Dear Alexandra, Madam Director-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a very pleasant occasion for us today to gather again here at UNESCO Headquarters, in a circle of friends and colleagues, taking part in this solemn and joyful event – the ceremony to designate Alexandra Vasilievna Ochirova as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. First of all, I would like to address my sincere gratitude to Madam Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, for having made such a favourable decision, which is in my opinion quite right and well-grounded. I am particularly happy to welcome Alexandra whom we have known for many years as an outstanding Russian public figure. With her we have in common a long history of successful joint activity in the implementation of many social and cultural projects. The personality of Aleksandra Ochirova serves as a bright example of the modern woman-leader, active in many fields, who lives, works and creates harmoniously within a complex transition period, which her Motherland and a number of other countries and international institutions are experiencing, on the boundary of centuries and epochs. This brilliant personality reveals an uneasy destiny, albeit one enriched with remarkable events. Ms Ochirova is a professional philosopher with a profound knowledge of our environmental circumstances, which makes of her a responsive and sensitive person, attentive to the needs of people around her, those to whom she can render the necessary help. Leo Tolstoy wrote: "In destiny there are no accidents; human being more likely creates, rather than meets the destiny". In this way, Ms Ochirova, today's nominee for UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, creates not only her own destiny with brio but helps the destiny of many others. Her proactive position in life, her sense of high responsibility for each person met and activity done, her dedication to noble ideals help Alexandra Ochirova to continuously reach tangible results in all aspects of her multifaceted public, political, scientific, educational and creative activity. Ms Ochirova is well known in my country and abroad as a strong social activist. Winner of the most prestigious Soviet prize for young people in the field of the sciences, with PhD in Philosophy, she is currently member of a number of international scientific communities. Alexandra Ochirova also participates regularly in international women’s summits. She is the founder of one of the primary non-governmental organizations of Russia – the international women’s centre "Women’s Future". Under her leadership the Centre has started to be engaged in charity, innovative and social projects and international programmes, including partnerships with the United Nations and is one of the first in the country to do so. The main objective of the Centre is to provide medical, social, logistical and other assistance to vulnerable social groups, primarily to children and women in difficulty. The Centre was once nominated for the Nobel Prize for its substantial achievements in this sphere. During her long professional career Alexandra Ochirova was consistently entrusted with high-level responsibilities as a deputy of Parliament of the Russian Federation and Vice-President of State Duma’s Committee for International Affairs. Ms Ochirova has co-chaired the Public Coordination Council on interaction between Moscow City authorities and non-governmental organizations. Further she has been a Member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and Chairperson of its Commission on Social Development. She also has been a Member of the Board of the Presidential Council for the Implementation of Priority National Projects. Finally, Ms Ochirova is a Member of the Board of the Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo for cooperation with countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This body has the particular responsibility of helping compatriots living abroad and of building scientific and cultural cooperation between Russia and other countries. The wide range of Ms Ochirova’s public interests is a distinctive testimony to her dynamic participation in numerous projects, ranging from the promotion of the constructive image of Russia abroad, to education and healthcare for children and pensioners, GLONASS satellite navigation systems, and many others. Indisputably, this committed and concerned attitude of Aleksandra Ochirova towards people who are close to her and to events which she comes across is an expression of her extraordinary creative and poetic soul. She writes amazing verses and is engaged in journalism. She is the author of a large number of books and poetry collections. Her verses inspire the most well-known Russian composers. Our famous variety artists and musical groups include them in their repertory, generously sharing this heritage with the audience. The essence of Aleksandra Ochirova’s life and creativity was marked by the distinction of Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Arts, accolades from other Russian and international academic and public organizations, and many other awards and medals. Dear Alexandra Vasilievna, Being a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO not only shows high esteem for your achievements and an honorary title, but is also a weighty responsibility. I am certain, that owing to your considerable experience and knowledge, energy and commitment, wisdom and persistence you will bear with dignity this beautiful task. I wish you every success and further significant accomplishments in your new mission in the service of peace, global security and international humanitarian cooperation. Health and safety to you and to your loved ones. Thank you for your attention.