Joint statement, UNESCO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel:
On her first official visit to Israel from 29 to 30 May 2011, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with President Shimon Peres, as well as with other high-level Israeli Government officials such as Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology, Gideon Sa’ar, Minister of Education, Limor Livnat, Minister of Culture and Sport, Yona Yahav, Mayor of Haifa, and Ambassador Eviatar Manor, Head of the Division for the UN and International Organizations of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
During the meeting she held with President Peres, the Director-General evoked the longstanding fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and Israel notably in the fields of Holocaust education, bioethics, and water science and gender equality
Ms. Irina Bokova also underscored her strong commitment to support education and training for women and girls during the opening ceremony of the International Women Leaders Conference On SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION: Education and Training for Women and Girls, celebrating of the 50th anniversary of the Golda Meir-Mount Carmel Training Centre under UNESCO's auspices and with the cooperation of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation.
In her meeting with the Minister of education, the Director-General congratulated Mr. Gideon Sa'ar, for his ground-breaking reform of the education sector in particular targeting High school in the area of teacher training and also with a view to enhancing technical and vocational education and training. They also discussed joint projects for enhancing the capacities of teachers and teacher training with special emphasis on Africa
Avenues for enhancing UNESCO-Israel cooperation in the field of sciences and technology for Africa were also discussed with Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology, building on Israel's Research and Development centers already established in sub-Saharan Africa, notably harnessing local research and countering brain-drain.
During her visit, the Director-General also paid a visit to the Yad VaShem Memorial to lay a wreath in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. She emphasized that “the duty of History is to remember, to document, to research, and to educate” and that “the importance of Yad VaShem lies in providing testimony of History and in standing witness for the future. During her meeting with Mr. Avner Shalev, the chairman of the Yad VaShem Directorate of the Holocaust Martyrs' & Heroes' Remembrance Authority, the Director General discussed future possibilities to enhancing the cooperation in the field of Holocaust education with a special focus on curricula development notably foreseeing eventually a cooperation with International Bureau of Education in Geneva.