On 6 October, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened an exhibition on "World Heritage Sites in Croatia" in the presence of Mr Krešimir Filipec, Assistant Minister of Culture; Ambassador Ritz, Permanent Delegate of Croatia to UNESCO; the Mayors of Dubrovnik, Split and Togir, as well as the Deputy Mayor of Poreć and the Director of Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvicka Jezera).
The exhibition was organized to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of the inscription on the World Heritage List of the Old City of Dubrovnik, the Historical Complex of Split and Plitvicka Jezera. Photos of other outstanding Croatian properties added to the World Heritage List in subsequent years are included in the exhibit.
Mr Matsuura welcomed the Croatian delegation, in particular Ms Dubravka Šuica, Mayor of Dubrovnik, whom he had met on the occasion of his official visit to Croatia in June 2002. The Old City of Dubrovnik, called the "Pearl of the Adriatic" was severely damaged by the armed conflict of the 1990s, after which it was the focus of a major restoration programme in cooperation with UNESCO.
The Director-General said he was happy to host this photographic exhibition at UNESCO since it was "a great opportunity to discover the richness and diversity of the natural and cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia, and to appreciate the continuous efforts made by the Croatian Government to protect it for future generations."
During this ceremony, the Director-General appointed Mr Relja Bašić, a well-known Croatian actor, director and artist manager, as UNESCO Artist for Peace. Mr Bašić joins the group of distinguished artists, such as Miyako Yoshida, Patricia Velasquez, N. Scott Momaday, Gilberto Gil and Manu Dibango, who place their fame and influence in the service of the Organization to "ensure that a message of peace and international understanding is heard in all corners of the world."
"I am particularly happy", the Director-General said, "that Relja Bašić will be designated as UNESCO Artist for Peace for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, particularly among the young people of South-East Europe and especially regarding the cultural needs of minorities throughout the region. He is superbly equipped to play this role and to address the critical issue of cultural diversity, one of the great riches of South-East Europe."