The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, will promote, and mobilize support for the Organization’s leadership in areas of global concern with a special focus on education, environmental science and press freedom at this year’s United Nations General Assembly which she will attend from 21 to 25 September.
Ms Azoulay will officially launch UNESCO’s global initiative on the Futures of Education, with the participation of several Heads of State and Government including the co-sponsors of the event President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal. This will mark the beginning of a global debate on how education needs to be re-imagined to meet the challenges of today’s increasingly complex world. Attending Heads of State and Government will share their perspectives on the future of education. UNESCO will announce the establishment of an International Commission on the Futures of Education and the appointment of President Sahle-Work Zewde as its chair. (25 September, 1.15pm – 2.45pm, Conference Room 1)
UNESCO will also take an active part in the Climate Summit, including the Youth Climate Summit, with the participation of climate activist Greta Thunberg and some 60 young members of the Youth Network of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, representing 50 countries. Many other young activists will attend the summit alongside innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers committed to tackling the climate crisis. (21 September, 10am – 1pm, UN General Assembly)
Also, UNESCO and the Government of Greece will co-organize a side-event, Cultural Heritage Partnership to Enable Ambitious Climate Action, on ways to draw on cultural and natural heritage to address the challenges of climate change. On behalf of Director-General, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, will focus on UNESCO’s scientific, educational and cultural expertise to fight climate change, and embed new development models into UNESCO’s cultural and natural sites (21 September, 11.30am-1pm, Conference Room 5)
The Director-General will also speak at a high-level event on Media Freedom and Safety of Journalists alongside UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and UK Special Envoy for Media Freedom Amal Clooney. The event is organized by the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which, along with Canada, initiated a global campaign on media freedom in early 2019. During the London Global Conference for Media Freedom last July, they established a new Global Media Defence Fund, to be administered by UNESCO, which will take forward the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. (25 September, 8am – 9.30am, Conference Room 5)
The Director General will take part in a high-level event, Christchurch Call, to promote UNESCO’s efforts to counter hate speech and violent extremist content online. The event will focus on multilateral efforts in this area and progress in mobilizing support for the Christchurch Call for Action, launched by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in May this year following the live-streamed murder of 51 Muslims in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. (23 September, 4.30pm – 6pm, Conference Room 1)