UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will carry out an official visit to Milan, Italy, from 31 July to 1 August 2015, within the framework of the universal exhibition taking place in the capital of Lombardy.
Ms Bokova will attend the international conference of culture ministers of the countries participating in Expo Milano 2015. The ministers will examine how culture can serve as a tool to improve dialogue among peoples and the Director-General will highlight the importance of protecting cultural heritage and cultural diversity in efforts to consolidate peace and determine strategic responses to extremism and radicalization. The destruction of cultural heritage is, in fact, a frontline act of violence perpetrated in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen and is closely linked to the persecution of civilians there. The Director-General launched the international coalition, “Unite4Heritage,” with a view to reinforcing international mobilization around the protection of heritage. The Milan Conference is an opportunity to work with the concerned ministers to strengthen protection measures in conflict situations.
The conference is organized by Italy’s Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini and will be opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Matteo Renzi.
UNESCO is also contributing to the universal exhibition with a series of activities related to the overall UN contribution on the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” These activities highlight the role of education, the sciences and culture in overcoming the challenge of world hunger. UNESCO’s programme in water management, the conservation of biosphere reserves and studying the links between human beings and their environment all play an essential role in looking for ways to fight hunger and poverty. Several interactive installations available in Milan will enable visitors to discover the range of UNESCO programmes in this area.