UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will welcome the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to the Organization on 27 March. This will be the first ever visit to the Organization by a Chinese Head of State.
President Xi will be accompanied by the First Lady of China, Ms Peng Liyuan, State Councilor, Mr Yang Jiechi, and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.
During his visit, President Xi will address the representatives of UNESCO’s Member States and high level guests from the diplomatic corps in France, the business community and other personalities, advocating respect for cultural diversity and its protection, along with the importance of maintaining exchange and dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
At a ceremony to be held following his address, the First Lady will be designated a UNESCO Special Envoy for the Promotion of Education for Girls and Women.
China has been a staunch supporter of UNESCO from the Organization’s beginnings. It became a UNESCO Member State on 4 November 1946, and is one of the Organization’s founding members. UNESCO’s General conference, the Organization’s main governing body, is currently presided by Mr HAO Ping, Vice-Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, and the Republic has been regularly represented on UNESCO’s Executive Board.
“The visit of President Xi is a great honour for UNESCO,” said Director-General Irina Bokova. She added that the visit signaled a further strengthening of the relationship between China and the Organization.
The People’s Republic is actively involved in all of UNESCO programme areas. It has 45 World Heritage sites, 38 elements on the Lists of Intangible World Heritage, 32 Man and Biosphere Reserves and nine inscriptions on the Memory of the World Register. There are 25 UNESCO Chairs at Chinese universities and institutes of higher learning, devoted to subjects ranging from Plant Biotechnology to Cultural Heritage Resource Management and Entrepreneurial Education, and the nation counts 200 UNESCO Clubs, and five Chinese cities (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Beijing) are members of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. China has ratified 13 of UNESCO’s international conventions, including the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Convention Against Doping in Sport.