On April 26, Kateryna Yushchenko took part in an international humanitarian forum “Rebirth, Renewal and Human Development” to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Chornobyl accident, the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe. The event took place at the Great Hall of Ukraine’s National Philharmonic Society and was hosted by the Ukraine 3000 and the Children of Chornobyl Relief & Development Fund, the president press office informs.

In her speech, Mrs. Yushchenko thanked the representatives of many countries that had welcomed their initiative to consider complex development issues, express their attitude to them and work out a joint action plan for the future. She added that the painful experience of Chornobyl “makes it imperative that we focus on the fundamental question – development of the individual and society and the strengthening of our responsibility for the future.” The First Lady suggested that they all start a continuous dialog about our common future in the conditions of growing man-caused disaster risks and speak about the Chornobyl lessons we have learned and still have to learn.

Maria Kaczynska, wife of the Polish President, also spoke at the forum. She said the Chornobyl disaster was one of the consequences of the Soviet totalitarian regime.

“We have rooted out totalitarianism in almost all countries of the world but that does not mean we have no other problems such as terrorism, catastrophes, and wars,” she said, adding that it would be right to start a dialogue to help people protect the world against such cataclysms.

Among some other keynote speakers were: Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director General, Juan Manuel Suarez de Torro Rivero, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Paolo Coelho, Author, Fabrizio Saccomani, Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ene Ergma, Vice-President of the Parliament of Estonia, John E. Herbst, Ambassador of the United States of America to Ukraine, Jeremy Hartley, UNISEF Representative in Ukraine, Hiroshi Nakajima, WHO Secretary-General Emeritus, Zenon Matkiwsky, Founder and President of the Children of Chornobyl Relief & Development Fund, and Olha Kovalenko, “Development of a Human Being: Look into a Future” Project Leader/Ukraine 3000.

The forum consisted of three section forums:
Section A: The consequences of Chornobyl and other catastrophes: Lessons learned, insights gained, awareness of the patterns and tendencies
Section B: Perspectives for renewal and future development; Heightened Preparedness and Challenges for the Future
Section C: General Overview: Evolution, Catastrophes and Humanity’s Future
The participants of the forum then discussed ways to find new mechanisms of future development.

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