Culture and Education at the Heart of Director-General’s Visit to Bolivia
On 16 June, during her official visit to Bolivia, the Director-General visited the Sacred Titicaca Lake, spiritual site of the Tiwanaku Culture. She was informed about the archaeological sub-aquatic heritage and importance of the lake.
She was then accompanied by the Minister of Education to visit the ruins of Tiwanaku, the spiritual and political centre of the Tiwanaku Culture, which played a leading role in the development of the Andean pre-Hispanic civilization. The buildings are exceptional examples of the ceremonial and public architecture and the art of one of the most important manifestations of the civilizations of the region.
The Director-General was warmly welcomed by the Tiwanaku authorities and the representatives of the 23 communities in Tiwanaku. Upon arrival to the city, she was awarded three important distinctions. The Municipal Council of the Autonomous Municipal Government of Tiwanaku awarded the Director General with the Illustrious Guest Visitor, which is an award bestowed upon important personalities visiting their community. On behalf of the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Education awarded the Director-General the Cultural Merit Recognition in the Category "Marina Nunez del Prado" for her valuable contribution to the conservation and promotion of the cultural patrimony of Bolivia. The Centre of Archeological, Anthropological and Administration Research of Tiwanaku declared the Director-General Illustrious Guest.
The Director-General and Minister then visited the Callamarka Community, made up of 140 families representing 600 people, where they were warmly welcomed with music, singing and traditional dances. She then witnessed the Akullico ritual explanation and shared the traditional Aptaphi lunch.
After listening to the words in Aymara and Spanish by different members of the Callamarka community, she congratulated the President of Bolivia, HE Mr Evo Morales, for his efforts in making Bolivia illiteracy free. She reaffirmed UNESCO's support to protect the rich culture and heritage of the Bolivian people.
“We are all different,” she said, “but united as we make up humanity".
One woman of the community said that she was most thankful that times had changed, for today, girls and women had access to education and gender equality.
On the previous day, the Director-General met with HE Mr Roberto Aguilar, Minister of Education of Bolivia and President of the National Commission. The Minister of Education provided insight to Bolivia's education programme and challenges ahead and highlighted the importance of Bolivia’s cooperation with UNESCO.
The Director-General commended Bolivia on their Declaration for being free of illiteracy and proposed UNESCO's support in technical and vocational education. The Director-General congratulated President Evo Morales on his leadership and role in the G77+China. She also congratulated Bolivia for its efforts in multi-lingualism and respect for cultural diversity, which is important to the UN and UNESCO in the fields of education, science and biodiversity, as well as post-2015 agenda.
The meeting took place in the presence of Mr Noel Aguirre, Vice Minister of Alternative Education, Mr Juan Jose Quiroz, Vice Minister Primary and Secondary Education, Vice Minister Vocational Training, Ms Susana Postigo, Director of International Relations, Mr Ronald Barrancos, Secretary General of the National Commission of Bolivia to UNESCO, Ambassador of Bolivia to UNESCO, Mr Sergio Caceres and other government authorities.