13.12.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Palestinian flag raised at UNESCO

© UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

The Palestinian flag was raised at UNESCO’s Headquarters today to mark the admission of Palestine to the Organization. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova, the President of the General Conference Katalin Bogyay, the Chairperson of the Executive Board Alissandra Cummins and the Presidents of the regional groups, were present at the ceremony.

Addressing the assembly of delegations and guests, President Abbas said: "Our admission (to UNESCO) is a tremendous source of pride for us […] Palestinian writers, artists and researchers have played a vital role trying to preserve the culture and identity of our people. UNESCO has also played a fundamental role – and has been a loyal partner."        

Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO, the Director-General said: "UNESCO is working on the frontlines today, to build a more peaceful, more democratic and more just world. Human dignity is our starting point and the measure of our success. Solidarity is our guide and our objective.

Multilateralism has never been so important. This new membership must be a chance for all to join together around shared values and renewed ambitions for peace. It is in this spirit that I welcome Palestine to UNESCO."

UNESCO became the first UN agency to admit Palestine as a full Member after its Member States voted to admit Palestine as the 195th Member of UNESCO on 31 October, during the 36th session of the Organization's General Conference.

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