NASSAU, The Bahamas – As The Bahamas celebrates 40 years as a member state of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Dr. Saadia Beatriz Sanchez-Vegas, director and representative of UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, underscored to students of Cleveland Eneas Primary School the importance of respect for family, the community and the environment.
“The future of our planet, the world, is in your hands. You can make a difference. You can decide every day not to hurt others but to respect and share love. You can chose to work for a change, to protect the planet and to share a healthy environment with your family and friends, your community, your school and your country.
“Remember, the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. You are the presidents, prime ministers, the ministers of education, the teachers, the scientists, noble prize winners, mothers and fathers of tomorrow,” she said.
The school’s administrators, teachers and students welcomed Dr. Sanchez-Vegas and other officials to the Quiet Zone, Tuesday, April 5, to mark the day. Other guests included the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training; the Hon. Myles Laroda, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister; H.E. Hope Strachan, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO; Dr. Marcellus Taylor, Director; Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; and Dedrie Bevans, Secretary General, the Bahamas National Commission, UNESCO.
Minister Laroda gave brief greetings, students of Grade 5 sang “Trust in You” and Marguerite Forbes-Moree, a teacher, performed a solo.
In her remarks, Minister Hanna-Martin, used the opportunity to thank Yolanda Rolle, principal, and the teachers “for steadying the ship of education” for the students during the pandemic.
She welcomed Dr. Sanchez and thanked her for coming to The Bahamas. “We’re here celebrating 40 years as a member of UNESCO. We’re members because we are a sovereign, independent nation with our own flag and our own national anthem. We are a singular identity on the global stage.
“UNESCO has been such a resource to us especially in this pandemic-related situation. They have helped us to understand better what we have been facing in this pandemic and allowed us to begin to chart a course of excellence so we are able to be stronger as a result of what we have gone through.”
Minister Hanna-Martin encouraged the students to do all that they can to ensure that the space called The Bahamas is a powerful, strong, healthy, beautiful space. “We want the world to know that this is a nation of blessed citizens, of talented humans, and their hope is alive and excellence is our pursuit.
“I ask you to be all that you can be; it is your fulfillment to God. Do not be derailed, do not be distracted. Keep a course of faith towards excellence,” she said.
UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.