Tag: Director-General

In Commonwealth lecture, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova calls for education for inclusion, dialogue and peace

26 February, London- Delivering the 18th Commonwealth Lecture in London on 25 February 2016, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova explored the stakes of educating for inclusion, dialogue and peace in a world that is getting younger every day.

From combating violent extremism to connecting the dots between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, Ms Bokova affirmed that there is no more powerful force than education, to advance social inclusion, break the vicious circle of poverty and hold up human rights.

“Education is the way to disarm the processes that may lead to violent extremism, by undermining prejudice, by fighting ignorance and indifference,” she said, citing UNESCO’s actions to engage youth in strengthening the narrative of a single humanity and empowering them as agents of change.

In her address, Ms. Bokova underscored that inclusion lies at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and pointed out that to find solutions to today’s challenges it is imperative to find new ways of seeing the world, of thinking and behaving – and this starts with education.

She further highlighted the work done by UNESCO  Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) , which promotes youth action for transformative learning and social change, including through its YESPeace Network.

To read the Director-General’s full address: Click here

Photo credit: Richard Lewis


“The call for UNESCO has never been so vibrant,” says Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova

12 October, Paris—Speaking at the 197th Session of the Executive Board at UNESCO headquarters, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova stressed the significance of UNESCO’s work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“UNESCO stands at the heart of the new agenda – our mandate and competencies are inscribed throughout the new goals and targets,”Bokova said, referring to the UN’s new 17 targets for global development.

The Director-General also said UNESCO plays an instrumental role in linking peace and security with sustainable development: “UNESCO was created in 1945, in a world rebuilding after a devastating war, when shared values had been soiled like never before. Today, seven decades later, the call for UNESCO has never been so vibrant.”

Recognising the need to equip the youth with the knowledge and skills needed to shape new generations of global citizens, the Director-General highlighted the work of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development towards achieving this goal.

“On this occasion, I would like to draw your attention to the latest report of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO’s first Category 1 institute in the Asia-Pacific region — I wish to thank Dr Karan Singh for his leadership and inspiration, as I believe this is precisely the work we need today, to foster new forms of global citizenship for human rights and dignity, to counter violent extremism,” Bokova said.

For the Director-General’s full speech: Click Here


UNESCO MGIEP’s YESPeace Network launches in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur—In close collaboration with youth networks and organizations in Malaysia, UNESCO MGIEP launched its first Malaysia chapter of the YESPeace Network on 24 May. YESPeace—the Youth for Education, Sustainability and PeaceNetwork provides young people and youth networks with a platform to share their ideas and to work together towards global citizenship, peace and sustainable development.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, who launched the YESPeace Malaysia Chapter together with Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said that it is important to listen to young people’s views and opinions about education especially during challenging times. “The voices, energy and ideas of young people have never been as important as they are today, in a world that is transforming, getting younger every day,” Bokova said.

The event, which was held at the symbolic setting of Merdeka Square, where Malaysia proclaimed its independence on 31 August 1957, coincided with Malaysia’s annual Hari UNESCO Day celebrations. Throughout the day, young Malaysians attended music and dance shows and participated in an art competition. “Hari UNESCO Day aspires to bring together people of diverse religions and cultures towards a common and shared vision,” Muhyiddin said. “We must have the courage to embrace diversity, and to draw strength from it.”

After the launch, close to 40 young participants gathered for a brainstorming session to understand the challenges youth face in Malaysia—including rising rates of depression and a static education system— and to come up with strategies to spread the word about the YESPeace Network Malaysia Chapter. Participants recommended creating a local youth advisory board led by young people from across the country to engage with one another and, eventually, with young people from around the world.

The YESPeace Network has been selected as one of the flagship programmes for the youth priority area of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development and provides young people with access to policymakers and to the arenas where policies are enacted. While the global launch of the YESPeace Network took place at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Nagoya, Japan, last year, Malaysia has taken the lead on launching the Network’s first national chapter.

For more information and to sign up to YESPeace click here

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (third from left), Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (centre) and Prof. Anantha Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP (far right) unfurled the YESPeace flag on 24 May.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO (third from left), Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (centre) and Prof. Anantha Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP (far right) unfurled the YESPeace flag on 24 May.

MGIEP strengthens India-UNESCO partnership, says Director-General Irina Bokova

On the occasion of UNESCO’s 70th anniversary this year, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi paid his first official visit to the organization’s headquarters in Paris on Friday. Addressing a packed audience, he stressed the close relationship between India and UNESCO.

“No organization serves our cause more than this one,” he said about UNESCO’s mission. “The seeds of our collective destiny are sown in human minds.”

In response, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stressed the historic ties between India and the organization, and highlighted UNESCO MGIEP’s role in further strengthening these ties.

“Mr. Prime Minister, your presence today is testimony to the depth of our partnership,” Bokova said. “This is a partnership of values and a partnership for action. This is embodied in the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, the first such Institute in the Asia Pacific region.”

During his visit, Modi paid tribute to a statue of Sri Aurobindo, an Indian poet, philosopher and activist. He also launched a website for International Yoga Day, which will be celebrated for the first time on 19 June this year, to promote the ancient Indian practice.

In his speech, he emphasized the importance of culture and education as unifying factors providing the foundation for more peaceful and sustainable societies.

“That is why UNESCO was among the first missions of the United Nations,” Modi said. “That is why India values the work of UNESCO so deeply; and cherishes our partnership so immensely.”

UNESCO’s ties to India are further strengthened through 32 properties on the World Heritage List, including the Red Fort Complex and the Taj Mahal.

To read the Director-General’s full speech click here.