10.02.2012 - ODG

Solidarity in Adversity: Director-General Visits Japan

©UNESCO/Cynthia GuttmanUNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova with the students of the relocated Nakano elementary school, Sendai, Japan, 14 February 2012.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, the Director-General visited Japan to convey a message of solidarity and highlight the role of culture, education and scientific cooperation in the recovery process. Symbolically, she launched the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in Japan in Hiraizumi, a Buddhist site inscribed on the List in 2011 and located in the northeastern part of the country, struck by the earthquake. In the same region, she also gave a lecture at Tohoku University, a first-class institution located in Sendai, birthplace of the first UNESCO club in Japan in July 1947, and visited an elementary school belonging to UNESCO’s Associated Schools Network.

In Tokyo, the Director-General participated in a symposium at the United Nations University on tsunami warning systems, co-organized with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.  The event, attended by H.I.H. Crown Prince Naruhito, focused on lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011, which caused the death of close to 20,000 people.

During the visit, she met with high-level government officials, members of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO and  the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan, and representatives of large private companies.

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