Declaration of Support
We the undersigned, express our conviction that the world needs a strong and vibrant UNESCO, and in the years ahead, UNESCO needs a visionary and capable leader, who can face the changing world and translate the noble ideals in the Constitution of the Organization into realities that affect the lives of millions of people. We hereby endorse, without reservations, Dr. Ismail Serageldin of Egypt, as the new Director-General of UNESCO, to succeed Prof. Federico Mayor who is completing his second and final term in 1999.
We are moved to do this because we believe that as we approach the third millennium, the world needs, more than ever, UNESCO. An organization committed to "...promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world without distinction of race, sex, language or religion..."
The nobility of UNESCO’s mission and purpose challenge us all to do more. Those who drafted that constitution over fifty years ago saw clearly and lucidly the challenges, and saw the role that education, science and culture had to play in creating a better future. Half a century later, despite the end of the cold war and the enormous advances in literacy and education, the challenges are still formidable.
Today, we live in a world of plenty, of dazzling scientific advances and technological breakthroughs. Yet, our times are marred by conflict, violence, economic uncertainty and tragic poverty. A sense of insecurity pervades even the most affluent societies. Nations are looking inward, and the rich turn their backs on the poor. Women and minorities continue to be treated inequitably. The knowledge based society of the future is increasingly going to favor the educated, the nimble and the powerful. Educational institutions will be challenged as never before.
UNESCO is the mandated agency to deal with many of these issues. It needs a leader committed to that mission. Someone who is both a visionary and a doer. A communicator and a manager. A person of broad experience and deep commitment, who is devoted to human dignity, to peace, justice and liberty. Only such a leader will be able to ensure that UNESCO plays its full role in promoting education, science and culture as the primary means to build a better, safer world, where our common humanity is respected, our heritage is honored, and our cultural diversity is celebrated, and to help forge a sustainable development path to this future. A path that is gender-conscious and people-centered, that respects diversity and nurtures the dignity of all things.
Against this background, and aware of the institutional and financial limitations that the organization will be operating under, we believe that the new Director-General should be someone who is recognized as :
It is our judgment that Dr. Ismail Serageldin fulfills these criteria in a remarkable way.
It is our conviction that Ismail Serageldin is preeminently qualified to lead UNESCO into the next millennium, and we invite those responsible for electing the next Director-General of UNESCO to give their support to the candidacy of Ismail Serageldin.
This declaration of support is signed in a personal capacity, and institutional affiliation will be shown for identification purposes only.