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    United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. UNESCO is an agency of the United Nations that promotes international cooperation specifically in the fields of education, science and culture. (Wikipedia) - UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Abbreviation Formation Type Legal status Headquarters Head Website
    4 November 1946
    Specialized agency
    Located on the Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France, the main building which houses the Headquarters of UNESCO was inaugurated on 3 November 1958.
    Irina Bokova Director-General of UNESCO
    The flag of UNESCO.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (French: Organisation des Nations unies pour l''éducation, la science et la culture; UNESCO; /juːˈnɛskoʊ/) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).

    Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations'' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

    UNESCO has 195 member states and nine associate members.

    Most of the field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices.

    UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.

    Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmes; international science programmes; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects; the promotion of cultural diversity; translations of world literature; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.

    UNESCO''s aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".

    Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.

    The broad goals and concrete objectives of the international community — as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) — underpin all UNESCO''s strategies and activities.

    • 1 History
    • 2 Activities
    • 3 Official UNESCO NGOs
    • 4 Institutes and centres
    • 5 Official list of UNESCO prizes
      • 5.1 Inactive prizes
    • 6 International Days observed at UNESCO
    • 7 Member states
    • 8 Governing bodies
      • 8.1 Director-General
      • 8.2 General Conference
    • 9 Offices
    • 10 Controversy and reform
    • 11 Products or services
    • 12 References and notes
    • 13 External links

    UNESCO and its mandate for international co-operation can be traced back to the League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study the question. The International Committee on Intellectual Co-operation (ICIC) was officially created on 4 January 1922, as a consultative organ composed of individuals elected based on their personal qualifications. The International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC) was then created in Paris on 9 August 1925, to act as the executing agency for the ICIC. On 18 December 1925, the International Bureau of Education (IBE) began work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development. However, the work of these predecessor organizations was largely interrupted by the onset of World War II.

    After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME) began meetings in London which continued between 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR. This was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented. A prominent figure in the initiative for UNESCO was Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom. At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, and a Preparatory Commission was established. The Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, and 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO''s Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state.

    The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, and elected Dr. Julian Huxley to the post of Director-General. The Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the Executive Board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity. This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the CICI, in terms of how member states would work together in the organization''s fields of competence. As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO''s mandate, political and historical factors have shaped the organization''s operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, and the dissolution of the USSR.

    Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists (among them was Claude Lévi-Strauss) and other scientists in 1950 and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice. In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO claiming that some of the organization''s publications amounted to "interference" in the country''s "racial problems." South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.

    UNESCO''s early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, Haiti, started in 1947. This project was followed by expert missions to other countries, including, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949. In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal. In 1990 the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, Thailand, launched a global movement to provide basic education for all children, youths and adults. Ten years later, the 2000 World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, led member governments to commit to achieving basic education for all by 2015.

    UNESCO''s early activities in the field of culture included, for example, the Nubia Campaign, launched in 1960. The purpose of the campaign was to move the Great Temple of Abu Simbel to keep it from being swamped by the Nile after construction of the Aswan Dam. During the 20-year campaign, 22 monuments and architectural complexes were relocated. This was the first and largest in a series of campaigns including Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan), Fes (Morocco), Kathmandu (Nepal), Borobudur (Indonesia) and the Acropolis (Greece). The organization''s work on heritage led to the adoption, in 1972, of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The World Heritage Committee was established in 1976 and the first sites inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Since then important legal instruments on cultural heritage and diversity have been adopted by UNESCO member states in 2003 (Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage) and 2005 (Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions).

    An intergovernmental meeting of UNESCO in Paris in December 1951 led to the creation of the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1954.

    Arid Zone programming, 1948–1966, is another example of an early major UNESCO project in the field of natural sciences. In 1968, UNESCO organized the first intergovernmental conference aimed at reconciling the environment and development, a problem which continues to be addressed in the field of sustainable development. The main outcome of the 1968 conference was the creation of UNESCO''s Man and the Biosphere Programme.

    In the field of communication, the free flow of information has been a priority for UNESCO from its beginnings. In the years immediately following World War II, efforts were concentrated on reconstruction and on the identification of needs for means of mass communication around the world. UNESCO started organizing training and education for journalists in the 1950s. In response to calls for a "New World Information and Communication Order" in the late 1970s, UNESCO established the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, which produced the 1980 MacBride report (named after the Chair of the Commission, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Seán MacBride). Following the MacBride report, UNESCO introduced the Information Society for All programme and Toward Knowledge Societies programme in the lead up to the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunis).

    In 2011, Palestine became a UNESCO member following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed. Laws passed in the United States in 1990 and 1994 mean that it cannot contribute financially to any UN organisation that accepts Palestine as a full member. As a result, it withdrew its funding which accounted for about 22% of UNESCO''s budget. Israel also reacted to Palestine''s admittance to UNESCO by freezing Israel payments to the UNESCO and imposing sanctions to the Palestinian Authority, claiming that Palestine''s admittance would be detrimental "to potential peace talks". Two years after they stopped paying their dues to UNESCO, US and Israel lost UNESCO voting rights in 2013.

    ActivitiesUNESCO offices in Brasília

    UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas of Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information.

    • Education: UNESCO supports research in comparative education; and provides expertise and fosters partnerships to strengthen national educational leadership and the capacity of countries to offer quality education for all. This includes the
      • UNESCO Chairs, an international network of 644 UNESCO Chairs, involving over 770 institutions in 126 countries.
      • Environmental Conservation Organisation
      • Convention against Discrimination in Education adopted in 1960
      • Organization of the International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) in an interval of 12 years
      • Publication of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report
      • UNESCO ASPNet, an international network of 8,000 schools in 170 countries

    UNESCO does not accredit institutions of higher learning.

    • UNESCO also issues public ''statements'' to educate the public:
      • Seville Statement on Violence: A statement adopted by UNESCO in 1989 to refute the notion that humans are biologically predisposed to organised violence.
    • Designating projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as:
      • International Network of Geoparks
      • Biosphere reserves, through the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), since 1971
      • City of Literature; in 2007, the first city to be given this title was Edinburgh, the site of Scotland''s first circulating library. In 2008, Iowa City, Iowa became the City of Literature.
      • Endangered languages and linguistic diversity projects
      • Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
      • Memory of the World International Register, since 1997
      • Water resources management, through the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), since 1965
      • World Heritage Sites
    • Encouraging the "free flow of ideas by images and words" by:
      • Promoting freedom of expression, Freedom of the press and Freedom of information legislation, through the International Programme for the Development of Communication and the Communication and Information Programme
      • Promoting universal access to ICTs, through the Information for All Programme
      • Promoting Pluralism and cultural diversity in the media
    • Promoting events, such as:
      • International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World: 2001–2010, proclaimed by the UN in 1998
      • World Press Freedom Day, 3 May each year, to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right and as crucial components of any healthy, democratic and free society.
      • Criança Esperança in Brazil, in partnership with Rede Globo, to raise funds for community-based projects that foster social integration and violence prevention.
      • International Literacy Day
      • International Year for the Culture of Peace
    • Founding and funding projects, such as:
      • Migration Museums Initiative: Promoting the establishment of museums for cultural dialogue with migrant populations.
      • UNESCO-CEPES, the European Centre for Higher Education: established in 1972 in Bucharest, Romania, as a de-centralized office to promote international co-operation in higher education in Europe as well as Canada, USA and Israel. Higher Education in Europe is its official journal.
      • Free Software Directory: since 1998 UNESCO and the Free Software Foundation have jointly funded this project cataloguing free software.
      • FRESH Focussing Resources on Effective School Health.
      • OANA, Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
      • International Council of Science
      • UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors
      • ASOMPS, Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices, a series of scientific conferences held in Asia
      • Botany 2000, a programme supporting taxonomy, and biological and cultural diversity of medicinal and ornamental plants, and their protection against environmental pollution
      • The UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, translating works of world literature both to and from multiple languages, from 1948 to 2005
    Official UNESCO NGOs

    UNESCO enjoys official relations with 322 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Most of these are what UNESCO calls "operational", a select few are "formal". The highest form of affiliation to UNESCO is "formal associate", and the 22 NGOs with formal associate (ASC) relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS)
  • Education International (EI)
  • International Association of Universities (IAU)
  • International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (IFTC)
  • International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS) which publishes Diogenes
  • International Council for Science (ICSU)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM)
  • International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
  • International Council on Archives (ICA)
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  • International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • International Federation of Poetry Associations (IFPA)
  • International Music Council (IMC)
  • International Police Association (IPA)
  • International Scientific Council for Island Development (INSULA)
  • International Social Science Council (ISSC)
  • International Theatre Institute (ITI)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
  • International Union of Technical Associations and Organizations
  • Union of International Associations (UIA)
  • World Association of Newspapers (WAN)
  • World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)
  • World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA)
  • Institutes and centresUNESCO Institute for Water Education in Delft

    The institutes are specialized departments of the organization that support UNESCO''s programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.

    Official list of UNESCO prizes

    UNESCO currently awards 22 prizes in education, science, culture and peace:

    Inactive prizes International Days observed at UNESCO

    Member states Main article: Member states of UNESCO

    As of October 2011, UNESCO counts 196 member states and 8 associate members. Some members are not independent states and some members have additional National Organizing Committees from some of their dependent territories. UNESCO state parties are most of the United Nations member states (except Liechtenstein), Cook Islands, Niue, and the State of Palestine.

    Governing bodies Director-General

    Elections for the renewal of the position of Director-General took place in Paris from 7 to 23 September 2009. Eight candidates ran for the position, and 58 countries voted for them. The Executive Council gathered from 7 to 23 September, the vote itself beginning on the 17th. Irina Bokova was elected the new Director-General.

    The list of the Directors-General of UNESCO since its establishment in 1946 is as follows:

  • Julian Huxley (1946–1948)
  • Jaime Torres Bodet (1948–1952)
  • John Wilkinson Taylor (acting 1952–1953)
  • Luther Evans (1953–1958)
  • Vittorino Veronese (1958–1961)
  • René Maheu (1961–1974; acting 1961)
  • Amadou-Mahtar M''Bow (1974–1987)
  • Federico Mayor Zaragoza (1987–1999)
  • Koïchiro Matsuura (1999–2009)
  • Irina Bokova (2009– )
  • General Conference

    This is the list of the sessions of UNESCO General Conference held since 1946:


    UNESCO has offices in many locations across the globe; its headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France, now called the World Heritage Centre.

    UNESCO''s field offices are categorized into four primary office types based upon their function and geographic coverage: cluster offices, national offices, regional bureaux and liaison offices.

    Field offices by region

    The following list of all UNESCO Field Offices is organized geographically by UNESCO Region and identifies the members states and associate members of UNESCO which are served by each office.

    Africa Arab States Asia and Pacific

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