Qatar and Unesco have signed six agreements worth a total of approximately $26.7m for co-operation in key educational projects in Iraq and Gaza.
The agreements were signed on Wednesday in Paris by Dr Abdullah Al Kubaisi, Executive Director of the office of H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, and Unesco Director General Koïchiro Matsuura.
Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education, H E Saad Al Mahmoud, and top officials from Palestine and Iraq were also present at the signing ceremony.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, Al Kubaisi said the agreements came within the framework of Unesco’s Education for All initiative as well as the project to support educational rehabilitation of children in conflict areas across the world.
Agreements worth $23.89m will support educational projects in Iraq and are an extension of the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, established jointly by Qatar Foundation and Unesco in 2003.
The Fund aims at providing immediate and long-term assistance to revive higher education in Iraq.
The new agreements seek to support higher education, adult education, literacy programmes and teachers’ training in Iraq as well as development of new curricula, said Al Kubaisi.
The $2.8m agreements on Gaza are a continuation of the Al Fakhoora campaign launched by students in Qatar to support schoolchildren in Gaza following the Israeli offensive last December and January. The campaign aims to provide emergency support for reconstruction of schools in the war-ravaged territory and rehabilitation of children who have been denied educational opportunities and resources.
The officials noted that Qatar was one of the first countries that responded to a call given at an international conference held in Paris last year to support educational initiatives in conflict areas across the world.
Iraqi representative Abd Diyab Al Ajali and Palestinian representative Ilyas Samber, who attended the signing ceremony, lauded the Qatari gesture, saying the young generations in Iraq and Palestine would never forget this noble initiative.
Koïchiro Matsuura said Qatar had always been supportive of Unesco projects. He particularly lauded Sheikha Mozah’s role as the Unesco Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education.
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