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OFID dedicates its 39th anniversary to the late King Abdullah Al Saud: Showcases role of education through joint exhibition with UNESCO
Vienna, Austria, January 29, 2015. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is marking its 39th anniversary with an exhibition showcasing the central role of education in development. Entitled “Celebrating a Long-lasting Partnership for Education and Development,” the exhibition was co-organized with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and will run until February 6, 2015, at OFID’s headquarters in Vienna.
Opening the exhibition, OFID Director-General Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish announced that the event was dedicated to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who passed away a week earlier. OFID recognizes the late King as a strong supporter of development, not only in his own country, but around the world. “To this end, he launched numerous initiatives, one of them being the Energy for the Poor Initiative, which has become our flagship and a key item on the post-2015 development agenda,” Al-Herbish said.
In his remarks the Director-General also emphasized the central role of education in attaining the goals of sustainable development—particularly in poor countries. “Education will continue to play a central role in OFID’s activities. Over one-tenth of our grants funding has been steered towards the education sector,” he said. He added that it was important that education again features prominently on the international development agenda as Sustainable Development Goal 4, after all the achievements that were accomplished through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire later this year.
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, UNESCO Deputy Director-General Mr Getachew Engida, reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to further strengthen its cooperation with OFID. “Our cooperation has gone from strength to strength. It has become more diversified and it has deepened. Together our focus has fallen on education, as the most powerful force for human rights and dignity, as a driver for the sustainability of all development. Today we look back on 30 years, but this is just the beginning,” Engida stated.
During the reception, OFID signed three new grant agreements with UNESCO, totaling US$2.3m, which will support a technical and vocational education and training program in Africa, Latin America and Asia; the solar electrification of sixty rural schools in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia; and a scheme that will help strengthen teachers’ education for quality teaching and learning in various African countries.
The exhibition uses the medium of photography and video to highlight a selection of OFID/UNESCO joint projects in education in developing countries. These projects show how improved access to education can contribute towards development, especially for less privileged communities.
The reception also featured a performance by the renowned Russian pianist and UNESCO Artist for Peace, Sergei Markarov. He played Beethoven’s Funeral March, Sonata N°12 op.26, and Rachmaninoff’s Preludes, do dièse mineur, in tribute to the late King Abdullah.
UNESCO was created in 1945 in response to the firm belief of nations - forged by two world wars in less than a generation - that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. Mobilizing education, building intercultural understanding, pursuing cooperation for the advantage of mankind, and protecting freedom of expression are some of the ways in which UNESCO strives to build peace.
OFID is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries. OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. In addition to its core programs in energy poverty alleviation, OFID provides support across a wide range of sectors, including educational initiatives. OFID started cooperation with UNESCO in 1985 and to date has provided more US$15m in grant financing in support of 15 programs in various developing regions.
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Ms Reem Aljarbou
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