09.02.2011 - ODG

Science and education at the heart of Irina Bokova’s official visit to Morocco

© UNESCO - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister of Morocco, during her first official visit to the country on 8 February 2011

On 8 February 2011, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, began her first official visit to Morocco. She met with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

The Director General and the Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi, underscored the excellent cooperation between UNESCO and Morocco, particularly in the areas of education and culture. They also expressed a common intention to strengthen their activities in the areas of science and research.

Irina Bokova highlighted the progress made by Morocco in the field of education and with regards the Education for All programme, calling for further strengthening efforts towards education in rural areas and of girls. “Equality in access to education between girls and boys is a very effective lever to ensure the sustainability of Education for All”.

The Director-General attended a working session with the Minister for Education, Mr Ahmed Akhchichine, and the Secretary of State for Higher Education, Ms Latifa El Abida. UNESCO has invested itself heavily in the process of reforming the Moroccan education system all throughout its development and its implementation. This was done through the exchange of good practices through the activities of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning and under the guidance of the UNESCO Office in Rabat.

This visit was also an opportunity for Irina Bokova and the Foreign Minister, Mr Taieb Fassi Fihri, to reaffirm their unconditional support to the negotiation process through multilateralism. The Minister noted in particular the key role UNESCO played in the peace process in the Middle East by thanking the Director-General for her technical engagement in this context. For the Director-General, “it is through our technical action in the field of culture, education and science that we can help build peace in the region.”

Irina Bokova also visited the Headquarters of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), where she met with its Director-General, Mr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri. The Directors-General expressed their satisfaction with the strengthened partnership regarding science and research, two issues that are also at the heart of future cooperation between Morocco and UNESCO.

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