On 12 January, the first day of her official visit to Bulgaria, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova was awarded the title of Honorary citizen of Sofia.
On receiving the distinction from Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Irina Bokova expressed her profound gratitude and underlined: "I have received distinctions from other cities, but the title of Honorary Citizen of Sofia is especially dear to me because Sofia is my native town. I accept it also as a recognition of UNESCO’s commitment to the promotion of culture as an enabler of progress and the development of the creative industries. Recently, I declared Sofia as UNESCO Creative City of Cinema, by which it joined the Creative Cities Network of UNESCO, which aims to promote sustainable urban development, taking full advantage of the potential of culture and creativity.”
At a solemn ceremony held at the University of National and World Economy, Irina Bokova was conferred the title of Doctor Honoris Causa for her exceptional contribution to the development of education, science and culture, multicultural diplomacy, intercultural dialogue and the preservation of cultural heritage.
The Director-General met the Minister of Foreign Affairs Daniel Mitov. The two strongly condemned the recent attacks against Charlie Hebdo in Paris and declared their firm conviction that the world democratic community should stand as one in safeguarding freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, for tolerance and respect for human dignity, especially in increasingly multicultural societies. Irina Bokova and Daniel Mitov also discussed activities dedicated to the 70th anniversary of UNESCO and the 60th anniversary of Bulgaria's membership of the Organization.