Princess Firyal was appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992. Followed by an appointment as Special Advisor to the Director General of UNESCO in 1995. Additionally, the Princess is involved in many other programs of UNESCO, especially programs for protection of world heritage and global education.
In cooperation with UNESCO, Princess Firyal launched the International Hope Foundation for Street Children in 1994. The Princess worked with the mobile units of the Children’s Health Funds in New York and frequently visited homeless and street children shelters in other cities in the United States, and elsewhere. That program has been absorbed by other NGOs. In 2005, the Princess was appointed a Global Education Ambassador, participating in workshops, meetings, and fundraising, which require extensive traveling.
UNESCO activities include:
• Princess Firyal participated in the fundraising event for “Children in Need” (Kinder in Not) in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1993, an event organized by Mrs Ohoven, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
• PF has sponsored and chaired the Musical Event “Nuit de la Paix” in Arles, France during the summer of 1996. This event raised funds for war victims and was organized by Chico Bouchikhi, UNESCO Artist for Peace.
• PF represented UNESCO at the Second International Congress on Family Law and the Rights of Children and Youth, and has chaired the Children’s Fund Committee and participated in many workshops during the conference. She also gave conferences in San Francisco in July 1997 on “Street Children” and “Child labor”.
• PF annually attends musical conferences in Verona, as she is a founding member of the “Nausicaa”, the Poetry and Music international Organization sponsored by UNESCO in Verona, Italy. PF is also a founder of the Institute of Opera and Poetry (IIOP), based in Verona, and was appointed Honorary President of the IIOP and member of its Scientific Council in October 1999.
•PF was nominated as one of the Patrons for the World Heritage International Congress: The congress took place on 14 November 2002 at the Giorgio Cini Foundation on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy.
•PF attended a Charity Gala for the Purcell School in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, on February 6, 2003 at UNESCO Headquarters.
•During a briefing meeting held on 14 September 2004 at UNESCO Headquarters, the Director-General conferred on HRH the mission of promoting the “Education for All” initiative.
•On 30 September 2004, H.R.H. Princess Firyal co-chaired the annual Global Leadership Award dinner, which was organized by the United Nations Association of the USA, presided by Ambassador William H. Luers, and the Business Council for the United Nations. In her keynote address, the Princess put forward the objectives of UNESCO’s Education for All initiative and the efforts of the Organization in the fight against AIDS.
• H.R.H. participated in the round table at the Headquarters on micro-credit and the experiment of the Grameen Bank chaired by Professor Muhammad Yunus, followed by the exhibition of the Bangladeshi weavers’ artistry initiated by the bank.
• On April 03, 2007, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO, opened the 7th Annual Meeting of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors at the Organization’s Headquarters, attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan.
• Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, hosted the fifth series of the UNESCO Regional Conferences in Support of Global Literacy from May 14-16, 2008 in Baku, Azerbaijan which was attended by the Princess.
•In July of 2008, Princess Firyal joined UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura in the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee Meeting in Quebec City, followed by a three-day-workshop in Venice in efforts to escalate the initiatives of ‘Save Venice.’
• On September 25, 2008, Princess Firyal took part in UNESCO’s High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and was asked by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead a round table on Education and Health. Read her speech here.
• In January of 2009, Princess Firyal joined the humanitarian initiative of First Lady of Qatar Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned to ensure that educational systems along the Gaza Strip are preserved and sustained even in the face of extreme conflict. View Princess Firyal’s letter of support here.
•On September 8, 2009, PFattended the UNESCO International Literacy Day Conference and Private Luncheon hosted by Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in honour of former First Lady Laura Bush, UNESCO Honorary Ambassador to the UN Literacy Decade.
• The Annual Meetings at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris: H.R.H. Princess Firyal and the musician Jean Michel Jarre serve as moderators of the meetings, setting the agenda for the coming year, and often welcoming with the Director General the newly appointed Ambassadors and artists of peace, such as the late Ms. Zaha Hadid.
In January of 2011, H.R.H. Princess Firyal spent three weeks traveling throughout India. She explored the rich culture and history of the country and many of its unique landmarks, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutb Minar, Fatehpur Sikri, and the Khajurraho Group of Monuments. While in Delhi, Princess Firyal visited the UNESCO office and met with Mr. Armoogum Parsuramen (Director and UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka) and members of the New Delhi UNESCO council to discuss their flagship programs, ongoing initiatives and their World Heritage Sites. Princess Firyal encouraged the UNESCO staff to assist and work closely with their governments in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. During her trip, Princess Firyal was inspired to create a program with the UNESCO office in Delhi through which notable Indians from the entertainment and social arenas would adopt and give visibility to historical sites within the country, in addition to being advocates for the maintenance and upkeep of these sites. The Princess also met with T.R.H. Asha Raje and Praggyashree Gaekwad, Princesses of the Royal Family of Baroda, to discuss this endeavour, as well as talks with H.H.Priyadarshini Raje Scindia, the Maharani of Gwalior. The Princess urged the group to spearhead this new program.
• In March of 2011, following the earthquake in Japan, H.R.H. Princess Firyal recorded a Public Service Announcement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Her message, along with others from UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace, were distributed to the evacuation centers and elsewhere through podcasts, radio, the UN YouTube channel, Facebook and other social media platforms with the aim to show solidarity, and boost the morale of the citizens of Japan.
• On April 19, 2011, H.R.H. Princess Firyal attended the UNESCO Cultural Evening “Azerbaijan” hosted by Mrs. Mehriban Alieva, Azerbaijan’s First Lady and UNESCO goodwill Ambassador. The event was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and it marked the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The evening included an exhibition of unique old and new Azerbaijani rugs and a concert of music and singing by Azerbaijani musicians. The ambassadors usually take turns in showcasing cultural related presentations from their countries and areas of interest.
•On September 12, 2011, UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors Meeting was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. H.R.H. Princess Firyal served as President and moderator of the meetings and has done so in every meeting since. The topics of discussion focused on education, environment, health, and post-conflict aid. The heads of different sectors at UNESCO would participate by presenting their current data and future goals.