UNESCO Director-General’s visit to Lebanon: engaging with and empowering young people

“Young people in Lebanon have an amazing creative energy. They naturally stand up for tolerance, respect of human rights and cultural diversity”, said Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO.

“You are powerful actors to bring about positive change in society. UNESCO stands by your side, supporting your engagement and empowerment”, she added, addressing young listeners in an interview on Voice of Lebanon Radio’s programme entitled “displacement and worries”, specifically dedicated to the challenges and aspirations of young people in Lebanon, affected by the Syria crisis.

During the radio programme, the Director-General engaged with a group of youth activists, students and journalists, including Lebanese young people and Syrian refugees. Together they explored concrete ways to overcome prejudice and mistrust, prevent marginalization and abuse; and contribute to resilience and peaceful co-existence within their communities and beyond.

The interview was broadcasted live from the UNESCO Beirut Office on 15 May.  During her visit to the office, Irina Bokova also interacted with young people directly engaged in a broad range of educational activities supported by UNESCO in Lebanon, including inclusive education programmes benefitting children and youth living with disabilities; and life skills programmes for young people.

Layla Sohl, Vice-President of the Waleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation, joined Irina Bokova throughout this visit at the UNESCO Office; offering the opportunity to witness together the new facilities established within its premises for educational activities, generously supported by Mrs Sohl.