Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Visit of Director General to the United States

UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura visited the United States in June, During that visit he met with senior American officials to discuss new avenues for collaboration in the fields of education, culture and science.

I quote from UNESCO's report of the visit:
In his meeting with US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, the Director-General welcomed the emphasis the new administration was giving to education, both domestically, by making it a major pillar of the federal stimulus package, and internationally, with President Obama’s campaign pledge to significantly boost financing for basic education. Explaining that achieving basic Education for All (EFA) was UNESCO’s first priority, Mr Matsuura expressed his hope that UNESCO would continue to work closely with the US in the field of literacy, while mentioning teacher training and HIV&AIDS prevention as potential areas for new cooperation.

The Director-General also signalled the importance of US engagement in higher education. He stated that burgeoning student demand for higher education had created the need for innovative and flexible responses, noting that the American experience – such as community colleges – could provide models for other countries, in particular in the developing world.......

Turning to culture, the Director-General welcomed the inclusion of two new US candidates on the tentative list of world heritage sites. “This is a sign that the new administration is seriously interested in heritage preservation”, he stated. Mr Matsuura urged the US to pay equal attention to the safeguarding of living heritage, encouraging the Government to ratify the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. “The preservation of tangible and intangible heritage must go hand in hand”, the Director-General underscored.
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