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Statements of support
from UNESCO

UNESCO   |   Government of India   |   Dalai Lama   |   General   |   International Advisory Council

March, 2012

 

Greetings from The Director-General of UNESCO

 

Last year the coordinators for the Bulgarian Pavilion invocation events contacted the Director-General of UNESCO Mrs. Irina Bokova (being herself Bulgarian and having visited Auroville in Jan 2010) to send greetings for our beginning and for the inauguration of the new Unity Pavilion hall, and we received a letter of support and appreciaton from her.

 

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The inauguration of the new Unity Pavilion hall Photo by Krishna.

 

 

January 12, 2010

 

The Director-General of UNESCO
visits Auroville

 

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Addressing residents Photo by Ireno Guerci.

 

 

 

 

September 2009

UNESCO Director-General unveils the bronze statue of Sri Aurobindo, great philosopher, savant and spiritualist from India

 

On 16 September 2009, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO joined Mr Rameshwar Pal Agrawal the Secretary for Education of the Government of India and Dr Karan Singh, Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, to unveil the bronze statue of Sri Aurobindo, recently installed at UNESCO's Headquarters premises.

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, India 's representative to the Executive Board and Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee also participated in the ceremony.
Observing that the crises that the world is traversing are not only economic and financial, but moral, ethical, and spiritual, Mr Matsuura said that “The teachings of Sri Aurobindo, who will forever be associated with the founding of Auroville, the unique international township founded as a place where people from different cultural, educational and political backgrounds could work together towards their common goal of human unity and sustainable living, resonate particularly strongly as we search for long-term solutions”. “It is therefore very fitting that this monumental sculpture by a member of the Auroville community, Mr Lalit Verma, should find a home in this House of Dialogue”, he continued.

Praising the strong cooperation between India and the Organization, the Director-General addressed his guests and commented that “Your collective presence, and the installation of this statue at UNESCO's Headquarters, are apt symbols of the strong cooperation between India and UNESCO in our work to build a more just and sustainable world”.

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October 2008

Auroville's 40th anniversary celebrated at UNESCO

On 10 October, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura joined Dr Kapila Vatsayan, India's Representative to the Executive Board for the opening of a Round Table to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Auroville township in Tamil Nadu, India. Also present were Mr George Anastassopoulos, President of UNESCO's General Conference, Mr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, Chairman of the Executive Board, Ms Bhaswati Mukherjee, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of India to UNESCO and representatives of the Auroville Foundation.

“Over the last four decades, UNESCO has enjoyed a special relationship with this unique international township in south India”, said the Director-General. “During its foundation ceremony in February 1968, young people representing 124 UNESCO Member States deposited soil from their respective countries on the site of the future township to illustrate the fundamental concept of “unity in diversity”. Since that historic day, UNESCO has regularly reiterated its support for Auroville, a place that embodies many of the principles underlying the Organization's worldwide action to promote cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and lifelong learning as the basis for peaceful, sustainable societies.”

Mr Matsuura recalled that “forty years ago, the founders of Auroville set a most noble objective: to create a place where people from different cultural, educational and political backgrounds can meet and work together towards their common goal of sustainable living. Thus, Auroville stands out as an unparalleled human experiment in transforming these ideals into reality,” the Director-General continued, adding that “in so doing, Aurovillians have worked closely with the inhabitants of the surrounding villages to help improve their living conditions. The outlying rural region, considered by the local government as among India's most underdeveloped areas, has benefited greatly from Auroville's presence. Some 5,000 people from local communities have found employment in the township, and a number of health and educational facilities have been created to serve them,” he said.

Mr Matsuura went on to state that “Auroville's ability to survive and evolve over four decades bears witness to the strength of the founding principles and the resolve and perseverance of its citizens. In today's globalized world fraught with regional conflicts and economic instability, it is especially reassuring to witness such enduring models of solidarity and humanism.” The Director-General concluded by expressing his hope that the lessons learned in Auroville will inspire similar experiments in sustainable living in other parts of the world. “I look forward to continued collaboration between UNESCO and Aurovillians.”

 

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August 2007

Resolution on Auroville:

Commemorative activities for the 40 th anniversary of the establishment of Auroville, an international township (177 EX/70 and Add: 177 EX/INF. 11; 177 EX/78; 177 EX/79 Part ll)

 

The Executive Board,

  1. Recalling the foundation of the international township of Auroville, in South India, in February 1968, when the youth of 124 Member States participated in the ceremony by depositing the soil of their countries in the foundation urn to symbolize the coming together of the nations of the world.
  2. Noting that the Charter of Auroville, announced at the Foundation Ceremony, declares that Auroville belongs to nobody in particular but to humanity as a whole,
  3. Recognizing that the aims of Auroville are to promote international understanding, peace, innovative education, a learning society, and all-round material and spiritual development for harmonious individual and collective growth, and that such aims contribute to the advancement of the objectives of UNESCO, especially dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, cultural diversity, and cultural diversity, and culture as a factor for development,
  4. Recalling that in 1983 the General Conference adopted a resolution inviting Member States and international non-governmental organizations to participate in the development of Auroville as an international cultural township,
  5. Conscious therefore of the broad range of activities undertaken by governments, National Commissions for UNESCO, and international non-governmental organizations to promote the development of Auroville as an important international cultural programme,
  6. Recognizing the value of such civilizing experiences as an invaluable and integral part of the commonly shared human experience,
  7. Also recognizing that Auroville is a successful and unique model project, proving the capacity of an international community, after 40 year of existence, to continue to live up to its initial founding ideals of peace and international harmony and within the spirit of mutual respect and sustainable development which are also UNESCO's own values and principles, as well as some of its major priorities,
  8. Noting that 28 February 2008 will mark the 40 th anniversary of the setting up of Auroville project,
  9. Invites the Director-General to reinforce the association of UNESCO, and in particular its Culture Sector, with Auroville in the context to the commemorative activities for its 40 th anniversary.

 

 

Office of the General Delegation UNESCO PARIS
Paris, April 11, 2003, 2:38 PM

Flash Info n° 134
Office of the Spokeswoman UNESCO

35th anniversary of the founding
of Auroville

Yesterday, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, participated in celebrations at UNESCO Headquarters marking the 35th anniversary of the founding of Auroville, a unique ' model city ' near Pondicherry, India. Opening an exhibition on Auroville, Mr Matsuura said that " as an intellectual and ethical organization, UNESCO cannot fail to be fascinated by this experience ". Inspired by the great Indian spiritual master Sri Aurobindo, Auroville has developed into a full-fledged city of over 1500 inhabitants and enjoys close links with surrounding communities.

Noting that UNESCO had supported the foundation of Auroville and, over the years, has continued to show interest in the unfolding development, the Director-General stressed the similarities between UNESCO's ideals, values and principles and those underpinning this unusual community. He pointed to the way in which key aspects of the Auroville experiment resonate strongly with some of UNESCO's major priorities and concerns such as dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions; cultural diversity and culture as a factor for development, poverty eradication, quality education and life-long learning; and renewable energies.

The Director-General expressed his appreciation of the cooperation with the Indian Permanent Delegation in organizing the Auroville celebration at Headquarters.

 

Snr. Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, in his letter of 31.01.98:

"The Auroville project situated in Tamil Nadu, South India, which has been supported by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1983, is actively developing according to the basic principles of international understanding and human unity."



Mr. C.L. Sharma, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO came from Paris on behalf of Snr. Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, for the first meeting of the (second) Auroville International Advisory Council on 27th February 1993. In an interview about UNESCO's connection with Auroville, he said:

"I am absolutely delighted to be here and it is much better than I expected it to be. UNESCO has been conscious for a long time of Auroville's mission, of what it is trying to do. There have been successive resolutions passed by the General Assembly in favour of Auroville, bringing it to the notice of our 170 member states. UNESCO has also associated itself with seminars and meetings and contributed $ 25,000 to the recent Birthday celebrations. This is a very clear expression of UNESCO's, not just interest, but support and appreciation of an experiment that we definitely want to succeed because today's world problems are due to lack of understanding between human beings. (...) We need to make a conscious effort in "peace building". Billions of dollars are spent on "peace keeping". This is only a short-term remedy, but "peace building" is the longer term and that is UNESCO's mission. The mission of Auroville has a lot in common with what UNESCO is trying to do."

 

Mr. A. M. M'Bow from Senegal, then Director-General of UNESCO, during his visit in 1986, addressing the Auroville residents as a member of the (first) Auroville International Advisory Council created under the "Auroville (Emergency Provision) Act 1980":

"You have been able to transcend what yesterday may have been barriers, that separated you. You work together, you understand each other, and perhaps you are what I might say a summing-up of the aspiration of the world of tomorrow."

 

Dr. M. S. Adiseshiah, then Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, in an interview with All India Radio Broadcast on 28th February 1969:

Q. How would you assess the importance of Auroville for India and the world?

A. "For India, I believe that we need, as a country, everything that can help us to live together as a people with many different cultural backgrounds, religious backgrounds and social backgrounds. Our programme for national integration is one expression of this, and I believe that in Auroville we will have yet another start, a start based on the fundamental unity of the human mind and of human consciousness for the flowering of the kind of unity which our country needs so desperately today. (...) I believe that Auroville is one of the pilots that can lead us on to that land of unity where we can all join together in working for the development of our country ...
As far as the world is concerned, I believe, in addition to development, the need for peace does not need any repeating on my part. I believe that peace which passes beyond economic and political arrangements on which the present uneasy truce is based, peace based on the consciousness of men as men, of certainties in our hearts and spirit, on which Auroville and its programme is founded, will assure the peace that we are looking for in the world."

 

Dr. M. S. Adiseshiah, then Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, at the Auroville - UNESCO symposium in Pondicherry in March 1968:

"We have tried in UNESCO....we have tried every way, and we have failed. And so now we turn to Auroville.... And so, on behalf of UNESCO....I hail Auroville, its conception and realisation, as a hope for all of us and particularly for our children, for our youth who are disillusioned with the world that we have built for them and who will find in Auroville as they found at the time of its foundation ceremony, a living symbol, inspiring them to live the life to which they are called."

 

The General Assembly of UNESCO unanimously passed in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1983 resolutions of support to Auroville, inviting

"member states and international non-governmental organisations to participate in the development of Auroville as an international cultural township designed to bring together the values of different cultures and civilisations in a harmonious environment with integrated living standards which correspond to man's physical and spiritual needs."

 

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