UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura received the Goodwill Ambassadors at UNESCO Headquarters on 26 and 27 February 2004 for their the annual meeting.

Several working sessions were organized to review and assess various projects and activities that had been undertaken since the previous meeting and to enlist their support for the Organization’s activities, in particular on the following three flagship issues for 2004: safeguarding of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, HIV/AIDS Prevention Education, International Year for the Commemoration of the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition (2004).

During his opening speech UNESCO Director-General Mr Koichiro Matsuura underlined that “… as you know, I consider this annual meeting extremely important, for you as well as for me. For you, because it is doubtless a unique occasion to get to know the activities that were undertaken by all of you and to exchange views on your successful experiences and the difficulties you have encountered, and, why not, to conceive new projects together. This meeting is also very important to me, because when I have the opportunity to meet you individually during the year, in particular when you participate in major events organized by UNESCO, I, as well as you, never have enough time to deepen the dialogue with you and inform you about the fields in which I would like to call upon your support”.

During this meeting, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors expressed their enthusiasm and readiness actively to assist the programme of Intangible Heritage and made the following pledges of sponsorship:

H. E. Mr Valdas Adamkus: Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre (India)

Mr Patrick Baudry: Woodcrafting Knowledge of the Zafimaniry (Madagascar)

Mrs Claudia Cardinale: Opera dei Pupi, Sicilian Puppet Theatre (Italy)

Dr Cheick M. Diarra: The Cultural Space of Sosso-Bala in Nyagassola (Guinea)

Mr Miguel Angel Estrella: The Andean Cosmovision of the Kallawaya (Bolivia) and the Oral Heritage and Cultural Manifestations of the Z?para People (Ecuador and Peru)

H.R.H. Princess Firyal: Songs of Sanaa (Yemen) and Iraqi Maqam (Iraq)

H.E. Ms Vigd?s Finnbogad?ttir: The Kinhu Cultural Space (Estonia)

Mr Kit?n Mu?oz: Jemaa el-Fna Square (Morocco)

Mr Renzo Piano: Vanuatu Sand Drawing (Vanuatu)

H.E. Mr Sheikh Shaker: The Cultural Space of the Boysun District (Uzbekistan) and The Al-Sirah Al-Hilaliyya Epic (Egypt)

Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis: Azerbaijani Mugham (Azerbaijan)