JIS News

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  • Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will be making his first official visit to Jamaica on Thursday, May 1 for the opening of the International World Press Freedom Day Conference, to be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston from May 2 to 3.
  • It is the first time since the observation of World Press Freedom Day, that the conference will be held in the Caribbean.
  • Director of UNESCO's Office for the Caribbean, Helene-Marie Gosselin, told JIS News that the Director-General, who will be in the island until May 4, will be visiting a number of Government officials, including Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson; Governor General, His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke; and the Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who is the Chairperson for the UNESCO National Commission of Jamaica.

Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will be making his first official visit to Jamaica on Thursday, May 1 for the opening of the International World Press Freedom Day Conference, to be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston from May 2 to 3.

It is the first time since the observation of World Press Freedom Day, that the conference will be held in the Caribbean.

Director of UNESCO’s Office for the Caribbean, Helene-Marie Gosselin, told JIS News that the Director-General, who will be in the island until May 4, will be visiting a number of Government officials, including Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson; Governor General, His Excellency The Most

Hon. Sir Howard Cooke; and the Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who is the Chairperson for the UNESCO National Commission of Jamaica.

The Director-General will also be making a courtesy call on Professor Rex Nettleford, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus. While at the university, Mr. Matsuura will hold a teleconference with the heads of six regional universities that are the beneficiaries of the US$1.2 million Capacity Building of Human Resources project, sponsored by UNESCO.

The campuses are Mona, Cavehill and St. Augustine of the UWI, University of Guyana, University of Suriname and the University of Quisqueya in Haiti. The project is concerned with the promotion of high quality distance education, through the use of information communication technologies (ICT’s).

During his stay in Jamaica, Mr. Matsuura will visit the headquarters of the Youth Poverty Alleviation Through Tourism and Heritage (PATH) project at Hollywell Recreational Park, St. Andrew, while Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman, will accompany him on a tour of the Maroon community of Accompong in St. Elizabeth.

Also on the UNESCO Director-General’s agenda, is a visit to the ancient town of Port Royal, which has been recognized by UNESCO, as a significant underwater heritage site, being the only sunken town in the western world.

Mr. Matsuura leaves the island on May 4 for Guyana, where he will meet with CARICOM Secretary General, Edwin Carrington, before traveling to Suriname on May 6, where he will visit two sites that have been inscribed on the World Heritage Sites List. Only 700 locations throughout the world that are on the UNESCO list.

A Japanese national, Director-General Matsuura, was elected to head the international body in November 15, 1990. He is the eighth Director-General and the first of Asian origin.

Prior to his position as Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Matsuura, served in his country’s diplomatic corps, and had represented Japan as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the 1994 G-7 Summit. He also served the UNESCO as Chairperson for the World Heritage Committee, where he showed a natural aptitude for dealing with cultural heritage issues.

Mr. Matsuura is an accomplished author in the fields of economic cooperation, bi-lateral relations, and perspectives on development. He was educated at the Law Faculty of the University of Tokyo and the Faculty of Economics of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, United States.