On 8 June 2009, the former Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, paid tribute to the former Prime Minister of Japan, the late Keizo Obuchi, at a special ceremony organized at UNESCO Headquarters to celebrate five successful cycles of UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi research Fellowships Programme, which has been supported by the Govermnet of Japan. He was joined at the ceremony by Mr. Obuchi’s widow, Mrs Chizuko Obuchi, His Excellency Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto, Ambassador, permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO and sixteen fellows of this programme.
During the ceremony, Mr Matsuura shared his personal memory of Mr. Obuchi, “the great statesman and humanist” who died in May 2000 “at the height of his distinguished career”. “As a Public figure, Keizo Obuchi will always be remembered for his faith on the power of people to shape the world and forge a better future...He believed that the key of success in every country is to consolidate the capacity-building of the nation’s human resources, especially by investing resources in the younger generation. Nine years after he passed away, Keizo Obuchi believes are more important today than ever. His priorities remains ours: reforming education systems with a view to developing what he called the “education of the heart”: achieving gender equality, safeguarding the global environment; preventing disaster through enhancing human capacity for crisis management and making the 21st century a “century of peace’ through dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution.”
In her remarks; Mrs Obuchi recalled that the development of human capacities had constituted a key element in her husband’s vision of the world. She thus was very happy to see that the seeds of that vision flourish through UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Programme and extended her best wishes to the fellows.
Following a brief presentation by each fellow of the sixteen beneficiaries - two per year from 2001 to 2008 inclusive, Ms Florence Nzisa Nswilli Muinde of Kenya and Mr. Timur Dadabaev of Uzbekistan took the floor on behalf of all the recipients, in English and Japanese respectively, to thank the Japanese Government for its financial support for this programme which enables professional development of a new generation of research leaders in developing countries and countries in transition. They express the hope that the programme would continue so that others could benefit from a similar expression of confidence in their capacities and pledged to uphold the legacy of the programme through their research by always “thinking and building peace”General speech delivered by two fellows in the name of the sixteen
At the end of the ceremony, the former Director General and Mrs Obuchi offered to each of the participating fellows the UNESCO sixtieth anniversary medal on which the motto “thinking and building peace” is inscribed.
Sixteen fellows in presence of Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto, Ambassador, permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO; Mr. Obuchi’s widow, Mrs Chizuko Obuchi, Koïchiro Matsuura, former Director General.