8 June 2007 The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today welcomed the commitment of South-East European leaders to regional cooperation and dialogue.
At the opening of the fifth summit of heads of state of South-East Europe in Sibiu, Romania, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said that underlying the annual meetings is the leaders’ commitment to “dialogue, understanding, reconciliation and peace.”
Organized by Romanian President Traian Basesc, five other leaders – of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – are participating in the two-day meeting with the theme “Cultural Diversity – a Bridge between Cultural Heritage and the Culture of the Future.”
“Heritage is no longer understood solely as the built environment,” Mr. Matsuura said, appealing for the ratification of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. “It is seen to encompass all aspects of human creativity.”
He added, “Drawing on this heritage, human creativity can invent new forms of expression that will become, in turn, the legacy for the future.”
Mr. Matsuura expressed satisfaction that each of the four previous summits have contributed to supported regional cooperation and “has chosen culture as the foundation for such an endeavour.”
The meeting’s participants have selected Greece as the site of next year’s summit, and later today, they are expected to adopt a final declaration.