The Crown Prince was represented at the ceremony by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Deputy Minister of Defence and General Inspector of Military Affairs of Saudi Arabia and Vice President of the Board of the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al Saud Foundation.
Also present at the ceremony were His Highness Prince Khaled al Mashari, Vice Minister of Education of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO, as well as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO, Mr Ziad Aldress and the Ambassador of the Arab League to UNESCO, Mr Nassif Hitti.
Mr Matsuura began his speech by paying tribute to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, and extended his thanks to him for his initial US$1 million donation for improving the presence of the Arabic language at UNESCO. Mr Matsuura highlighted the Crown Prince’s “personal dedication and generosity in support of UNESCO’s programmes and his commitment to the Arab culture.” He also thanked His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for coming to UNESCO Headquarters for the celebration.
The Director-General noted that “one of UNESCO’s founding principles is the free exchange of ideas and knowledge among peoples and cultures” and that “Arabic had played a crucial role throughout history in this regard.” He went on to underscore that “UNESCO strongly believes that linguistic diversity reflects the natural richness of the human existence and the wealth of different cultural and social identities” and that “linguistic diversity serves as a unifying bond for all mankind and as a key to mutual respect, tolerance and peace.”
Mr Matsuura highlighted that the contribution would go towards developing the Arabic version of the UNESCO portal, the training of Arabic translators and Arabic interpretation for meetings and conferences organized by UNESCO. The Director-General concluded his speech by presenting His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud with UNESCO’s 60th anniversary medal “in recognition of his action and support towards the promotion of Arab culture at UNESCO and within the international community.”
His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud then took the floor, reaffirming the important role Arabic had played in the development of knowledge, notably science, and the essential role UNESCO played within the United Nations system in promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. He concluded his presentation by pledging an additional US $2 million to UNESCO for the Organization’s continued work in this field.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 195-2007 - Publication Date: 12-12-2007