Director-General of UNESCO pays tribute to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, paid an official visit to the United Arab Emirates on 26 and 27 December.

On that occasion, he took part in Dubai in an honouring ceremony of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance and Industry of the Emirates and Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

The honouring ceremony was opened by Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, Minister of Education of the Emirates and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Distingued Academic Awards, who announced a financial contribution from the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to UNESCO’s activities and projects in the field of education in developing countries.

The ceremony was devoted to the humanitarian and cultural work of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose Foundation supports activities covering many areas, from education and culture, to medicine and humanitarian relief, in particular through a series of annual Distinguished Academic Performance Awards. ‘I would like to applaud the holistic vision of education expressed through these awards, and the emphasis they place on quality and professionalism They provide a stimulus for progress across the region, and a model that I hope other countries will follow’, underlined Mr Matsuura.

Noting the outstanding progress made by the United Arab Emirates in promoting academic excellence and the development of inclusive knowledge societies, in particular with regard to the use of information and communication technologies in education, the Director-General expressed UNESCO’ readiness to collaborate closely with Dubai in order to promote across the Arab region and beyond the fundamental role played by ICTs in enhancing the quality and relevance of education as well as in expanding access.

“UNESCO believes that education represents the key to sustainable human development, and a major force for innovation and progress. It is certainly one of the surest investments a country can make in its future. UNESCO is likewise committed to the protection and promotion of all forms of cultural expression. We consider that our cultural heritage provides a unique source of information, knowledge and creativity, and that its preservation and communication are essential for both peace and development”, concluded M. Matsuura.

During his visit, Mr Matsuura also held a bilateral meeting with Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, Minister of Education of the Emirates, to discuss the strengthening of cooperation between UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates in the field of education. The Director-General praised the country’s successful efforts to raise quality education higher on the political agenda and the efforts undertaken, through innovation and investment, to raise educational budgets and accelerate progress on education for all. “It is crucial we coordinate our action in addressing the challenges of literacy and universal primary education. We will therefore continue to engage in close dialogue with the Emirates and learn from their educational development strategies, particularly in the context of the 2007 mid-term Review and stocktaking of the EFA process“, declared M. Matsuura.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 211-2006
  • 28-12-2006
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