ISLAMABAD - President Mamnoon Hussain Thursday conferred the award of Hilal-i-Pakistan upon Irina Bokova, Director General Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), during a special investiture ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr. The President conferred the award on Irina Bokova in recognition of her services for the people of Pakistan, supporting Pakistan in various Unesco fora and activities, promoting Pakistan's cultural heritage and Indus valley civilisation and assisting the country during natural disasters. The investiture ceremony was attended among others by Zahid Hamid, Minister for Science and Technology, Balighur Rehman, Minister of State for Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education, and other senior officials. The citation read on the occasion said, "Irina Bokova, the first ever female Director General of UNESCO, played a significant role in supporting Pakistan at various Unesco forums, promotion of educational activities in Pakistan besides assisting the people of Pakistan in various natural calamities. She was instrumental in establishing Malala Fund for Girls Right to Education in 2012 and played a crucial role in establishing Pakistan's Tsunami Early Warning System (TEW). She has also launched Mohenjodaro exhibition during 184th Unesco Executive Board Meeting to highlight the significance of preserving the Indus Valley civilisation and to revive the international interest for the preservation of the site. In recognition of her outstanding and meritorious services for the people of Pakistan, the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been pleased to confer on Irina Bokova, the award of Hilal-i- Pakistan," said the citation. Later, Irina Bokova also called on the President and discussed matters related to various activities and projects being undertaken in Pakistan with the help of UNESCO.The President appreciated the Unesco for lending its full support to the government's efforts for promoting education especially girls education in Pakistan and assured that Pakistan would continue to work with Unesco for promotion of education and the protection and promotion of our world heritage sites. He thanked Bokova for setting up 'Malala Fund' for the promotion of girls education under the umbrella of Unesco and for taking personal interest in arranging a high-level advocacy event on Girl's right to education with the Government of Pakistan. He said that it would help achieve the goal of education for all by the year 2015.The President also appreciated the efforts of Bokova and her invaluable support to Pakistan at all Unesco fora, providing assistance to the flood victims, helping the country in establishing flood early warning system, training of scientists and experts in Pakistan and promoting Pakistan's heritage sites. He expressed the hope that Unesco would continue extending its support to the people of Pakistan in the education, science and cultural sectors. The President also congratulated Bokova for her successful re-election as DG Unesco in November, 2013 for a four-year term. Bokova assured continued support of the Unesco in the fields of education, science and culture and, thanked the President and government of Pakistan for decorating her with the award of Hilal-i-Pakistan.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 07-Feb-2014 here.