October 19, 2007

Greek President addresses UNESCO conference

Posted at 4:26 pm in Elgin Marbles

Greek President Karolos Papoulias as referred to the fight for the return of the Parthenon Marbles during a speech to UNESCO in Paris.

Athens News Agency

Papoulias addresses UNESCO con’f in Paris

Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday addressed the 34th UNESCO conference in Paris, where he emphasised the global fight against ignorance through education, while he also touched on the areas of culture, science, migration and protection of the environment.

He also referred to the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Athens, referring to a “life-long goal” of late Greek culture minister Melina Mercouri.

Papoulias was invited to address the conference by UNESCO General Director Koichiro Matsuura, as sessions will continue until Nov. 3.

His address came on the heels of the unanimous election of Greece’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), George Anastasopoulos, as president of the body’s General Conference for the next two years.

Among others, Papoulias stressed that ignorance is an “enemy of peaceful co-existence of peoples,” while he recognised the significance of UNESCO’s primary goal of “equality in education”.

“Every child that has access to schooling is another step towards development and peace. However, I believe that we are far from the desired result .It is particularly worrying that access to education, particularly high-quality education, depends on one’s financial ability and place of birth. Education should cease to be a privilege of the ‘haves’ in opposition to an education of values,” he said.

Finally, in signing the official book of visitors, Papoulias wrote that “when threats of war poison the atmosphere, when thousands of people are plagued by hunger and poverty, UNESCO’s values remain ecumenical”.

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