Intercultural dialogue a priority for the President of Malta in speech before UNESCO’s Leaders’ Forum

The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, addressed this afternoon’s session of the Leaders’ Forum, which since yesterday has brought together Heads of State and Government, ministers, ambassadors and high level participants from around the world in the context of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO. The President made her remarks in the presence of the President of the General Conference, Stanley Mutumba Simataa, and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

In the aftermath of the cruel attacks in Paris, President Coleiro Preca voiced the conviction that the “founding mandate of UNESCO remains as valid today as it was 70 years ago” and added that the Organization “must be reoriented toward today’s concerns, securing its relevance and affirming its mandate to foster a lasting peace.”

The President encouraged UNESCO to maintain its position as a champion of culture and intercultural dialogue so as to remain “a driver for social cohesion, for economic growth, innovation, and sustainable development” in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

The President highlighted that, by capitalizing on its strengths, the Organization “must continue to be a key voice for education so that every child, regardless of gender or socio-economic status, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.”

President Coleiro Preca called on world leaders to support UNESCO’s work and shared her vision for its future “as a global leader in advancing knowledge and understanding among people; in championing true equality; in furthering popular education and culture; and in increasing and diffusing knowledge on a global scale.”

In a meeting with Director-General Bokova, President Coleiro Preca praised the Organization for its work in education, culture and science. Ms. Bokova reiterated UNESCO’s desire to collaborate with Malta in priority areas of the Organization and highlighted the importance of education in addressing issues relating to migration.