UNESCO - a New Vision for the 21st Century

Manila Bulletin, August 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

UNESCO - a New Vision for the 21st Century


In our complex, interconnected world, with its great common opportunities and challenges, we need global institutions that bridge political and economic divides and unite people around shared values. I therefore believe that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, can make a crucial contribution to the promotion of fair global governance, sustainable development, cultural diversity and democratic participation.UNESCO was founded on the conviction that education, science, respect for cultural diversity and communication are essential for “constructing the defences of peace in the minds of women and men.”Today, this vision is more relevant than ever. I therefore believe that UNESCO can make a crucial contribution to the promotion of fair global governance, sustainable development, cultural diversity and democratic participation in order to tackle the global challenges that affect all of us.Today, this vision is more relevant than ever: To avoid a potential clash of ignorance, to tackle global challenges that affect all of us, from the eradication of poverty and lack of educational access to climate change and economic development, and to boost cultural and scientific exchanges which are essential to share the benefits of globalization.My country, Austria, has presented my candidacy for the post of Director-General of UNESCO. If elected, I intend to reinforce this role as a bridge-builder across cultures, faiths, and civilizations.Cultural cooperation does not create uniformity but, conversely, strengthens cultural self-awareness and the future viability of societies. Our global diversity is not a threat but an asset. Fostering of mutual respect and understanding is not just an end in itself but key to effective conflict prevention. I would therefore enhance UNESCO’s role as a powerhouse of international cultural dialogue and as a guardian of the diversity of cultural expression. Equally, UNESCO must reinforce its core activities in the area of protecting and promoting cultural and natural heritage. …

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