Building peace in the minds of men and women

Advocacy for Girls' Empowerment

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova discussed areas for joint advocacy with Mrs Peng Liyuan, First Lady of the People's Republic of China and UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education, during a meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on 3 June 2014.

The meeting was attended by the Vice Premier of China, Mrs Liu Yandong, the Minister of Education, Mr Yuan Guiren, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Bao-dong Li and the Vice Minister of Education and President of the General Conference, Mr Hao Ping.

Mrs Peng, who became UNESCO Special Envoy on 27 March when President Xi Jinpeng visited the Organization, indicated that within China, she would attend different activities to promote awareness of girls' and women's education and call for all social sectors to give more support to this issue. 

When travelling abroad, she will endeavour to visit facilities and to share positive practices observed with UNESCO. 

Mrs Peng also stated that she was prepared to take an active role in international conferences organized by UNESCO to raise visibility for the cause of girls' and women's education. 

"I know that you can make a difference," said Mrs Bokova, thanking the First Lady for her commitment. "I think girls and women need role models to encourage and guide them and I believe you can contribute greatly.''

Mrs Bokova said that she had been moved by the letter from the First Lady strongly condemning the abduction of over 270 Nigerian schoolgirls and she stressed the need to jointly promote girls' and women's right to education. 

Vice Premier Liu Yandong complimented the Director-General for appointing Ms Peng Liyuan as a Special Envoy, noting that as a highly accomplished artist, a professor and a renown public figure, she would be able to play an important role. 

Education Minister Yuan Guiren underlined China's accomplishments for girls' and women in terms of universal access, but noted work to be done to address inequalities in rural areas, including lack of teachers for arts education.  

Ms Peng stressed that as a public personality, she felt the need to give back to society, to act as a role model, ‎and to transmit values as well as traditional art forms and intangible cultural expressions, because, to quote one of her songs, 'no matter how tall the tree has grown, it must not forget its roots."