Honorary Georgian Consul Thelmo Cunanan presented UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova with a painting of Georgian refugees from the Abkhazia conflict. The painting, a beautiful oil-on-canvass image by famous Georgian painter Irine Chutkerashvili, depicts the bunkhouses and camps built by the Georgian government for its citizens who have fled the conflict zone.
The presentation was done after a live-stream United Nations press conference during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco, where Consul Cunanan, an official representative of the South-South Cooperation Council, publicly aired the plight of hundreds of thousands of Georgians who have been displaced from their ancestral lands due to strife and fighting. The theme of this year’s climate summit is sustainable development.
During the press conference, Consul Cunanan focused on the Georgian refugee experience and how armed conflicts severely impact the environment and contribute to climate change. Consul Cunanan also reiterated the Georgian government’s position regarding the areas in question and the need to resolve the matter peacefully and in accordance with international law.
Ms Bokova thanked Consul Cunanan for his gesture and said she was very familiar with the problems faced by the Georgian refugees. She aired her deep sympathy for the displaced peoples and stressed the importance of arts and culture in conflict resolution and the healing process between communities. Ms Bokova thanked Consul Cunanan for the painting, which the latter will personally bring to UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France for exhibition in the Spring of 2017.
The reaction from social media was immediate and very positive with many Georgians thanking Consul Cunanan for raising awareness of the issue with the international community.