Irina Bokova celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Struga Poetry Evenings
On 27 and 28 August 2011, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, took part in the 50th Struga Poetry Evenings – one of the oldest poetry festivals in the world – thus reaffirming the Organization’s commitment to promoting the diversity of voices that shape world poetry.
“More than 4,000 poets, literary critics and translators from some 100 countries have come to Struga, fostering poetic camaraderie beyond linguistic boundaries and cultural differences. Through these encounters and exchanges, the Struga Poetry Evenings are a unique forum for intercultural dialogue”, said the Director-General in her closing address at the festival, held every year in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
On this occasion, the Director-General presented the young Japanese poet Hiroshi Taniuci with the Bridges of Struga Award, which has been granted for the past eight years, in cooperation with UNESCO, to poets who have just published their first poetry book.
During her official visit, the Director-General held discussions with Mr Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic, Ms Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska, Minister of Culture and President of the National Commission for UNESCO of The former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia and Mr Abdulakim Ademi, Minister of Environment and Urban Planning. They discussed the main issues relating to cooperation between the host country and UNESCO in several of the Organization’s fields of competence, including the safeguarding of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
The Director-General placed special emphasis on the role of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. She further stressed the need, particularly for South-East European countries, to ratify the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, adopted in 1995 as a complement to the 1970 Convention.
The role of culture as a factor of development and cohesion in South-East Europe was also discussed. The first Regional Forum on Dialogue among Civilizations, which brought together the Heads of State of the region, was held specifically on the initiative of the host country, in 2003, in Ohrid. It marked the beginning of a series of summits of Heads of State held every year under the auspices of UNESCO in a country of the region. Mr Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic, offered to welcome his counterparts again in 2013, to mark the 10th anniversary of the first Regional Forum held in Ohrid.
“These encounters contribute significantly to strengthening regional cooperation and mutual respect through culture” said the Director-General, who commended UNESCO’s role in the process.
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