03.02.2014 - ODG

Irina Bokova celebrates 60 years of cooperation between UNESCO and the Republic of Korea

© UNESCO/M. Guevel - Celebrating 60th Anniversary of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO. Official visit of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. Republic of Korea, February 2014

During the ceremony, Irina Bokova received the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit « Gwanghwa medal » in recognition of her contribution to promoting friendly relations between the Republic of Korea and UNESCO.

Seoul – 3 February. The National Commission of the Republic of Korea for UNESCO celebrated 60 years of cooperation with UNESCO, in a prestigious ceremony attended by Prime Minister Jung Hong-won and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. The National Commission’s Secretary General Min Dong-seok took the stage to set out the Commission’s new vision, focusing on promoting education with the Least Developed Countries, fostering global citizenship and contributing to peace.

During the ceremony, Irina Bokova received the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit « Gwanghwa medal » in recognition of her contribution to promoting friendly relations between the Republic of Korea and UNESCO.

The Prime Minister underlined the role of UNESCO in his country’s recent history:

“The last 60 years has been a history of miracles. The Republic of Korea has achieved something unprecedented in the global community: industrialization and democratization. This was made possible by a high enthusiasm for education and UNESCO has been a foundation for fostering this. »

All speakers recalled the decisive support given by UNESCO to make learning materials available to children after the war.

«Korea’s economic growth and advancement over the past 60 years would not have been possible without the assistance of UNESCO,» stated the Minister of Education and Chairperson of the National Commission Seo Nam-su.

In this respect, in two generations, Korea has indeed emerged from being a recipient country to a donor state, and the Prime Minister expressed its country’s commitment to increase Korea’s official development assistance by 11% this year.

« Education is the key of the Republic of Korea success and this is no secret to the world,» stated the Director-General.

Addressing students of the Korean National Diplomatic Academy earlier the same day, she declared that « sustainability has deeper roots than financial and economic assets. It is about enhancing the rights and dignity of every woman and man, through quality education, by safeguarding heritage, by learning to live together. »

Visiting the Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), Irina Bokova underlined that « fostering global citizenship is not only one of the three pillars of the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative, it is an imperative of education in the 21st century, essential for embracing core universal values. »

« What is at stake today is to unleash the creativity and human potential. The Republic of Korea has invested in education to reach this point of development, and now we can make a new leap forward, investing in creativity and creative industries. This is a wise approach, and this is how we can change the paradigm of development,» continued the Director-General, commending President Park’s vision expressed recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

This same vision was shared during a working lunch with the head of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Ms Rha Sun-hwa, who reaffirmed Korea’s ambition to share its heritage and expertise with other countries, and to increase resources to this end.

The Director-General also met with the Secretary-Generals of the National Commissions for UNESCO of China, Japan, Malawi and Mongolia, who were also present for the 60th anniversary celebration, as well as with some 50 enthusiastic children from the Commission’s Global Leadership programme.




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