United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Wikipedia audio article


The United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; French: Organisation des Nations unies pour l’éducation,
la science et la culture) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in
Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace
and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural
reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights
along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations’
International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate
members. Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices
covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five
major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy,
technical, and teacher-training programs, international science programs, 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’s 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 objectives
of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development
goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—underpin all UNESCO strategies
and activities.==History==UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation
can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect
a Commission to study feasibility. 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 onset of World War II largely
interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations. 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 from 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. The idea of UNESCO was largely developed by
Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of
influence in its development. 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 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 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 saying 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 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,
which was responsible for establishing the European Organization 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 ideas by word and image” has been in UNESCO’s constitution from its beginnings,
following the experience of the Second World War when control of information was a factor
in indoctrinating populations for aggression. 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). The same year, UNESCO created the International
Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), a multilateral forum designed to promote
media development in developing countries. In 1991, UNESCO’s General Conference endorsed
the Windhoek Declaration on media independence and pluralism, which led the UN General Assembly
to declare the date of its adoption, 3 May, as World Press Freedom Day. Since 1997, UNESCO has awarded the UNESCO
/ Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize every 3 May. In the lead up to the World Summit on the
Information Society in 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunis), UNESCO introduced the Information
for All Programme. UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011. 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, stating 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 without losing the right
to be elected; thus, the US was elected as a member of the Executive Board for the period
2016–19.==Activities==UNESCO implements its activities through the
five programme areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication
and information. Education: UNESCO supports research in comparative
education; and provide 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 Publication of the Four Pillars of Learning
seminal document 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: Global Geoparks Network
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
World Digital Library Encouraging the “free flow of ideas by images
and words” by: Promoting freedom of expression, including
freedom of the press and freedom of information legislation, through the Division of Freedom
of Expression and Media Development, including the International Programme for the Development
of Communication Promoting the safety of journalists and combatting
impunity for those who attack them, through coordination of the UN Plan of Action on the
Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity Promoting universal access to and preservation
of information and open solutions for sustainable development through the Knowledge Societies
Division, including the Memory of the World Programme and Information for All Programme
Promoting pluralism, gender equality and cultural diversity in the media
Promoting Internet Universality and its principles, that the Internet should be (I) human Rights-based,
(ii) Open, (iii) Accessible to all, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation
(summarized as the acronym R.O.A.M.) Generating knowledge through publications
such as World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, the UNESCO Series on
Internet Freedom, and the Media Development Indicators, as well as other indicator-based
studies. 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 Health Education for Behavior Change program
in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Kenya which was financially supported by
the Government of Azerbaijan to promote health education among 10-19-year-old young people
who live in informal camp in Kibera, Nairobi. The project was carried out between September
2014 – December 2016. 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 GoUNESCO, an umbrella of initiatives to make
heritage fun supported by UNESCO, New Delhi OfficeThe UNESCO transparency portal has been
designed to enable public access to information regarding Organization’s activities, such
as its aggregate budget for a biennium, as well as links to relevant programmatic and
financial documents. These two distinct sets of information are
published on the IATI registry, respectively based on the IATI Activity Standard and the
IATI Organization Standard. There have been proposals to establish two
new UNESCO lists. The first proposed list will focus on movable
cultural heritage such as artifacts, paintings, and biofacts. The list may include cultural objects, such
as the Jōmon Venus of Japan, the Mona Lisa of France, the Gebel el-Arak Knife of Egypt,
The Ninth Wave of Russia, the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük of Turkey, the David (Michelangelo)
of Italy, the Mathura Herakles of India, the Manunggul Jar of the Philippines, the Crown
of Baekje of South Korea, The Hay Wain of the United Kingdom and the Benin Bronzes of
Nigeria. The second proposed list will focus on the
world’s living species, such as the Komodo Dragon of Indonesia, the Panda of China, the
Bald eagle of North American countries, the Aye-aye of Madagascar, the Asiatic Lion of
India, the Kakapo of New Zealand, and the Mountain tapir of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.==Media==
UNESCO and its specialized institutions issue a number of magazines. The UNESCO Courier magazine states its mission
to “promote UNESCO’s ideals, maintain a platform for the dialogue between cultures and provide
a forum for international debate.” Since March 2006 it is available online, with
limited printed issues. Its articles express the opinions of the authors
which are not necessarily the opinions of UNESCO. There was a hiatus in publishing between 2012
and 2017.In 1950, UNESCO initiated the quarterly review Impact of Science on Society (also
known as Impact) to discuss the influence of science on society. The journal ceased publication in 1992. UNESCO also published museum international
quarterly from the year 1948.==Official UNESCO NGOs==
UNESCO has 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:==Institutes and centres==
The institutes are specialized departments of the organization that support UNESCO’s
programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.==Prizes==
UNESCO awards 22 prizes in education, science, culture and peace: Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science UNESCO/King Sejong Literacy Prize
UNESCO/Confucius Prize for Literacy UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah
Prize to promote Quality Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication
Technologies in Education UNESCO/Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize
for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers
UNESCO/Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science
UNESCO/Institut Pasteur Medal for an outstanding contribution to the development of scientific
knowledge that has a beneficial impact on human health
UNESCO/Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation
Great Man-Made River International Water Prize for Water Resources in Arid Zones presented
by UNESCO (title to be reconsidered) Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve
Management UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a
Culture of Human Rights UNESCO Prize for Peace Education
UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence
UNESCO/International José Martí Prize UNESCO/Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science
UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize for the Promotion of Social Science Research in Latin America
and the Caribbean Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture
Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes
(UNESCO-Greece) IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
UNESCO/Jikji Memory of the World Prize UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize
for Research in the Life Sciences Carlos J. Finlay Prize for Microbiology===
Inactive prizes===International Simón Bolívar Prize (inactive
since 2004) UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education
UNESCO/Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences (inactive
since 2010) UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts==
International Days observed at UNESCO==International Days observed at UNESCO is provided
in the table given below==
Member states==As of January 2019, UNESCO has 193 member
states and 11 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 the United Nations
member states (except Liechtenstein), as well as Cook Islands, Niue and Palestine.The United
States and Israel left UNESCO on 31 December 2018.==Governing bodies=====Director-General===
There has been no elected UNESCO Director-General from Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central and
North Asia, Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, South Africa, Australia-Oceania,
and South America since inception. The Directors-General of UNESCO came from
West Europe (5), Central America (1), North America (2), West Africa (1), East Asia (1),
and East Europe (1). Out of the 11 Directors-General since inception,
women have held the position only twice. Qatar, the Philippines, and Iran are proposing
for a Director-General bid by 2021 or 2025. There have never been a Middle Eastern or
Southeast Asian UNESCO Director-General since inception. The ASEAN bloc and some Pacific and Latin
American nations support the possible bid of the Philippines, which is culturally Asian,
Oceanic, and Latin. Qatar and Iran, on the other hand, have fragmented
support in the Middle East. Egypt, Israel, and Madagascar are also vying
for the position but have yet to express a direct or indirect proposal. Both Qatar and Egypt lost in the 2017 bid
against France. The list of the Directors-General of UNESCO
since its establishment in 1946 is as follows:===General Conference===
This is the list of the sessions of the UNESCO General Conference held since 1946:===Executive Board=====
Offices and Headquarters==UNESCO headquarters are located at Place de
Fontenoy in Paris, France. UNESCO’s field offices across the globe are
categorized into four primary office types based upon their function and geographic coverage:
cluster offices, national offices, regional bureaus 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====
Abidjan – National Office to Côte d’Ivoire Abuja – National Office to Nigeria
Accra – Cluster Office for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra
Leone and Togo Addis Ababa – Liaison Office with the African
Union and with the Economic Commission for Africa
Bamako – Cluster Office for Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger
Brazzaville – National Office to the Republic of the Congo
Bujumbura – National Office to Burundi Dakar – Regional Bureau for Education in
Africa and Cluster Office for Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal
Dar es Salaam – Cluster Office for Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania
Harare – Cluster Office for Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Juba – National Office to South Sudan Kinshasa – National Office to the Democratic
Republic of the Congo Libreville – Cluster Office for the Republic
of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and
Principe Maputo – National Office to Mozambique
Nairobi – Regional Bureau for Sciences in Africa and Cluster Office for Burundi, Djibouti,
Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda
Windhoek – National Office to Namibia Yaoundé – Cluster Office to Cameroon, Central
African Republic and Chad====Arab States====
Amman – National Office to Jordan Beirut – Regional Bureau for Education in
the Arab States and Cluster Office to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine
Cairo – Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States and Cluster Office for Egypt,
Libya and Sudan Doha – Cluster Office to Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen
Iraq – National Office for Iraq (currently located in Amman, Jordan)
Khartoum – National Office to Sudan Manama – Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage
Rabat – Cluster Office to Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia
Ramallah – National Office to the Palestinian Territories====
Asia and Pacific====Apia – Cluster Office to Australia, Cook
Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New
Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and
Tokelau (Associate Member) Bangkok – Regional Bureau for Education
in Asia and the Pacific and Cluster Office to Thailand, Burma, Laos, Singapore and Vietnam
Beijing – Cluster Office to North Korea, Japan, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of
China and South Korea Dhaka – National Office to Bangladesh
Hanoi – National Office to Vietnam Islamabad – National Office to Pakistan
Jakarta – Regional Bureau for Sciences in Asia and the Pacific and Cluster Office to
the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and East Timor
Manila – National Office to the Philippines Kabul – National Office to Afghanistan
Kathmandu – National Office to Nepal New Delhi – Cluster Office to Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka Phnom Penh – National Office to Cambodia
Tashkent – National Office to Uzbekistan Tehran – Cluster Office to Afghanistan,
Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan====
Europe and North America====Almaty – Cluster Office to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Brussels – Liaison Office to the European
Union and its subsidiary bodies in Brussels Geneva – Liaison Office to the United Nations
in Geneva New York City – Liaison Office to the United
Nations in New York Moscow – Cluster Office to Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Moldova and Russia Venice – Regional Bureau for Sciences and
Culture in Europe====
Latin America and the Caribbean====Brasilia – National Office to Brazil
Guatemala City – National Office to Guatemala Havana – Regional Bureau for Culture in
Latin America and the Caribbean and Cluster Office to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti
and Aruba Kingston – Cluster Office to Antigua and
Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and
Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago
as well as the associate member states of British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao
and Sint Maarten Lima – National Office to Peru
Mexico City – National Office to Mexico Montevideo – Regional Bureau for Sciences
in Latin America and the Caribbean and Cluster Office to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay
and Uruguay Port-au-Prince – National Office to Haiti
Quito – Cluster Office to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela
San José – Cluster Office to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua and Panama Santiago de Chile – Regional Bureau for
Education in Latin America and the Caribbean and National Office to Chile==
Controversies=====
New World Information and Communication order===
UNESCO has been the centre of controversy in the past, particularly in its relationships
with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the former Soviet Union. During the 1970s and 1980s, UNESCO’s support
for a “New World Information and Communication Order” and its MacBride report calling for
democratization of the media and more egalitarian access to information was condemned in these
countries as attempts to curb freedom of the press. UNESCO was perceived as a platform for communists
and Third World dictators to attack the West, in contrast to accusations made by the USSR
in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions
and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985. Singapore withdrew also at the end of 1985,
citing rising membership fees. Following a change of government in 1997,
the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed
by Singapore on 8 October 2007.===Israel===
Israel was admitted to UNESCO in 1949, one year after its creation. Israel has maintained its membership since
1949. In 2010, Israel designated the Cave of the
Patriarchs, Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb, Bethlehem as National Heritage Sites and announced restoration
work, prompting criticism from the Obama administration and protests from Palestinians. In October 2010, UNESCO’s Executive Board
voted to declare the sites as “al-Haram al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs” and “Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s
Tomb” and stated that they were “an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories”
and any unilateral Israeli action was a violation of international law. UNESCO described the sites as significant
to “people of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions”, and accused Israel of highlighting
only the Jewish character of the sites. Israel in turn accused UNESCO of “detach[ing]
the Nation of Israel from its heritage”, and accused it of being politically motivated. The Rabbi of the Western Wall said that Rachel’s
tomb had not previously been declared a holy Muslim site. Israel partially suspended ties with UNESCO. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
declared that the resolution was a “part of Palestinian escalation”. Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Education
and Culture Committee, referred to the resolutions as an attempt to undermine the mission of
UNESCO as a scientific and cultural organization that promotes cooperation throughout the world.On
28 June 2011, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, at Jordan’s insistence, censured Israel’s
decision to demolish and rebuild the Mughrabi Gate Bridge in Jerusalem for safety reasons. Israel stated that Jordan had signed an agreement
with Israel stipulating that the existing bridge must be dismantled for safety reasons;
Jordan disputed the agreement, saying that it was only signed under U.S. pressure. Israel was also unable to address the UNESCO
committee over objections from Egypt.In January 2014, days before it was scheduled to open,
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, “indefinitely postponed” and effectively cancelled an exhibit
created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center entitled “The People, The Book, The Land: The 3,500-year
relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.” The event was scheduled to run from 21 January
through 30 January in Paris. Bokova cancelled the event after representatives
of Arab states at UNESCO argued that its display would “harm the peace process”. The author of the exhibition, Professor Robert
Wistrich of the Hebrew University’s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study
of Anti-Semitism, called the cancellation an “appalling act,” and characterized Bokova’s
decision as “an arbitrary act of total cynicism and, really, contempt for the Jewish people
and its history.” UNESCO amended the decision to cancel the
exhibit within the year, and it quickly achieved popularity and was viewed as a great success.On
January 1 2019, Israel formally left UNESCO in pursuance of the US withdrawal over the
continuous anti-Israel bias.====Occupied Palestine Resolution====On 13 October 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution
on East Jerusalem that condemned Israel for “aggressions” by Israeli police and soldiers
and “illegal measures” against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their holy
sites, while also recognizing Israel as the occupying power. Palestinian leaders welcomed the decision. While the text acknowledged the “importance
of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions”, it
referred to the sacred hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City only by its Muslim name
“Al-Haram al-Sharif”, Arabic for Noble Sanctuary. In response, Israel denounced the UNESCO resolution
for its omission of the words “Temple Mount” or “Har HaBayit,” stating that it denies Jewish
ties to the key holy site. After receiving criticism from numerous Israeli
politicians and diplomats, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayelet Shaked, Israel froze
all ties with the organization. The resolution was condemned by Ban ki-Moon
and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who said that Judaism, Islam and Christianity
have clear historical connections to Jerusalem and “to deny, conceal or erase any of the
Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site. Al-Aqsa Mosque is also Temple Mount, whose
Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism.” It was also rejected by the Czech Parliament
which said the resolution reflects a “hateful anti-Israel sentiment”, and hundreds of Italian
Jews demonstrated in Rome over Italy’s abstention. On 26 October, UNESCO approved a reviewed
version of the resolution, which also criticized Israel for its continuous “refusal to let
the body’s experts access Jerusalem’s holy sites to determine their conservation status.” Despite containing some softening of language
following Israeli protests over a previous version, Israel continued to denounce the
text. The resolution refers to the site Jews and
Christians refer to as the Temple Mount, or Har HaBayit in Hebrew, only by its Arab name
— a significant semantic decision also adopted by UNESCO’s executive board, triggering condemnation
from Israel and its allies. U.S. Ambassador Crystal Nix Hines stated:
“This item should have been defeated. These politicized and one-sided resolutions
are damaging the credibility of UNESCO.”In October 2017, the United States and Israel
announced they would withdraw from the organization, citing in-part anti-Israel bias.===Palestine=======
Palestinian youth magazine controversy====In February 2011, an article was published
in a Palestinian youth magazine in which a teenage girl described one of her four role-models
as Adolf Hitler. In December 2011, UNESCO, which partly funded
the magazine, condemned the material and subsequently withdrew support.====Islamic University of Gaza controversy
====In 2012, UNESCO decided to establish a chair
at the Islamic University of Gaza in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences,
fueling controversy and criticism. Israel bombed the school in 2008 stating that
they develop and store weapons there, which Israel restated in criticizing UNESCO’s move.The
head, Kamalain Shaath, defended UNESCO, stating that “the Islamic University is a purely academic
university that is interested only in education and its development”. Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan
planned to submit a letter of protest with information about the university’s ties to
Hamas, especially angry that this was the first Palestinian university that UNESCO chose
to cooperate with. The Jewish organization B’nai B’rith criticized
the move as well.===Wikileaks===
On 16 and 17 February 2012, UNESCO held a conference entitled “The Media World after
WikiLeaks and News of the World.” Despite all six panels being focused on WikiLeaks,
no member of WikiLeaks staff was invited to speak. After receiving a complaint from WikiLeaks
spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, UNESCO invited him to attend, but did not offer a place on
any panels. The offer also came only a week before the
conference, which was held in Paris, France. Many of the speakers featured, including David
Leigh and Heather Brooke, had spoken out openly against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange
in the past. WikiLeaks released a press statement on 15
February 2012 denouncing UNESCO which stated, “UNESCO has made itself an international human
rights joke. To use ‘freedom of expression’ to censor WikiLeaks
from a conference about WikiLeaks is an Orwellian absurdity beyond words.”===
Che Guevara===In 2013, UNESCO announced that the collection
“The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” became part of the Memory of the World Register. US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen condemned
this decision, saying that the organization acts against its own ideals:
This decision is more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up
and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies but it also serves as a direct contradiction
to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights. UN Watch also condemned this selection by
UNESCO.===Listing Nanjing Massacre documents===
In 2015, Japan threatened to halt funding for UNESCO over the organization’s decision
to include documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing massacre in the latest listing for
its “Memory of the World” program. In October 2016, Japanese Foreign Minister
Fumio Kishida confirmed that Japan’s 2016 annual funding of ¥4.4 billion had been suspended
although denied any direct link with the Nanjing document controversy.===US withdrawals===
After withdrawing from UNESCO in 1984, the United States rejoined January 10, 2003. Former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach stated before
a Congressional subcommittee: The reasons for the withdrawal of the United
States from UNESCO in 1984 are well-known; my view is that we overreacted to the calls
of some who wanted to radicalize UNESCO, and the calls of others who wanted the United
States to lead in emasculating the UN system. The fact is UNESCO is one of the least dangerous
international institutions ever created. While some member countries within UNESCO
attempted to push journalistic views antithetical to the values of the west, and engage in Israel
bashing, UNESCO itself never adopted such radical postures. The U.S. opted for empty-chair diplomacy,
after winning, not losing, the battles we engaged in… It was nuts to get out, and would be nuttier
not to rejoin. He concluded that the record showed Israel
bashing, a call for a new world information order, money management, and arms control
policy to be the impetus behind the withdrawal; he asserted that before the UNESCO withdrawal,
a withdrawal from the IAEA had been pushed on him. The United States rejoined UNESCO shortly
thereafter. On 12 October 2017, the United States notified
UNESCO that it will again withdraw from the organization on 31 December 2018 and will
seek to establish a permanent observer mission beginning in 2019. The Department of State cited “mounting arrears
at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel
bias at UNESCO.”The United States has not paid over $600 million in dues since stopping
to pay its $80 million annual UNESCO dues when Palestine became a full member in 2011. Israel and the US were among only 14 votes
against the membership, of 194 member countries.===Turkish–Kurdish conflict===
On May 25, 2016, the noted Turkish poet and human rights activist Zülfü Livaneli resigned
as Turkey’s only UNESCO goodwill ambassador. He highlighted human rights situation in Turkey
and destruction of historical Sur district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish-majority
southeast Turkey, during fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants as
the main reasons for his resignation. Livaneli said: “To pontificate on peace while
remaining silent against such violations is a contradiction of the fundamental ideals
of UNESCO.”==Products or services==
UNESDOC – Contains over 146,000 UNESCO documents in full text published since 1945 as well
as metadata from the collections of the UNESCO Library and documentation centres in field
offices and institutes.===Information processing tools===
UNESCO develops, maintains and disseminates, free of charge, two interrelated software
packages for database management (CDS/ISIS [not to be confused with UK police software
package ISIS]) and data mining/statistical analysis (IDAMS). CDS/ISIS – a generalised information storage
and retrieval system. The Windows version may run on a single computer
or in a local area network. The JavaISIS client/server components allow
remote database management over the Internet and are available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. Furthermore, GenISIS allows the user to produce
HTML Web forms for CDS/ISIS database searching. The ISIS_DLL provides an API for developing
CDS/ISIS based applications. OpenIDAMS – a software package for processing
and analysing numerical data developed, maintained and disseminated by UNESCO. The original package was proprietary but UNESCO
has initiated a project to provide it as open-source. IDIS – a tool for direct data exchange between
CDS/ISIS and IDAMS==See also==Academic Mobility Network
UNESCO Reclining Figure 1957–58, sculpture by Henry Moore
WikiProject UNESCO

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