The Director-General gave fresh impetus to UNESCO's cooperation in Iraq with the AMAR Charitable Foundation by signing an agreement with its founder and Executive Chair, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, during an event at the House of Lords in London on 6 February 2013.
The event, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Dr Roche Shaways and AMAR's patron, His Highness the Prince of Wales, was held to mark the foundation's 21st anniversary.
"UNESCO and AMAR share a common ambition," said the Director-General. "We aim to give dignity to people through providing education, promoting gender equality and respecting culture. We are proud to have partnered with AMAR from its earliest days. It is now a model that is changing the lives of millions of people."
AMAR, established by Baroness Nicholson in 1991 to bring relief to the Iraqis of the southern Marshlands, focuses on the provision of education and healthcare, From training women health volunteers to setting up literacy and numeracy classes, AMAR provides provides basic services to almost 1.5 million Iraqis annually. It has also worked in Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan.
UNESCO has cooperated with AMAR from its earliest days, through adult literacy and peace education projects in Iraq.
The Memorandum of Understanding foresees reinforced cooperation in literacy, quality education for women and girls, teacher training, and sustainable use of water resources, all gained through building the capacity of local communities.
The Prince of Wales commended AMAR for the success of its health and education model, and noted that the Foundation was now seeking to extend it to Yemen, Syria and other contexts in urgent need, stressing that ''we cannot overstate the importance of supporting communities subjected to unimaginable suffering."
A subsequent celebratory dinner and auction were held at the Institute of Civil Engineering, where UNESCO's Constitution was signed on 16 November 1945.