Meeting of the Governing Council of the South Asia Foundation (SAF)

On 17 March 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, attended the annual meeting of the Governing Council of the South Asia Foundation (SAF), founded in 2000 by Mr Madanjeet Singh, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

This meeting, which took place for the first time at UNESCO Headquarters from 17 to 18 March 2006, was chaired by Mr Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Chairpersons of the SAF, Vice Chancellors of South Asian Universities, Secretaries, Advisory Boards of SAF as well as Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO from the region also attended this meeting.

Following the signature of an agreement between UNESCO, the Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan and Mr Madanjeet Singh concerning the Madanjeet Singh Institute for Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage in March 2004, the SAF decided to build similar “million-dollar institutions of excellence” in the other South Asian countries. The SAF’s primary objective of the meeting in Paris was therefore to determine the consultancy and other technical assistance that UNESCO could provide to such institutions in countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

Mr Matsuura paid tribute to the South Asia Foundation for pursuing its objective of promoting regional cooperation and peace through education, mutual understanding and creative friendship amongst the people of South Asia and said that the Foundation’s aims and activities are in line with UNESCO’s Constitution and also respond to the spirit, objectives and principles of the SAARC Charter.

On the occasion of the annual meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors and that of the Governing Council of the South Asia Foundation, a special performance by 57 artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, dedicated to the intangible cultural heritage of South Asia was held in UNESCO Headquarters on 16 March 2006 in the presence of many UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors. On this occasion, the Director-General recalled “the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003, will enter into force very soon” and added “the 30 States Parties necessary had been registered on 20th January last” and that he was “pleased to count, among the States parties, six countries from Asia, including three from the South Asia region, namely, Bhutan, India and Pakistan”.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info n°041-2006
  • 21-03-2006
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