Irina Bokova and Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka celebrate the UNESCO Art Collection

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr. Reinhold Lopatka, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria, jointly presented the Art for Peace Project, which compiles some six hundred pieces of the UNESCO Art Collection, representing the United Nations’ most important artistic heritage.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the artist and photographer, Mr. Lois Lammerhuber, as well as Ms. Ursula Plassnik, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Austria to UNESCO, Mr. Martin Eichtinger, Director-General of the Cultural Department of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and Mr. Harald Stranzl, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Delegate of Austria to UNESCO.

“Culture is who we are and that which binds us together,” said Irina Bokova.

The Director-General expressed her gratitude to the Government of Austria for this donation and commended Mr. Lammerhuber for putting his great talent at the service of the international community through his Art for Peace Project, which provides a unique frame for UNESCO’s Art Collection.

The electronic interface of the Art for Peace project on the UNESCO website will multiply its visibility and impact, providing a forum and a global public space for youth education by engaging students in an active dialogue about some extraordinary masterpieces to foster a shared vision of peace and humanity.

State Secretary Mr. Reinhold Lopatka, while recalling Austria’s longstanding commitment to UNESCO’s principles and priorities, stressed that with Art for Peace “Austria pays a special tribute to the works of art assembled at the UNESCO Headquarters, which represent the cultural diversity of our global community and reflect so well UNESCO´s vision of peace as the ultimate desire of humanity.”

Irina Bokova emphasized the importance of creativity and the promotion of cultural diversity in an ever more connected and deeply fragmented world. She underlined also that it is imperative for governments to promote and facilitate the free circulation of artists among countries, as a way to sustain the vitality of societies and renew their capacity for innovation. “Freedom of art and freedom of expression are the best indicators of the openness of any society, and the best motors for its ability to invent, to start fresh,” pursued Irina Bokova.

The UNESCO Art Collection was initiated with the construction of UNESCO building, and it brings together works of art from across the world as a symbol of intellectual and moral solidarity and as a means to deepen it. “Each work holds up a mirror to the diversity of our world,” concluded the Director-General of UNESCO.