During a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters, the Organization’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay expressed her condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the 10 March Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, among whom were many United Nations staff. Before observing a minute of silence, Ms Azoulay, signaled out one of the victims, Professor Sebastiano Tusa, an Italian expert on underwater archaeology, who was to deliver a keynote address at a UNESCO conference in Kenya.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Professor Tusa. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and to the relatives of all the victims of this terrible crash, including UN staff,” said Ms. Azoulay. “UNESCO had the great honour to collaborate with Professor Tusa for the protection of underwater cultural heritage. He put his heart and soul into safeguarding traces of our history found under the seas. Moreover, he was a generous professional who shared his knowledge and expertise in underwater archaeology with colleagues and museum professionals from around the world. The entire UN family and UNESCO team are in mourning,” she added.
A renowned underwater archaeologist and Councillor of Cultural Heritage for the Government of Sicily, Italy, Professor Tusa was on his way to the UNESCO Regional Conference on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Development in Eastern Africa on 11 March in Malindi, Kenya.