UNESCO gains new goodwill ambassador

Goodwill ambassadors are all personalities from the arts and philanthropy, such as Marianna V. Vardinoyianni, president of the Elpida and the Family and the Child foundations, the poet-composer Zulfu Livaneli, Patrick Baudry and the Italian star Claudia Cardinale. They all met in Paris at UNESCO headquarters within the framework of its program to protect non-material culture – a sector in which UNESCO’s Director-General Koichiro Matsuura has taken particular interest – at an official ceremony to declare Mehriban Aliyeva, the wife of the president of Azerbaijan, a UNESCO goodwill ambassador with responsibility for issues concerning oral and musical traditions. The ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni, who will be working closely in the future with Mehriban Aliyeva on the protection of Azerbaijan’s oral and musical tradition. The new ambassador has a wealth of experience in her country’s social, cultural and philanthropic life. In 1995, she founded the Friends of Azerbaijan Culture Fund that has held a number of fund-raising events around the world.