|Deploring upsurge in Middle East violence, UNESCO chief urges dialogue among youth
8 August – Deploring the heavy civilian toll caused by the recent upsurge of violence in the Middle East, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has urged dialogue among young people in order to foster reconciliation.
Koïchiro Matsuura condemned in particular the recent terrorist attack at Hebrew University in Jerusalem - an institution with which UNESCO has maintained strong cooperation for many years. "This destructive act, purposely planned to kill young people, as well as those who guide and teach them, from different cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds, who, day after day, weave bonds of knowledge, intelligence and friendship, disconcerts as much as it dismays," he said in a statement released on Wednesday in Paris.
The UNESCO Director-General called on both Israeli and Palestinian youth to continue "daily gestures of cooperation and understanding" that would help restore peace to their region.
"An essential aspect of UNESCO's action in the Middle East has been, and continues to be, the promotion of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians by re-establishing and strengthening links among intellectuals, representatives of civil society, and youth from both sides, with a view to helping to break the cycle of conflict and to endeavour to achieve peace," he said.