidency are fully in line with UNESCO’s own priorities, in particular in the field of education for refugees. In this respect, Ms Bokova informed the high authorities about the UN fund “Education Cannot Wait – a Fund for Education in Emergencies”, which was launched during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016 and for which she is one of the Global Champions. UNESCO is a member of the High Level Steering Group that oversees the implementation of the fund.
The Director-General also commended Malta’s achievements and the sharing of expertise within the areas of water management, disaster risk reduction and science diplomacy. She further exchanged on the challenges of the preservation of heritage and the development of sustainable cities, underlining that the City of Valletta is a positive example of a city which combines one of the highest concentrations of historic buildings in the world with sustainable city planning and a sound management of tourism.
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat commended the Director-General for her leadership of the Organization and reiterated Malta’s commitment to further strengthen its cooperation with UNESCO.
In the afternoon, Ms Bokova had an opportunity to discover the country’s cultural wealth by visiting the beautiful City of Valletta – a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980.
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