UNESCO Head Irina Bokova Gets Simon Wiesenthal Center Special Award
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has been presented with a Special Award of Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish human rights organization, in recognition of her leadership and longstanding commitment to promoting peace and dialogue.
The award was presented by Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the closing of a ceremony for the inauguration of the exhibition “People, Book, Land: 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land” at the United States Congress in Washington D.C. on 18 November.
“For UNESCO, understanding history, respecting culture and heritage is the starting point for peace,” said Bokova, who has been nominated for the post of United Nations Secretary General by the Bulgarian government.
“Knowing history is important for peace building today more than ever,” Bokova added, stressing that it is the core mandate of UNESCO “to promote respect and mutual understanding, to fight all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and denial.”
Bokova inaugurated the exhibition in the presence of Edward Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer and Rabbi Marvin Hier.
Thanking the Director-General for participating in this event at the Congress, Rabbi Hier recalled that the exhibition was launched at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in June, and presented at the UN Headquarters in New York. It will travel to Israel’s Knesset next week and to the Holy See in December.
The exhibition presents an overview of Jewish life in the Middle East from Biblical times to the present through some 30 illustrated panels and texts. It was co-organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
In July, Bokova received the distinction of Commander of the National Order of the L?gion d’Honneur, from French President Fran?ois Hollande in Paris.
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