» Director-General to Participate in Belt & Road Forum in Beijing
12.05.2017 - ODG

Director-General to Participate in Belt & Road Forum in Beijing

On 14 May, the Director-General will participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, in the presence of President Xi Jinping, 29 Heads of State and Government, the United Nations Secretary-General and principals of several UN agencies.

The Forum, organized by the Government of China on the theme of Cooperation for Common Prosperity, aims to promote development, growth and partnerships across 65 countries, accounting for over 40% of the global population, connected by ancestral ties to the Silk Roads. It takes forward the Belt and Road Initiative, launched by the Chinese president in 2013 to facilitate connectivity, trade, financial integration, policy coordination and people-to-people bonds, in view of building ‘a community of common interests.” This has led to large investments in projects to finance ambitious infrastructure development.

The Director-General will highlight the role of ‘soft power’ for building inclusive prosperity and peace along the New Silk Roads, recalling that over millennia, this vast network connected people across continents, leading to the fertile exchange of ideas, cultures, science and religions that shaped the story of civilization. The “Silk Roads: Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor,” inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014, testifies to the wealth of these exchanges.

During a session on people-to-people exchanges, the Director-General will assert the importance of investing in education to empower youth with skills for global citizenship, to recognize culture as a force for social inclusion and creativity, and harness science and innovation for a sustainable future. She will assert that by bringing together peoples of different nations around projects of common interest, the Belt & Road offers a new opportunity to reinforce cultural and educational actions to bridge inequalities and respond to rising intolerance, prejudice and conflicts. The Initiative provides a unique platform to further educational development, cultural dialogue, the promotion of shared tangible and intangible cultural heritage and respect for diversity.

UNESCO was the first international organization to recognize the importance of the Silk Road for mutual learning, by launching an ambitious initiative in 1988 on plural identities and cultural dialogue, that resulted in scientific expeditions and a large body of research. Today, UNESCO is supporting a Silk Roads Online Platform and launching a project for an Interactive Atlas of Cultural Interactions along the Silk Roads.

Prior to the Forum, on 13 May, the Director-General will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between UNESCO and China with Vice Premier Ms Liu Yandong, meet with Minister of Education Mr Chen Baosheng and Mr Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO; participate in the launch of the Chinese edition of the UNESCO Courier and sign an agreement to establish the International Centre for Theoretical Physics Asia Pacific with Mr Bai Chunli, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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