View of the UNESCO's great conference room during the 38th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, 09 November 2015. The 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference runs from 03 to 18 November 2015. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Sri Lanka has been elected to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 11 November 2015 during the 38th General Conference in Paris, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka was one of six countries that qualified to serve on the Executive Board from the Asia and Pacific Group for the period 2015-2019, having received 149 out of 186 votes at the election in which there were eight candidate countries. The countries which were elected to the Executive Board from the Asia and Pacific Group with Sri Lanka are Malaysia, Vietnam, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, and Iran.

“This is the first election to a UN Specialised Agency that Sri Lanka contested for, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The decision to pursue membership in the UNESCO Executive Board was a manifestation of the Government’s policy of renewing engagement with the international community and reaffirmation of the principles of the Government. Such principles include strengthening democracy and good governance, ensuring justice, liberty, equality, freedom and dignity for all aimed at achieving a durable peace and the harmonious celebration and preservation of Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual character which are in line with the purposes and principles of UNESCO,” the Ministry said in a statement.

The vision enshrined in the UNESCO Charter of building peace in the minds of people is in fact the vision which is at the heart of the Government’s own mission to unite the hearts and minds of the people of Sri Lanka through reconciliation.

“The Government of Sri Lanka is grateful to the member countries represented in the General Conference of UNESCO for the opportunity provided to serve on the Executive Board at this historic juncture and commits to make every endeavour to work with all member countries of UNESCO in the implementation of the Organization’s policies and programmes,” the statement added.

Sri Lanka has served on the Executive Board thrice previously from 1968-1974, 1987-1991 and from 2003-2011.