07.02.2012 - ODG

Starting young to protect our heritage

© UNESCO/Landry RukingamubiriUNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova with the children at the “Panasonic Eco Picture Diary Global Contest”, held on 8 February at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova took part in the opening ceremony of “Panasonic Eco Picture Diary Global Contest”, held on 8 February at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The contest aims to raise the awareness of young people about the environment. Children’s writings and pictures illustrating activities of a day spent at a World Heritage site will be presented. Thirty-seven countries have taken part in the contest since 2008, including 160,000 students, with 130,000 diaries collected. Among the jury members of this year’s contest were two of UNESCO’s Artists of Peace Patricia Velasquez and Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola.

“The protection of our heritage is a long and demanding process. It starts with young people”, underlined Irina Bokova, referring to the World Heritage Convention and how it brings together peoples and states, resources and know-how in order to protect our diverse culture and our planet’s natural wonders.  “The best ways to safeguard and to promote our heritage are respect and dialogue,” she added.

In May 2011, UNESCO and Panasonic signed an agreement to promote sustainable development through World Heritage conservation and environmental education.  By way of this contest young people become involved in a worldwide effort to preserve our heritage.

On the same occasion, the Director-General designated British performer Sarah Brightman, one of the world’s few artists to top both pop and classical music charts, UNESCO Artist for Peace. Brightman is the voice and face of Panasonic’s new advertising campaign, which aims at highlighting the importance of a sustainable future by taking us to the most beautiful world heritage sites that need protection.

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