On 24 October, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, received the distinction of Doctor honoris causa from the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, Cnam) in Paris, France. The event took place in the presence of students, faculty and a number of diplomatic and academic personalities.
Paying tribute to “her exemplary journey,” Oliver Faron, Executive Director of the Cnam, affirmed that the Director-General “had successfully traced a clear path forward, identifying the framework for a universal learning project – a new humanism for the 21st century,” one that is founded upon access to quality education and works towards shaping more just, fair and open societies… By this recognition, the Cnam also pays tribute to cultural diversity, the condition for the successful development of society.”
In presenting the Director-General, the Cnam’s Yves Winkin highlighted the importance of UNESCO’s values in a climate of « economic realism » and praised the model of « resilience » that she established in the face of the Organization’s financial crisis. “UNESCO has entered into a new phase of its institutional life, with new projects and new partners.”
«By strongly affirming that education is a fundamental human right, you directly help us in our daily work. » He paid tribute to her “strength to move established boundaries” and to her initiatives « to build sustainable education, based as much on cultural dialogue as scientific cooperation, as well the fight for the security of journalists and freedom of expression.”
Thanking the Cnam for its confidence in UNESCO, the Director-General paid tribute to Abbé Grégoire, who founded the institution in 1794. “He was the inventor of life-long education, the inventor of the concept of heritage and remains today an inexhaustible source of inspiration,” she said.
"We have entered ‘an era of limits’- limits of our resources, limits of government resources, limits of our planet - that weigh on the development of States, on social cohesion and on peace-building. The only answer is to release the unlimited resources of intelligence, creativity, scientific research and cultural diversity. It is our ultimate renewable resource, and it is also at the heart of humanism. And this idea deeply joins Cnam’s DNA."
“In a world that is more fraught, fragile and dangerous, political and economic arrangements do not suffice to solve crises: what counts is intellectual solidarity, knowledge, culture to adapt and chart a sustainable development path.”
The Cnam, a higher education institution dedicated to lifelong learning, has been devoted to the dissemination of knowledge, vocational success and social advancement for 220 years. It has three missions: higher vocational training throughout life, technological research and innovation, and the spreading of scientific and technical cultures.