UNESCO and Human Bonding

Masayuki Inoue, President of Japan Educational Exchanges and Services
I retired from a civil service position after 33 years or more in the year 2006. My last position was Secretary-General of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. After that, I worked as ambassador to Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries in terms of per capita income, for 3 years or more. Since last August, I have been working at Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, which is located at the north end of Meguro City.
I am honored to have been appointed as a member of the selection committee for the ”Meguro UNESCO Action Award”, which was set up to mark the 55th anniversary of the foundation of Meguro UNESCO Association. I was only too happy to come here. It is very hard to follow through on one thing for as long as 55 years, however significant it may be. I would like to express my sincere respect and gratitude to the president and people supporting the activities.
For the last 55 years, the world has been in the midst of turbulence. There have been a start and end of the cold war, ethnic conflicts, international terrorism, an explosive population increase in developing countries, and so on and so forth. And at home, we are encountering new challenges such as a prolonged recession after an economic growth, rapid aging of the population, a low birthrate, and an increase in the foreign population. We, who are living in the present age, should be responsible for dealing with global warming, maintaining and developing the environment, and so on.
It is significant to grant the “Meguro UNESCO Action Award”, which is a fruit of the cooperation of people who sympathize with the UNESCO spirit, to children for their efforts focusing on international cooperation exchanges and environment. Although UNESCO has made every effort to adjust itself to a changing situation, adhering to the standing principles, the lofty principles stay unchanged. I firmly believe that children’s efforts made under the challenging circumstances described above will be handed over to the next generation forever as their proud achievement.
The University of London has conducted the World Happiness Survey. Bangladesh has been ranked at the top of the Survey although it is registered as one of the world’s “poorest” countries from an economic perspective, and directly affected by global warming in the form of floods, etc. Among many other reasons, Bangladesh people point out the human bond in the family and the village. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 was awarded to Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, a village bank of his own founding. He saw that a village woman bought a chicken with the little money she borrowed praying for the healthy growth of her children, and that the chicken laid eggs that hatched and grew to more chickens. The doctor told me that he was sure that the project would be a success when he saw the self-help endeavor they made and the solidarity of women. It seems “Bond” means connection with people, which I think is embodied by UENSCO.
Again, I would like to extend my congratulations on your 55th anniversary.
                              -translated by Hiroko Minowa

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