The President came, together with Mr Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia (see Flash Info N°187-2009*), to address the First Plenary Session of the 35th session of UNESCO’s General Conference. Mr Branislav Micunovic, Minister of Culture, Media and Sport, and Mrs Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Montenegro to UNESCO, accompanied the President.
Referring to the recent conflicts in the Western Balkans in his opening speech at the Plenary, President Vujanović underscored the “responsibility to preserve multiculturalism, multi-ethnicity and multi-confessionalism as the foundation of our states” and the importance of “respect for diversity as a basis of our cooperation”.
The President expressed his personal thanks to Mr Matsuura “whose unselfish support had helped [the country] establish high standards of cooperation in a very short period of time since Montenegro became a member of UNESCO”. He particularly highlighted the strengthening of regional cooperation among the countries of South-East Europe under UNESCO’s auspices. Montenegro had hosted the seventh Summit regional meeting in Cetinje on “Management of Heritage Diversity and its Promotion for Tourism” in June 2009, at the conclusion of which a declaration had been adopted sending “a clear message of joint commitment to the further promote intercultural dialogue”.
The President then touched upon the different areas of the country’s cooperation with UNESCO – the Montenegrin cultural and natural heritage sites inscribed on the World Heritage List; the reform of the education system in line with the Dakar Education for All goals and the MDGs, as well as international meetings Montenegro was hosting in the field of sciences. President Vujanović concluded his remarks by reiterating Montenegro’s strong commitment to contribute to the achievement of the “noble mission of UNESCO” through international cooperation.
During the ensuing luncheon and the bilateral meeting, the Director-General paid tribute to the active role Montenegro played in the region of South-East Europe. Mr Matsuura recalled that the series of Summit meetings of South-East Europe had been launched at the ministerial meeting that UNESCO hosted in 2002, after which the late President Trajkovski had convened the first regional meeting of heads of state in Ohrid in 2003. Mentioning the end of his mandate as Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Matsuura told the President he was confident that, in light of the number of regional projects of cooperation launched in follow-up to the South-East European Summits, UNESCO would continue its active engagement in the region under the new Director-General.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 186-2009 - Publication Date: 08-10-2009