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  • Mrs Chantal Biya, the first lady of Cameroon, is designated Goodwill Ambassador by the Director-General

    09-05-2009 12:50 am The Director- General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, designated Mrs Chantal Biya, First Lady of Cameroon, as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education and Social Inclusion, in a ceremony that took place in UNESCO Headquarters on 14 November 2008. The ceremony was attended by many notable personalities such as Mrs Haman Adama, Cameroonian Minister for Basic Education; Ms Rama Yade, the French Foreign and European Affairs Minister’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights; H.Exc. Mr.Lejeune Mbella Mbella, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ,Permanent Delegate to UNESCO of Cameroon.UNESCO's Director-General and Mrs Chantal Biya, First Lady of Cameroon 2.jpg

    In his address Mr Koichiro thanked Mrs Biya for her long-standing engagement in the struggle against social exclusion, more specifically through her support for AIDS
    education and prevention, her leadership and work with African First Ladies through
    Synergies Africaines, her association with the Families First Africa project and the
    centre in Yaoundé bearing her name. As the Director-General pointed out, through this
    designation UNESCO wishes “to underline the fact that [inclusive education] is primarily
    directed at vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, and that its main objective is to end
    all types of discrimination and favour social cohesion.”

    Mrs Biya is renowned for her activities in favour of women, children and other vulnerable
    groups, but also for the research, treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS
    mainly through her Foundation “African Synergies against AIDS and Suffering”. The
    Chantal Biya Centre is closely linked to UNESCO’s “Families First Africa” project,
    which supports activities that address HIV/AIDS in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and
    Burkina Faso. The project is directed by Professor Luc Montagnier, Nobel Prize for
    Medicine Laureate, and very generously financed by the Italian Government.

    As Goodwill Ambassador for social inclusion
    and education, Mrs Biya will promote UNESCO’s programmes through the cooperation
    with the Organisation’s sectors. She will contribute to UNESCO’s efforts for
    the strengthening and the expanding of the work of the Chantal Biya Centre, which
    serves as a training and capacity-building hub in the region to increase services for
    those who are marginalised, excluded and vulnerable. Mrs Biya will also continue her
    advocacy for social inclusion and education by serving as a champion for the dissemination
    and application by decision-makers and international partners of guidelines scheduled
    to be launched at this year’s International Conference on Education, for the integration
    of inclusive Education in national planning and politics; the mobilisation of the First
    Ladies and the civil society of Africa and the promotion of Education for All (EFA) and
    the critical role of education in tackling poverty, especially for women and girls, orphans,
    minorities and other vulnerable groups.

    Photo (© UNESCO/Ravassard) : The Director-General of UNESCO and Mrs Chantal Biya

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    Updated:09-05-2009 11:30 am