President Parvanov of Bulgaria hails culture as a means of promoting inter-cultural understanding

President Parvanov of Bulgaria hails culture as a means of promoting inter-cultural understanding
  • © UNESCO/D. Matar

On 16 October 2007, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, President of the General Conference, and Mr Zhang Xinsheng, Chairman of the Executive Board, welcomed Mr Georgi Parvanov, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, to UNESCO.

The President was accompanied by Mr Ivailo Kalfin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Irina Bokova, Permanent Delegate of Bulgaria to UNESCO; and Mr Todor Churov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO.

President Parvanov was the first Head of State to address the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference. In his speech at the plenary, the President called for the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural understanding, highlighting the important role that education and culture play in this regard. He also expressed his commitment to pursue the tradition of regional summits of Heads of State of South-East Europe, which have been organized in cooperation with UNESCO since 2003.

During their bilateral talks preceding the President’s address at the plenary, the Director-General underscored the importance of these Heads of State Summits in promoting regional dialogue and cooperation, notably in the field of culture. He mentioned in particular the regular meetings of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe, as well as concrete projects for regional cooperation launched in follow-up to the Summits. The Director-General felt that culture had become a unifying force in South-East Europe thanks to the political leaders of the region and paid tribute to President Parvanov’s personal efforts in this regard.

Highlighting the importance of intangible cultural heritage, the President expressed his satisfaction at the prospect of Bulgaria’s hosting the extraordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage in February 2008. In follow-up to the regional seminar of Experts in Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Bulgaria in June 2007, the country had proposed to establish a regional centre on intangible heritage. The Director-General pledged the Secretariat’s assistance in developing the proposal for setting up the centre.

Speaking to President Parvanov at an ensuing luncheon, Mr Matsuura commended Bulgaria’s commitment to culture, which was also exemplified by the country’s ratification of the six most important UNESCO conventions in the field of culture – the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with its two protocols, the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The Director-General mentioned that the next regional Summit of Heads of State of South-East Europe will be hosted by President Papoulias in Greece. President Parvanov confirmed his participation in the Summit.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 136-2007
  • 17-10-2007
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