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Réthelyi Miklós, UNESCO MNB elnök interjú a Demokrata hetilapban / Interview with Miklós Réthelyi, Chairperson of the Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO in "Demokrata" weekly

2013. június 20.
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HU "Szeretek az UNESCO-ra a társadalom, a világ lelkiismereteként tekinteni. Az UNESCO 1945-ben, közvetlenül a II. Világháború után alakult meg, kezdetektől fogva fő feladatának tekintette a béke védelmét, előmozdítását. E cél elérése érdekében az emberek közötti megértést igyekszik előmozdítani országokon belül és országokon átívelően egyaránt az oktatás, a kultúra, a tudomány eszközeivel legfőbb módszerként használva a problémákat tisztázó dialógust" A teljes interjú megtekinthető alább.
EN The former Minister of National Resources has been Chairperson of the Hungarian National Commission for a year now and was interviewed by the Hungarian "Demokrata" weekly newspaper. The summary of the interview follows.




The former Minister of National Resources has been Chairperson of the Hungarian National Commission for a year now and was interviewed by the Hungarian "Demokrata" weekly newspaper. The summary of the interview follows.

"How would you define the mission of UNESCO?
I like to think of UNESCO as the conscience of the world as since its origin it has been working on fostering the creation of peace in the minds of people. (…)

What kind of events or achievements could you mention to support this idea?
Every year, UNESCO plans its “calendar” formed by important anniversaries and world days. Some of these receive special attention in Hungary, e.g. last year we commemorated world-famous conductor and pianist György Solti, as well as the outstanding scientific and social work carried out by the university professor János Szentágothai. With the anniversary approaching, we are also preparing for a similar world-wide commemoration of Ignác Semmelweis, the saviour of mothers. To mention some events of a different kind: on the occasion of International Jazz Day, we organised a round table conference with the participation of outstanding experts, and for the World Day for Water, besides a conference on the water
resources of our planet, we supported a swimming competition for the youth,organised in Miskolc. We have also given special attention to the highlighting and rewarding of the work of pedagogues forming the future of our world. As Chairperson, I try to look for and support topical and important issues; one of them is the very important question of sustainability.

The Hungarian Commission also functions as an advising body of the government – in your experience, does the government listen to your arguments and advice?
The government has a different, more global kind of responsibility. Beyond the ideas of political leaders, there usually are several different alternatives. Our aim is to try to persuade them to incorporate our suggestions and professional opinion, and to be seen as a kind of support resource.

Does Hungary benefit from the fact that the current President of the UNESCO General Conference is Hungarian?
Of course! Especially that Katalin Bogyay is an excellent and exceptionally effective cultural politician with plenty of professional experience, who travels around the world as President during these two years. Moreover, she is committed to representing the interests of Hungarian culture in the General Conference, not only as a member, but also as President, and she passionately promotes Hungary’s cultural and scientific achievements.

You have mentioned Hungarian falconry, which is one of the items that have been recently added to the lists of values to be preserved. What is this success down to, and are other such favourable achievements to be expected in the near future?
The Busó festivities, falconry, and Matyó folk art have been “promoted” from the Hungarian List of Intangible Cultural Heritage to the UNESCO Representative List. Our national list comprises other items such as the mutton paprikash of Karcag or the Mezőtúr pottery, but the list is constantly extended. An important event was held at Whitsun: we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (…). There are several suggestions for the extension of the national list every year. However, we must take into consideration the danger of the inflation of the elements of heritage, so we must avoid large extensions at a time. The list should represent real value, as it is the base of future international safeguarding. The consulting committee aims at making it possible for elements of our national heritage that show a deeper dimension of Hungarian culture to enjoy this kind of international appreciation. (…) The dance house movement has been added to the list of best practices of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. We have recently introduced the Kodály method to the list, but we also plan to make Semmelweis’s method an internationally appreciated element of the Hungarian Heritage. (…)

At the time of your appointment, you said that you count on the work of the aforementioned consulting committees. Have they been living up to your expectations?
The consulting committees take a big part in organising different programmes and conferences. (…) The work-groups
generally measure up my expectations at the time of my appointment.

You mentioned in one of your interviews that you would like the cooperation with Hungarians living outside of the borders of Hungary to improve. Has there been any progress in this area?
The administrative coordination of the national committees is the Secretary-Generals’ task. They hold regular regional meetings and discussions; consequently, we are constantly informed about questions regarding the Hungarians in neighbouring countries.There is still a lot to do in the work of the consulting committees to make cooperation with cross-border Hungarians more effective."