UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has today personally thanked Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for financial assistance in liquidating the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake at the 11th meeting of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors opened in Paris on Monday, ITAR- TASS reported.
A strong earthquake occurred on the Haiti Island on Jan. 12, 2010. According to official data as of March 18, 2010, the death toll reached 222,570 people. The number of those who got injured was 311,000 people and missing - 869 people.
The 11th meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors discussed the situation in conflict areas and ways to overcome consequences of the natural disasters.
Bokova thanked the ambassadors for their contribution in spreading the UNESCO ideals in the world in a difficult period of history for mankind.
"Much has been achieved, but even more still should be done," she said.
Bokova said this meeting runs in ‘the year, which was rich in events’. Bokova first emphasized the economic crisis’s impact on the lives of people around the world and spoke about the important geopolitical developments in the Arab East. In this regard, she drew attention to a role of the youth, which has become the engine of democratic changes in the region, as well as to the issue of gender equality and women's status in society.
Participants have presented reports on the situation in conflict zones in the world - Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The session also touched the issue of eliminating consequences of the disasters and assisting to regions affected by natural disasters, particularly, the catastrophic drought in countries of the Horn of Africa.
Speaking at the event, French musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Jean-Michel Jarre said the global problems require a constant attention and efforts. "People overflow with emotions at a time of crisis, but all forget about this or other catastrophe after a few months. Efforts should be persistent," Jarre said.`
During the meeting, Bokova also welcomed the new goodwill ambassadors, who had the honor to represent the ideals of UNESCO in the world. Famous jazz artist Herbie Hancock and American actor and director Forest Whitaker are among them.
At present, the group of Goodwill Ambassadors includes about 40 representatives of different areas of knowledge, creativity and social life. The group includes Azerbaijani First Lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, MP Mehriban Aliyeva, French astronaut Patrick Baudry, president of the World Association of Russian Press, Director General of ITAR-TASS Vitaly Ignatenko, president of the Asian Fund, Indian writer Madanjeet Singh, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela and other prominent public figures, designed to spread the organization's ideas in the world.
Bokova stated that the annual meetings of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are very important, and that is why they run on the eve of the regular session of UNESCO General Conference, which opens in Paris in late October