Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, India’s representative to the Executive Board and Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee also participated in the ceremony.
Observing that the crises that the world is traversing are not only economic and financial, but moral, ethical, and spiritual, Mr Matsuura said that “The teachings of Sri Aurobindo, who will forever be associated with the founding of Auroville, the unique international township founded as a place where people from different cultural, educational and political backgrounds could work together towards their common goal of human unity and sustainable living, resonate particularly strongly as we search for long-term solutions”. “It is therefore very fitting that this monumental sculpture by a member of the Auroville community, Mr Lalit Verma, should find a home in this House of Dialogue”, he continued.
Praising the strong cooperation between India and the Organization, the Director-General addressed his guests and commented that “Your collective presence, and the installation of this statue at UNESCO’s Headquarters, are apt symbols of the strong cooperation between India and UNESCO in our work to build a more just and sustainable world”.
Following the unveiling ceremony, Mr Matsuura inaugurated a cultural performance showcasing some of the cultural expressions rooted in India’s rich heritage.
Earlier the same day, the Director-General met with Secretary for Education Agrawal to discuss a series of new government initiatives to expand access to education in India. The Secretary for Education presented Mr Matsuura with a copy of a landmark Parliamentary Act passed in August 2009 to ensure the right of all children aged six to fourteen to free and compulsory education. The Director-General applauded this bold move by the Indian Government, which he said marked a major step forward in national efforts to achieve Education for All (EFA). Mr Matsuura also welcomed the recent launch by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of a national literacy mission, specifically aimed at reducing adult illiteracy rates among women, as well as India’s commitment to provide low-cost broadband access and free e-content to universities, technical colleges and schools across the country.