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Ray Wanner, a Director of Americans for UNESCO, has many years of experience working on UNESCO affairs, both as a U.S. foreign service officer and as a foundation officer. He presented a shorter version of this paper at this year's meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, sharing with the Commission members some of his understanding of the 60 years of UNESCO history.
The paper examines the founding of UNESCO in 1945 and the key role played by Archibald MacLeish and his US delegation in that process, It compares the UNESCO related events at the end of World War II to those of the 2003-2005 period. Ray concludes
"a clash of ideas and values.... constitutes a threat to peace and security. The threat is cultural in nature and UNESCO is a principal front on which to address it. MacLeish and his delegation can help –- by example. In London, they made every effort to distract delegates from the enormous economic and military power they represented and asked them rather to give attention to the force of their ideas and the collegiality and quality of their work. It was a successful formula. We have the intellectual resources to generate ideas as strong and work as admirable. We have the ability to prevail in any clash of ideas. But like MacLeish and his team, we will have to work at it very hard. And like them, we will have to understand and respect and then employ the multi-dimensioned subtleties of multilateral diplomacy. The stakes are high. The challenge is ours."