08.12.2009 -

Director-General's official visit to Egypt from 5 to 7 December 2009

© UNESCOIrina Bokova meets with Yousei Al Gamal, Minister for Education of Egypt

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, who is on an official visit to Egypt, had lengthy talks with President Hosni Mubarak soon after she arrived in Sharm-El-Sheikh.

They discussed a range of issues, including the challenges of globalization, the role of UNESCO, especially in middle-income countries, and the situation in the Middle East. With the President’s wife, Suzanne Mubarak, the Director-General discussed the culture of peace, Education For All and the role of women in society. The Director-General invited Mrs Mubarak to visit UNESCO headquarters in Paris in the coming months.  

Mrs Bokova also met a number of Ministers, including Farouk Hosni, Minister for Culture, Hani Helal, Minister for Higher Education, Yousei Al Gamal, Minister for Education, and Tarek Kamel, Minister for Communications, with whom she discussed opportunities for developing UNESCO’s activities in Egypt, including projects involving Education For All, training for Egyptian teachers in new information technologies, science education, intangible heritage and the underwater museum in Alexandria.  

On 7 December 2009, Mrs Bokova opened the Permanent Forum of Arab-African Dialogue in Cairo, on the theme of Arab-African Migration. “The nature of migration has become more complex over time, while global population has been increasing,” said Irina Bokova, during the Forum, which was held at the headquarters of the League of Arab States from 7 to 9 December 2009. “Refugees fleeing war zones, or those seeking a safer and more prosperous environment, have added to the flow of migrants. Migrations are still increasing exponentially, and are reaching critical levels. We are all aware that these migrations need to be anticipated and humanized.”  

Mrs Bokova went on to Alexandria, where she was guest of honour at high-level discussions on ‘UNESCO – a vision of the future,’ organized by the Director of the Library in Alexandria, Ismail Serageldin. The first woman to be elected Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Bokova’s visit was widely reported by the Egyptian media.

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