Director-General meets with the President of the Hellenic Republic
During her visit in Athens on 22 November, on the occasion of the Conference “Welcoming Cities for Refugees: Promoting Inclusion and Protecting Rights”, the Director-General met with H.E. Mr Prokópis Pavlópoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.
The meeting took place following the President and the Director-General’s joint participation in the opening of the High-Level Conference, co-organized by UNESCO and the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, with the support of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR). In this context, Ms Bokova stressed that UNESCO is grateful for the opportunity to organize this important meeting in Greece, a country which has wide experience in receiving refugees and migrants. She underscored that there could not be a more appropriate setting to have a discussion on how to promote mutual understanding, integration and social cohesion.
The Director-General commended the solidarity of the Greek people in welcoming refugees and expressed her admiration for their generosity at such challenging times, which must be seen also as opportunities for societies. In this regard, she reiterated UNESCO’s full commitment in assisting Greece in the important task of ensuring continuous education for refugees.
The Director-General and the President exchanged on the importance of protecting cultural heritage in conflict situations. President Pavlópoulos commended the Director-General for her leadership and expressed Greece’s full support to the Organization’s work in ensuring that humanity’s cultural heritage is protected everywhere in the world. The President and the Director-General agreed to continue strengthening the fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and Greece in this area as well as across all the Organization’s fields of competence.
On the same day, the Director-General gave a lecture at the at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on the theme "Soft Power for the 21st Century: UNESCO's vision and action". On this same occasion, she was awarded with a special distinction from the University, the oldest academic institution in Greece. Pr Meletios A. Dimopoulos, Rector of the University, introduced the event by recalling the role played by UNESCO since its foundation and its crucial relevance nowadays in its core pillars that are education, science and culture. His address was followed by three thematic interventions, respectively from Pr Christos Zerefos, on UNESCO and Environment; Pr Michail Meimaris, on Education, based on knowledge; and Pr Eleni Mantzourani, on UNESCO's action in dialogue with monuments and the protection of cultural heritage.
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