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President thanked UNESCO Director-General for efficient leadership and reforms in the Organisation

Wednesday, May 13, Paris - President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus has started a two-day working visit in Paris. The President will attend the annual meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors in the French capital city.

Today President Adamkus had a meeting with UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura. They discussed the challenges arising at the time of global crisis to UNESCO's educational, scientific and cultural goals. The discussion also concerned the reforms and programmes implemented during Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura's term in office, Lithuania's activities within UNESCO, and new directions for cooperation.

The President thanked UNESCO's leader for efficient leadership in the Organisation, for carrying out reforms and for other accomplishments that were important for Lithuania, too.


Lithuania highly appreciates your activities; under your leadership, UNESCO has made a huge contribution to the efforts to strengthen peace in the world and to promote culture, science and education, President Adamkus said.

Lithuania's President underlined the importance of UNESCO's efforts in enhancing literacy and promoting informal education in Afghanistan.

The President said that despite the current crisis, Lithuania kept its commitments in relation to Afghanistan, and that Lithuania-led Provincial Reconstruction Group was contributing much to enhancing security and developing education in the Ghor Province.

The Head of State also noted that Lithuanian people highly appreciated the inclusion of such properties as the Curonian Spit, Kernavė Archaeological Site, and Struvė Geodetic Arc, as well as two other phenomena, the cross-crafting and the dance-song tradition, into the World Heritage List.


During the conversation, the President recalled that Lithuania, together with Latvia and Estonia, had made a joint application for the inclusion of The Baltic Way, a campaign carried out on 23 August 1989, into the Memory of the World Register. The final decision regarding the inscription of this campaign in the Memory of the World Register is due to come this July.


It was a spontaneous, live human chain that united the three states in the name of freedom and independence, the President said.


President Adamkus underlined that UNESCO activities had always won huge public interest, and he welcomed the fact that the national commission of this Organization, together with institutions of our country and public partners, had implemented many important projects contributing to the preservation of Lithuania's public educational and cultural heritage and traditions. The best success stories were the projects dedicated to the International Year of Planet Earth (Year 2007-2009), also summer camps where young people had the opportunity to learn more about Lithuanian traditions and our cultural identity.


The Head of State also underlined that year 2009 was of particular importance for Lithuania celebrating the Millennium of the first mention of its name in written sources.


It is symbolic, the President said, that Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, is also the European Capital of Culture, and that in the run-up to the elections for the position of UNESCO Director-General the three Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, put forward a joint candidacy of Lithuania's permanent representative at UNESCO, Ambassador Ms Ina Marčiulionytė.


UNESCO Director-General Mr. Matsuura thanked President Adamkus for his contribution to the development of knowledge societies and the promotion of human values.


You steered Lithuania through a very demanding and important period for you country, towards membership in the European Union and NATO, and you have really done a lot, UNESCO Director-General said.


Later in the evening, the President of Lithuania will host a reception at the Maison de l'UNESCO where the President will introduce the joint candidate of the three Baltic States for the post of Director-General of UNESCO: Ambassador Ina Marčiulionytė, Lithuania's Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

Tomorrow, May 14, President Adamkus will deliver a speech at the Annual Meeting of Goodwill Ambassadors. He will speak about the current role that UNESCO plays in the world facing the economic crisis, share Lithuania's experience in building knowledge societies, and discuss the tools for creating a global knowledge society. President Adamkus has been inaugurated as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies since 2003.


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