70 years of UNESCO: Its impact on Latin America
On 17 June, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean, together with the Uruguayan National Commission for UNESCO opened a series of meetings with Uruguayan society offering a conference on "70 years of UNESCO: Its impact on Latin America". The activity took place in the framework of the celebrations that the Organization performs worldwide on the occasion of its seventieth anniversary.
The meeting had the participation of Ms. The Minister of Education and Culture (MEC), Ms Maria Julia Muñoz, the Rector of the University of the Republic, Mr Roberto Markarian, and the Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau, Ms Lidia Brito participated in the meeting, as well as other prominent national and international authorities.
It was an invitation to reflection on the fundamental contribution that UNESCO has provided since its inception, the construction of innovative social, cultural and scientific paradigms in Latin America; recognizing that today, even after seventy years, there are still key issues that require urgent renovation and solutions.
During the opening session, Ms Lidia Brito recalled that the Montevideo Office is UNESCO's oldest office away from Headquarters, Created in 1949. She expressed noted that "four years after the creation of UNESCO in Paris (France), the Uruguayan government offered the possibility of establishing a Centre for Scientific Cooperation since they understood that science had to play a central role in the development of the region. "
Education, Science and Culture were represented by the speakers. The Minister of Education and Culture of Uruguay stressed in her speech the common objectives and the close link of the Ministry and UNESCO and shared that "Education appears as the most powerful tool and the strongest bet in building a future of peace and full respect for human rights. "
In his keynote speech, Mr Roberto Markarian, Rector of the University of the Republic, offered a profound journey through the history of UNESCO both in the country and the world, enriched by his personal relationship with the Organization. His journey through time started from the UNESCO Courier, which marked his youth, until his return to the country after the military dictatorship through a program of repatriation of scientists led by the Organization.
During his presentation, Mr Fernando Filgueira, President of the Uruguayan National Commission, reviewed the ongoing working lines of action such as the enhancement of tango and candombe, declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2009. He also mentioned the recent addition of "Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape" to the list of World Heritage.
More than fifty friends and partners of the Organization spent an evening of encounters, memories and new agreements to further strengthen UNESCO's presence in the country.