Iraqi president makes historic visit to UNESCO

Paris, France

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay met with the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Saleh on Monday at UNESCO Headquarters during his visit to France.

This first visit of an Iraqi President to UNESCO is a symbol of the unique relationship between UNESCO and Iraq, and has taken on a new dimension in the reconstruction effort following the victory over Daesh. A year ago, UNESCO and the Iraqi authorities launched the initiative "Revive the Spirit of Mosul".This unprecedented undertaking aims to address the human dimension of reconstruction through three main pillars: reconstruction of historical heritage, the restructuring of educational institutions and the revitalization of cultural life. Only on these foundations, will there be sustainable recovery.

This first visit by an Iraqi President in the history of UNESCO marks an important milestone. We wish to work with the Iraqi authorities on the human dimension of reconstruction, through culture and education, in order to build a lasting peace

Audrey Azoulay

UNESCO has already generated an extraordinary momentum, with $100 million in support already announced, notably from the United Arab Emirates and the European Union. Some projects, such as the reconstruction of the iconic Al-Nousri mosque are underway. Its reconstruction will be accompanied by that of other monuments that mark the city's historical diversity, including churches and Yezidi temples. This is a powerful symbol of community reconciliation and peaceful coexistence of religious minorities.

"Revive the Spirit of Mosul" is a joint investment with the Iraqi authorities that will be successful through the involvement of local populations. This remarkable momentum also shows that multilateralism, when in action, can have a real impact in the service of peace.

Revive the Spirit of Mosul

Speech by the Director General of UNESCO