In the margins of the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference, Irina Bokova met Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary-General, European External Action Service (EEAS) of the European Union.
"We need to consolidate social infrastructure crossing the social and cultural boundaries in our societies", declared Mr. Leffler.
Access to quality education and the protection of cultural heritage were at the heart of the bilateral discussion on joint cooperation between Mr. Leffler and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Both concurred that education is the most critical imperative for providing young people with hope and with the tools to live constructive lives and in addressing youth radicalization and marginalization referring to the challenges of growing migration of populations.
Mr. Leffner highlighted the positive cooperation with UNESCO in education and culture in response to conflict, stressing also the importance of the Organization’s preventive work and reiterating the interest of the EU to further pursue and develop cooperation in these areas, notably in the context of the current refugee and migration crisis.
The EU and UNESCO will also join forces in contributing to longer-term development, in particular through the implementation of the 2030 agenda, as well as on cultural diplomacy, harnessing the potential of culture to catalyze development.
The Director-General welcomed the support expressed by Mr. Leffler and underlined "UNESCO’s readiness to scale up existing cooperation and join forces in countering violent extremism and youth radicalization through UNESCO's longstanding expertise in both formal and non-formal education."