Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

UNESCO General Conference: Irina Bokova sworn in as director general

“On October 15, the General Conference elected Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) as UNESCO director general to replace Mr. Matsuura. Designated by the Executive Board on September 22, Ms. Bokova is the first woman and the first representative of Eastern Europe to be named to the post,” reads a UNESCO press release.

At her nomination ceremony on October 23, Irina Bokova declared, “Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue contribute to the emergence of a new humanism that reconciles the global and the local, and teaches us anew how to build the world. ... For me, humanism means aspiring to peace, democracy, justice, and human rights. For me, humanism means aspiring to tolerance, knowledge, and cultural diversity. It is rooted in ethics and in social and economic responsibility. It comes into its own by extending assistance to the most vulnerable. It is at the heart of the commitment to struggle to face our greatest common challenges, particularly respect for the environment.”

The 35th session of the UNESCO General Conference, which brought together representatives from 193 Member States, set out two priorities for culture:

  • Promoting the diversity of cultural expressions, languages, multilingualism, and cultural dialogue
  • Safeguarding and managing tangible and intangible heritage.