26.11.2010 - ODG

From Academia and NGOs to Science and Media, Director-General praises Japan’s friendship with UNESCO

© UNESCO/Cynthia Guttman - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visiting the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with its Vice-President in Tokyo on 26 November 2010, during her first official visit to Japan

“Solidarity is the most important gift you can give to UNESCO,” said the Director-General, accepting a donation from the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan to support the Organization’s work in Haiti, at a reception hosted by the United Nations University in Tokyo on 26 November 2010.

The Director-General referred to the National Commission, the Federation and the Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO as “a golden triangle that supports all our activity here.”

Noting that UNESCO was the first United Nations agency joined by Japan, the Director-General called upon the National Commission to “share its experience across the region.”

She thanked the National Federation for its work at the grassroots level, in such fields as adult literacy through the Terakoya movement of community learning centres and its work with local communities in safeguarding cultural heritage in Cambodia and Afghanistan.

In the academic field, the Director-General signed an agreement with the United Nations University to establish a Chair in Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People. Based in Bruges, Belgium, this Chair will develop partnerships with African universities. “I believe we will set high quality of excellence in research in this very important area,” said the Director-General.

In the field of science, Irina Bokova visited the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), where she presented UNESCO’s World Science Report during a press briefing, emphasizing the shift towards Asia in research and development spending. She also praised UNESCO’s cooperation with JAXA, which involves the use of satellite remote sensing applied to heritage sites. The Director-General also underscored the importance of the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), present at the press briefing. UNESCO and ICHARM are notably cooperating on flood risk management in Pakistan.

On the media front, the Director-General expressed her appreciation for UNESCO’s partnership with NHK on world heritage. During a visit to the television channel’s headquarters, she suggested that cooperation could be enlarged, to encompass projects related to education.

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