The Director-General visits the State of Qatar (30 April-1 May 2006)

The Director-General visits the State of Qatar (30 April-1 May 2006)

From 30 April to 1 May 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, paid an official visit to the State of Qatar.

Upon his arrival in Doha on 30 April, the Director-General, in the company of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, who is also UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, opened the Second Symposium on Innovation in Education (from 30 April to 2 May 2006). This symposium, co-sponsored by UNESCO and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, a private non-profit organization chaired by Her Highness, brought together teachers from across the Arab world and leading international experts and education specialists in a series of panels and debates on access to technology, education and democratic participation. In his opening speech, Mr Matsuura highlighted “the importance of innovations and change, particularly with regard to their implications for the teaching/learning process, the management of education systems and the delivery of education services”. “Education is not only a fundamental human right but also the key to all knowledge and its translation into social and economic development”, he emphasized. “This entails”, he concluded, that “innovation and the use of modern technologies, both imported and home-grown, have to be properly harnessed in order to provide sustainable quality education services for all throughout life”.

In a separate meeting with Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, in the presence of her daughter Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Director-General discussed general matters of cooperation between UNESCO and the Qatar Foundation, including emergency assistance to Iraqi universities, promotion of dialogue among cultures and civilizations, inclusive and vocational education, and safeguarding of the cultural heritage. Mr Matsuura also commended Her Highness for setting up a Fund for Asia to support the EFA goals and assist Asian nations in developing their national action plans. The first meeting of the Board of Governors of the Fund for Asia, chaired by Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, took place during the Director-General’s visit.

On 1 May, Mr Matsuura was received by the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. The DG first expressed his profound gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani for the strong support that Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned gives to UNESCO's activities, especially as UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, in the area of Education, not only in the Middle East but also in other parts of the world. The Director-General expressed his satisfaction at the sustained efforts of Qatar in favour of achieving the EFA goals, particularly through an exemplary policy of support to innovations and new information technologies in teaching methods. Referring to the Qatar Foundation « Education City » project, conceived as a unique centre of excellence regrouping numerous educational and research institutions from early childhood to post-graduate education, Mr Matsuura encouraged Qatar to pursue its policy of support to the reform of teaching, presently at the heart of the concerns of the Arab world. Expressing his deep thanks to the State of Qatar for the generous contribution of US$ 15 million made in 2003 to the International Fund for the Higher Education in Iraq, Mr Matsuura made a commitment to continuing the action of UNESCO in assistance and reconstruction of education institutions, referring to the particular cases of the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Sudan.

Regarding cooperation in the field of culture, the Director-General expressed the wish that Qatar identify potential sites for inscription on the World Heritage List and encouraged the authorities, with the assistance of UNESCO, to undertake an active policy for safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage. The Amir of Qatar indicated that he was very favourable to such initiatives and stressed that the protection of world heritage is an important aspect of the global imperative of dialogue between cultures and civilizations.

  • Source:Flash Info n°065-2006
  • 05-05-2006
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