VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

“This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The director general subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

“The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on UNESCO’s efforts in the field of education, sciences and culture, which are also of particular interest to the Holy See as it participates actively in the work of the organisation. On this topic, emphasis was given to the need to ensure integral human development, and to the importance of guaranteeing quality education for everyone.

“Attention also turned to certain aspects of protecting world cultural heritage, and of defending the environment, as well as to the importance of dialogue between cultures”.