Thursday, June 30, 2005

President Bush Makes Major Policy Speach on Progress in Africa

Read the speech here

President Bush today made a major policy speech, focusing on the upcoming G8 meeting in Scotland. Some key passages are quoted below:

"We seek progress in Africa and throughout the developing world because our interests are directly at stake. September the 11th, 2001, Americans found that instability and lawlessness in a distant country can bring danger to our own. In this new century, we are less threatened by fleets and armies than by small cells of men who operate in the shadows and exploit weakness and despair. The ultimate answer to those threats is to encourage prosperous, democratic and lawful societies that join us in overcoming the forces of terror -- allies that we're finding across the continent of Africa. We fight the war on terror with our power; we will win the war on terror with freedom and justice and hope."


"Economic aid that expects little will achieve little. Economic aid that expects much can help to change the world. Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, established a year-and-a-half ago, America has begun awarding generous financial aid to countries that fight corruption, embrace democratic government, encourage free markets, and invest in the health and education of their people.

"Eight nations in Africa are now moving toward grants. In April, Madagascar became the first country to sign a compact that begins aid to vital development projects. In the last six weeks, the MCC board has approved three compacts, one with an African nation -- and I expect the MCC to move quickly in the future. Governments making the hard choices deserve our strong support. I call upon the United States Congress to fully support this initiative for new hope and progress across the developing world."


"The best way to help nations develop while limiting pollution and improving public health is to promote technologies for generating energy that are clean, affordable and secure. Some have suggested the best solution to environmental challenges and climate change is to oppose development and put the world on an energy diet. But at this moment, about two billion people have no access to any form of modern energy. Blocking that access would condemn them to permanent poverty, disease, high infant mortality, polluted water and polluted air.

"We're taking a better approach. In the last three years, the United States has launched a series of initiatives to help developing countries adopt new energy sources, from cleaner use of coal to hydrogen vehicles, to solar and wind power, to the production of clean-burning methane, to less-polluting power plants. And we continue to look for more opportunities to deepen our partnerships with developing nations. The whole world benefits when developing nations have the best and latest energy technologies."


"In 2001, I challenged the World Bank to give 50 percent of its aid to poor countries in grants instead of loans. And the bank has moved steadily closer to that goal. With the leadership of Great Britain and the United States, the G8 countries are urging cancellation of $40 billion in debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest nations, including 14 nations in Africa. (Applause.) Twenty more countries can qualify for this debt forgiveness in the future with good government and sound economic policies. We're determined not only to relieve debt, but to erase it, so nations in need can face the future with a clean slate."


"Overcoming extreme poverty will require greater trade. While aid and debt relief can create better conditions for development, it is trade that provides the engine for development................Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has reduced barriers to trade, U.S. exports to sub-Sahara Africa increased 25 percent last year. And America's imports from AGOA countries rose 88 percent. Now we must take the next large step: expanding the entire global trading system through the Doha negotiations. The World Bank estimates that completing these negotiations could add $350 billion annually to developing countries' incomes, and lift 140 million people out of poverty. The Doha negotiations are the most practical and important anti-poverty initiative in the world, and we must bring them to a prompt and successful conclusion.


"Overcoming extreme poverty will require an atmosphere of peace, achieved in some cases by effective active military forces that can end terrible conflicts..........Over the next five years, America will provide training for more than 40,000 African peacekeepers as part of a broader initiative by the G8 countries. We will help African forces to preserve justice and order on the African continent.

"We're strongly committed to peace for all the peoples of Sudan. American mediation was critical to ending a 20-year civil war between north and south, and we're working to fully implement the comprehensive peace agreement signed last January. Yet the violence in Darfur region is clearly genocide. The human cost is beyond calculation. In the short-term, more troops are needed to protect the innocent, and nations of the African Union are stepping forward to provide them. By September, the African Union mission in Sudan will grow from 2,700 to 7,700 personnel. In a NATO operation next month, the United States military will airlift more than 1,000 Rwandan troops. We will support the construction of additional 16 base camps over the next two months, and we will provide communications and vehicle maintenance for the entire force."


"Overcoming extreme poverty will require humanitarian aid that focuses on results, not merely on inputs and other flawed measures of compassion. True compassion is measured by real improvements in the lives of men, women and children. And that is the goal and that is the focus of American policy.

"Aid from America will help avert a famine this year in the Horn of Africa. All told, nearly 60 percent of global food aid to the continent of Africa comes from the United States, and Americans are proud to give that aid.

"And since 2003, our country has undertaken a major effort against HIV/AIDS, the largest health initiative in history to combat a specific disease. Across Africa, we're working with local health officials to expand AIDS testing facilities, to train and support doctors and nurses and counselors, to upgrade clinics and hospitals, to care for children orphaned by AIDS, and to support pastors and priests and others who are teaching young people the values of respect and responsibility and prevention. We're making life-giving treatment possible for more than 230,000 adults and children in Africa. We're determined to reach our five-year goal of treating two million.

"This effort is succeeding because America is providing resources and Africans are providing leadership. Local health officials set the strategy and we're supporting them. We're also respecting the values and traditions of Africa. Uganda and other nations are applying a prevention strategy called ABC -- Abstinence, Be faithful in marriage, and Condoms. ABC is balanced, effective, and reflects the moral teachings of African cultures. And no one is helped when outsiders try to impose a lower standard of responsibility."


"This morning, I announced three additional initiatives to help Africans address urgent challenges. Across the continent, there is a deep need for the empowerment of women, and that begins with education. Educated young women have lower rates of HIV/AIDS, healthier families, and higher rates of education for their own children. Yet only half of the children complete primary education in Africa.

"Together with African leaders, we must work for the education of every African child. And to move closer to that goal, today, I proposed a double funding for America's African Education Initiative. (Applause.) In the next four years, we should provide $400 million to train half-a-million teachers, and provided scholarships for 300,000 young people, mostly girls. (Applause.) We hope other nations will join us. We must give more girls in Africa a real chance to avoid exploitation and to chart their own future.

"Another important aspect of empowerment and the fight against AIDS is the legal protection of women and girls against sexual violence and abuse. (Applause.) Many African nations have already taken steps to improve legal rights for women. South Africa, for example, has an innovative model to fight rape and domestic violence: special units in hospitals where victims can report crime and receive counseling and care, and special judges and prosecutors and police units to ensure that criminals are punished.

"Today, I announce a new effort to spread this approach more broadly on the continent. I ask Congress to provide $55 million over three years to promote women's justice and empowerment in four African nations, nations that can stand as examples of reform for others. I'll urge other G8 nations to join us in protecting the lives and the rights of women in Africa.

"African health officials have also told us of their continuing battle with malaria, which in some countries can cause more death than AIDS. Approximately 1 million last year alone died on the African continent because of malaria. And in the overwhelming majority of cases, the victims are less than five years old, their lives suddenly ended by nothing more than a mosquito bite. The toll of malaria is even more tragic because the disease, itself, is highly treatable and preventable. Yet this is also our opportunity, because we know that large-scale action can defeat this disease in whole regions. And the world must take action. (Applause.)

"Next week at the G8, I will urge developed countries and private foundations to join in a broad, aggressive campaign to cut the mortality rate for malaria across Africa in half. And our nation is prepared to lead. (Applause.) Next year, we will take comprehensive action in three countries -- Tanzania, Uganda and Angola -- to provide indoor spraying, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, and effective new combination drugs to treat malaria. In addition, the Gates Foundation of Seattle is supporting a major effort to control malaria in Zambia. We've had a long tradition of public-private action. I'm grateful to have this strong partner in a good cause.

"America will bring this anti-malaria effort to at least four more highly endemic African countries in 2007, and at least to five more in 2008. In the next five years, with the approval of Congress, we'll spend more than $1.2 billion on this campaign.

"An effort on this scale must be phased in, to avoid shortages of supplies. Yet we intend this effort to eventually cover more than 175 million people in 15 or more nations. We want to reduce malaria mortality in target countries by half, and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

"I urge other wealthy nations and foundations to participate and expand this initiative to additional countries where the need is pressing. Together, we can live this threat and defeat this fear across the African continent."

United Nations Day at Expo 2005 Aichi

UNESCO United Nations Pavilion website:

"Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, representing the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter on Monday, 27 June, United Nations Day at Expo 2005 Aichi (Japan)."

The Finest Persian Carpet of the World in Iran

The Persian Journal article:

"Me-raaj (The ascent), a fine Persian carpet with 920 knots in each 7 centimeters of its row has been announced to be the finest carpet of the world by UNESCO authorities."

Monday, June 27, 2005

World Leaders Mark U.N.'s 60th Anniversary

LA Times story:

"Dozens of international leaders celebrated the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' birth, but warned that the organization must institute significant reforms to remain an effective global peacekeeper.

"The Bush administration signaled its discontent with the world body by sending a single representative to the commemoration. Delegate Sichan Siv, who represents the U.S. on the U.N. Economic and Social Council, did not speak at the anniversary celebration.

"While officials gave emotional addresses about human rights and the organization's successes in forging global peace, speakers emphasized that the U.N. must restructure and redefine its goals to counter terrorist threats."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

2005 UNESCO Literacy Prize winners announced - United Nations Literacy Decade

UNESCO press release:

"Literacy projects in Mozambique, Spain and Sudan are the winners of the 2005 UNESCO Literacy prizes, announced today by the Organization�s Director-General, Ko�chiro Matsuura. The two US$15,000 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prizes, have been awarded to the AULA Cultural Association and GOAL, a humanitarian organization working in Sudan. The winner of the US$15,000 UNESCO International Reading Association Literacy Prize is the Associa�o PROGRESSO, a non-governmental organization working for community development in Mozambique. "

UNESCO's Director-General writes to Kofi Annan and G8 leaders to support Education for All

UNESCO press release:

"In his letter to the leaders of the major industrialized countries, Mr Matsuura called on them to continue their support to Education for All and to mobilize additional financial resources and commitment to assist countries most in need. 'At the G8 Summit held in Kananaskis in 2002 the critical importance of education was recognized,' he wrote. "

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ashesi University Awarded Prize for Best University Website in Ghana story:

"Ashesi University (in Ghana) has won the award for Best University Website from the Regional Information Network for Africa (RINAF).........RINAF, the competition sponsor, is a programme of the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO)."

"Education For All: Paving the way for action "

Education For All: Paving the way for action

This (slow) website in Dakar has the full report online, and links to individual country reports.

Education for All in Africa: Paving the Way for Action

UNESCO press release:

"Thirteen African countries have, or should have attained Universal Primary Education (UPE) by the target date of 2015, according to a report entitled Education for All: Paving the Way for Action released today in Dakar (Senegal). However, the report finds that another 31 African countries will not have reached the goal unless they change their education policies. UPE is a priority among the six goals set by the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000, and one of the UN Millennium Development Goals, adopted in September the same year. "

Conference celebrating the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects

UNESCO Culture Sector conference announcement

Today there is a conference in the UNESCO headquarters celebrating the Convention.

"As illicit traffic in cultural property is an enduring and ever increasing phenomenon, the fight against it must be strengthened through appropriate measures.

"The elaboration process of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention was initiated by UNESCO to complement the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property from the point of view of private law.

"The 10th anniversary of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention provides a timely occasion to take stock of the progress in ratification and implementation of both the UNESCO 1970 and UNIDROIT 1995 Conventions over the last ten years, and inform on and discuss in detail the value, distinguishing features, and operational aspects of each of these important instruments. Participants from States already parties to either, or both, Conventions will be reminded about their functioning, while participants from States not yet party will have the possibility to raise queries and obtain relevant information facilitating their ratification."

UNESCO Publications

This website provides links to all the UNESCO periodicals listed below

There are eight main publications:
- The New Courier
- Copyright bulletin (Information on legal developments in the field of copyright and related rights)
- Higher education in Europe (The UNESCO-CEPES quarterly review)
- International review of education (IRE) (International journal on the comparative theory and practice of formal and non-formal education)
- International social science journal (International, interdisciplinary and policy-relevant social science)
- Museum international (Scientific and technical information concerning museums and cultural heritage)
- Prospects (Quarterly review of comparative education)
- World heritage review (Articles and news about natural and cultural World Heritage sites)

There are also 29 newsletters and bulletins:

- Adolescence education newsletter (UNESCO Office Bangkok and Regional Bureau for Education newsletter)
- APPEAL bulletin (Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All) (Reports on progress of on-going projects and activities of Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All)
- Asian Academy for Heritage Management newsletter (Published by UNESCO Bangkok Office)
- ASPnet newsletters (UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network Nawsletter)
- Bangkok's Newsletter
- Boletín digital en Educación superior (Published by the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC))
- Le Carnet du coordinateur (Une ressource internationale pour le développement de la petite enfance)
- Connect (International science, technology and environmental education newsletter. Russian version also available)
- Education today (Education sector newsletter)
- Educational INNOVATION and Information (Short articles on current educational research and activities being conducted at the IBE, as well as news from the field of comparative education.)
- IIEP's newsletter (Published be the International Institute for Educational Planning.)
- IITE's newsletter (Published by the Institute for Information Technologies in Education)
- Infolac (Boletín de información sobre la cooperación entre redes y sistemas nacionales de información en América Latina y el Caribe)
- Infoshare: UNESCO Bangkok Sources and Resources Bulletin (Latest trends and developments on the application of information and communication technologies in UNESCO programmes and projects in the areas of education, social and human sciences, culture as well as other development programmes)
- International Journal on Multicultural Societies
- Jakarta's newsletter
- Listening to Africa (Six-monthly bulletin of Africa department)
- News from ICCVOS - UNESCO (International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media
- News from ICTP (Published by Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics)
- Noticias de la UNESCO en Centroamérica (Boletín Informativo de la Oficina de la UNESCO para Centroamérica)
- Peddro (networking of information in the field of prevention of drug abuse through education)
- People and plants handbook (Information sources for applying ethnobotany to conservation and community development)
- Policy Briefs on Early Childhood (Serie of monthly two-pages flash notes on early childhood policy issues which seek to answer various questions on the planning and implementation of ECCE policies.)
- SHS newsletter (Provides information on the work of of the organization in the field of social and human sciences)
- UIE Nexus (the quarterly electronic newsletter of the UNESCO Institute for Education (UIE))
- UNESCO-UNEVOC Bulletin (Published by UNESCO's International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training)
- UNISIST newsletter (The Newsletter provides information on the activities of the UNESCO Information Society Division and other related issues.)
- A World of Science (Natural Sciences' Quarterly newsletter)
- World Heritage Newsletter (Up-to-date accounts of policy-making and issues facing World Heritage)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Updates, Volume 1, Issue 4, May 2005

Read the May 2005 issue

Interview with Federico Mayor Zaragoza

Read the interview with Federico Mayor Zaragoza :

"In an age of terrorism and pre-emptive wars, Federico Mayor Zaragoza stands out as something of an anomaly: he is an unapologetic believer in, and proponent of, peace. From 1987 to 1999, Mayor served as the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an institution that he reformed substantially during his tenure. He now chairs the Madrid-based Fundacion Cultura de Paz (Foundation for the Culture of Peace), which he founded in 2000, and which takes its impetus from the United Nations' 1999 Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace."

UN-backed conference opens on enhancing dialogue among cultures

UN News Center release:

"With the theme 'Fostering Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations through Concrete and Sustained Initiatives,' some 100 experts have gathered in Rabat from Africa, Europe and the United States to prepare an action programme that will make dialogue among cultures a reality, the UN Education, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Brothers Grimm fairy tales accepted on UNESCO Memory of the World list

AFP via Yahoo! News story:

"UNESCO said it has accepted the Brothers Grimm fairy tales from Germany, adored by generations of children, to join its Memory of the World list.

"The gothic stories were among 29 works from 24 countries inscribed on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's register, an initiative to preserve the world's cultural heritage."

UNESCO to open psychological rehabilitation centers in Chechnya

RIA Novosti - Russian News Information Agency story :

"UNESCO intends to open psychological rehabilitation centers in Chechnya, spokesman for the UNESCO office in Moscow Dendev Badarch said Monday. 'UNESCO will hopefully open psychological centers in Chechnya next year,' he said. The centers, although considered a separate project, will be implemented and financed within the UNESCO framework, he said."

Education for All in Africa: Paving the Way for Action

UNESCO press release:

"Thirteen African countries have, or should have attained Universal Primary Education (UPE) by the target date of 2015, according to a report entitled Education for All: Paving the Way for Action released today in Dakar (Senegal). However, the report finds that another 31 African countries will not have reached the goal unless they change their education policies. UPE is a priority among the six goals set by the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000, and one of the UN Millennium Development Goals, adopted in September the same year. "

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

UNESCO Courier May Edition

UNESCO Courier

The new edition of the Courier is available online (in PDF format). Its focus is "Projecting the planet into the future." The following articles are included:
-Baltic Sea: Introduction to Nature
-Japanese pupils first in prevention
-The San: Sustainable Development before its time
-A biosphere reserve teams up with green tourism
-Raising the curtain on AIDS
-Chiapas women invest in the future
-Education for Sustainable Development on line

There is also coverage of the tsunami with three articles from different parts of the world, as well as news about UNESCO.

Monday, June 20, 2005

World Refugee Day

Cybershoolbus Refugees website

June 20th is World Refugee Day, celebrated by the United Nations. The Dag Hammarskjöld Library has devoted a webpage to the day. Educators might be especially interested in the Cyberschoolbus refugees website on this day.

United Nations Resolution on Culture and Development

To read the Resolution promulgated in 2002, go to the list of Resolutions passed in 57th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and click on "A/RES/57/249" (Culture and Development).

The Resolution invites all Member States, intergovernmental bodies, organizations of the United Nations system and relevant non-governmental organizations:
(a) To ensure, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the implementation of the Action Plan;
(b) To implement the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace adopted by the General Assembly, respectively, in its resolutions 53/243 A and B of 13 September 1999;
(c) To implement the Programme of Action of the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations contained in section B of resolution 56/6;
(d) To implement relevant provisions on cultural diversity of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation1 and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development;
(e) To strengthen international cooperation and solidarity in supporting national efforts of developing countries:
(i) To gain access to new technologies;
(ii) To receive help in mastering information technologies with a view to encouraging the production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks, and, to that end, to promote the role of public radio and television services in the development of audio-visual productions of good quality, in particular by fostering the establishment of cooperative mechanisms to facilitate their distribution;
(iii) To establish cultural industries that are viable and competitive at the national and international levels, in the face of the current imbalance in the flow and exchange of cultural goods at the global level;
(f) To assist in the emergence or consolidation of cultural industries in the developing countries, and, to that end, to cooperate in developing the necessary infrastructures and skills, fostering the emergence of viable local markets;
(g) To acknowledge the importance of preserving and developing cultural heritage, including by encouraging the strengthening of domestic policies in the fields of protection, incentive and promotion of the various cultures, mainly the most vulnerable;
(h) To formulate policies pertaining to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, taking into account, in particular, resolution 56/8, by which the Assembly proclaimed 2002 as the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage;
(i) To assess the interconnection between culture and development and the elimination of poverty in the context of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997–2006);
(j) To raise public awareness of the value and importance of cultural diversity, and, in particular, to encourage, through education and the media, knowledge of the positive value of cultural diversity, inter alia, as regards
(k) Within the framework of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and based on the main lines of the Action Plan,5 to strengthen efforts towards the prioritization of the adoption of national policies that recognize the contribution of traditional knowledge, particularly with regard to environmental protection and the management of natural resources, fostering synergies between modern science and local knowledge and recognizing the traditional and direct dependence on renewable resources and ecosystems, including in the form of sustainable harvesting, that is essential to the cultural, economic and physical wellbeing of indigenous people and their communities."

The Resolution also:
"Encourages the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to continue its work to promote greater awareness of the crucial relationship between culture and development and the important role of information and communication technologies in this relationship;" and
"Encourages the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in conjunction, as appropriate, with other relevant United Nations bodies and multilateral development institutions, to continue to provide support, upon request, to developing countries, in particular as regards national capacitybuilding and access to information and communication technologies, for the implementation of international cultural conventions, including with regard to conservation of heritage and the protection of cultural property, and for the return or restitution of cultural property, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 56/97 of 14 December 2001, on the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Golden Lists of imperial examination in China's Qing Dynasty accepted as memory of world

People's Daily Online article:

Golden Lists of the imperial examination in China's Qing Dynasty have been accepted for UNESCO's "memory of world" program. "The inclusion was done by the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Memory of the World Program at its seventh meeting held in Lijiang, a popular scenic resort in southwest China's Yunnan Province from Monday to Thursday."

Friday, June 17, 2005

UNESCO and Cultural Diversity

Remarks by RICHARD ARNDT at the meeting on “Globalization and Diversity, UNESCO and Cultural-Policy Making: Imperatives for U.S. Arts and Culture Practitioners and Organizations” held January 10-11, 2005, at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

"We must not forget that UNESCO was virtually an American idea, springing from the thought of men like Sumner Welles, Laurennce Duggan, J. William Fulbright, Ralph Turner, Archibald MacLeish and dozens of other internationalists like Jack Fobes, all of whom resolved in 1945 that there must never be another world war."

John E. (Jack) Fobes

A celebration of the life of John E. (Jack) Fobes will take place this afternoon at the offices of the National Academy of Sciences. Fobes was perhaps the most active U.S. supporter of UNESCO during the latter half of the 20th century. He served in the U.S. government before serving as Assistant Director General (1964-71) and Deputy Director General (1971-1977) of UNESCO. He also served as Chair of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, and when the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1994, Fobes created and served as President of Americans for the Universality of UNESCO (now known as Americans for UNESCO). He died in January. Guests celebrating his life are to include Federico Mayor, Harriet Fulbright, and Harlan Clevland.

Read the tributes to Jack Fobes published by the Association of Former Functionaries of UNESCO (AAFU)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity "Deeply Flawed," U.S. Says

Department of State press release:

"The draft of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity is 'deeply flawed and fundamentally incompatible with the UNESCO's Constitutional obligation to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image,' according to Robert S. Martin, who delivered the U.S. Delegation's final statement at a UNESCO meeting in Paris June 3."

Cecilia Braslavsky - In Memoriam

UNESCO memorial website June 9, 2005

Cecilia Braslavsky, Director of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education passed away last week after several months of courageous fighting against a cancer. The UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education a.i Aïcha Bah Diallo is among the many educators from around the world paying tribute to Cecilia Braslavsky. "I wanted to tell you how much you have impressed us with your courage," writes Mrs Bah Diallo. "You did not spare any effort in devoting yourself to the work of the Institute, even to the very end."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Celebrities amplify the mission of UNESCO

"Goodwill Ambassadors spread the ideals of UNESCO through their name and fame

The Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy promotes education worldwide, especially for women and children

Special Envoys support and raise awareness of UNESCO's activities

Champions for Sport are truly outstanding sport personalities

Artists for Peace come from the world of arts, music, poetry and literature

Scientists for Peace are famous scientists serving UNESCO's goals"

Laura Bush -- The UNESCO Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy

UNESCO announcement:

"The First Lady of the United States of America, Laura Welch Bush, was designated UNESCO Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy in the context of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012). This nomination came in recognition of her dedication to learning and the promotion of reading, her commitment to universal education and literacy, her work on behalf of libraries and the sharing of knowledge, and her outstanding efforts in support of teachers and the teaching profession. "

Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage

UNESCO Culture Sector's List of Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage:

"In 2003, UNESCO proclaimed 28 Masterpieces, in addition to the 19 already proclaimed in 2001. The third proclamation, that will take place in July 2005, will register new Masterpieces on the list of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. "

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Secretary Spellings Applauds Efforts of UNESCO to Expand Education and Pledges Continued Support

Department of Education press release with a link to the Secretary's complete remarks:

"'No Child Left Behind is working to provide a world-class education for America's children. And through UNESCO, we are helping other countries do the same for their children,' U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said at the annual conference of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). "

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Should UNESCO Promote the Development of a World Digital Library?

The most interesting idea discussed at this week's meeting of the U.S. National Committee for UNESCO was the creation of a World Digital Library that would be available worldwide via the Internet. The idea was proposed by James Billington, Librarian of Congress. Several of the subcommittees of the National Commission recommended that the Department of State further consider submit a proposal to UNESCO that it play a lead role in the creation of such a library.

The Library of Congress has created the “American Memory” website, which exemplifies many features of the proposed World Digital Library.

American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.

Currently, American Memory makes some ten million items available. Over the last 15 years, the Library of Congress has added some 100 complementary digital collections to that developed from its own materials. One of the important functions of the American Memory is to help teachers in the education of students, including those in primary school; it allows children to see images of original source materials. It also allows people from the United States and other nations to engage in independent, interactive, inquiry-based learning based on original source materials about America and its peoples.

The Library of Congress is also linking the world’s resources with America’s schools through its Global Gateway Initiative. This website includes collaborating digital libraries developed through collaborations between the Library of Congress and the national libraries of Russia, Brazil, Spain, France and the Netherlands.

With the intervention and support of UNESCO, it might well be possible to expand these models worldwide. Every country could create a national memory website, populated with digital versions of key source materials from its own history. Each nation could provide a gateway for its students and citizens. The gateways would be two directional, providing access to the world’s memory from within the country, and to the country’s memory to those in other nations.
This is a truly “big idea”. There would be important problems to be solved of technology, property rights, coordination, and indeed organization of the information so that it would be available to the users.

Among the international organizations, only UNESCO has a charter that would allow leadership in the development of the World Digital Library. Indeed, UNESCO has a Memory of the World project. It has long had programs supporting library development, and its Libraries Portal links to 160 digital libraries. UNESCO also has an existing e-Heritage program, which is leading through such initiatives as it Digital Heritage of the Silk Road project. UNESCO's programs in education, the sciences, culture and communication and information would all play roles in the conceptualization and development of a World Digital Library.

It should be fascinating to see the evolution of this idea, and the willingness of government, business, academia and civil society in the United States to support and encourage UNESCO in such efforts.

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Annual Conference

The first annual meeting of the new U.S. National Commission for UNESCO was held Monday and Tuesday of this week. The event began with breakfast with the First Lady, Laura Bush. Speakers included the chiefs of virtually every government agency dealing with education, science, and culture:

Margaret Spellings (Secretary, U.S. Department of Education)
John Marburger (Science Advisor to the President)
Bruce Cole (Chairman, National Endowment for Humanities)
Dana Gioia (Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts)
James Billington (Librarian of Congress)
R. Terrell Miller (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Global Issues)

Arden Bement (Director of the National Science Foundation) also participated in the meeting as a Commissioner. Ambassador Louise Oliver (U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO) was also in attendance, having flown in from Paris for the meeting.

The National Commission of course includes representatives of the key civil society organizations in the United States with interests in UNESCO. Commissioners appeared very well represented, as did the public. I would estimate that there were 200 to 300 people in attendance.

The meeting was most importantly a briefing by government officials for the Commission, emphasizing government activities related to UNESCO. Commissioners used the meeting as an opportunity to get to know each other, to learn what is expected of the committee, and to begin to make their concerns known to State Department officials.

The meeting was exceptionally well managed, and the sites provided by Georgetown University were beautiful and appropriate to the needs of the event. Marguerite Sullivan, Executive Director of the Commission, is to be congratulated on the job she and her staff had done.

The meeting was transcribed in full, and is to be reported on the website of the National Commission.