22.01.2010 - ODG

Director-General continues visit to Washington, DC

© UNESCO/Hans D'OrvilleIrina Bokova speaking at Capitol Hill during her first official visit to the United States as UNESCO Director-General

Irina Bokova met with members of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Thursday in Washington, DC. The working session covered the Director-General’s strategy for UNESCO, reconstruction in Haiti, education for all, scientific cooperation, world heritage and internal reform and management questions.

UNESCO’s contribution to Haiti’s recovery was the focus of Ms Bokova’s talks at the U.S. Congress with Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Nita Lowey, Russ Carnahan and Howard Berman. These discussions also covered education for all, literacy, women and girls’ access to education. In a telephone conversation with the Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, Ms Bokova returned to the Haiti crisis and explained UNESCO’s contribution to the international efforts to reactivate schooling in Haiti.

In a working session at the World Bank, Managing Director Graeme Wheeler and the Director-General discussed their partnership within the Education for All–Fast Track Initiative. He thanked UNESCO for providing office accommodation in its New York Office for Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Fast Track Initiative. The talks also focused on the important role of culture in sustainable development, education for all in Africa and on cooperation between the two institutions in the field of science and technology innovation (STI). The World Bank invited UNESCO to join a steering group shortly to be set up on STI.

At the Smithsonian Institution, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture Richard Kurin discussed potential areas for cooperation with the Director-General. These included intangible heritage and innovative funding mechanisms for the protection of World Heritage Sites. A further meeting between Ms Bokova and directors of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, centred on the strong U.S. participation in UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and on the potential to create new synergies between the IOC and other UNESCO programmes. Finally, the Director-General attended a reception held by the U.N. Foundation and offered her warm thanks to the Foundation for its long record of support for UNESCO activities.

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