UNESCO Director-General Signs Two Education Project Agreements with United Arab Emirates
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova welcomed His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid-Al Maktoum and a high-level delegation from the United Arab Emirates, including the Ministers of Education, Environment and Culture, Youth and Community Development, to UNESCO on 16 October 2012, for a meeting and the signing of two USD$1 million education project agreements.
A first agreement aims to build the capacity of teachers and trainers to support curriculum reforms, while the second focuses on lifelong learning in Africa. The agreements were respectively signed with the Hamadan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance, and the Al-Maktoum Foundation. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum also supports the UNESCO Prize carrying his name for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.
Thanking His Highness for his strong commitment to education and UNESCO’s work, the Director-General drew attention to the Organization’s new strategy on teachers, which seeks to increase their quality and professional development.
“In a world changing quickly, curricula must be in tune with society and help students understand their environment and gain skills to fulfill their potential. Education is about acquiring values and knowledge for global citizenship – respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and promoting solidarity and mutual understanding – all essential for building a culture of peace.”
She also noted the urgency of expanding lifelong learning opportunities in Africa “if we are to give this tremendous human potential the chance to contribute to their societies.”
During a separate meeting with His Highness and his delegation, the Director-General praised the Emirates’ ability to preserve its heritage and embrace modernity, drawing attention also to the nation’s expertise in the areas of quality education, water management, and the safeguarding of tangible and intangible heritage. The Culture Minister also informed the Director-General about UAE’s expertise in preserving ancient manuscripts belonging to all religious traditions, and indicated that his country had facilitated efforts to transport precious books from Timbuktu to the Malian capital.
His Highness expressed appreciation and support for UNESCO’s peace building mission through education and culture, and his confidence that the agreements signed would contribute to enhancing teachers’ capacity to perform their global mission.