Building peace in the minds of men and women

In Guatemala, the Director-General expresses concern over the illicit trafficking of cultural goods



On 19 January, during her visit to Guatemala, the Director-General met with the Minister of Culture, Mr. Dwight Pezzarossi, the Deputy Minister of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Mrs. Rosa Maria Chan, the Governor of Sacatepequez, Mr. René Azurdia, the Mayor, Mr. Edgar Ruiz, and high level representatives of the Culture sector in Antigua.

At the meeting, the Director-General described the acts of illicit trafficking in cultural goods that are taking place across the world as “crimes”.

"We see a very negative trend in the world, with organized crime is getting involved in the illicit trafficking in cultural property," said the Director-General.

The Director-General highlighted the importance of having a register of cultural property and called for regional collaboration to combat looting. 

After the meeting, the Director-General witnessed the rich heritage of Antigua and Guatemala during a tour of the Central Square and the Calle del Arco de Santa Catalina, visiting the Church and Convent of La Merced and the ruins of the Convent of Santa Clara.

The Director-General reiterated her commitment to continue strengthening cooperation with Guatemala to reinforce institutional capacities and contribute to the elimination of illicit trafficking of cultural property.

In San Mateo Milpas Altas (Sacatepéquez), the Director-General highlighted the importance of girls and women's education for social development. 

“Education is the most powerful way to bolster the values, abilities and knowledge needed to establish societies that will be able to adapt to change,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at an encounter organised with a group of indigenous women.

“Change should start in the minds of women and men, so they could design the future themselves,” she continued. “Empowering girls and women through education is of the highest importance for personal development, the well-being of families and the development of communities, both economically and socially”, she said. 

The event, organized by the Ministry of Education, took place in the presence of the Vice Minister of Intercultural Bilingual Education, Mr. Gutberto Leiva.

The Director-General also met Ms. Karla Herrera, Secretary for Social Communication at the Presidency, and reiterated UNESCO´s strong support to freedom of expression and protection of journalists.

On the same day, the Director-General visited the National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, as well as the Museum of Indigenous Textiles.