United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General pays tribute to Mr Zhang Xinsheng, outgoing Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board

On 31 October 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, addressed the closing of the 177th session of the Organization’s Executive Board, paying tribute to Mr Zhang Xinsheng, Vice-Minister of Education of the People's Republic of China and President of the China Scholarship Council, who has served as Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board since October 2005.

As half of the 58 Member States that compose the Executive Board end their 4 year mandate at this session, this meeting was also the last time the current composition of countries met as Executive Board members. The Director-General thanked those Board Members who have come to the end of their mandates and encouraged those remaining to continue the search for consensus and agreement that has characterized the strong collaboration of this Board.

Mr Matsuura expressed his satisfaction with what has been accomplished by the Executive Board over the past years and thanked the Member States for their support, particularly with regards to “difficult reforms, which needed to be done in a deliberate but determined fashion.” He went on to commend the Member States for their guidance and collaboration: “you have been thoughtful and creative partners, critical when you deemed necessary, always loyal to the spirit of the Organization, and devoted to international cooperation. You have confronted difficult issues and found solutions in consensus decisions that were both carefully calibrated and relevant, and which permitted us to move forward with our work.”

Above all, however, the Director-General paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman of the Board, Mr Zhang, for his “remarkable stewardship of the Executive Board over the past two years.” “You have helped lead the Board's work over a crucial period, which has witnessed the ongoing reform of the Organization, and the increasing participation of UNESCO in the wider reform of the United Nations System,” he added.

“I wish to pay homage to your steadfast quest for harmony and consensus, which has enabled Board Members to reach agreement on many complex issues. Indeed, this Board has taken 226 decisions over the past two years. Every one of them has been adopted by consensus. This is a great achievement, of which you – and this Organization – should be immensely proud,” declared the Director-General.

Speaking in Chinese, Mr Matsuura concluded by recalling that Mr Zhang’s tenure as the first Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board from the People's Republic of China has “undeniably done great honour to his country.” He stated: “you are an old friend of UNESCO's and I am certain that you will continue to be closely associated with the endeavours of the Organization in the future. Once again, thank you very much.”

Related links 

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 168-2007 -  Publication Date: 02-11-2007

© UNESCO 1995-2010 - ID: 41159