10 May 2012

Address by H.E. Mrs Eleonora Mitrofanova, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO

Mr Director of the World Heritage Center, Madame President of the Forum of Slavic Cultures, Distinguished representatives of the Members States of UNESCO, Excellencies, Members of the UNESCO Secretariat, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear colleagues and friends, In my capacity as Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation and Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, I am very pleased to take the floor at the opening of the third cultural event of the Forum of Slavic Cultures at UNESCO Headquarters since 2010, for I believe that it will further continue the tradition of holding such joint artistic events in this Organization. In that regard, I should like, in particular, to thank my colleagues, the Ambassadors of Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine who have vested special confidence in me to deliver this address on behalf of our countries and peoples. My very special thanks to Mrs Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, many other colleagues from UNESCO Sector of Culture and Sector of External Relations and Public Information for thier support and assistance in carrying out the Exhibition. Ladies and gentlemen, The purpose of today’s event is closely linked to the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development observed on 21 May, is to make the culture of Slavic peoples better known as an example of extreme diversity of mutually enriching cultures since they are united by their linguistic and common origin. The Day of Slavic Alphabet and Culture is also known as the Saints Cyril and Methodius Day.They were Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of the First Bulgarian Empire, Great Moravia, and Pannonia who created the Old Church Slavonic alphabet. The Cyrillic laid the basis for the written language of the Slavic peoples and for the development of deep cultural relations that have enriched the culture of humanity as a whole. The brothers Cyril and Methodius are still highly regarded by both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Through their work they influenced cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title "Apostles to the Slavs". Ladies and gentlemen, The various regional integration processes initiated worldwide in the last few decades have highlighted the need to preserve and develop shared cultural values and traditions in Slavic-speaking countries and to strengthen the ideological and political role and place of the Slavic world in close connection with Western Europe, the Mediterranean area, Asia Minor and beyond. This quest to revive their common identity led to the establishment of the Forum of Slavic Cultures in 2004. The Forum promotes international cooperation in the cultural, educational and scientific fields. Ladies and gentlemen, This year’s exhibition of children's drawings My Portrait for Museum lays in close conjunction with the UNESCO "World Heritage in Young Hands" Programme. Museums tend to make their art funds and permanent collection interesting and accessible to the young. The My Portrait for Museum project is dedicated to the child portrait in the arts and is aimed at the preschool and the early elementary school children. Its objectives are to stimulate creativity and curiosity with children through child portraits, to develop positive attitude towards the arts, museum institutions and cultural heritage. UNESCO is convinced that promoting such exchanges among young people is an essential element in laying the foundations for mutual respect, understanding and peaceful coexistence among the world's cultures. The 2012 edition of the Forum of Slavic Cultures is fully consistent with the values and principles of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity which the 10th Anniversary was celebrated in last October. It lies within the framework of UNESCO "Culture: a Bridge to Development" initiative and is in a sense a prologue to the United Nations International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) adopted by the General Conference at its last session. The events by Forum at UNESCO endorse traditionally UNESCO’s aspiration to work for a “new humanism for the twenty-first century” aimed at uniting the efforts of the international community in support of solidarity among all the peoples of the world, equity and inclusiveness, as well as cultural diversity. Dear friends, I invite you to get aquainted with the works of very young painters from all our countries. I wish you a very pleasant trip to the diversity and richness of cultural and spiritual inheritance of Slavic Cultures, to the colorful and emotional world of child fantasy. To complement the culture presentation by Forum the performers from different Slavic countries will bring a small concert to your attention. I wish you a pleasant evening.