I wish to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the commitment that you bring to UNESCO. UNESCO is a great Organization and an ambitious idea, founded on the aspiration for peace shared by all women and men, everywhere.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, visited UNESCO in November, and he paid a special tribute to the staff of UNESCO, noting the pride they carry for their Organisation, the great efforts they bring to their work. On this occasion, he reminded us of the importance of UNESCO’s soft power in a world of change. In these turbulent times, we must never tire in repeating our credo – humanity’s greatest force for peace, our ultimate renewable energy lies in the human rights and dignity of every woman and man, in their empowerment, in giving them the skills, tools and values to make the most of change, through education, through culture, through the sciences, though communication and information.
This is the flag we have raised all throughout 2016. This has perhaps never been so challenging, at this time when too many countries face the tragedy of conflicts, poverty and the impact of climate change. This has never been so important also, and this is why we must renew our efforts and speak out for human dignity, human rights and shared values. This is what we are and what we have been mandated to do.
In this spirit, I wish you all the very best for this holiday season with your family and friends and a happy 2017.