UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, distinguished public figures from many countries, joined voices and forces on 26 and 27 June 2013, in Paris, declaring once again their dedication to UNESCOs ideals and their determination to act to implement the international organization’s programmes. During the two-day Annual Meeting of Goodwill Ambassadors, the major issues of education, culture, promotion of peace and environmental protection in which UNESCO plays a leading role worldwide were underlined once again and the programmes for promoting them were set out in detail by UNESCO Director-General, Mrs Irina Bokova.
Opening the proceedings of the Meeting, Mrs Bokova noted that, within the framework of combating illiteracy, UNESCO will in 2014 implement its “The clock is ticking programme”, which is aimed at giving girls and women access to schools and strengthening their position in society. In tandem, the programmes for promoting the Culture of Peace as well as the environmental programmes for protecting oceans will be enriched and intensified.
The Goodwill Ambassadors presented their activities over the past year. Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis presented her work over the past twelve months, putting particular emphasis on the creation of the Bone Marrow Donor Bank, which will be inaugurated within 2013. In closing her speech, she invited the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors in Athens for the “20th Anniversary of the creation of the ELPIDA Association’ s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit”.
The Annual Meeting was attended by Metin Arditi (Switzerland), Pierre Berge (France), Chico Bouchikhi (France), Esther Coopersmith (USA), Miguel Angel Estrella (Argentina), Vigdis Finnbogadottir (Iceland), Princess Firyal of Jordan (Jordan), Jean Michel Jarre (France), Michaelle Jean (Canada), Nasser David Khalili (Great Britain), Setsuko Klossowska De Rola (Japan), Jean Malaurie (France), Alexandra Ochirova (Russia), Ute-Henriette Ohoven (Germany), Sen Genshitsu (Japan), Zurab Tsereteli (Russia) and Zhang Jun (China).
Following the meeting, Mrs Vardinoyannis stated: The title of the programme that UNESCO prepared for the education of girls and women was “The clock is ticking”, and I would say that a countdown is ticking off, not just for the millennium development goals, but also for every one of the planet’s humanitarian issues. Education, culture and environment were the key issues of this year’ s meeting and emphasis was put on international cooperation and the culture of peace.
In the framework of the Meeting of Goodwill Ambassadors, an event was held honouring fashion designer Bibi Russell, who is a UNESCO Artist for Peace and works tirelessly to combat poverty in her homeland, Bangladesh, preserving and passing on the country’s traditional crafts.