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  • Her Highness Sheikha Mozah of Qatar delivers the closing speech for an international conference on the education in Iraq.

    23-12-2008 4:20 pm On the 1st November 2008, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Misned, First Lady of Qatar, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education and Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, joined Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO in closing the international Conference on the Right to Education in Crisis-Affected Countries, entitled ‘Stop Jeopardizing the Future of Iraq’. The conference attracted more than 200 participants and was held under the high auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah. It took place in UNESCO headquarters in Paris and was enriched by the presence of many notable personalities such as former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, the President of the Parliamentary Education Committee of Iraq, Dr Alaa Makki, the Minister of Education of Iraq, Dr Khudair Al-Khuza and Member of European Parliament and Chair of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, Baroness Emma Nicholson de Winterbourne.DG of UNESCO and Sheikha Mozah.JPG

    Speaking at the conference, Mr. Matsuura commended Her Highness’ generous support for the conference and her unsparing efforts to mobilize support in favour of re-building the educational community of Iraq. This subject is very close to Her Highness’ heart and she has often pleaded for more global solidarity in support of students and academics in crisis-affected countries, as for example last September at the Millennium Development Goals high-level event organized by the UN Secretary-General in New York. Mr. Matsuura stated that “her support for this conference is yet another sign of her determination to make sure that all Iraqis have safe access to learning opportunities.” This support has been practically demonstrated by Her Highness in the past on numerous occasions. As her first official act as UNESCO Special Envoy, she donated US$15 million in order to enable UNESCO and the Qatar Foundation to rebuild education and foster hope in Iraq.

    In her closing speech, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah emphasized the importance of paying greater attention to the needs of crisis-affected countries and stated that she feared that without more attention it would be impossible to achieve the Education For All goals or the Millennium Development Goals. Her Highness also underlined the lack of international action in assuring more security for the academic communities in countries affected by crisis and declared that “the international community must act to protect education with the same urgency and determination it has shown in response to the financial crisis.” All violations of the human right of access to education need to be monitored and documented and this duty is a responsibility of the international community. To this end, Her Highness proposed that a committee be established in order to follow-up on the recommendations of the Conference and offered to host the first meeting in Doha, capital of Qatar.

    On the 30th of November, Her Highness will preside over a special event co-organized with UNESCO on funding for education in situations of fragility. This event is to take place alongside the Doha Conference on Financing for Development in Qatar.


    Photo (© UNESCO/M Ravassard) : The Director-General of UNESCO and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah of Qatar.







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