The President Meets with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
The President Meets with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
  • By Blaise Judja-Sato (
  • 승인 2014.02.06 05:12
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President Park Geun-hye met with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at Cheong Wa Dae today.


During their meeting, they discussed the importance of the success of the World Education Forum and the World Water Forum to be held in 2015 as well as ways to promote cooperation in connection with efforts to inscribe female divers of Jeju Island on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and include the 1983 Korean TV program aimed at reuniting separated families and related archives in the Memory of the World Register.

President Park expressed appreciation to UNESCO for everything it has done to help the Republic of Korea’s nation-building efforts. She continued to say that she was pleased to confer the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit, Gwanghwa Medal, on Director-General Bokova in recognition of UNESCO`s contributions. The President went on to pledge that Korea would return the help it had received by sharing its know-how with developing countries as a partner for cooperation. Notably, she unveiled Korea’s intent to expand its funds-in-trust and contribute to the international community by playing a more active role in setting the post-2015 development agenda.

President Park emphasized that education is the main key to the implementation of strategies for welfare and growth. In this connection, the President added that she would look into the possibility of Korea’s joining the group of Member State Champions for the UN-led Global Education First Initiative.

In response, the Director-General first expressed her appreciation for the decoration and emphatically said that the creativity President Park highlighted at the World Economic Forum in Davos corresponds with the ideals UNESCO is pursuing. Noting that the World Education Forum 2015 is a crucial gathering to set the vision for education for the coming decades, the Director-General underscored that Seoul is an ideal venue given President Park’s leadership and vision as well as Korea’s track record in assistance to African countries.

On the topic of cultural heritage, President Park said she was pleased at the recent inscription of kimjang, the making and sharing of kimchi, on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. She also said that she hoped UNESCO would look further into inscribing other items from Korea on its lists, including pungmulnori (farmers’ music and dance) and Jeju female divers as well as the 1983 Korean TV program aimed at reuniting separated families and related archives and the mountain fortress of Namhansanseong. The President next proceeded to explain her intention to create an international peace park at the DMZ. Noting UNESCO’s extensive contributions to promoting a culture of peace around the world, she said she hoped the organization would take a special interest in the project. 

Director-General Bokova replied by noting that Korea is a case in point of a country that has successfully risen out of war and poverty. On the strength of its soft power in particular, added Ms Bokova, Korea would play an important role in enhancing peace around the world, and UNESCO would offer its active cooperation to this end. She continued by saying that UNESCO is working actively for the protection of Korea’s cultural heritage and would continue to do so in the future and assured the President of UNESCO’s cooperation for the success of the 2015 World Water Forum and the World Education Forum.


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