Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Message by Hubert Gijzen, Director and Representative, UNESCO Office, Jakarta

In Observance of the Year for Biodiversity and Cultural Rapprochement
Highlighting Bohol as the July ASEAN Cultural Capital and
Regional Launching Site of UNESCO Día del Galeón (Galleon Day) 2010
In Celebration of the Bohol Sandugo Festival, themed “Bohol crossing borders and forging connectivity towards ASEAN Regional Partnership”
Bohol Cultural Centre, Bohol Province, Philippines, 22 July 2010

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning.

I am extremely pleased to join you on this occasion of Bohol Day, celebrating the
Philippines as the 1st ASEAN Cultural Capital and the Province of Bohol as the ASEAN
Cultural Capital in Philippines for month of July.

Firstly, I would like to express our congratulations and sincere appreciation to the
Provincial Government of Bohol, the Government of the Philippines, the UNESCO
National Commission, the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), and the
ASEAN member countries for actively promoting cooperation in the field of culture, and
for aiming to enhance mutual understanding and solidarity among the peoples of
Southeast Asia.

Considering the importance of intercultural dialogue as a most pressing contemporary
issue, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2010 the International Year for
the Rapprochement of Cultures, and designated UNESCO to play a leading role in the
celebration of the Year to advance “the mutual knowledge and understanding of

In this respect, I am pleased that the Philippine proposal for the Commemoration of the
galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico through the proclamation of a “Día del
Galeón” (Day of the Galleon) was unanimously approved during the 35th session of
UNESCO General Conference in Paris in October last year. The resolution noted that
starting in 1565 for 250 years (1565-1815), the Manila-Acapulco galleons linked Asia
with America, Europe and also Africa and served not only as carriers of trade but
transmitters of cultures as well. The General Conference proclaims 8 October every year
as Día del Galeón (or Galleon Day). This year is the first commemoration of Día del
Galeón, a recognition of the contribution of the galleon trade to the establishment of
linkages between the cultures of Asia, America, Europe and Africa. In this regard we
would like to encourage and support all initiatives which will be taken in this regard at the
national, regional and international levels.

In the light of the declaration of 2010 as “International Year for the Rapprochement of
Cultures”, which highlights the links among and diversity of cultures, it is fitting to
commemorate the beginnings of world trade and cross-cultural contacts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of
peace must be constructed”. Many of you will remember this first line from the UNESCO
constitution. Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building
peace. The main objective of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures is,
therefore, to bring attention to the valuable benefits of cultural diversity worldwide, and
help strengthen dialogue among the world’s citizens.

With the goal of ensuring the broadest visibility of cultural rapprochement and its
greatest impacts at local and international levels, UNESCO aims at strengthening the
cooperation with its partners, particularly: the National Commissions of UNESCO
Member States, various agencies of the United Nations systems, intergovernmental,
governmental and non-governmental organizations, Goodwill Ambassadors and Artist
for Peace, UNESCO Chairs and Associated Schools, Clubs and Centres,
parliamentarians, locally elected officials, the world of culture, science, education and
the media, religious leaders and other opinion leaders as well as youth organization. The
ultimate aim is to foster respect for each other’s culture and break down the barriers
between different cultures.

In observance of the Year for Biodiversity and Cultural Rapprochement, in conjunction
with the Bohol Foundation Day, Bohol as the July ASEAN Cultural capital, and the First
Year Commemoration of the UNESCO Dia Del Galeon, I wish you a most successful
and joyful celebration.

Thank you for your attention.

Hubert Gijzen
Bohol, 22 July, 2010

1 comment: