UNESCO Regional Director meets Secretaries-General of National Commissions

UNESCO new Regional Director introductory meeting with the Secretaries-General of the National Commissions for UNESCO from Eastern Africa Region
10 August 2021, as part of his introductory meetings as new Regional Director, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, met with the Secretaries-General of the National Commissions for UNESCO and their team in the Eastern Africa Region. UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa based in Nairobi covers 13 countries namely: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan Tanzania and Uganda. All of the above countries have an active National Commission except South Sudan which is in the process of establishing its National Commission for UNESCO.

The meeting hosted virtually by UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, was attended by 9 Secretaries-General representing: Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda. For South Sudan, UNESCO Head of Office in Juba, was present and confirmed the status of the process of establishing the National Commission was still on track. The meeting was also attended by the interim Director of UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, the Coordinators of UNESCO Antenna and Project Offices (Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda), as well as other senior staff of the National Commissions for UNESCO in the region.

The meeting was opened by brief introductions by the Secretaries-General highlighting key information on their respective National commissions. Thereafter, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, welcomed the participants for gracing the first meeting and shared his regret that, due to connectivity challenges, some Secretaries-General were unable to join.

The Regional Director presented a brief bio of his career as Professor, Diplomat, Researcher and International Civil Servant. He further mentioned that he was no stranger to the region as he has worked for example in Tanzania as a diplomat. Prior to joining the Eastern Africa Region, He was the Regional Director of UNESCO Southern Africa Office based in Harare.

As the meeting was mainly introductory, the Regional Director promised the Office will organize a retreat before the coming session of the UNESCO Executive Board, next October, for an opportunity to come together and engage on how to further the UNESCO mandate in the region. He also pointed out that one of the possible items of discussion could be the new partnership with the National Commissions taking into account the Reform of the United Nations. Prof. Hubert Gijzen is willing and ready to share some of the good practices of how he engaged the National Commissions of his previous duty station, Harare, Zimbabwe, covering the Southern Africa Region.

To conclude, Prof. Hubert Gijzen renewed UNESCO gratitude to its family of National Commissions from the region, for their continued support, through the Regional Office of Eastern Africa.


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