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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
Close of the 170th session of UNESCO's Executive Board

14-10-2004 6:00 pm The 170th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, chaired by Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), closed today following two weeks of debate devoted notably to UNESCO’s role in the Education for All programme and preliminary proposals for the Organization’s draft programme and budget for 2006-2007. The session “has been fruitful and indeed result-oriented,” said Ambassador Wrede.

The strategic review of UNESCO’s role in Education for All was one of the main themes of the session. Ambassador Wrede declared that “in the field of education, UNESCO cannot be complacent. The world looks to us for leadership.”

During its examination of the preliminary proposals, the Board expressed its deep concern over acts of terrorism “which have resulted in many innocent victims, including thousands of children” and advocated the “promotion of dialogue among peoples through a better reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity”.

The Board requested the Director-General to continue to “fully support the Interim Government in Iraq in the educational and cultural reforms.” The Iraqi Minister of Higher Education, Taher K. Al-Bakaa, addressed the Board.

The Board also requested that the Organization further strengthens its support to Afghanistan, especially in the area of capacity building.

The consensus established at the last Board session on the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as on educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories, was maintained by the Board.

A lively debate on “New approaches and concrete actions in the Dialogue among Civilizations” also took place. The keynote speaker, Mr Tu Weiming, professor at Harvard University, stressed the crucial importance of dialogue in a world marked by a growing sentiment of vulnerability, touching every nation.

The Board closed by honouring the retiring Mr Mohamed Al Shaabi, Secretary of the Executive Board since 1996. He will be succeeded by Mr Armoogum Parsuramen.

The 171st session of the Executive Board will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from 12 April to 28 April 2005.

For more information on the Executive Board: http://www.unesco.org/exboard/index.shtml

Source Press Release No 2004 - 93

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