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New Zealander to chair UNESCO Council

21 March 2006, Media Release

New Zealander to chair UNESCO Council

New Zealander Lawrence Zwimpfer has been elected chair of the Intergovernmental Council for UNESCO’s [United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation] Information for All Programme (IFAP).

Mr Zwimpfer, an information and communications technology specialist from Wellington, has just been elected to the position by the representatives of the Council's 26 Member States currently meeting in Paris.

The Information for All Programme was created in 2000. Through the IFAP, UNESCO’s Member States pledged to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. The Council, headed by Mr Zwimpfer, has responsibility for guiding the programme which aims to narrow the gap between the information rich and poor and to build an information society for all.

Mr Zwimpfer, who has been Deputy Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and chair of the Communications Sub Commission for 6 years, has represented New Zealand and the Pacific sub-region on the Council since its inception.

He has 35 years experience in the telecommunications industry, over half of which has been applying new technology developments to address specific needs in business and the community. He has played a leading role in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands in the development and use of interactive communication technologies such as teleconferencing and the Internet.

The election came at the beginning of the agenda of the Council as it opened its fourth session at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters. Among the issues to be addressed by the Council is IFAP’s contribution to the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Council will also discuss UNESCO’s future medium-term strategy in the area of communication and information.

The Council presently includes Angola, Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Sudan, Tunisia, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay and Venezuela.

ENDS

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