Building peace in the minds of men and women

Irina Bokova welcomes the reopening of the Bardo Museum in Tunis

In a letter addressed to the President of Tunisia, on the 23 March 2015, the Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the reopening of the Bardo Museum, in Tunis.

“On the day before the reopening of the Bardo Museum, I wish, on behalf of UNESCO and in my own name, to welcome this remarkable display of courage and to declare once again the full support of our Organization.

The reopening of the Bardo Museum highlights symbolically the collective will of the Tunisian people to live without fear, to remain standing, and to not surrender anything to the threat of extremism. With all of its strength, UNESCO joins with this powerful message addressed to all enemies of liberty and democracy.

The attack on 18 March has nothing to do with religion. This was an attack against human life, against Tunisia, and against democracy. It was an attack against culture and tourism as means of development as well as economic and social progress. This was an attack against culture as a force of dialogue and openness towards others.

The Bardo Museum is a place open to all. This is a place of discovery and dialogue between cultures, a place for learning tolerance and respect. The vast surge of solidarity that we have seen since Wednesday in the streets of Tunis and around the world shows that the quest of democracies and young people for liberty is stronger than hatred and violence.

We know that the threat of terrorism goes beyond the borders of Tunisia. This is a global threat, to which we must respond together, showing all our unity and solidarity.

UNESCO stands firmly beside Tunisia, in strengthening a democratic process that is an example to follow for many. More than ever, we will work with the Tunisian people in supporting education, culture, and journalists, to strengthen the roots of the principles of democracy, freedom of thought, justice, and human rights.”