With great sorrow, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, learned of the passing of Maya Angelou, an immense figure in the struggle for gender equality, civil rights and the fight against racism, both in the United States and around the world.
"Maya Angelou was an immense poet of equality. Her death is a great loss to literature and to the universal cause of human rights. Her books and poems, deeply rooted in her personal experience, have given a universal resonance to the fight for women's rights, civil rights and against racism. She will remain, like Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela, among the few rare icons who have been able to advance humanity toward greater justice. Her books and legacy should continue to be taught in schools and through the media, so that her message of tolerance, peace and dignity stays alive."