04.03.2014 - ODG

Visit of the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency Michel Sleiman to UNESCO

© UNESCO/F. Gentile

On the occasion of the visit of President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency Michel Sleiman UNESCO on 4 March 2014, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has reaffirmed the commitment of the Organization for social cohesion in Lebanon, stressing the central role of education in the country's stability.

"We are with you in this search for peace, stability and sustainable development in Lebanon," said Irina Bokova stressing in particular the challenges facing the country cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees in the context the prolonged conflict. His Excellency Michel Sleiman, thanking the Director-General for the efforts made by UNESCO through its Regional Office for Education in Beirut, spoke about the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon 'c' is a crisis that affects humanity, we must act without delay pending a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria. "

The President went on to outline his country's commitment to democratic principles and to the rich cultural diversity of the country. He also expressed the need to revitalize the International Centre for Human Sciences at Byblos to the search for peace and democracy under the auspices of UNESCO, acknowledging the contribution of the analytical work carried out by Centre to promote dialogue, especially in societies in post-conflict situations.

The Director-General also reiterated her deep concern over the increasing damage to the cultural heritage worldwide, especially in countries in conflict. In this respect, she welcomed the support of Lebanon in the overall effort of UNESCO to protect cultural heritage, particularly in Syria through international cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. Irina Bokova emphasized the vital role of neighboring countries for this purpose to deal with the leak of this heritage resulting from its illegal export.

"Cultural heritage is a fundamental tool for national reconciliation and cohesion of societies" she has said.

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