Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General Meets with President of Indonesia

On 28 August, Irina Bokova met with H.E. Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the depth of cooperation between Indonesia and UNESCO.

The President welcomed the Director-General to Indonesia and thanked her for the strong cooperation with Indonesia to strengthen a culture of dialogue and tolerance for lasting peace and sustainable development.

The Director-General congratulated the President on the remarkable achievements of Indonesia during his 10-year presidency. She said all of this reflected the rising leadership of Indonesia on the international stage.

This includes a new commitment of Indonesia towards UNESCO, where Irina Bokova thanked the President for the strength of Indonesia’s engagement in the Organization – namely as a major donor, allowing the implementation of a number of sharply focused projects across all areas of UNESCO’s mandate. In this respect, she expressed her thanks to the entire Indonesian Government for their deep engagement with UNESCO.

Irina Bokova recalled the importance of the speech the President gave in 2011 at the General Conference on the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on cultural diversity.

The call for renewed dialogue and respect, she said, has never been so important, including to make the most of ou cultural diversity as a strength. She highlighted here UNESCO's leadership of the UN Decade for the Rapprochment of Cultures, and appealed for Indonesia's support to taking this forward with UNESCO.

The President agreed that dialogue has perhaps never been so essential, to build 'a sharing and caring society, and a sharing and caring international community.' 

For this, he said, we need new forms of soft power, underpinned by the willingness to talk, listen and cooperate. "We need a new 'we' that unites us," said the President.

The Director-General underlined also the importance also of the President's vision for global development, notably to shaping the post-2015 global development agenda – including through the President’s role as one of the three chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High Panel of Eminent Personalities. 

She looked forward to further support to advocate for the inclusion of education, science and culture in the post-2015 agenda and its implementation.

In this respect, the Director-General expressed appreciation to the Government for hosting the Global Media Forum in Bali and the 6th Annual Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. 

She noted that the Global Media Forum represents a unique opportunity to highlight the role that media can play in realizing the sustainable development goals and the relevance of freedom of expression and media development for human and social development beyond 2015.

In closing, the DG informed the president about the 70th anniversary of UNESCO and appealed for Indonesia's engagement in these celebrations, looking to the new relevance of UNESCO in new times. This is also why, she said, the appeal coming from Bali for new dialogue, respect and understanding is so important.