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A Call for UNESCO to Expand

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Contact: Janelle Charles

Thursday, January 31, 2002 - St. Lucia’s National Commission for UNESCO is intensifying its promotion of the French language here as a precursor to ensuing the island’s optimum participation in the Francophonie.

Speaking, earlier today, at the Annual General Assembly of the National Commission for UNESCO Secretary General Paule Turmel-John says St. Lucia has yet to explore to the fullest, the potential its Francophonie membership offers. She argues this is as a result of the small number of St. Lucian who can express themselves in the French language. The UNESCO representative is proposing the introduction of training in French in the workplace.

“The French Embassy, the Alliance Francaise De Sainte Lucie and the National Commission have proposed to all miniseries a language-training course in French, to be given in the next few months. If the response is positive I foresee interesting developments for the future of St. Lucia in the Francophonie,” she said.

In addition, the work plan of the National Commission for the year will include the promotion of cultural pluralism, the strengthening of links between culture and development, the promotion of basic education for all and helping in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS

The Minister with responsibility for UNESCO and Francophonie Affairs, Honourable Mario Michel in addressing the General Assembly challenged the National Commission to extend it constituency to include the youth of St. Lucia.

“I say so, because we must recognize by virtue of the educational opportunities now opening to them, and by virtue of the generational challenges they are entering, that their future will be first of our nation that will need truly to be global citizens in orientation and in disposition to developmental issues. This national commission must establish a more secure base in our school, helping to interweave the issues of concern, with local agendas and with the subject specialization in schools,” the minister said.

UNESCO’s Associated Schools project currently exists in some 30 schools on the island, but Minister Michel has challenged UNESCO to upgrade that project from its extra curricular status to co-curricular one.

Also on Thursday, tribute was paid to the outgoing Vice Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board Leton Thomas for his outstanding work during his tenure. UNESCO’s Secretary General has described Mr. Thomas, as “the embodiment of the principle - one state, one voice, who has made his state’s voice heard in a spirit that has always been constructive.”

Thomas is now St. Lucia’s representative on UNESCO’s International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.


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