On May 18, a conference took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Koichiro Matsuura, who was general director of UNESCO during 1999-2009.
First Vice-president of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva attended the event.
Mehriban Aliyeva met with former heads of UNESCO, honorary and goodwill ambassadors at the headquarters of the organization.
Mehriban Aliyeva has made significant contribution to the advancement of the Azerbaijan-UNESCO relations. Honoured with the title of UNESCO goodwill ambassador in September 2004 for preservation, study and promotion of Azerbaijan’s rich culture, Mehriban Aliyeva was conferred on a silver service medal by former Director General Koichiro Matsuura in 2008, for care and attention shown towards the world culture, as well as for her contributions to immortalizing Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, and in 2010, former Director General of the organization Irina Bokova honoured her with Golden Mozart medal. UNESCO has been having a very fruitful cooperation with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, headed by Mehriban Aliyeva. Thanks to endeavours by Mehriban Aliyeva, tangible and intangible cultural heritage examples of Azerbaijan were entered on UNESCO’s relevant lists.
Chairperson of the Association of Former UNESCO Staff Members Georges Kutukdjiangreeted Azerbaijan’s First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva and other attendees of the event. He read congratulation letters by Amadou Mahtar Mbow, who had been UNESCO director general during 1974-1987, and Federico Mayor, who had been holding this office in the course of 1987-1999.
UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay touched upon Koichiro Matsuura’s contribution to the organization’s advancement, emphasizing that his management practice has been pursued to date.
Then, Irina Bokova, who had been UNESCO director general during 2009-2017, recalled significant documents adopted by UNESCO while the organization was headed by Koichiro Matsuura. Irina Bokova thanked Mehriban Aliyeva for the support she has provided during the term of her mandate.
Chairperson of UNESCO General Conference Zohour Alaoui talked about the contribution Koichiro Matsuura has made to the advancement of intercultural dialogue, and multiculturalism, underscoring the importance of the directions he proclaimed as priority.
Eleanora Mitrofanova, who had been chairperson of the Executive Staff in 2009-2011, presented the medal “Peace, friendship and cooperation” to Koichiro Matsuura for promotion of peace among peoples.
A letter by Louis Oliver, who had been ambassador of the United States of America to UNESCO during 2004-2008, was read at the event.
Thereafter, UNESCO’s honorary and goodwill ambassadors Marianna Vardinoyannis, Setsuko Klossowska de Rola and Bahia Hariri touched upon Koichiro Matsuura’s services for the expansion of UNESCO’s activities while he headed the organization.
Speaking at the end of the event, Koichiro Matsuura shared his recollections associated with his activities while in the office at UNESCO.