On 3 June, the Director-General gave a lecture at Tsinghua University, as part of the Tsinghua Global Vision Series. Tsinghua University is one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher education.
Introduced to a packed auditorium of Chinese and foreign students by Professor Shi Jinghuan of the School of Public Policy and Management, Irina Bokova spoke on “Leadership, Soft Power and Values for a Better Future for All.”
Depicting a world changing deeply, featuring as much opportunity as challenge, the Director General called on students to dream big and do everything to make their dreams come true, for the good of all societies. As she said, dreams are the starting point, while ideas are essential for changing the world.
"This is an opportunity for you and also a responsibility," said Irina Bokova.
She called for a new vision of education, the sciences, culture as well as communication and information, underlining the ‘soft power’ of UNESCO.
“UNESCO does not deliver development financial aid -- it crafts the conditions for development,” said the Director-General. “UNESCO does not itself keep the peace -- it works to make it last.”
The Director-General thanked the Government and society of China for its support to UNESCO.
“I believe this reflects China’s leadership in breaking new ground for international cooperation.”
The lecture was followed by an active discussion on such subjects as education in conflicts, support to youth and the importance of TVET. Other issues explored were China's contribution to a new humanism and the critical need to empower girls and women.
Before the lecture, the Director-General attended the handover ceremony of a Library of Chinese World Heritage Dossiers to the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University. This was an initiative of the National Commission of China for UNESCO.
Irina Bokova also visited the School of Arts and Design, where she visited an exhibition on the Theory and Methods of Digital Cultural Heritage Protection. The exhibit presented cutting edge work on the use of digital technologies for repairing and restoring heritage, as well as for opening wider access and allowing new ways to study this heritage.
The President of Tsinghua University, Mr Chen Jining, accompanied the Director-General throughout the visit. The President and the Director-General reviewed the cooperation between UNESCO and Tsinghua, including through a UNESCO Chair on Continuing Engineering Education.