From 26 to 28 May, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, is undertaking an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, following an invitation by H.E. President Ashraf Ghani to launch of a Multi-Partner Trust Fund and national programme for the promotion of culture and creative economy. The overall goal of this initiative is to improve employment opportunities in the creative economy through a long-term national policy, harnessing the potential of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development.
During her visit, the Director General will review ongoing programmes in the country across the Organization’s fields of competence, notably in education and access to information. Irina Bokova will meet with teachers and students from the literacy classes facilitated by Afghanistan’s most important literacy programme in the country, led by UNESCO, the Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) programme. She will meet also with officials and patrol officers benefiting from the LEAP (Literacy for the Empowerment of Afghan Police) initiative. The Director General will discuss with several journalists and media professionals key issues in the field of freedom of expression and access to Information, high on UNESCO’s agenda, after the adoption of the landmark Access of Information law in 2014.
During the visit, the Director-General is expected to hold bilateral meetings with several high-level officials, including the President Mr Ashraf Ghani, the Minister of Education Dr. Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, the Minister of Interior Mr Taj Mohammad Jahid.
She will participate in the opening of a #unite4heritage exhibition in the Babur Gardens, with the launch of a publication “Keeping history alive”, showcasing decades of UNESCO’s work in the country for the protection and promotion of Afghan’s Cultural Heritage, from the safeguarding of the remains of the Bamiyan Valley, the Minaret of Jam and city of Herat, to the future Bamiyan Cultural center, which will be the first of many cultural hubs to be established throughout the country.