Acting Head of State of Libya at UNESCO addresses Leaders’ Forum at 38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference

Acting Head of State and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh Essa Gwaider addressed the participants of the Leaders’ Forum, which brought together heads of state and high-level government representative within the context of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO.

The Leaders' Forum was organized in the framework of the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, and was dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on 13 November.

"Notwithstanding the tragic events of last Friday, we are gathered here today, as nations under the banner of UNESCO, on our 70th anniversary, to proclaim to the world that the human spirit shall never be suppressed. That humanity's yearning for peace, tolerance and mutual coexistence must be resurrected," said Stanley Mutumba Simataa, President of the 38th Session of the General Conference in his opening remarks to the Member States.

In her comments opening the Forum, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova spoke of the tragic and horrific events, which shook Paris and the entire world. “This is an attack against the humanity we share. We can never accept it. We can never give in. We must stand together, with France, with all women and men, with all societies."

Recalling UNESCO’s Constitution, adopted seven decades ago, which states that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed,” the Director-General declared that, “this has never been so urgent, so relevant.”

In his speech, the Acting Head of State, Agila Saleh Essa Gwaider, highlighted the need to counter terrorism and make every effort to stop it, also reforming the UN system. He called the international community to facilitate cooperation to tackle modern challenges, in which UNESCO has a leading role.

Libya’s acting Head of State expressed his satisfaction with the work implemented by UNESCO, across its mandate and areas of competence.

“UNESCO has a unique role within the UN system in the areas of education, sciences, culture, communication and information, as it contributes to the achievement of the sustainable development goals as well as to the building of lasting peace,” he stated.

In this context, Libya’s acting Head of State reaffirmed “the importance that Libya accords to cultural diversity, inter-religious dialogue and a culture of peace, with a view to tackling the multiple challenges facing the world today, in which UNESCO has a leading role, both at the international and the regional level.”

He expressed his “firm commitment to give a new impetus to the longstanding cooperation with UNESCO and reactivate the wide range of existing programmes in the area of education that were suspended during the difficult situation in the country.”

During his visit, Libya’s acting Head of State, Agila Saleh Essa, was accompanied by Mr. Abdulkader Al Maleh, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Libya to UNESCO and a number of Members of Parliament.