Friday, January 22, 2010

Reception for Irina Bokova

I was fortunate enough yesterday to attend a reception to honor UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova hosted by the United Nations Foundation. The reception was held in the Rayburn Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Russ Carnahan, who had met with Bokova earlier in the day, welcomed the many guests to the reception. Ambassador David Killion, the U.S. Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, introduced Director General Bokova, who made a few gracious remarks, underlying the importance of UNESCO and her intention of making it a still more effective and important organization. I remain awed by her command of languages. I can testify personally that she speaks flawless English and French, and have been told by a friend who is a native speaker of Russian that her Russian is perfect. A Bulgarian, I hear she also speaks Spanish, bring her to a total of five languages.

Director General Bokova was in the United States for the launch of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report at the United Nations. She shared the podium at that event with United Nations Director General Ban Ki-Moon. She met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday before the reception, an indication of the importance that the Obama administration gives to UNESCO's educational, scientific and cultural programs.

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