UNESCO Director General highlights progress towards the right to a quality education during trip to Chile

8.8.2017 -During a two-day trip to the South American nation, Irina Bokova met with President Michelle Bachelet, representatives of several ministries, and members of other entities that work with UNESCO. The Director General highlighted the development and promotion of public policies in Chile that embody UNESCO’s vision of quality, equitable and inclusive education and the important effort that Chile is making to provide a new institutional structure for work on heritage, cultures and the arts and to promote gender equality.

During the two-day official visit conducted July 24 and 25, 2017, Irina Bokova had a dozen meetings with officials, partner entities and media outlets. Her main messages included appreciating the Chilean government for the strong commitment and action already undertaken to implement  the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and reaffirming  UNESCO’s support for the implementation process, particularly in regard to education. She also encouraged Chile to continue working  on culture as a element  of regional reconciliation and cooperation that can be used to achieve peace and unity throughout the continent.

Day One

The first meeting held in Chile was with the Minister of Education, Adriana Delpiano and Ángel Cabeza, the Director of the Directorate of Libraries, Archives and Museums (DIBAM). The meeting was also attended by the Undersecretary of Education, Valentina Quiroga, and the Undersecretary of Early Childhood Education, Isabel Díaz. The Director General highlighted  the strong collaboration between OREALC/UNESCO Santiago and the country’s Ministry of Education over the past few years, in particular on the improvement of the quality of education and inclusion in the system. “Education is a public good that must be strengthened and promoted,” Bokova noted.

This strong relationship has been reflected in the over 40 projects that the two parties have implemented focused on the education reform, including curriculum revision, higher education, technical, vocational education and training, and information and communication technologies.

At Chile’s Ministry of Education with Minister Adriana Delpiano and other officials.

Following a working luncheon with the directors of the United Nations agencies that have a presence in Chile and a meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator in Chile, Silvia Rucks, the Director General met with Marcos Barraza, the Minister of Social Development, at the La Moneda Presidential Palace. Director General Bokova expressed the organization’s commitment to support Chilean policies for implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

These national actions are promoted by the National Council for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Council’s Technical Secretariat is coordinated by the Ministry of Social Development.,Mme Bokova praised Chile for having launched the national 2030 Agenda implementation process in consultation with civil society and the private sector.

With Minister of Social Development Marcos Barraza at the La Moneda Presidential Palace.

During her meeting with the Minister of Culture, Ernesto Ottone, the Director General  congratulated the submission of a bill to create the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage , acknowledging that this is an important step forward in the development of the organizational structure and governance of the sector. The two also discussed, among other things, the prevention of illicit traffic in cultural goods, creative industries, culinary patrimony and Chile’s records in the Memory of the World Programme.

The Director General congratulated the Chilean government for its work to establish a new cultural institutional structure. Photo credit: Chilean Ministry of Culture.

At the Diplomatic Academy of Santiago, Bokova delivered a lecture on the role of education quality and cultural diversity in reaching the sustainable development goals established in the 2030 Agenda. This event was organized by Ambassador Juan Somavía, the Director of the Diplomatic Academy, and also featured the participation of Edgardo Riveros, Chile’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs.

In her remarks, the Director General stressed that the lack of educational equality between girls and boys at the global level is a reality that state and national officials must address. Bokova stated that 60% of countries have achieved parity in primary education and only 38% have done so at the secondary school level. Watch the livestream offered by the Diplomatic Academy via Facebook Live

At the end of the day, UNESCO’s Director General gave an interview to Televisión Nacional de Chile in which she gave details about her visit to the country, referring in particular to the support provided to  Chile’s education reform and the importance of education as a key driver  for sustainable development, among other topics. Watch the interview

Day Two

On July 25, UNESCO’s Director General met with President of Chile,  Michelle Bachelet. The Director General expressed her support for Bachelet’s leadership in the education reform, particularly in improving the education sector’s response to a transforming society and addressing its multiple challenges. Bokova also congratulated Bachelet for the bill to create the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage and donated her a sculpture entitled “The Tree of Peace” from UNESCO, made by UNESCO Artist for Peace Hedva Ser, in recognition of Bachelet’s work on social inclusion and gender equality.

Irina Bokova with President Michelle Bachelet discussing Chile’s collaboration with UNESCO.

Earlier in the day, the UNESCO Director General met with the personnel rom the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), which is located in the Chilean capital. The Director General addressed her staff encouraging them to continue working  to develop “our irreplaceable rolein the world: promoting dialogue and peace through education, science, culture and free access to accurate information.”

The Director General also visited the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, whose creation was promoted by the inclusion of Human Rights Archives in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2003.

Irina Bokova beginning her visit to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile.

Irina Bokova finished her visit to Chile with an official lunch hosted by Minister Heraldo Muñoz at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event was attended by journalists who work on freedom of expression, female scientists, members of the diplomatic corps and the United Nations and ministers whose work is related to UNESCO’s mandate along with many other Chilean partners through which the Organization fulfills its mandate each day.


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