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Former UNESCO director-general gives lecture on culture, global governance

Updated: November 2, 2023

On Oct 23, Irina Bokova, former director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and honorary dean of the School of International Organizations at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), delivered a lecture on culture and global governance at the university. 


Zhao Gang, a member of the standing committee of the CPC BFSU committee and vice-president of the university, presides over the lecture on Oct 23. [Photo/bfsu.edu.cn]


Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, delivers a lecture at BFSU on Oct 23. [Photo/bfsu.edu.cn] 

During her lecture, Bokova talked about the mission, objectives and constitution of UNESCO, elaborated on the relationship between culture and sustainable development, and provided a detailed account of how the United Nations incorporates culture into the pursuit of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Culture plays a vital role in empowering economic, social, and environmental sustainability, she said. 

Bokova recounted the development of cultural heritage preservation, and illustrated UNESCO's contributions to the protection of cultural diversity and the promotion of cultural sharing. 

She specified the various risks and challenges that cultural heritage preservation faces today, including such issues as over-urbanization, unsustainable tourism development, a shortage of expertise and resources, geopolitical conflicts, illegal trafficking and theft, and environmental changes. Bokova also presented UNESCO's Nature-based Solutions for world heritage preservation, an approach aimed at addressing climate change. 

Subsequent to the lecture, she engaged in discussions with BFSU students on such topics as gender and sustainable development, the adherence to international rules and conventions, and the return of cultural heritage. 

Bokova offered a comprehensive introduction to UNESCO's efforts in cultural protection and management, as well as captivating stories behind international conventions, which highlighted the importance of language and cultural communication, said Zhao Gang, a member of the standing committee of the CPC BFSU committee and vice-president of the university. 

BFSU has been committed to promoting cultural exchanges, enhancing cross-cultural understanding and nurturing talents with intercultural communication competence, he added. 


Yang Dan (R),president of BFSU and deputy secretary of the CPC BFSU committee, presents Irina Bokova (L), former director-general of UNESCO, with the Chinese-English edition of Key Concepts in Chinese Thought And Culture. [Photo/bfsu.edu.cn]