Bulgarian UNESCO Head in Cairo Stresses Need for Dialogue

World | December 7, 2009, Monday // 18:45|  views

Irina Bokova, the recently elected Director-General of UNESCO, seeks enhanced cultural dialogue with the Arab world and Africa. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has expressed the organization’s readiness to strengthen ties with Arab and African countries.

Bokova has announced this on Monday while on a visit to Cairo, the Egyptian capital, to ease tensions that flared in the Arab world on her recent appointment to the top UNESCO post.

In September, after several voting rounds, Bokova was nominated to the job in direct competition with the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, who had been widely considered the favorite.

Hosni speculated after the decision was announced that he had become the victim of a western plot against the Arab world. 

"Coming to Cairo – a city that embodies the richness, the merging and diversity of cultures, I want to state that, through my presence, UNESCO expresses its willingness to strengthen the close ties that connect it to the Arab and African world," Bokova emphasized.

At the opening of the Arab-African dialogue on democracy and human rights, the head of UNESCO announced that she aimed "to show openly the connections between cultures and to strengthen dialogue between them."

"I also intend to create [a commission] on peace and dialogue between cultures, to give an impetus to debates about the culture, tolerance, reconciliation and balance in our own communities and around the world," said Bokova.

This, the first meeting of the Permanent Forum of the Arab-African Dialogue on Democracy and Human Rights is being held from December 7 to 9, 2009 at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo, with the primary objective of examining the impact of migratory flows in these two regions.

Placed under the high patronage of Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of Egypt, the 2009 Permanent Forum will focus on migration in the Arab and African regions.

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Tags: Irina Bokova, Farouk Hosni, UNESCO Director General, Cairo, Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, Arab, Africa


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