Ms Tereshkova was accompanied by Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO.
In welcoming Ms Tereshkova to UNESCO Headquarters, the Director-General paid tribute to her outstanding career as a cosmonaut, and to the prominent political positions she had held in her country. Referring to UNESCO’s actions in the domain of gender equality Mr Matsuura said he was very pleased to receive such an important figure in humanity’s recent history.
Ms Tereshkova thanked the Director-General for opening the doors of UNESCO to her and recalled her first visit to the Organization shortly after her voyage into space in 1963. Underlining that the Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl, her native city and part of her constituency, had been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005, Ms Tereshkova noted that in 2010, the city would celebrate the 1000th anniversary of its founding and observed that President Medvedev was paying particular attention to the organization of the celebrations. She explained that events would be organized both in Yaroslavl and in Paris and invited Mr Matsuura to take part in the celebrations. Emphasizing her satisfaction upon visiting the international Organisation charged with promoting and safeguarding the world’s cultural diversity, she stated: “as a cosmonaut, my first mission is not only to convey to people how beautiful our planet is from outer space, but also its fragility”.
Evoking the challenges of climate change, depletion of natural resources, and population growth, Mr Matsuura said he shared Ms Tereshkova’s preoccupation with the preservation of our planet. He assured her that UNESCO was doing its utmost to achieve its mission “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture”. The Director-General underscored that the celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of Yaroslavl would take place under the auspices of UNESCO and concluded by informing Ms Tereshkova of his forthcoming visit to Moscow and meeting with President Medvedev later this month.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 143-2009 - Publication Date: 17-07-2009