The annual Meeting of the Goodwill Ambassadors with the Director-General Mr. Koichiro Matsuura was held on February 11th and 12th 2002 at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.
During the Meeting, Mr. Matsuura referred to the activities of the Organisation during 2001 and highlighted the major steps made in the field of communication and co-operation between the Ambassadors, as well as to the work of all sub-directorates of the Organisation. Mr. Matsuura referred also comprehensively to the priorities and new programmes that will start being implemented during 2002, such as:
A) The programme «Education for All» which aims at eradicating illiteracy by the year 2015.
B) The aid programme for the rehabilitation of Afghanistan in educational and cultural terms. In particular, Mr. Matsuura stressed the need for the reconstruction of Kabul Museum that has been destroyed so as to safeguard the cultural treasures of the country.
C) The elaboration of a World Convention by UNESCO with respect to the intangible cultural heritage, namely immaterial substantial expression of living civilisations: music, dance, mythology, oral traditions, etc. This Convention will include, among others, a list setting forth the oral and intellectual wealth of each country.
This effort is included in the programme of UNESCO on Dialogue among Civilisations and the International Year of Cultural Heritage as 2002 was declared by the United Nations.
Mr. Μatsuura also referred to the tremendous problem of Afghanistan and Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis proposed the creation of an Educational Centre for girls in Kabul, in the context of the programme «Chain of Peace» of the Foundation for the Child and the Family. This is a programme that the Foundation has launched in regions affected by war, such as Palestine and Serbia. The plenary welcomed the proposal of Mrs. Vardinoyannis.
Closing the meeting, Mr. Μatsuura said: «UNESCO would like to rely more than ever on the talent and devotion of Goodwill Ambassadors. UNESCO needs them to convey the substantial messages of the Organisation all over the world. Moreover, you are the constituents of a community that comes into being slowly but surely and has already animated many and very positive programmes».
On this occasion, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis had a private meeting with the Director-General, Mr. Ko?chiro Matsuura, who asked her to assist him in his activities with respect to the promotion of the Cultural Olympiads on an international scale, this being an extremely important and honorary mission for Ms. Vardinoyannis who, of course, accepted his proposal. Mr. Matsuura formally announced this decision later on to the media during the Press Conference for the new programmes of UNESCO.