The Earth Times
24 Oct 1995
Linkages: Peace, education, and development UN50
Boutros-Ghali joins Mayor and Latin leaders in offering commitment for UN50
By Ashali Varma
SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE, Argentina- The fifth Ibero- American Summit held on 16- 17 October, and attended by 21 heads of state ended with a commitment to education as a critical force in development, democracy, peace and integration.
In his opening speech President Carlos Menem of Argentina stressed the importance of education in economic development, poverty alleviation and empowerment of the individual. He said that this Summit was a part of the process started four years ago by Latin American countries to discuss and deal with social and developmental issues of the region.
In his statement to the leaders assembled at the meeting, Secretary General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali said, “The heritage of democracy also contributes to the objective of education for development. The best way to cultivate a citizen’s readiness to participate in development is to arouse that person’s energy, creativity and commitment through democratization and human rights.”
He concluded his statement with a strong endorsement of the efforts made by Latin American countries in the areas of peace, development and democracy. He said, “Here in Ibero-America all the elements for progress are present. Here is the heritage. Here is the inspiration. Here is the talent. Here is the spirit and vision. The future of this great continent is truly unlimited.”
As the leader of the last country in Latin America to hold out against democracy, Fidel Castro spoke up for the great strides Cuba had made in education, science and medicine. In interviews with the press, Castro said he would continue to open the economy in a bid to attract foreign capital. He also hoped that the Latin American leaders would urge the United States to lift the long-standing trade embargo which was crippling the economy of his country.
In an interview with The Earth Times, Federico Mayor, Director General of Unesco said, “Regarding Cuba the views of all the American countries should be taken. It is much better to initiate a dialogue now and to address the differences. I do not like embargoes because they affect the innocent, the women and children. To me children have no nationality they belong to the world. I would like a global embargo on arms but not on what is essential for the quality of life.”
Shahid Javed Burki, the World Bank’s Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean said to The Earth Times, “What has been achieved here is a greater focus on education for achieving sustainable development, improving income distribution and alleviating poverty:”
Jorge Werthein, director of Unesco, New York said, “The Summit and the declaration signed by the leaders endorses that education isa human right for all and is necessary not only for economic development but also for transmitting the values of democracy, tolerance and peace.”