|Paris, 27 March 2014|
Your Excellency Madame Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to have an opportunity of visiting the UNESCO headquarters. Let me begin by offering Madame Bokova my heartfelt congratulations on her re-election as the Director-General of the Organization and paying my sincere tribute to UNESCO for the extraordinary contribution it has made for greater exchanges and mutual learning among human civilizations.
UNESCO was born 69 years ago when the smoke of the World War against Fascism had barely dissipated. The grisly horror of war forced mankind once again to reflect on the nature of war and peace. Throughout the centuries, people have yearned for lasting peace, but war, like a haunting ghost, has been accompanying the journey of human progress every step of the way. As we speak, many children on this planet are subjected to the horror of armed conflicts. We must do our utmost to keep war as far away as possible from mankind so that children across the world can grow up happily under the sunshine of peace.
The stone wall at the entrance to the UNESCO headquarters carries the inscription of one single message in several languages: Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.
As long as the idea of peace can strike deep roots and the sail of peace can be hoisted in the hearts and minds of people all over the world, a strong defense will be constructed to prevent and stop war. People hoped to promote inter-civilization exchanges, equality of educational opportunities and scientific literacy in order to dispel estrangement, prejudice and hatred, and spread the seeds for the idea of peace. This is precisely why UNESCO was established in the first place.
The aspiration and vision as such deserve our renewed commitment. Not only so, but we must also step up cross-border, cross-time-and-space and cross-civilization activities in education, science, technology and culture to spread the seeds of the idea of peace far and wide so that they will sprout, take root and grow in the hearts and minds of the world's people, and provide the planet we share with more and more forests of peace.
Since its inception in 1945, UNESCO has faithfully lived up to its mandate and worked untiringly to enhance trust and understanding among the world's peoples and promote exchanges and mutual learning among the various civilizations. China attaches great importance to its cooperation with UNESCO and stands ready to expand its participation in UNESCO activities. We have decided to expand the Great Wall Fellowship, a scheme that provides scholarship to developing countries, African countries included via UNESCO, from 25 to 75 people every year to demonstrate China's support and assistance for Africa. We will also continue to work within the framework of the UNESCO trust fund to help Africa.