Pahor labels UNESCO as pioneer in solving world’s problems

Paris – President Borut Pahor attended a high-level meeting in Paris on Friday marking the 75th anniversary of UNESCO and held talks with the organisation’s director general Audrey Azoulay. He said in his address that UNESCO had a pioneering role in searching for solutions to the world’s most pressing problems and challenges.

“UNESCO was born out of a realisation that political and economic cooperation is not enough for achieving a lasting peace and that people need to be brought together through dialogue among cultures, and cooperation in science and education,” he said.

The president noted the various aspects and key roles played by UNESCO in the world today. “I see UNESCO as the global leader in building peace through international cooperation in education, science and culture,” he added.

Pahor said that with its many programmes of heritage protection, UNESCO had become the crucial international player in helping to find a balance between the past and the future. “With UNESCO, we are establishing common standards on open science.”

The Slovenian president added that UNESCO was also “developing the ethics of artificial intelligence and new tools to fight new forms of racism and hate speech” and “searching for a more sustainable relationship between humans and the environment”.

He noted that UNESCO’s pioneering role in finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems and challenges was crucial for preserving peace and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030.

Beforehand, as part of the meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, the president said he was happy that they had jointly opened the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence in Slovenia earlier this year.

According to Azoulay, the centre has played an important role in the drafting of UNESCO’s recommendations for the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

Pahor congratulated Azoulay on being re-appointed to the post, while the UNESCO director-general thanked Slovenia for excellent cooperation, especially in terms of the country’s support for the reform processes within the organisation, the president’s office said.

On Thursday, Pahor attended the opening of the Paris Peace Forum upon invitation of French President Emanuel Macron, and also attended a formal dinner hosted by Macron.

The president will wrap up the three-day visit to France on Saturday by conferring the Order of Merit on writer Milan Kundera. The Slovenian artist Evgen Bavčar, who lives and works in Paris, will accept the order on behalf of his friend, who is ill.