Audrey Azoulay stresses the King's commitment to strengthen Morocco-UNESCO cooperation

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, underlined, on Tuesday in Paris, King Mohammed VI’s commitment to strengthening cooperation between the Morocco and the UN organization in several areas, in particular that of the preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity.

“We know how much this cooperation between Morocco and UNESCO owes to the commitment of His Majesty the King and the royal family”, affirmed Audrey Azoulay in a speech, on the occasion of the signature, under the presidency of Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Foundation for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Rabat, of a partnership agreement between UNESCO and the Foundation.

Within the framework of this cooperation between the Kingdom and UNESCO, she recalled the holding last November in Rabat of a “particularly rich” session of the Intangible Heritage Committee, stressing that this heritage has been the subject of important announcement by His Majesty the King, with the forthcoming establishment of a National Center dedicated to intangible heritage.

The Director-General also recalled the organization in Marrakech a few months earlier of an International Conference on Adult Education, also highlighting the fundamental archaeological discoveries made in Morocco: the oldest homo sapiens fossil at Djebel Irhoud in 2017 and the ornaments from the Bizmoune cave, which opened up new perspectives on the origins of humanity.

Azoulay did not fail to highlight the commitment of Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, who has been supporting UNESCO since 2016 in its actions aimed in particular at safeguarding the oceans and developing environmental education as well as the work provided by the Foundation for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Rabat, which the Princess chairs.

According to the Director-General of UNESCO, the city of Rabat embodies the spirit of the UNESCO Convention for World Heritage: a dialogue between the old and the new, understanding and valuing the legacy of centuries, while by being fully in modernity.

Rabat also shows all that a World Heritage listing can bring, in just ten years, in terms of the dynamics of cultural policies, urban transformation, reasoned tourist development and opportunities for local communities, she said. raised.

”It is thanks to this dynamic in particular – and we had the opportunity to celebrate together the 10th anniversary of Rabat’s inscription on the World Heritage List – that Rabat was chosen to be both the cultural capital of the world Islam and the first African capital of culture”, welcomed the DG of UNESCO.

“These successes owe a great deal to Your personal commitment and to the work carried out by the Foundation”, she said to the Princess, welcoming the signing of a first formal cooperation agreement between UNESCO and the Foundation. , although the two institutions have already started to work together.

This agreement, Ms Azoulay specified, opens new perspectives, not only in Rabat, not only in Morocco, but also more generally in Africa, which is one of UNESCO’s strategic priorities and which is “the ambition of the projects carried out by the foundation”, rejoicing at the success of the “I discover our heritage” program, which has already benefited, thanks to the efforts of Lalla Hasnaa and the Foundation, nearly 4,000 schoolchildren from more than 60 schools in Rabat, a activity which will extend beyond Rabat to the whole country and which also serves as a model in other African countries, and not only.

“Another axis of our common work, in Morocco and here again on the continent, will be to respond to the need to have a new generation of professionals, well trained and specialized – a pressing and particularly decisive need, for which the UNESCO and Morocco, particularly through the foundation, cooperate in the service of our priority for Africa”, she said.

As a reminder, Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Foundation for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage of Rabat, chaired, Tuesday at UNESCO headquarters, in the presence of Audrey Azoulay, the signing of a partnership agreement between the two organizations.

The agreement, signed by Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, and Nouzha Alaoui, Secretary General of the Foundation, will focus, first, on the youth education program World Heritage and UNESCO and to carry out activities with Moroccan and African youth. The Foundation and UNESCO are committed to carrying out essential action on the African continent. This joint action will consist of implementing the World Heritage Convention on classified sites in Morocco and Africa.

The partnership agreement also provides for capacity building programs for heritage stakeholders who manage and preserve it in Rabat, Morocco or Africa and finally participation in various national and international events organized by UNESCO.

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