UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will undertake her first official visit to Sri Lanka from Sunday to Wednesday, a statement issued by the UN compound in Colombo said today.
She will discover the country’s cultural wealth, through visits to several of its 8 World Heritage Sites, including the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the Sigirya Rock Fortress, and the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, where she will witness the Esala Perahera, one of the country’s most celebrated Buddhist festivals that honours the Sacred Tooth Relic kept in the temple.
Ms. Bokova is to affirm the Organization’s support to the peace and reconciliation process and the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka.
Through a series of public events, visits to world heritage sites and top-level bilateral meetings, she will witness the transformation underway in the country and discuss measures to strengthen cooperation to build peace and a sustainable future for all, including through inclusive quality education, science, technology and innovation, cultural heritage, the promotion of cultural diversity, and environmental conservation.
At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Bokova will give a public lecture on 16 August on “Soft Power for Peace and Development” at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies.
She will visit the South Asian Centre for Teacher Development, an institute under the auspices of UNESCO established in 2011, where she will address a forum on “Quality Education through Effective Teacher Development” with Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam on 17 August.
In the realm of science, she will participate in a forum on “Science & Technology Education” with Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha.
She will also visit the University of Peradeniya, where she will exchange with the Vice-Chancellor and members of faculty.
She is expected to meet President Maithripala Sirisena, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera and several other ministers, the UN statement said.