Saturday, May 02, 2009

More about the election of the Director General

The recent opening remarks of Stephen Engelken, acting as Representative of the United States, to the Executive Board of UNESCO have been made available online. He stressed the importance of the election of the new Director General.
The choice of the next Director-General is the most important decision we will face for many years. Sixty years after its founding, the basic reasons for having UNESCO remain as strong as ever. Members of the world community need to cooperate with each other on education, science, culture, and communications. Now, more than ever, we need to tear down these mental barriers and suspicions that keep us apart.

While it may be too early to talk of names – the deadline for submitting candidacies is not until May 31 – it is not too early to begin thinking seriously about the qualities we seek in the next Director-General.

To some extent, we have already begun. In the text of the letter agreed at our last Board we said we were looking for someone with management skills, a strong commitment to the objectives of the Organization, a good knowledge of the UN system, and high moral and ethical standards. Most importantly, we said we wanted someone who could display leadership and a visionary approach. All of these qualities are important, but perhaps none more than the sense of vision. UNESCO urgently needs to look forward into the coming century and to keep reinventing itself to meet the needs of all of its members.
In another story we learn that Ambassadors of 60 UNESCO member countries are to visit Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s permanent mission to UNESCO, the National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture organize from May 2 to May 9 a cultural visit to Bulgaria of members of the UNESCO Executive Council. As part of the visit on May 4 the Boyana governmental residence in Sofia is hosting a one-day conference on the protection of heritage and cultural diversity as an original response to globalization under the aegis of President Georgi Parvanov, who will open the event. Speakers at the conference will be Sri Lanka’s Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha, the President of the UNESCO General Conference and Greek Ambassador to the organization George Anastasopoulos, the Rector of Sofia University Prof. Ivan Ilchev, as well as ambassadors of UNESCO member countries.
Note that Ambassador Irina Bokova, of Bulgaria, is campaigning for the post of UNESCO Director General with the support of her government.

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