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UNESCO 40th General Conference Opens in Paris, France With the UN Secretary General Highlighting UNESCO Global Leadership in Education
(UNESCO- Paris, France-November 13, 2019) United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 delivered the keynote address at the 40th General Conference of UNESCO emphasizing the essential mandate in education and pleaded in favor of multilateralism as over 200 representatives of organizations, member governments and dignitaries are attending. Secretary General Guterres said “Education is an essential pillar to achieve our objectives for 2030. And we are late,”. “UNESCO has a fundamental role to play to coordinate and monitor global efforts in this regard. I commend the initiative launched by the Director-General at the UN General Assembly last September on the futures of education.” Mr. Guteres warned against the splintering of the international community along economic, social, and environmental divides, growing hate and discrimination, adding “We must do everything to maintain a universal system based on international law and preserve a multi-polar world with strong multilateral institutions.” The Secretary General also welcomed UNESCO’s contribution to ethical issues in science and technology and “the fact that this General Conference seems to be close to launching a process towards a global normative instrument about the ethics of artificial intelligence.” At the opening of the session, Member States elected Ambassador Ahmet Altay Cengizer, Permanent Delegate of Turkey to UNESCO, as President of the 40th session of the General Conference. UNESCO’s Director General Madam Audrey Azoulay denounced the multiple divides that are eroding national and international governance as well as the planet itself. Madam Azoulay said “Contemporary challenges call on us to draw on our shared humanity,” “They cannot be contained by territorial borders, nor will they find lasting solutions that are not based on cooperation, solidarity and multilateralism.” She told the UNESCO Opening debate about the importance of education, “the keystone of peace. We must not only correct the insufficiencies and inequalities that education is suffering from, but also improve our guidance of the world’s educational systems in the future, to lay the best foundations of effective, real sustainable development.” The Liberian delegation at the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference includes; Education Minister Professor D Ansu Sonii, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson, Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe and Sam Hare of the Liberia UNESCO Office among others. During its 40th session which ends on 27 November, Member States are also set to adopt an international convention destined to facilitate the international recognition of higher education diploma and the free movement of students and faculty.