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Unesco Chief Visits Indonesia, India & Timor-Leste

Unesco Chief Visits Indonesia, India And Timor-Leste

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is in the midst of a three-nation regional tour, which has included stops in Indonesia, India and Timor-Leste, the agency's 189th and newest Member State.

UNESCO Director General, Koïchiro Matsuura, kicked off his travels last Monday in Indonesia, where he held talks with the country's President, Ms. Megawati Soekarno Putri, and a host of top officials. He opened the Fourth International Experts Meeting, marking the twentieth anniversary of the Borobudur Temple Safeguarding Campaign, and announced two new UNESCO projects that will be supported by Japanese Funds-in-Trust. The first will research the best way forward for community and enterprise development that honours Borobodur's World Heritage significance, and the other will support the upgrading of education quality in the Islamic Madrasah schools system.

From 6 to 7 July, Mr. Matsuura paid an official visit to Timor-Leste, which became the newest and 189th Member State of UNESCO in early June, just over one year after the nation attained its independence. UNESCO has been active in Timor-Leste since the end of 1999 when the agency initiated a joint project to assist in the heritage restoration of the Uma Fukun building, a colonial Portuguese building- on Dili Harbour in the centre of town. The building has since been restored to serve as Timor-Leste's National Museum and Cultural Centre.

Since yesterday, Mr. Matsuura has been in New Delhi India, where he plans to hold talks with government officials and today opened an International Ministerial Conference on "Dialogue Among Civilizations - The Quest for New Perspectives", hosted by the Indian Government and co-organized with UNESCO. The Conference hosted more than 50 ministers, and international advisors and experts. It emphasized issues at the heart of UNESCO's mandate, especially education as an instrument of dialogue, science and technology as the new frontiers of unity and global connectivity, and the preservation of cultural diversity and spiritual values in an era of globalization.

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