Perry World House 2018 Distinguished Visitor Irina Bokova Kicks Off Semester With Week of Events

By John Gans Jr.

In January, Irina Bokova, the former director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, was at the University of Pennsylvania for a series of events hosted by Perry World House, the Law School and Graduate School of Education. Bokova, who is a Perry World House Distinguished Visitor, met with students, faculty, and members of the Penn and Philadelphia communities and presented compelling arguments for the ability of international institutions and culture to bring a rapidly changing world together.

On Jan. 30, Bokova spoke of her leadership at UNESCO and in the international community more broadly. She then joined a panel conversation with Perry World House Director Bill Burke-White, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Bathsheba “Sheba” Nell Crocker, and Johns Hopkins University Professor Ruth Wedgwood, for a discussion of role of international institutions as well as reforms needed at a dynamic moment in the world.

On Jan. 31, Bokova joined a spirited panel, moderated by Perry World House’s deputy director LaShawn Jefferson, with leaders of the Philadelphia and Penn communities. Bokova, Zabeth Teelucksingh, the executive director for the non-profit Global Philadelphia Association, and Brian Daniels, the director of research and programs for the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, discussed the power of culture and heritage to bring the world together.

Throughout the week, Bokova spoke and met with hundreds of members of the Penn community, in public events, private conversations, and through the Perry World House Global Cable podcast, which will be broadcast soon. She is just the latest visitor to Perry World House, joining previous guests, including the European Union’s former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Lady Catherine Ashton, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, and former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón. 


Irina Bokova