04.09.2014 - UNESCOPRESS

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud commits Saudi Arabia to UNESCO’s values and calls for interfaith and intercultural dialogue

©UNESCO/A. El Fellah - The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, during his first official visit to UNESCO

The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, today visited UNESCO to meet Director-General Irina Bokova and address an audience of Permanent Delegates of UNESCO Member States, invited guests and officials. It was his first official visit to the Organization.

In his speech, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud voiced strong commitment for UNESCO’s contribution to peace and stability. Speaking in Arabic, he declared that “respect, tolerance, moderation and rejection of violence are at the heart of Islam.Saudi Arabia is determined to uphold these values and counter all efforts to defame Islam by associating it with violence and bloodshed.”

The Prince welcomed the implementation of UNESCO’s programmes in Saudi Arabia, notably the inscription of three World Heritage sites. He also called on the Organization to protect the cultural heritage of Palestine and praised the UNESCO for its initiatives, especially the celebration of World Arabic Language Day on 18 December every year.

Welcoming the Prince, Director-General Irina Bokova thanked Saudi Arabia for its active contribution to UNESCO’s programmes and spoke of the growing partnership between the Kingdom and the Organization. “All religions and all cultures share the same fundamental values,” she said. “And if we focus on these values, we will realize that there is more to unite us than there is to divide us. At a time when cultural diversity and religious minorities are under attack in many places of the world, we must join our voices to affirm that every culture deserves respect and that no belief justifies hatred”.

Saudi Arabia has been an active contributor to UNESCO. It currently funds major educational programmes for displaced children and youth in Syria and Iraq, and higher education opportunities for Palestinian students. In 2012, the Kingdom contributed $20 million to UNESCO’s Emergency Fund to help the Organization manage a difficult financial situation.

UNESCO has also been working with the Vienna-based King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), in the context of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022). The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Decade last year and designated UNESCO as its lead agency.




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