Mr President of the General Conference, Madam Director-General, Distinguished Members of the Board, Excellencies and dear colleagues, On your behalf, I have the privilege to welcome His Highness, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Saud, Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who is visiting the Executive Board of UNESCO on the occasion of this 185th session as Special Envoy of His Majesty King Abdallah. Your Highness, Your country was one of the founders of UNESCO in 1946 and has since constantly shown itself to be a dedicated believer in UNESCO and an investor in its activities, especially in the field of humanitarian aid in education, culture and the sciences. The personal contribution of Your Highness to the promotion of UNESCO’s principles and ideals is well known and much appreciated. We are all therefore much honored to have this opportunity to receive you in person in this House today. Your Highness, Throughout its membership of UNESCO, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has many times been elected a Member of the Executive Board. The current representation of your country on the Board marks the continued confidence placed in your dear motherland, in reinforcing the mutually profitable cooperation with UNESCO. I am therefore sincerely grateful to both Mr Faisal Abdul Rahman Bin Moamar, Saudi Arabian Vice-Minister of Education and the country’s representative to the Organisation’s Executive Board and Mr Ziad Bin Abdullah Aldrees, Permanent Delegate of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO, for their constant readiness to collaborate with me since I took office as Chairperson of the Board. Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the two Holy Mosques which attract the attention of almost two billion Muslims, is consistently spreading out its message of peace and dialogue among peoples. I was delighted to have had the opportunity to experience this at first hand during the exchange with intellectuals on the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures at the King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh, when I accompanied the Director-General, together with the President of UNESCO’s General Conference, on an official visit to Saudi Arabia in March this year. I was also particularly glad to be able to “touch” the rich cultural heritage of your country during the Al-Janadriyah National Festival. The care and promotion of the arts and traditions in Saudi Arabia are exemplary. I am sure that in that field as in many others UNESCO and Saudi Arabia will further develop and reinforce their relationship in contributing to universal cooperation for peace and security. Your Highness, On behalf of the Members of the Board, allow me to express our deep gratitude to King Abdallah and to you personally, as Minister of Education, for the gesture of good will in securing the interpretation into Arabic for the first ever World Conference on Early Childhood and Care Education co-organized in Moscow by UNESCO and the Russian Federation in September last. Thank you for your visit, Your Highness. Welcome to UNESCO! We now very much look forward to listening to your words!