The Annual Meeting of the Goodwill Ambassadors was held on February 6th and 7th 2003 at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Ko?chiro Matsuura, presented shocking data on the lack of elementary education of children and adults all over the world:
Approximately 115 million children do not go to school at present
100 million children do not have access to elementary education
862 million adults have received no education at all.
At the beginning of the Meeting, Mr. Ko?chiro Matsuura:
congratulated the Ambassadors on their action,
announced the return of the USA to the International Organisation after a 20-year absence,
reported on the activities of UNESCO during last year, and
presented the topics and the programmes on which UNESCO will lay emphasis during 2003.
These are the main programmes:
The programme Education for all and the International Decade 2003-2012 for education
International Year 2003 for the preservation of fresh water
The protection of World Cultural Heritage, both tangible and intangible.
In his opening speech, Mr. Ko?chiro Matsuura stressed that among other fundamental objectives of UNESCO is to attain by the year 2015 to diffuse elementary education on a global scale and to improve the educational level of adults by 50%. «Learning for all and education for all, stressed Mr. Matsuura, are catalysers and vital factors in liberating people from ignorance, and enforce their capabilities so as to enhance the quality of their lives». Closing his speech, Mr. Matsuura highlighted: It is an issue of tremendous importance to make people think about the safeguard of Peace and all of you, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, are not only the vehicles of our ideals but you also constitute a dynamic link between these ideals and their application to everyday life.
In addition, Mr. Matsuura, referred to the contribution of each ambassador separately and addressed special thanks to H.R.H. Princess Firyal of Jordan, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and the Nobel Prize laureate, Mr. Wole Soyinka, for their support and participation in the International Conference on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Venice (Italy).
Following the speech of Mr. Matsuura, the Goodwill Ambassadors presented the course of their activities during last year. Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis referred to her action during 2002-3.
Following the end of speeches, the Goodwill Ambassadors signed an appeal against the war in Iraq. [Patrick Baudry, Pierre Berge, Pierre Cardin, Marin Constantin, Cheick Modibo Diarra, Miguel Angel Estrella, Princess Firyal, Ikuo Hirayama, Jean-Michel Jarre, Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, ?mer Z?lf? Livaneli, Ute-Henriette Ohoven, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, Madanjeet Singh, Zurab Tsereteli, Giancarlo Elia Valori, and Marianna V. Vardinoyannis]
The two-day meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors closed with the fundraising concert organised by the Purcell School, where young music talents from all over the world study.
HRH Prince Charles of Wales, patron of Purcell School, was the honorary guest of the gala to whom the Director-General of UNESCO awarded the Gold Mozart Medal for his support to the School and new musicians from 1985 to date. H.R.H. Prince Charles in his turn thanked the people attending for this honour and, in particular, Mr. Matsuura and Mrs. Vardinoyannis for her contribution to the organisation of this special event.
The revenues from the concert of the Purcell School will be allocated to the promotion of Artistic Education and Creation, laying particular emphasis on music culture. It should be noted that the Prince Charles visited UNESCO for the first time and exchanged views with its Director-General with respect to the educational and environmental programmes.