20.02.2012 - ODG

Irina Bokova: “Intangible cultural heritage is our bridge from the past to the future”

© CROSS/Roumen DobrevUNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, 20 February 2012.

On 20 February, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova was on an official visit to Bulgaria where she inaugurated a Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO.

"Intangible cultural heritage is our bridge from the past to the future. It is the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it. It is the precious possession of communities, groups and individuals – only they can safeguard it and pass it on to generations to come. Our role, as international organizations and Governments, is to support these efforts in every way we can," said Irina Bokova at the ceremony held in Sofia.

The ceremony took place with the participation of the Chairperson of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria Tsetska Tsacheva, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov. Minister Mladenov underlined the deep commitment of the Bulgarian government to promote the work of the Centre and he expressed strong support to UNESCO and the work of Irina Bokova as Director-General.

On the same day, Irina Bokova met with President Rosen Plevneliev, who underscored the positive work of UNESCO in South-Eastern Europe and its contribution to strengthening good-neighborliness in the region, notably through support to intercultural dialogue. The President expressed the strongest support of his Office to Irina Bokova as the head of the UN agency. The Director-General encouraged all Bulgarian institutions to take the lead in South-Eastern Europe in safeguarding intangible heritage and cultural diversity as a driver for promoting tolerance and mutual respect in the region.

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