His Excellency Mr Gjorge Ivanov, this morning addressed the Leaders’ Forum which is bringing 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 Leaders' Forum was organised in the framework of the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, and was dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015.
"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.
Opening the Forum, Director-General Irina Bokova referred to 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, President Ivanov, expressed his deepest condolences to the French citizens and stated that, “this Forum today is a response to terrorism and the enemies of diversity. We should not allow terrorism to take over peace, freedom and justice,” he said.
Expressing his appreciation for the work of UNESCO, the President stressed that “it would be difficult to imagine what life would have been without UNESCO, which has focused its attention on the profound need of providing a sense of belonging, built upon education, arts and sciences, which expand our horizons.”
“The world needs UNESCO more than ever before” and called upon the Organization “to help restoring global order and substitute monologue with dialogue particularly intercultural and interreligious dialogue,” he added.
The President recalled that the Balkan region is a “rich corridor and cultural crossroad” and underlined that “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia belongs to the cultural mosaic of humanity united in UNESCO.”