03.11.2009 -

Death of Claude Levi Strauss a loss to the whole of humanity, says UNESCO Director-General

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today expressed his sorrow over the death of eminent French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, whom he described as one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.

“Claude Levi-Strauss was one of the giants of the 20th century,” Mr Matsuura said. “His thought changed the way people perceived each other, striking down such divisive concepts as race and opening the way for a new vision based on recognition of the common bond of humanity. “We mourn his passing, which is a loss to the whole world. But we celebrate his life, which was devoted to enlightenment and understanding through knowledge, built largely out his insatiable curiosity about his fellow human beings which took him some of the most remote corners of the world and definitively changed modern anthropology. “It was UNESCO’s great privilege to have worked with this great man over many decades.” Claude Levi-Strauss worked closely with UNESCO since the Organization’s creation after the second world war. His last public appearance was made on the occasion of UNESCO’s 60th anniversary on 16 November 2005*. On the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2008, UNESCO devoted a special edition of the UNESCO Courier to his long and remarkable connection to the Organization, drawing on audiovisual archives, publications and articles written by Levi-Strauss over five and a half decades.




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