10.04.2015 - ODG

Prime Minister of India and UNESCO Director-General: A Shared Vision of Peace and Development

© UNESCO/Fabrice GentileH. E. Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India is welcomed to UNESCO headquarters by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General (10 April 2015) - He also held a bilateral meeting with the Director-General.

Director-General Irina Bokova praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forward-looking vision and paid tribute to India’s deep humanist and intellectual contribution to advancing UNESCO’s mandate of peace and human dignity over the past 70 years, during a bilateral meeting held on 10 April 2015, on the occasion of his visit to the Organization’s headquarters.

“Many of your projects and priorities resonate deeply with UNESCO,” she said, citing the Prime Minister’s emphasis on education, especially for girls, the harnessing of new technologies for development and social inclusion, and the respect for the protection of the country’s rich tangible and intangible heritage, a reflection of the diversity of its cultures, traditions and civilizations.  

Prime Minister Modi paid tribute to the contribution of UNESCO to human wealth, especially in developing countries, and highlighted the significance of its focus on cultural heritage, because “heritage is another way of looking at the world, heritage links people around the world.” He drew special attention to the December 2014 adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution introduced by India and supported by 177 countries to create the International Day of Yoga, and expressed hope that yoga could be inscribed also on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to further promote it worldwide. 

Taking stock of remarkable change in the world since the founding of UNESCO seventy years ago, the Prime Minister affirmed the need for debate to see contemporary issues through different viewpoints, in order to bring new life into the entire United Nations process.  Recognizing India’s strong attachment to multilateralism, the Director-General stressed the need to join forces to counter the rise of extremism and intolerance and to protect cultural heritage from destruction.  

She expressed appreciation for India’s generous support to the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, which is not only dedicated to education but to exploring new ways of living together in the 21st century, based on the values of global citizenship. “India’s traditions, diversity and experience give us much to think about.  What happens in India in terms of development has a huge impact on the world,” concluded the Director-General.

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