Friday, October 24, 2008

Ambassador Oliver's Farewell to the Executive Board

Ambassador Louise Oliver concluded her remarks to the 180th meeting of UNESCO's Executive Board with the following words:
And now, as this will be my last Executive Board meeting, I would like to make some personal comments, starting with expressing my admiration and gratitude to our interpreters who somehow have always managed to keep up with my very rapid speech. Your professionalism and skills are, in the words of the next generation, awesome.

To the members of the Secretariat, let me say that I have enjoyed working with you. Though we have not always agreed on everything, I respect your commitment to this organization, as I hope you do ours.

To my colleagues in the delegations from all corners of the globe, thank you for your friendship, and for the open-minded way in which you listen to our ideas and concerns.

And finally let me express my profound gratitude to you Mr. Director-General for having successfully encouraged the United States to rejoin the UNESCO family. Your passion for UNESCO and its mandate is extraordinary, and it has made a big impact in my country.

So now it is time to turn our attention back to the challenges that face this Organization. Once again we have too many items on our agenda, and once again we will be tempted to say yes to everything we are asked to do. But if we do that, we will weaken the ability of this Organization to exert the kind of leadership that is expected of us. Instead let us rededicate ourselves to advancing our priorities, so that we can take full advantage of the great potential of this organization.

If we can transform UNESCO’s ideals into action, we will be able to help strengthen mutual understanding among the nations and peoples of the world, which is essential if we are ever to make progress towards our ultimate goal of peace and security worldwide.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Comment: Ambassador Oliver has served with distinction as head of the United States Permanent Delegation to UNESCO since the United States rejoined the organization. The country owes her a debt of gratitude for that service. I understand that she has managed to do a great deal assure that U.S. representatives at UNESCO governance bodies would receive the respectful attention the nation's representative deserve. JAD


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