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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2965

Ex-UNESCO Chief as New Chair of Inter Press Service

Rome, 27 June, (IPS): The IPS International Association has chosen Federico Mayor as new chair of its Board of Directors. He replaces Mario Soares, former President of Portugal (1986-1996), who has been guiding the IPS Board since 2002.Federico MayorFederico Mayor

IPS also elected its Board of Trustees, which includes two former U.N. secretaries general, Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali; two former presidents, Mario Soares (Portugal) and Martti Ahtisaari (Finland); two former prime ministers, Toshiki Kaifu (Japan) and Inder Kumar Gujral (India); and IPS founder Roberto Savio.

Federico Mayor, born in Spain in 1934, served as Director General of the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1987 to 1999.

Mayor was earlier a member of the Spanish Parliament (1977-1978), Minister for Education and Science (1981-1982) and member of the European Parliament (1987).

After deciding not to run for a third term at UNESCO, he returned to Spain in 1999 to create the Foundation for a Culture of Peace. In 2005, the United Nations Secretary-General designated Mayor as Co-President of the High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations.

He is also member of the Honorary Board of the International Coalition for the Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.

Mayor, who has worked on peace-related issues for more than 30 years, says the role of a news agency such as IPS in promoting peace is "essential, because the media power today is enormous, and we receive much partial and biased information.

"It is time for action and change, and to transform reality we must know reality in-depth," he told IPS.

During his 12 years as head of UNESCO, Mayor's work focused on the promotion of peace, tolerance, human rights and peaceful coexistence. Under his guidance, UNESCO created the Culture of Peace programme aimed at education for peace; human rights and democracy; the fight against isolation and poverty; the defence of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; and conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace.

Access to independent information can make a strong contribution to handling the world's conflicts, he said. "It has been misleading information that has led to war and invasions such as the one of Iraq.

"The present crisis shows how far unrestricted freedom of expression and media pluralism are crucial to overcome the present situations, particularly the food crisis, and start the process for the other possible world of which we dream," Mayor said.

As new chair of the IPS Board of Directors, he said he will aim "to follow exactly the objectives of IPS, which are transparency, accuracy and farsightedness."

The recent triennial election of the IPS International Association appointed Mario Lubetkin Director General of IPS for a third term. A Uruguay born journalist, Lubetkin has served as correspondent for several Italian and Latin American print media, and as communications adviser for various U.N. agencies and regional integration organizations in Latin America.

"The key challenge before IPS today is to strengthen its role as a leading news agency covering all development and civil society issues. But our aim is also to get deeper analysis of globalization’s impact, particularly from the South perspective," Lubetkin said.

The IPS International Association also elected a new 16-member Board of Directors, with a geographical and gender balance. The Board includes journalists, academics, communications experts, and specialists in international cooperation.

- Asian Tribune -

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