The Director-General of UNESCO pays homage to Umberto Eco “Italian humanist of our time”

20 February 2016


© UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, paid tribute to the great Italian academic Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose and a world intellectual figure, who died February 19, 2016.

"Umberto Eco had a universal curiosity and an unmatched talent for sharing his passion for culture, with intelligence and humor. Professor at the University of Bologna, one of the oldest in Europe, he embodied the tradition of the Italian humanist, knowing how to build bridges between formal knowledge and the public at large, between the university, the media and literature. Theorist of the "open work" and passionate about all forms of popular culture, from the spy novel to football, he was a lover of public debate, shedding light on current events with his human touch. He was passionately committed to the fight against racism, for the dialogue of cultures. He leaves us with enchanted books, from The Name of the Rose to Lector in Fabula, where one senses the emergence of his unique voice, at once playful and profound. He will be greatly missed," said the Director-General.

Umberto Eco was a regular contributor to UNESCO’s reflections and debates. He notably received in 1985 the McLuhan Teleglobe Prize of Canada, supported by the National Commission of Canada to UNESCO, for his research in the field of media and communication.