… says OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on visit to Skopje
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SKOPJE, 30 January 2008 – Education plays a key role in promoting tolerance, equal opportunities and public participation, said the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Knut Vollebaek, at the end of a three-day visit to Skopje and Tetovo.
“How a country educates its youth is a reflection of how it views its own future,” said Ambassador Vollebaek. “Education at all levels, including at the primary and secondary level, needs to be used as a way to promote tolerance, integration, equal opportunities and mutual understanding. This is not least the case in a State as diverse as this one.”
During this first visit to the country, Ambassador Vollebaek met Prime Minster Nikola Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement Imer Aliu, Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska, and Education Minister Suleiman Rushiti, as well as the Speaker of the Parliament Lubisha Georgievski as well as with leaders of smaller ethnic communities, opposition parties, and civil society organizations.
Ambassador Vollebaek presented the Education Minister with recommendations aimed at improving integration in the education system, and visited the Southeast Europe University in Tetovo, a multi-ethnic educational institution that the High Commissioner’s office was instrumental in establishing in 2001.
The High Commissioner also discussed with officials the situation with regard to equitable representation of communities in the public administration. He said it was important for authorities to continue to look at ways which would enhance participation of all ethnic communities in the political decision-making processes in the country.
“As High Commissioner on National Minorities, it is within my mandate to be concerned with not only inter-ethnic relations between groups, but also the situation of members of all communities in the country. It is important to recall that this is indeed a multi-ethnic State,” said Ambassador Vollebaek.