23.06.2010 - ODG

Irina Bokova champions UNESCO ideals at Summit of South-East Europe

© UNESCO/FW Russell-Rivoallan, 2010 - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with Turkish President Abdullah Gül

At her address to the Eighth Summit of the Heads of State of South East European countries in Istanbul on 23 June 2010, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova emphasized the Summit’s significance for the Organization.

She stated: “Over the past eight years, these Summits have led to a constructive and engaging meeting of minds. Each one has demonstrated your joint commitment to cultural cooperation as a privileged avenue for building stability and security in the region. More fundamentally, they reflect a commitment to shared values that are inherent to the process of European integration: respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law and cultural pluralism. UNESCO is proud to be a partner in this ambitious political, social and cultural journey.”

In the margins of the Summit, Irina Bokova had talks with high-level government officials of South East Europe present in Istanbul.

The Director-General held a productive meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gül at which they discussed the importance of UNESCO’s activity, underscoring the role of education, science and culture in development.  President Gül recalled his address to the 35th General Conference of UNESCO and his call to continue investing in these vital areas.

Highlighting the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures being celebrated in 2010, Irina Bokova spoke of Turkey's important role in promoting tolerance, which emanates from its rich and diverse history. She expressed her appreciation for the country’s significant contribution to the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) initiative, and noted the strong new Memorandum of Understanding that UNESCO recently signed with the AoC. 

Irina Bokova visited the premises of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art, and Culture (IRCICA) where she discussed matters of mutual concern with its Director-General, Dr Halit Eren. With Mr Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, she exchanged views about the rich cultural heritage of the city and shared the commitment to balancing the development of large urban centres and safeguarding local heritage.

The Director-General also met with President Parvanov of Bulgaria and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of countries participating in the Summit.




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