Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kristen Silverberg Nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State

University of Texas announcement

"Silverberg currently serves as Deputy Assistant to the President and Advisor to the Chief of Staff in the White House, where she helps coordinate the development of Administration policy. She previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Until October 2003, she served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad, Iraq. Before her service in Iraq, she served as Special Assistant to the President in the Office of the Chief of Staff.

"Before joining the Bush administration, Silverberg was a policy advisor on the 2000 presidential campaign in Austin. She earlier practiced law at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. She also served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Judge David Sentelle. Silverberg received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard."

U.S. Seeks Membership on UNESCO Committees and Councils

US Mission to UNESCO

The United States was recently elected to the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

It is currently a candidate for the following UNESCO council and committee:

The Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP),
elections to be held during the 33rd session of the General Conference of UNESCO in October 2005; and,
The World Heritage Committee (WHC),
elections to be held during the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention in October 2005.

Editorial by UNESCO's new Assistant Director-General for Education Peter Smith

Education Today newsletter, July - September, 2003:

"'I will develop a leadership framework and programme management model, which will emphasize decentralization and results through collaboration and teamwork,' Mr Smith says."

Science and society: Bombs, books, and bucks

Daily Times (Pakistan) article (By David Bloom and Joel E Cohen, Tuesday, July 26, 2005.)

"The $82 billion 'emergency supplemental' bill to finance American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan leaves the United States spending more money on military power than is needed on a yearly basis to permit every child in the world to receive, within one decade, both primary and secondary education. Clearly, the question is not whether universal education is affordable, but whether America and the world can afford to neglect the political, economic, social, and health benefits of educating the roughly 380 million children around the globe who currently do not attend school.............

"The World Bank, UNICEF, and UNESCO have estimated that achieving UPE by 2015 will entail annual expenditures of between $6.5 billion and $35 billion, on top of the approximately $82 billion that developing countries spend each year on primary education. These funds will be needed for schools, teachers, teacher training, materials and equipment, administration, and assessments.

"Based on a five-year project that we led at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, we believe that the UPE goal is not ambitious enough: the world should aim for, and can achieve, high-quality, universal secondary education, as well as universal primary education. Developing countries spend approximately $93 billion per year on secondary education. If a gradual approach is taken between now and 2015, the annual additional cost of extending secondary education to every child will likely be between $27 billion and $34 billion."

Monday, July 25, 2005

“Academics Across Borders”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced the anticipated launch of its new “Academics Across Borders” program in November 2005. This project is aimed at reducing the high-level training and research gap between industrial and developing countries. The program will seek to identify volunteer academics from industrially developed nations and match them with targeted higher education needs in developing and transitional nations. Expatriate academics, in particular, are encouraged to return to their countries of origin to assist in strengthening universities and research institutions. UNESCO is currently developing a database of distinguished academics and researchers from developing countries in the fields of medicine, engineering and natural sciences, and computer sciences who may be willing to return to their home countries to participate in the program. US-based individuals interested in volunteering should email the Department of State, while potential volunteers based in other countries should contact Winsome Gordon.

Public Diplomacy Chief-Designate Seeks Dialogue and Advocacy

FindLaw.com report:

"In reaching out to publics around the world, the United States is seeking both a dialogue with other cultures and faiths and the opportunity to create “the connections and conditions that allow people to make up their own minds,” says Karen Hughes, President Bush’s choice for under secretary of state for public diplomacy."

Friday, July 22, 2005

"China, UNESCO jointly protect endangered languages"

People's Daily Online article:

"Bouchenaki Mounir, assistant director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in Beijing on July 21 that China and UNESCO are now jointly protecting the endangered languages in China.

"At the on-going World Chinese Conference, which opened here on July 20, Mounir said more and more languages in the world were endangered, including Shui Shu, a Chinese language specially used by the local women in south China's Hunan Province. Some languages have a large population of speakers while some have few, therefore the native speakers for the less-spoken languages are no longer willing to use them."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

UN to investigate climate threat

Green Consumer Guide.Com article:

"The UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) is to set up a dedicated working group to assess the threat posed by climate change to sensitive locations around the world, it has been announced. The expert team will look at the global warming effects on World Heritage Sites and devise strategic response programmes to combat the issue. The first reports from the group will be in 2006."

Biblical remains, Macau added to U.N. heritage list

RedNova News article:

"Biblical-era archaeological remains, the Chinese island of Macau and a war-ravaged Bosnian bridge were among 17 cultural sites added to the U.N.'s World Heritage list this week.

"UNESCO, the U.N. environmental and cultural body, also added a Belgian renaissance printing house, archaeological findings in Bahrain dating from 2300 BC, the Albanian Ottoman town of Gjirokastra, and Greek and Roman era tombs in Italy."

Friday, July 15, 2005

UNESCO Partnerships

Partnerships: UNESCO website:

"UNESCO cooperates with numerous partners from the private sector: big multinationals or small and medium enterprises, private foundations, professional, administrative or economics associations, philanthropist organisms and individuals. The field of cooperation with the private sector is at present very wide."

Click here to read about various examples of cooperation between the private sector and UNESCO."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Norwegian Fjords and Japan's Shiretoko peninsula are among the seven natural sites added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

UNESCO press release:

"The World Heritage Committee chaired by Themba Wakashe, South Africa's Deputy Director-General for Heritage and National Archives, today inscribed seven natural sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The Committee also decided to extend two natural sites already on the List. The one is extended in size while the extension of the other makes it both a natural and cultural site. With today's inscriptions, UNESCO World Heritage List numbers 160 natural sites and 24 mixed sites (i.e. both natural and cultural) of outstanding universal value around the world."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Ninth Edition of the Pirelli Internetional Award: UNESCO

UNESCO's Venice Office's Announcement of the Awards:

"After having evaluated more than 1,000 entries, coming from over 50 countries, particularly (around 70%) from universities and educational institutions, the international Jury has assigned the awards, subdivided into the categories: Multimedia Education, the Environment, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Alice Generation Award.

"The 25,000 Euro-worth Top Pirelli Prize has been awarded to Patrick J. Lynch, Director of the “MedMedia Group” of the School of Medicine of the University of Yale for the project “'NTRODUCTION TO CARDIOTHORACIC IMAGING': it is a broad virtual voyage into the human heart and lungs through anatomy, the pathologies and the techniques for analysis and treatment of illnesses and discomforts that strike these important organs of the human body. The work has also been awarded as the best entry coming from the world of education in the category Multimedia Education.

"Within the same Multimedia Education category, the 15,000 Euro award for the best multimedia product oriented toward the world of education, the project 'MicroArrays MediaBook', that describes the principles of genomics and the technological and scientific effects of these new studies. The work has been produced by 'Media Group' of the University of North Carolina, a team comprised of researchers, programmers and graphic artists coordinated by Walter 'Skip' E. Bollenbacher, who received the award.

"The Environment category has been won by the American company 'EarthTalk Studios', specialized in the production of multimedia tools for schools and education, with “Environmental Science in Practice”, a project commissioned by the renown publishing group, Prentice Hall and dedicated to environmental safekeeping, won an award of 15,000 Euro.

"The ICT Award (20,000 Euro offered by Telecom Italia) was granted to William Sarnaki of the Department of Health of the State of New York for a video-presentation of an innovative technology, the 'Brain-Computer Interfaces For Communication and Control', that uses thecomputer to improve the communication options of people with grave disabilities.

"For the Alice Generation Award, offered by Telecom Italia and reserved to projects by Italian authors, the winners: in the Senior category the 'BANCA DATI AMBIENTALE SULLA LAGUNA DI VENEZIA', a project of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti; in the Junior category, reserved for candidates under the age of 21, the elementary school “Don Milani” of Altamura in Bari, Italy for the multimedia work 'THE ENGLISH VOWELSOUNDS FOR KIDS', for the study of the English phonetic language. The two projects have been awarded 15.000 and 10.000 Euro respectively.

"The next event with the Pirelli Award is scheduled for next autumn, featuring the awarding ceremony for the Pirelli Relativity Challenge, the contest dedicated to Albert Einstein that the Pirelli Group has organized for the International Year of Physics and that challenges participants to explain the theory of relativity using multimedia tools in less than five minutes."

UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN Networks

UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN Networks website

UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs projects deal with training and research activities and cover all major fields of knowledge within UNESCO’s competence, including Education, Human Rights, Cultural Development, Environment, Basic and Engineering Sciences, and Communication. UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the UNIVERSITY TWINNING and networking scheme. The program includes projects located at over 600 institutions in some 121 countries and involving thousands of academics, scholars and graduate students, as well as key partners from civil society and the economic sector. Over the last five years these partners have brought some $30 million US dollars towards UNITWIN projects, a sum six times greater than UNESCO’s own funding.

The principal beneficiaries of this programme are institutions of higher learning in developing countries and countries in transition. The program began in 1992, and an external evaluation took place in 2000. The evaluation appears to be based on a questionnaire answered by UNESCO staff, and another answered by 24 national commissions for UNESCO. Ths success of the program is varied, with developing countries limited by financial problems. Generally, programs appeared to have high relevance and efficiency, and acceptable inpact.

A complete list of the Chairs and Networks is available on the UNESCO website.

UNESCO has published "Procedures for the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme: A Practical Guide (2002)".

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Education Makes News! workshop in Zimbabwe

noticias.info news story:

"Journalists from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and the host Zimbabwe attended recently a workshop entitled 'Education Makes News!'. The workshop that run concurrently with Zimbabwe�s celebration of the Education for All (EFA) Week familiarized journalists with EFA�s Goals and objectives.

"The workshop also studied the linkages of the concepts of communication and education using the UNESCO produced Education for All media training resource kit, which comes in resource-packed CD-Rom and print versions, the works reporting on education and encouraging wider media coverage of EFA issues and goals."

Nelson Mandela joins the ranks of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors

UNESCO Media services release:

"Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, has been designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, in a ceremony today at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Mandela has been awarded the title 'in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination, in his country and worldwide; for his dedication to reconciliation between different communities; his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning; his support for all the oppressed of the Earth; and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding.'"

Monday, July 11, 2005

Heritage is much more than mere monuments

NZZ Online (Switzerland) article:

"The World Heritage Committee, which approves new sites, believes Europe is generally over-represented among the 788 listed objects worldwide, particularly when it comes to monuments.

"To correct this imbalance, it has begun to implement a new strategy that takes into account regions with little or no heritage sites, and considers objects of industrial or architectural interest."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

ICT and Creativity

Address by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on the occasion of the opening of the WSIS Contributory Conference on “ICT and Creativity” in June 2005.

"In the shift from the idea of a global information society to the notion of diverse knowledge societies, the role of applications is central. With the added ingredient of creativity, one moves toward the re-imagining of society itself. Through the digitization of personal experience, views and information, ICT and the digital revolution are bringing opportunities for the democratization of creativity, often in minor ways but sometimes, especially in the aggregate, in significant forms. It is important, however, that the very openness and profusion of the Internet do not lead to an undermining of the rightful claims of expertise. A balance is needed and this, I believe, can only be achieved through education and the spread of information literacy."

New Sites to be inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

UNESCO Media Services release:

"Forty-two new sites will be proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee scheduled for July 10-17 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban, South Africa. Extensions will be proposed for nine already inscribed sites." To date, the 1972 Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage protects 788 sites “of outstanding universal value” located in 134 States Parties and includes 611 cultural sites, 154 natural and 23 mixed sites.

UNESCO's World Heritage website provides a list of all the sites now approved, as well as an interactive map of their locations.

The twenty World Heritage Sites in the United States are listed below. (click on the name for UNESCO's description of the site.)
Mesa Verde (1978 )
Yellowstone (1978 )
Kluane/Wrangell-St Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979 , 1992, 1994 ) *
Grand Canyon National Park (1979 )
Everglades National Park (1979 )
Independence Hall(1979 )
Redwood National Park (1980 )
Mammoth Cave National Park (1981 )
Olympic National Park (1981 )
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (1982 )
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1983 )
La Fortaleza and San Juan Historic Site in Puerto Rico (1983 )
Statue of Liberty (1984 )
Yosemite National Park (1984 )
Chaco Culture National Historical Park (1987 )
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (1987 )
Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (1987 )
Pueblo de Taos (1992 )
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (1995 ) *
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (1995 )

The website devoted to the United States World Heritage sites lists eight cultural and 12 natural sites. The low level of respresentation of the United States in the list is further indicated by the fact that no U.S. site has been included in the last decade.

The low representation in the list of cultural sites may contribute to the impression so common in other nations that the United States is lacking in culture. I would suggest Broadway and the Manhattan skyline, the Washington Mall, the French Quarter of New Orleans, and the historic district of Santa Fe are worthy of inclusion. Even the list of natural heritage sites fails to include such places as the Big Sur coastline, Sequoia, Grand Tetons, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Santa Fe named a UNESCO Creative City

New Mexico Business Weekly article, 2005-07-08:

"The city of Santa Fe was designated a UNESCO Creative City today in a ceremony at City Hall. It is the first such city to be designated in the U.S. by UNESCO."

Friday, July 08, 2005

UNESCO's changing partnership with the private sector

UNESCO New Courier article:

"Once limited to sponsoring, partnerships between the private sector and UNESCO are now becoming more numerous and ambitious. Information and communications technology (ICT) are providing a special opportunity to experiment with a new form of cooperation with business........

"The new cooperation is also key to meeting the Education For All goals. As Mr Abhimanyu Singh, Director of UNESCO’s Division of International Coordination and Monitoring of EFA points out: 'If we are to have a better chance of achieving the EFA goals, then it cannot be done without broadening the partnership to the private sector, globally and in-country.'

"Elizabeth Longworth, Director of UNESCO’s Information Society Division, agrees. 'The digital divide is one of the greatest obstacles to the fulfilment of UNESCO’s key mandate to help create, share, disseminate and preserve knowledge,' she said.

"UNESCO’s growing list of partnerships with ICT companies include Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Alcatel and Hitachi, and range from teacher syllabus programmes to community access centres, science networks and recording cultural heritage. .......

"In recent months, much attention has been focused on two particularly high profile partnerships between UNESCO and the private sector: a Memorandum of Understanding with Intel and a Cooperation Agreement with Microsoft. These represent a new level of strategic engagement with the private sector, taking partnerships beyond the more traditional idea of funding and sponsorship to defining how to meet the needs of developing countries. While these new partnerships have attracted much media attention, not all reactions have been positive. In December 2004, the French newspaper Le Monde cited fears that such agreements were diluting UNESCO’s strong support for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)."

30 teachers to graduate Columbia University Online Course Saturday in Tobago

Tobago News article:

"Thirty Tobago teachers who did the Columbia University Teachers College online certificate programme in special education will graduate tomorrow.........The program was mounted in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cultural Property: its Illicit Trafficking and Restitution

UNESCO website dealing with Cultural Property: its Illicit Trafficking and Restitution

This year celebrates the tenth anniversary of the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

UNESCO General Conference to Discuss Protection and Renovation of Historical Sites in Jerusalem


"The permanent representative of Palestine at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ahmad Abdul Razeq, announced on Wednesday that the organization's General Conference will discuss a plan to protect and renovate the historical sites in the occupied East Jerusalem."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"International project seeks speakers of Native languages: Goal is to create online database"

Native American Times report:

"Voices of the World aims to build international popular awareness of the diversity of mankind through a worldwide documentary film and media project.........

"Voices of the World is an international non-profit initiative of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Languages Mrs. Vigdis Finnbogadottír, based on an original idea by the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Janus Billeskov. Jansen is supported by the Danish Government, the UN and by leading linguists from all over the world.

"Our first task is to create a media event in connection with the UN's 60th anniversary in October 2005."

Remarks of UNESCO's Director General opening the UNU/UNESCO International Conference: “Sustaining the Future – Globalization and Education for Sustain

Read the address presented in Nagoya, Japan, 28 June 2005.

Remarks of the Director General to the Parlamentary Assemblee of the Francophonie

Read the remarks in French (not available in English)

The speech is notable for the Director General's support for the proposed Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.

Australian Marine Park Authority and Mexican Ecologist Receive 2005 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Protection

UNESCO press release:

This year's Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Protection has been awarded "jointly to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Australia) and to Dr Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich (Mexico). The Bureau of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme chose them at its meeting on June 29, during which it also selected ten young researchers to receive the 2006 MAB Young Scientist Awards. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), principal adviser to the Australian Government on managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, received the prize for its crucial contributions to the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef, a critical global resource. Guided by the principle of balancing conservation and sustainable use, the GBRMPA has created an innovative framework that, whilst allowing for reasonable human use, will still ensure the healthy survival of the coastal and marine ecosystems.

"The Bureau also recommended that the prize be given to Dr Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich (Mexico), President of the National Commission on Natural Protected Areas of Mexico (CONANP), for his outstanding contributions to nature and wildlife conservation, ecological research and environmental education. Born in 1958 in Monterrey, Mexico, and an expert on the ecology of parrots, Mr Enkerlin-Hoeflich is active in a number of research areas. During his four-year tenure at CONANP, which is charged with the conservation of all protected areas in Mexico, five new sites have been incorporated in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves."

Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq: A Report from the Istanbul Initiative

www.uruknet.info article

In this article (in English, published on an Italian website devoted to the war in Iraq), Gül Pulhan of the World Tribunal on Iraq reports on the destruction of (and effort to preserve) the cultural heritage of Iraq.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Millennium Review Meeting Bulletin:

"The High-level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) substantive session of 2005 took place from 29 June to 1 July 2005, at UN Headquarters in New York."

At the meeting:

"The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) urged more investment in education to develop human capital" and

"Peter Smith, UNESCO, called for innovative approaches to education."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Underwater Heritage Convention Ratified by Five Nations

Artdaily.com article:

"Five States (Panama, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) have now ratified the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO�s General Conference in october 2001."

UNESCO General Conference - 33rd session

UNESCO General Conference - 33rd session website:

"The 33rd session of the General Conference will take place from 3 to 21 October at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France). The proposed timetable of work of the session will soon be available on-line. The provisional agenda will be finalized on 25 June 2005 and available before 4 July 2005 "