Thursday, March 29, 2007

UNESCO launches culture diversity network

To counter the adverse affects of economic globalisation on world cultures and also foster cultural bond among Africans, the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD), recently announced the launch of INCD Africa. The institution is a network of artist organisations, culture producers, academics, heritage institutions and others from around Africa working together.

The launch of INCD Africa coincided with the entry into force of the new UNESCO’s Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. The Convention was warmly welcomed by INCD, for it has been in the forefront of the campaign to build support for its development, ratification and effective implementation since its first meeting in 2000.

According to Ibrahima Seck, INCD Africa Coordinator based in Dakar, “Forming INCD Africa will give us a strong platform from which to do our work here in Africa, as well as ensuring that African perspectives and needs are integrated in the global movement.”

The INCD Africa urged governments to work with one another as well as with civil society, intergovernmental institutions and their own artists and cultural producers to achieve the real promise of the Convention.

Founded in 1998, INCD brings together more than 400 non-governmental cultural organizations in 74 countries. It has members in 23 African countries.


The Sun News Online

INCD Logo (image above)

Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage entered into force on 20 April 2006, following its ratification by 30 States. As of February 2007, 75 States had deposited their instruments of ratification, approval or acceptance with UNESCO.

The Convention called for the establishment of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This list will have a major role in ensuring better visibility of the intangible cultural heritage, in increasing awareness of its significance and also in encouraging dialogue in a spirit that is respectful of cultural diversity.

It also called for a List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, when drawing up the criteria for inscription on this list, will have to determine the conditions under which an element of the intangible cultural heritage will be considered “in need of urgent safeguarding”.

The Intangible Heritage Messenger is a new publication providing updates on the status of the Convention’s ratification and implementation. It is targeted to for ICH professionals, national delegations, national commissions, colleagues within UNESCO and other UN agencies, NGOs, private partners and other actors from civil society.

Local policies for cultural diversity

This is a study commissioned by the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialog of UNESCO.

Institute for Culture,
Barcelona City Council,
as Chair of the United Cities and Local Governments’ Working Group on Culture
20 September 2006

The book includes several reports:
• "Exploring local policies for cultural diversity: synthesis report" by Jordi Pascual

• "Local policies and expressions of cultural diversity: Canada and the United States" by Nancy Duxbury, Derek Simons and Katie Warfield

• "Local Policies for Cultural Diversity. With emphasis on Latin America and Europe" by Annamari Laaksonen

• "Local policies for cultural diversity: systems, citizenship, and governance. With an emphasis on the UK and Australia" by Colin Mercer
There are also three annexes:
• Case studies

• Websites and portals

• Agenda 21 for culture

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bob Maybury's tribute to Al Baez

Albert V. Baez, Ph.D.

Robert Maybury has written a moving tribute to his friend and mentor, Albert V Baez, who died last week.

Read also the memorial posted on this blog yesterday.

Frontline: Requiem

The PBS series, Frontline, on March 27, broadcast the fourth in a series that it has titled "News War". The series series "examines the political, cultural, legal, and economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn." A portion of the broadcast, title "Requiem" is described as follows:
At a time when fair and accurate news coverage is more essential than ever, 2006 marked one of the deadliest years on record for journalists. Surprisingly, despite the fierce fighting in Iraq, most of the slain journalists did not die in combat. They were deliberately targeted, hunted down, and murdered for investigating corruption, crime, or human rights abuses in countries around the world. In Requiem, FRONTLINE/World essayist Sheila Coronel looks at the dangers journalists confront as they try to tell their stories and pays special tribute to reporters working in the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, China and Iraq who have been killed, jailed, or exiled for daring to speak truth to power.

UNESCO is the lead agency in the United Nations system supporting Freedom of Expression. Its Communications and Information program includes components promoting
  • Freedom of Expression,
  • Press Freedom,
  • Independence and Pluralism of the Media,
  • Democraty, and
  • Peace and Tolerance.
UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right through sensitization and monitoring activities. It also fosters media independence and pluralism as prerequisites and major factors of democratization by providing advisory services on media legislation and sensitizing governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers.

Read more:
The Director General of UNESCO speaks out frequently in support of freedom of the press, and regularly protests individual offenses against reporters. Read some of the most recent protests:
World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated on May 3rd.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UNESCO and infoDev conclude Memorandum of Understanding for future cooperation

Read about the new partnership and its particular emphasis on providing education planners, policy-makers and practitioners with resources for the use of ICTs in education.

UNESCO and infoDev have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that lays the ground for future cooperation, particularly in in the areas of education and communication.

The Memorandum foresees that UNESCO and infoDev will share ideas, resources, and expertise to launch joint projects and improve the impact of their action.

In terms of the agreement, particular emphasis will be placed on providing education planners, policy-makers and practitioners with resources for the use of information and communication technologies in education.

infoDev is a partnership of international development agencies, coordinated and served by an Secretariat housed at the World Bank. Thus its offices are in Washington D.C. While there have been close informal relationships between the U.S. government and infoDev and U.S. citizens in the Secretariat, and while the U.S. is a member nation of the World Bank, the U.S. government has not been a donor to infoDev.

Albert V. Baez -- In Memoriam

Albert V. Baez, the first director of science education at UNESCO, died last Tuesday, of what his family described as "natural causes," in San Mateo County, California. He was 94.

Dr. Baez was the director of the science education program of UNESCO from 1961-67. During that period he organized and led a program to improve science education in secondary schools worldwide. The program included projects to improve physics education in Latin America, chemistry education in Asia, biology education in Africa, and mathematics education in the Arab states. The trail breaking program introduced simple, inexpensive kits to allow science experiments in secondary schools, produced films, and utilized programmed education techniques (which were very innovative at the time) for the teachers of science. The work depended significantly on Dr. Baez' earlier participation in the Physics Science Studies Committee which helped to improve physics education in U.S. secondary schools.

Previously, in 1951, he had served UNESCO in Baghdad, where he taught at Baghdad University. In the 1980s, he served as chairman of the Commission on Education for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Dr. Baez was a distinguished physicist, known professionally as the co-inventor (in 1948) of the X-ray reflection microscope. He served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and other universities. As a physics professor and a pacifist, he refused to use his considerable expertise to advance the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

In retirement, he served as president of Vivamos Mejor (Let Us Live Better), an organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life through science-based education and community development projects in Latin America. He was active in the work of Bread and Roses, an organization founded by his daughter Mimi Farina to bring free live music to people confined in institutions - jails, hospitals, juvenile facilities and rest homes. He endowed the Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award, which is given for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity.

In 1956 (with W.C. Nixon) he published Lectures on the X-ray Microscope, and in 1967 he wrote The New College Physics: A Spiral Approach. He co-authored The Environment and Science and Technology Education, published in 1987, and with his daughter, Joan Baez, the memoir A Year in Baghdad in 1988.

To those in the international community interested in science education, he is known as a founding father of the discipline. To the general public he is perhaps better known as the father who introduced his daughters, Joan Baez and Mimi Farina to music, to the love of peace, and to social responsibility.

Dr. Baez was born on November 15, 1912, in Puebla, Mexico, and came to the United States with his family at two years of age. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Drew University, a master's degree in physics from Syracuse University, a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in physics from Stanford University.

Dr. Baez is survived by his wife Joan Bridge Baez of Woodside, Calif.; and daughters Joan Baez and Pauline Bryan of Carmel Valley, Calif.

A Quaker memorial celebration was planned for May.

Read Dr. Baez' obituaries in:

Friday, March 23, 2007

UNESCO Position Paper on Globalization

This paper is a contribution to the discussion of the implications of globalization for higher education. It is one in a series of UNESCO position papers intended to clearly state the Organization's views and thinking on key issues relevant to education today. It provides an overview of debates on the opportunities and challenges posed by globalization to higher education, and identifies the United Nations and UNESCO texts and normative instruments that are relevant to the discussion.

The paper seeks:
* to further the exploration and understanding of higher education in a more globalized society;
* to recognize the importance that UNESCO gives to the topic; and
* consequently to outline UNESCO’s position in this regard, based on basic United Nations documents and UNESCO’s mandate for action in this field.
It focuses on UNESCO’s standard-setting, capacity building and clearinghouse functions to assist Member States in the formulation of appropriate policies and strategies to meet the challenges posed to higher education by globalization. As this is a rapidly developing field, the outlined position is likely to evolve as the debate progresses and will be subject to subsequent revisions. PDF document - 27 pages.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Emily Vargas-Baron has suggested that you may be interested in this new publication:

Cultures and Globalization: Conflicts and Tensions
Edited by: Helmut K. Anheier and Yudhushthir Raj Isar
Sage Publications, 2007.

Publishers Description:
The world's cultures and their forms of creation, presentation, and preservation are deeply affected by globalization in ways that are inadequately documented and understood. This book is designed to fill this glaring gap in our knowledge.

Analyzing the relationship between globalization and cultures is the core objective of this volume. In it leading experts track cultural trends in all regions of the world, covering issues ranging from the role of cultural difference in politics and governance to heritage conservation, artistic expression, and the cultural industries. The book also includes a data section that consolidates the recently commenced but still inchoate work of cultural indicators.

The publication of this book marks the inauguration of a series of books on World Cultures. Like so many other phenomena that characterize and are generated by globalization, conflict/culture relationships remain inadequately analyzed. This applies in particular to cultural identities and their forms of expression, creation, maintenance and renewal. The theme is not only to ensure well-being of the cultural-artistic dimension in the process of globalization. More than that, and in a broad and genuine sense, this book and the series as a whole are meant to serve the cause of peace and security through open debate, learning and understanding.
The series is a product of the Center for Civil Society at UCLA.

Yudhushthir Raj Isar, like Dr. Vargas-Baron, is a former UNESCO employee.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Books For International Development

The International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development is running a program to ship books from the United States to to developing countries around the world. Recent wars, natural disasters and continued poverty have created a need for new university libraries and holdings. Donated books will be shipped to the recipient country by large shipping container (20,000 lbs. per shipment). Although science books are most requested, we will accept donations of any university-level books in other disciplines, which can be textbooks or others. Journals are also needed, but should cover some period of time no less than one year. Material donated should typically be no more than 15 years old and in very good condition. The project is co-sponsored by UNESCO and the State of Pennsylvania, with cooperation and donations in kind from the World Bank, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Millersville University.

Class on UNESCO and a Discussion of S&T Literacy

A group of people associated with Americans for UNESCO is piloting a course this semester titled "UNESCO: Agenda for the 21st Century". The course is being offered as a graduate seminar at George Washington University, and the students come from the programs in International Relations and International Education. Contact me if you are interested in more information. We would be delighted if other universities would pick up the course design and adapt it to their own needs.

Yesterday evening, Dr. Robert Maybury presented a class on science and technology education, and the history of such programs at UNESCO. That class has stimulated an online discussion which may be of interest to the readers of this blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

International Flows of Selected Cultural Goods and Services, 1994-2003

Three countries - the United Kingdom, United States and China - produced 40 percent of the world’s cultural trade products in 2002. Latin America and Africa together accounted for less than four percent according to this report published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The global market value of cultural and creative industries has been estimated at US$1.3 trillion and is rapidly expanding.

Entitled, International Flows of Selected Cultural Goods and Services, 1994-2003, the report analyzes cross-border trade data from about 120 countries on selected products, such as books, CDs, videogames and sculptures. It presents new methodology to better reflect cultural trade flows, contributing to UNESCO’s effort to collect and analyze data that clearly illustrate the central role of culture in economic, social and human development.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides a useful service to the nations of the world, helping to standardize these statistics, and collecting and publishing comparative data. Cultural trade is of great economic importance to the United States, and these comparative statistics are important tools for our policy makers.

World Poetry Day

March 21st is World Poetry Day!

On the day after St. Patrick's Day, lets add William Butler Yeats "The Second Coming"

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-- William Butler Yeats, January 1919

Check out:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

On St. Patrick's Day -- Homage to Sean MacBride

Sean Macbride was the most illustrious Irishman ever to be associated with UNESCO. MacBride was the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of Ireland when the Council of Europe was drafting the European Convention on Human Rights. He served as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 1949 to 1950 and is credited with being a key force in securing the acceptance of that Convention.

He gave his name to the MacBride Principles, which established a code of conduct for U.S. firms operating in Northern Ireland. The MacBride Principles are considered to have provided Irish-Americans with a direct, meaningful and non-violent means of addressing injustice in Northern Ireland. They appear to have significantly advanced the peace process in Ireland.

MacBride was also a founding member of Amnesty International and served as its International Chairman. He was Secretary-General of the International Committee of Jurists from 1963 to 1971 and was elected President of the International Peace Bureau. He was Vice-President of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC, later OECD).

Some of his appointments to the United Nations System included:
* Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations
* President of the UN General Assembly
* UN High Commissioner for Refugees
* UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
MacBride's was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1974) as a man who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice." He later received the American Medal for Justice (1975) from President Carter and the UNESCO Silver Medal (1980).

Dr. Sean MacBride was born on January 26, 1904. His father was Major John MacBride, one of Ireland's legendary heroes who fought the British at Jacob's factory during the Easter Week Rebellion; John MacBride was sentenced to death by the English and executed at Kilmainham Jail on May 5, 1916. The mother of Sean MacBride was Maud Gonne MacBride, a beauty and one of the strongest advocates of Irish Nationalism. W. B. Yeats idolized her in many of his poems.
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
-- From "When You Are Old," William Butler Yeats
The UNESCO Connection

From 1977 to 1980, Sean MacBride served as the President of UNESCO's International Commission for the Study of Communications Problems. While the Commission was very distinguished, and included another Nobel laureate (Gabriel García Márquez), its report is still known as the MacBride Report. According to Andrew Calabrese ("The MacBride Report: Its Value to a New Generation")
The MacBride Report, and the call for a "new world information and communication order" (NWICO) that followed, precipitated the decision by the U.S. government to withdraw its membership from UNESCO. In a letter dated December 28, 1983 from Reagan administration Secretary of State George Schultz to UNESCO director-general Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, the reasons for the U.S. withdrawal were given. Equal emphasis was given to issues of mismanagement and "the injection of political goals beyond the scope of the cooperative enterprise" (Schultz, 1984, p. 84). What was clear to all involved was that the decision was made on behalf of big mass media and telecommunications industry interests in the United States.
However, Calabrese concludes (writing in 2005 on the 25th anniversary of the report and after the return of the United States to UNESCO)
Much has changed since the MacBride Report was published, not only in global politics, but also in global communication. The year 2005 and the WSIS do not mark a stopping point in a global dialogue about the right to communicate, but this year is an auspicious occasion to commemorate the political legacy of the MacBride Report. Despite the geopolitical limitations that filtered the contributions of its authors, they had the foresight to hope for a kind of "globalization" that, rather than signify divisions among citizens of the world, acknowledged our common humanity. With all of its flaws, for which progressive communication activists understandably have distanced themselves over the past twenty-five years, the MacBride Report projects a spirit of hopefulness about how a better world is possible, about the continued importance of public institutions as means to ensure global justice at local, national, and transnational levels, and about the value of global communication as a means to knowledge, understanding and mutual respect. For these reasons, the anniversary of the MacBride Report should be celebrated, and the complexity of its legacy understood, by a new generation of communication rights activists.
Ireland is coming to the end of an 800 year long conflict, and Sean MacBride was one of Ireland's most important and best known advocates for peace. That national background gave his address on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize special relevance. In that address MacBride concluded:
If disarmament can be achieved it will be due to the untiring selfless work of the non-governmental sector. This is what Alfred Nobel appreciated in his days. It is more urgent than ever now......The signpost just ahead of us is "Oblivion". Can the march on this road be stopped? Yes, if public opinion uses the power it now has.
Reading the conclusions and recommendations of the MacBride report today, they seem remarkably relevant and important. They also seem to reflect MacBride's understanding of UNESCO's fundamental role in promoting peace first in the minds of men!

Comment: This posting represents my opinions, and not necessarily those of other editors of this blog nor of Americans for UNESCO. JAD

Return of 1,400 artefacts to National Museum of Afghanistan, under aegis of UNESCO

Some 1,400 Afghan ethnographic and archaeological objects, preserved since 1999 at the Afghanistan Museum-in-Exile (Bubendorf, Switzerland) under the aegis of UNESCO, were handed over to the National Museum in Kabul on 16 March. Some of the most exceptional pieces were presented at a press conference organized in the National Museum of Afghanistan on 17 March.

Peter Smith Leaves UNESCO Education Job

Peter Smith, the Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Education and the highest ranking U.S. citizen in the UNESCO secretariat, has resigned from the organization.

Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO sent this message to UNESCO's staff:
Mr Peter Smith, Assistant Director-General for Education, has tendered his resignation, which I have accepted, and which is effective immediately.

I wish to reiterate my full commitment to the aims of the Education Sector strategic reform, which will continue. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that UNESCO achieves its goals in education.

Pending the recruitment of a successor, interim arrangements will be made. From tomorrow, Friday 16 March, and until those arrangements have been announced, the Education Sector will report directly to me.
Newspapers coverage of the departure includes article in:
The Monterey Herald
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

Friday, March 16, 2007

UNESCO Chair/Unitwin Network Program 2007 is Open

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is now receiving applications for the 2007 UNESCO Chairs/Unitwin network program. More information is available at the following link. The deadline is Friday, March 30.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program

FALL 2007

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) provides an opportunity for Washington area graduate students interested in international affairs, development, trade, finance, and related disciplines to explore the field of international organizations. The Fellows Program offers participants the chance to build strong professional and academic skills through relevant internship experiences and a series of 8-10 seminars on global issues and the United Nations.


UNA/NCA Fellows are registered graduate students in the Fall 2007 semester at one of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area studying international affairs, trade, development, or a related discipline. The 15 Consortium Schools are: American University, Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, Georgetown University, George Mason University,The George Washington University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins University / SAIS, Joint Military College, Marymount University, National Defense University, Southeastern University, Trinity College, University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland, College Park.

Applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, March 30, 2007

If you are interested in a fellowship at Americans for UNESCO in conjunction with this program, contact the organization.

Americans for UNESCO

The George Washington University

2131 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20052

tel: (202)994-0560

fax: (202) 994-0614


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mayor Heads 7 Wonders Panel

Read "The Seven Wonders Reconsidered: Internet Campaign Draws Millions of Votes, Both Predictable and Puzzling" By John Ward Anderson, The Washington Post, March 13, 2007.

The New7Wonders Foundation, after an exhaustive selection process will announce its selection for the seven wonders of the world on 7/7/07. The idea for the campaign came from Swiss Canadian filmmaker Bernard Weber, who formed the nonprofit foundation "to protect humankind's heritage across the globe" and alert people "to the destruction of nature and the decay of our man-made heritage."
Voting began in 2001. Nominated monuments swelled to 177, were culled to 77, then winnowed in late 2005 by a group of experts to the current 21 finalists, each from a different country. Among the experts was Federico Mayor, who served for 12 years as head of UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural heritage agency. He is now head of the New7Wonders panel of experts.

UNESCO History and Program References

A set of links has been created on, a social bookmarking site, with links to UNESCO. For those interested in the history of UNESCO or how it operates, these references should prove invaluable.

To access the materials click on the link below:

Most linked publications are online, but some books that can not be downloaded are linked to booksellers. Even out-of-print books are now often available in the online used book market. There are also websites that seemed likely to be of special interest to the students.

One advantage of the online system is that it can be searched. Each entry also tells you how many other people have linked to that resource in their social bookmarking sites. Those of you who use should be able to easily transfer links from the site to you personal collection.

There are also "tags". If you click on one of the tags to the right of the del.icio,us list, you will get a reduced list that contains all those tagged with that term. It is possible to combine tags so that, for example, you can obtain a list of resources on the history of UNESCO that are available online.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nominations Are Now Open for U.S. World Heritage Sites

There are only twenty (20) World Heritage sites in the United States (including two sites jointly administered with Canada). Considering that there are more than 800 sites worldwide this number does not adequately represent the U.S. contribution to world cultural heritage, nor the world natural heritage located within the borders of the United States.

All member nations of the World Heritage Convention voluntarily nominate their own sites embracing superlative natural or cultural attributes. Among other requirements, the sites must be authentic and meet at least one of several highly stringent criteria for universal value.

Each signatory to the Convention maintains sovereignty over its sites, is responsible for their protection, and pledges to assist others in preservation efforts. Direct authority over individual properties remains with the national, state, tribal, or local government or private organization in charge.

The United States was elected to the World Heritage Committee, the governing body of the World Heritage Convention, in October 2005 and will serve until October 2009. Service on the Committee involves voting on such issues as international assistance to World Heritage Sites and the selection of new World Heritage Sites. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, no U.S. nominations will be made to the List during the U.S. tenure on the Committee.

However, each signatory nation is required under the World World Heritage Convention to post a list of potential world heritage sites. The last list, developed in 1982, is outdated and all countries hare requested to update their lists on a ten-year horizon with a balance of cultural and natural properties. The U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage has now identified many more sites (cultural and natural) as likely to meet the criteria for future nomination to the World Heritage List. This tentative list is available for viewing.

A process is now underway for updating the tentative list of U.S. sites for inscription in the World Heritage List. The process is described on a webpage provided by the International Office of the National Park Service. A report is available on the Experts Briefing and Seminar held as part of this process on September 12, 2006, in Washington, D.C. The USA and Caribbean Regional Office of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has provided a website with resources for the development of that list; Involved in this process are:
* The George Wright Society

* U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites

The Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, is responsible for identifying and nominating U.S. sites to the list. The Service's Office of International Affairs provides staff support for U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention.

Languages in Cyberspace

Today various forces threaten linguistic diversity, particularly on the Internet. UNESCO seeks to promote wider and more equitable access to information networks by supporting the creation of linguistically and culturally diverse content in cyberspace and offering possibilities for the preservation of endangered languages.

Read more about UNESCO's language s in cyberspace efforts.

Comment assurer la présence d’une langue dans le cyberespace ?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

UNITAR Series on the Management and Conservation of World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Management Over Time - Maintaining Values and Significance
Apr 15, 2007 - Apr 20, 2007
Hiroshima, Japan

This training workshop is part of the UNITAR Series which aims to facilitate a better utilization of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention through providing support to national policy making and planning, and information exchange on best practices and case studies.

30 participants from the Asia-Pacific region will be selected for the 2007 workshop which will further develop the values-based approach to heritage management.

Supporting Links

The Workshop -Objectives, Methodology, and Application Process
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Hiroshima Office for Asia and the Pacific (HOAP)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Globalizing Knowledge Forum

A regional research seminar to be held today and tomorrow in UNESCO, Paris is focusing on transformations, challenges and emerging patterns in higher education systems.

The seminar, “Globalizing Knowledge: European and North American Regions and Policies addressing the priority issues of other UNESCO Regions,” is organized by the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge.

The objective of the seminar is to sum up the main achievements of the Forum’s Regional Scientific Committee for Europe and North America.

Year- 2009; Subject - Adult Education

Planning has already begun for UNESCO’s Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI), a major strategic meeting to be held in 2009.

A variety of international, regional and national partners have been invited to participate in the first planning meeting for CONFINTEA VI on 1 and 2 March 2007 in Elsinore, Denmark.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Unesco conference to devise initiatives to cut Arab illiteracy rates

Doha: Qatar will host the first Unesco Regional Conference in Support of Global Literacy here from March 12 to 14.

The event under the theme 'Literacy in the Arab States: Building Partnerships and Promoting Innovative Approaches' will seek ways to reduce illiteracy in the Arab states, where approximately 58 million adults are illiterate. Of that figure 66 per cent are women.

Present to address the conference will be Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of Unesco, Mousa Bin Ja'afar Bin Hassan, President of Unesco General Conference and Permanent Delegate of the Sultanate of Oman to Unesco, and Amr Mousa, President of the Arab League.

Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade and a passionate promoter for literacy in the United States, will make a video address.

In a press statement, Shaika Mouza said, "Literacy oxygenates families, schools, civil society, and all types of institutions and businesses. This is why when we speak of genuine reform in our region and the path to peace, we must keep literacy at the very core of this agenda."


Supporting links:
The Conference - for more information and downloads
UNESCO Regional Conferences
United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), 2003 - 2012
UNESCO Literacy Portal

Thursday, March 01, 2007

International Women’s Day (8 March)


UNESCO is organizing an international conference entitled “Women Peacemakers” to celebrate International Women’s Day. This conference will bring together distinguished women whose work has contributed to the promotion of peace.

Eighty to 90% of the victims in today’s conflicts are civilians, and the vast majority of them are women and girls. Yet women do not participate fully in peacemaking processes, and when they do, their contribution is often overlooked.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg(pictured to the left), a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, will inaugurate the conference. Panelists will include Swanee Hunt(pictured to the right), former US Ambassador to Austria and founder of the Initiative for Inclusive Security.

A series of other events marking Women’s Day will take place at UNESCO from 28 February to 22 March.

Check out the UNIFEM website for International Womens Day!

Friends of World Heritage -- Photo Pool

Zanzibar faces
© by Nina Wessel,
from the Friends of World Heritage (Pool)

The Friends of World Heritage have created this pool of great photos on Flickr.

Photos of your last trip could be the ticket to your next! Enter your favorite World Heritage photos in the Friends of World Heritage photo contest for a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to spectacular World Heritage sites. Register your photo by adding it to the Friends of World Heritage group on Flickr AND by completing the online registration form at

Map of World Heritage Sites

2007 World Heritage Map

Produced through a UNESCO World Heritage Center, National Geographic and Hewlett Packard Partnership!

You can obtain a free copy of this large format full-color map featuring the 830 World Heritage sites!

Friends of World Heritage

The mission of Friends of World Heritage is:
to foster a constituency of World Heritage supporters and travelers to ensure the protection of World Heritage sites for today’s travelers and future generations.
Expedia, Inc., UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, and the UN Foundation are working together to support this mission.

The World Heritage program is, in my opinion, the flagship of UNESCO -- its most visible as well as its most cost-effective program. JAD
World Heritage sites are places around the world that have been internationally recognized for their outstanding value as natural and cultural treasures. Sites currently on the World Heritage List include Independence Hall, Stonehenge, the Galapagos Islands, the parks, forests and wildlife reserves of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the historic Centre of Prague, the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.

All sites are protected by the 1972 World Heritage Convention, signed to date by 180 countries and administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), making it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. While fully respecting the national sovereignty, the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention recognize that the protection of our World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole. There are currently 830 World Heritage sites (644 cultural, 162 natural and 24 mixed properties in 138 States Parties) in 138 countries.

Friends of World Heritage also manages a Fund, Donations to the Fund go to World Heritage projects and priorities, mainly in the developing world -- where money is so scarce. Furthermore, contributions from individuals may be matched twice over - turning every $1 into $3 - by the support of Expedia, Inc. and the UN Foundation.