Executive Board holds public debate on the challenges, roles and function of UNESCODistinguished guest speakers from around the world will take part in a debate - entitled “In the age of globalization, UNESCO as a specialized agency of the reforming UN system: challenges, roles and functions at global, region and country levels” - organized by UNESCO’s Executive Board on 4 October (9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Room X).
The Chairman of the Executive Board, Zhang Xinsheng pointed out that “the thematic debate is taking place during a key moment in the Organization’s 60-year history. It will be an opportunity to reflect in an open manner on the objectives and direction UNESCO will take in the future. It will act as an informal brainstorming session examining the global role and vocation of the Organization as well as its operational capacities aimed at advancing development thus seeking innovative approaches to building the defences of peace for this new century through education, the sciences, culture and communication and information.”
“UNESCO is about to formulate its first Medium-Term Strategy for the 3rd millennium,” Mr Zhang explained. “Within the context of the broader UN system-wide reform, and understanding the ever-increasingly globalized and constantly changing world within which we live, the time is now properly ripe to ensure that UNESCO will succeed in the coming six years to effectively assert itself as the agency within the UN system responsible for education, the sciences, culture and communication and information. We are uniquely placed to build on intersectoral and interdisciplinary approaches with our own clear vision and strategy, which are the only true response to the multi-layered problems in a complex world.”
The debate will be webcast* in real time and will be open to accredited journalists. It will feature the participation of guest speakers as well as members of the Executive Board, representatives of 58 of UNESCO’s 191 Member States, who are in charge of the execution of the Organization’s programme.
Mr Zhang will open the first session which will then feature an introduction by its moderator, Baroness Valerie Amos, Leader of the House of Lords (U.K.). At 10.10 a.m., Chen Ning Yang, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Professor at Tsinghua University (China), will speak of “science in the 20th and 21st centuries and its relevance to UNESCO.” He will be followed by Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University, on “international cooperation in education and the role of UNESCO.”
Alpha Omar Konaré, Chairperson of the African Union Commission and former President of the Republic of Mali, will speak about “cultural diversity in the age of globalization and Africa’s perspectives of UNESCO’s role and potentials for partnership,” at 10.40 a.m. A two-hour open debate will follow.
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, former President of Mexico, will speak about “the impact, benefits and challenges of globalization as it relates to UNESCO,” in the session starting at 3 p.m., which he will also moderate.
The Tunisian Minister of Communication Technologies, Montasser Ouaïli, is scheduled to speak of “UNESCO implementing the recommendations of the World Summit on Information Societies: role of the media and communication” at 3.20 p.m. Evgeny Sidorov, Ambassador at Large and former Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation will speak of “aspects of globalization and culture.”
A two-hour debate will follow, with remarks by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, at 5.50 p.m. At 6.15, an open-ended symposium will be moderated by Dominique Wolton, Research Director at the CNRS, France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, who will speak about “building the defences of peace in the minds of men through education, the sciences, culture and communication and information: future role of UNESCO.” This is the first time that UNESCO will hold such a symposium during the thematic debate. Its purpose is to serve as a further opportunity for the broader UNESCO community to actively participate in brainstorming on UNESCO’s future.
The debate will end with closing remarks of the Chairman of the Executive Board at 8 p.m.