Irina Bokova Praises Romania’s Parliamentary Partnership with UNESCO
Praising the engagement of the Romanian parliament towards UNESCO, Director-General Irina Bokova asserted the importance of multilateralism for finding answers to complex global challenges, in a series of meetings with parliamentary leaders held on 26 April 2011 in Bucharest.
Created in 2008, Romania’s two-chamber joint parliamentary committee for UNESCO is unique in the world. “This shows Romania’s support for UNESCO’s mandate,” the Director-General told Roberta Alma Anastase, president of the Chamber of Deputies. “Reaching out to partners is increasingly important for our work, and parliamentarians play a key role in a democracy, whether we are talking about voting on education budgets, passing legislation on freedom of expression, ratifying Conventions or taking difficult decisions on climate change.”
Ms Anastase stated that the Joint Committee enabled parliamentarians to “have full information about projects and to be in a position to put specific pressure on governments.”
The Director-General underscored the need to invest in education, science and research as a way out of the economic crisis, a message welcomed by the country’s leadership. Ms Anastase drew attention to the country’s efforts to improve the quality of education, through more child-centred learning and closer links with job markets.
The President of the Senate, Mr Mircea Geoana, called upon UNESCO to offer “strategic guidance” in the fields of education, culture and research, stating that “we have to look beyond the political agenda and austerity budgets to address structural issues and find the right economic and social model.”
Members of the Joint Committee headed by Mr Horea-Dorin Uioreanu shared concerns with the Director-General over trends towards uniformity imposed by globalization that was putting cultures and language in danger. “We fight every day for the plurality of cultures,” said the Director-General, drawing attention to UNESCO’s successful but difficult campaign to see culture recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as an integral part of development.
On several occasions, Ms Bokova expressed her “friendship and affection” for Romania – a country neighbouring her native Bulgaria, and reiterated the importance of cultural cooperation in South Eastern Europe.
She unveiled a postage stamp series featuring the Palace of Parliament, taking the occasion to thank Romanian parliamentarians for promoting “multilateralism, shared values and actions.”
During a visit to the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the Director-General gained further insight to the country’s rich heritage and traditions, through displays of icons, embroidered costumes, ceramics, reconstituted wood houses and other objects chronicling rural life. The collections were recognized by the European Museum Award in 1996.