UNESCO Director General Invited to Fifth Int’l Religious Congress in Astana

On March 13, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to France Nurlan Danenov, who also is serving as Kazakhstan’s permanent representative to UNESCO, handed an official invitation to the 5th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at a meeting in Paris. The two officials discussed issues to be addressed during the congress, which will be held June 10 to 11 in Astana.

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As stated in a press-release from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, understanding the need for an effective dialogue between religious and political leaders and highlighting their responsibility to the world is what UNESCO should be supporting during these congresses, and that they should always attend them, as they did in 2006, 2009 and 2012.

“It is not by coincidence that the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is on the list of global and regional initiatives of the 2013-2022 UNESCO action plan,” the MFA message read.

Ambassador Danenov drew Bokova’s attention to the efforts being undertaken by President Nursultan Nazarbayev aimed at strengthening global and regional security, maintaining international dialogue and Kazakhstan’s sustainable development. On these matters, the UNESCO Director-General was informed about the success seen during the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan’s 20-year history. Bokova was also briefed on Kazakhstan’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2017-2018.

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The UNESCO Director-General acknowledged the relevance of President Nazarbayev’s initiative to convene the congress. The situation in the Middle East and other regions of the world demonstrate how necessary global cooperation is in addressing the challenges the world today is facing, she was quoted as saying.

Given the high level of cooperation between Kazakhstan and UNESCO in promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue, Bokova stated her intention to participate in the upcoming Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana.

Bokova participated in the international forum devoted to the official launch of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) while on an official visit to Kazakhstan in 2013.

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