We need to reintroduce Unesco: Al Kawari
13 Aug 2017 - 2:12
H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari (pictured), Cultural Adviser at the Emiri Diwan and Qatar’s candidate for the post of Director-General at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), has said that if he was elected for the post he would revive the organisation through introducing it to the world.
“I give lectures in many universities and when I talk about Unesco, the students do not know where it is located. They do not know about the objectives of Unesco. They confuse Unesco with other organisations like Unicef. So we need to reintroduce Unesco,” Dr Al Kawari said in an interview with an Indian magazine Diplomatic Square.
“If you want Unesco to be financed, it has to be presented effectively and forcefully to the world. Unesco is among the noblest organisations in the world. It can attract the attention of many good businesspersons and professionals for charity, but it has to be presented well. Should I be elected, my first job would be to reintroduce Unesco. It is a great organisation and people must know more about it. Another important thing I will strive for is consensus,” he added.
He said: “In the earlier days when Unesco was a big success, most resolutions were taken by consensus so that the organisation enjoyed the support of every one. I will strive to revive this tradition. All these things are in my mind and in my vision and I look forward to India’s support.”
Dr Al Kawari was in Delhi on Friday to meet Indian officials. For India, exercising a decision to support Dr Al Kawari should be an easy task keeping in view, the centuries of historical and cultural ties between the Indian and Arab nations, the cultural affinity and profound economic ties, the present political relations and of course the fact that who else can be a better custodian of global heritage than someone who hails from the ancient cradle of civilisation —from Hindustan, Afghanistan, Persia, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Levant, Egypt and so on.
During his very brief stay, Dr Al Kawari in an exclusive interview to Diplomatic Square, speaks about Unesco and his mission. To another question on visa-free entra, he said: “I agree that this visa-free entry for Indians is a very important development. Any Indian can now go and visit Qatar without visa, spend a few days there and then come back. The Indian community has played a very important role in building our nation. They are active, effective and a peaceful community.”
On his candidature, he said: “My career as an ambassador is spread across the years and in between, I have been the Chairman of many large companies and I have very significant experience in the financial and corporate management of very large companies. Today, Unesco is under great pressure and it needs to be saved. The Director-General of Unesco will have a great responsibility, a mission that has to be met.”
On a question about destruction of Buddha statues at Bamiyan, Afghanistan or Palmyra in Syria, he said: this is a very, very important question and I thank you for raising it. The international community has to formulate a law to prevent any party to cause hurt to any international heritage because it is the conscience of the all people living in this world.
If you look to the extremism or terrorism, he said, they target the human heritage as much as they target tourists and when they do so, they target the history of the world. They target what unites the world. So it’s good that lately a resolution is evolving that considers this as an international crime. But they also need to strengthen this resolution by implementing it.
He said that science remains very much important along with culture for Unesco. “It’s going to be a part of my job to enhance the role of science and look for synergy with other organisations, like Unicef, like WHO that are connected to the top commercial groups. We need this kind of synergy because we need to help each other. This is one of the points so this is very important.”
He said that the current financial crisis of Unesco was an exceptional one and demands innovative solutions. “You know that the main problem is that America stopped to pay their dues since 2011 (Americans pay about 24 percent of the budget) and that generated the main reason for this problem. I had a kind of debate with the American ambassador and I told him that when you decided ‘not to pay because you are not happy with certain resolution’ it becomes a political problem.”
“I said to him, that it’s not America but the entire international community that looks to terrorism as the first enemy – it is correct, and you say that we will fight it by force that is also correct but to fight terrorism should you stop payments that go for education, science, heritage, youth programmes, communication, gender equality – all very important programmes listed under Unesco’s list of activities. When you do this, it impedes development and you actually fuel terrorism and you appear not to be serious in fighting terrorism.”