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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
04-12-2002 11:00 pm Paris - The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to UNESCO will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a symposium entitled "50 Years of the Holy See's Presence at UNESCO, the Church proposes Truth and Liberty". 1
Four participants will speak at the event: Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris; Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council of Culture; Olivier Boulnois, of France's Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and publisher of the French edition of the Catholic Review Communio; Bernard Billaud, of France's Cour des comptes, state auditing body.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO explains his mission as providing a Christian presence, directly linked to the Authority of the Church, that serves to emphasize the importance of human beings in their complexity and uniqueness in the promotion of education, science and culture, which UNESCO's Constitution designates as instruments for peace and progress.

The relationship between the Holy See and UNESCO dates back to the very early days of the Organization and the Vatican's first Permanent Observer to UNESCO was Mgr Angelo Roncalli who in 1958 became Pope John XXIII. Cooperation between the Vatican and UNESCO has been marked by many meetings between the Directors General of UNESCO and the Sovereign Pontiffs. The visit to UNESCO Headquarters by Pope John-Paul II on June 2, 1980, was a high point in this collaboration, which includes regular contacts between senior officials of the Organization and the Secretariat of State, the pontifical Congregations such as the Congregation of the Catholic Education, Councils such as the Council for Justice and Peace, and the Council for Culture and for the Family. High-level representatives of UNESCO have also been officially present at all important ceremonies in the life of the Church in Rome since 1958.

Among the notable results of this collaboration are the inclusion of the Vatican on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, and the Vatican's adherence to several conventions prepared by UNESCO.


1- December 10, 4.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. in Room XI at UNESCO Headquarters

Source Media Advisory No.2002-60


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