Friday, November 30, 2007

Index Translationum

The Index Translationum is a list of books translated in the world, i.e. an international bibliography of translations. The Index Translationum was created in 1932. It celebrates this year its 75th anniversary.

The Index' database contains cumulative bibliographical information on books translated and published in about one hundred of the UNESCO Member States since 1979 and totalling more than 1.700,000 entries in all disciplines: literature, social and human sciences, natural and exact sciences, art, history and so forth.

Among the most translated authors are found, in no particular order, Walt Disney Productions, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Lenin and Shakespeare. Consulting the available data, it can be noted that the most translated languages in the world are English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. In the other direction, Japanese is among the languages most translated into; it is listed in fifth position after German, Spanish, French and English, before Dutch and Portuguese. Finally, Germany, Spain, France and Japan are the countries that translate the most.

Annotated bibliography on education and conflict

A man removes a bloodied schoolbook at a school gate in a mostly Sunni area of western Baghdad
Source: Firas Durri: Enthusiast (blog)

Annotated bibliography on education and conflict
Background paper prepared for the
Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2008
Rüdiger Blumör, Nora v. Buttlar
UNESCO, 2007. (PDF, 97 pages)
Publ: 2007; 2008/ED/EFA/MRT/PI/77.

This bibliography contains a selection of publications that deal with the topic of education and conflict, in the form of political and/or violent/ armed conflict. Publications looking at conflict/conflict management in education (e.g. in schools) have not been included.

New Issue of the UNESCO Courier

© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
UNESCO campaign «Send my friend to school» (2005). Work by Tara Badcock (Australia)

1990 : The Education for All (EFA) campaign is launched in Jomtien (Thailand). The international community pledges to provide quality basic education to all children, youths and adults.

2000 :In Dakar, Senegal, more than 160 governments set six goals to be reached no later than 2015. The goals concern early childhood education, primary school, life skills, adult literacy, gender parity and quality education.

2007:“We are halfway there and we have good reason to be optimistic,” says, in this issue of the UNESCO Courier, Nicholas Burnett, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education and director of the just-launched 2008 EFA Global Monitoring Report. Troublesome areas remain nonetheless, notably early childhood education, gender parity and adult literacy.

EFA Report has now been issued


Just released!

The Report in 10 questions

There is a very helpful three minute video with the key results from the report. It features Nicholas Burnett, director of the staff that prepared the 2008 report and now the new assistant director-general for education of UNESCO.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UNESCO photo contest on The Changing Face of the Earth

UNESCO photo contest on

The Changing Face of the Earth

UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) is running a photo contest on the theme of The Changing Face of the Earth, to raise awareness among youth of the state of the planet. There are several cameras and 40 book prizes to be won. Entries close on 30 June 2008.

Contestants may enter in either of the categories:
  • 15-20 year olds and
  • contestants aged 21 years and over.
Each winning contestant will receive a copy of two UNESCO books: Explaining the Earth and The Changing Face of the Earth. In addition, the best entries in each category will win a camera. The names of the winning contestants will be announced in the October 2008 issue of A World of Science and on UNESCO’s science portal.

Photos can be entered in any of ten categories:
  1. Soil – Earth's living skin, Planet Earth in our hands
  2. Groundwater – towards sustainable use
  3. Hazards – minimizing risk, maximizing awards
  4. Earth and health – building a safer environment
  5. Climate change – the ‘stone tape’
  6. Resource issues – towards sustainable use
  7. Megacities – going deeper, building safer
  8. Deep Earth – from crust to core
  9. Ocean – abyss of time
  10. Earth and life – the origins of diversity
Read more about the contest.

The Global Education Digest 2007

The Global Education Digest 2007 presents the latest education statistics from primary to tertiary levels in more than 200 countries. This edition focuses on the financing of education and provides a series of indicators to compare spending patterns across countries and levels of education.

The education budget of a single country like France, Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom outweighs education spending across the entire sub-Saharan African region, according to this report from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). Governments in sub-Saharan Africa spend only 2.4% of the world’s public education resources. Yet about 15% of the school-age population lives in these countries, according to the Digest. In contrast, the United States, which is home to just 4% of the world’s children and young people, spends 28% of the global education budget. This is mainly due to the large numbers of university students and the relatively high costs associated with this level of education.

21st Century Dialogues: “Making Peace with the Earth”

“Making Peace with the Earth” was the theme of the a session of 21st Century Dialogues, which brought five eminent personalities - Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Hubert Reeves, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Luisa Molina and Mathis Wackernagel - to UNESCO on the 26th of November.

The session was organized around the launch of the book “Making Peace with the Earth”, third anthology of the 21st Century Dialogues, just published in French, English, Spanish and Catalan by UNESCO. In the book, seventeen experts, politicians, scientists and thinkers formulate their answers to the questions:
  • What is the future of the planet?
  • What is in store for humanity?

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

1 December 2007

We must continue to intensify our efforts, adapt our actions to the epidemiological and social situations on the ground, and mobilize sufficient financial resources for the AIDS response in the time to come. I pledge UNESCO’s firm commitment to fulfilling its role [of leadership] in the global response to HIV and AIDS."

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Launch of the 2008 edition

Education for All by 2015:
Will we make it?

This report assesses progress towards the six education for all goals midway to the target date for achieving them -- 2015;

There have been some real gains since 2000:
  • the number of children starting primary school has increased sharply,
  • there are more girls in school than ever before and
  • spending on education and aid has risen.
But poor quality, the cost of schooling for poor families and high levels of adult illiteracy are militating against the chances of achieving education for all.

The full report is to be released on Thursday. The full report, regional overviews, statistical search tool, background papers, video interviews and UNESCO Courier feature stories are to be on line on 29 November.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Major environmental education conference in India

© UNESCO/Dominique Roger
  • Studying butterflies in France

  • UNESCO co-sponsored the Fourth International Conference on Environmental Education on 24-28 November in Ahmedabad, India. Some 1500 participants are expected.

    Mark Richmond of UNESCO’s Education Sector will deliver a keynote address on behalf of the Director-General on 26 November.

    Read the interview with Peter Woods, an expert on education for sustainability, who represents the Australian Government at Ahmedabad and other international environmental forums.

    Educational governance at local levels

    Educational governance at local levels
    UNESCO, November 2007.

    How can educational governance at local levels enable the empowerment of excluded groups? Two new publications from UNESCO address this and other related questions.

    “Educational governance at local levels: policy paper and evaluation guidelines” includes a policy paper on implementing educational decentralization as well as evaluation guidelines.

    A second, complementary publication, “Educational governance at local levels: modules for capacity building”, provides capacity-building activities in four modules. Both publications can be downloaded from the links below. Printed copies and a CD/ROM are also available on demand.

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    How volunteering at Unesco changes lives

    In UNESCO and other international organizations, interns are often welcome to work alongside staff on development programs and special projects. And, fortunately for the agencies, many young people are willing to do just that, offering their time in exchange for experience. So, what drives this motivation, and what challenges and lessons are learned along the way?

    Read the full explanation by Melinda Sung, an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, who was a volunteer in the Culture Unit, Unesco Bangkok. It is published in The Nation (Bangkok).

    Interns have been of great service to Americans for UNESCO, and we are always looking for new volunteers to help with these blogs.

    UNESCO to offer video encyclopaedia on India

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) has started to publish online a rich video-based encyclopaedia on Indian heritage and culture. It is to be found on a special website -- The collection will soon cover all States and Union Territories, highlighting the cultural diversity,craft and traditional knowledge of each region.

    Read about the initiative:

    As an example of the content, check out the video on Odissi:
    Odissi is the classical dance form which originated in Orissa, an Eastern state in India. Like Bharatanatyam, this classical dance is also centuries old. This enchanting classical dance form of Orissa traces its origin to the temple dances of the Devadasis (temple dancers).

    Sujata Mohapatra is one of the famous Odissi dancers of India. She is the disciple and daughter -in- law of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

    The U.S.A. at UNESCO’s 34th General Conference

    UNESCO held its 34th General Conference at its Paris Headquarters from October 16 to November 2, 2007. The General Conference is held every other year, and is the governing body of the organization, The United States fielded a large delegation for the conference, and participated fully in the event.

    Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings led the U.S. delegation supported by White House Science Advisor, Dr. John H. Marburger, III and National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement..

    The Conference notably adopted, by consensus, a resolution on “Holocaust Remembrance” introduced by the United States, Russia, Australia, Canada, and Israel and co-sponsored by 65 other UNESCO member states. The resolution “requests the Director-General to consult with the United Nations Secretary-General regarding outreach programs that could play in promoting awareness of Holocaust remembrance through education and in combating all forms of Holocaust denial.”

    Also adopted was a Resolution introduced by the U.S. and co-sponsored by many African states that urged UNESCO to expedite implementation of the Teacher Training Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA).

    The United States Library of Congress chose the General Conference as a platform to launch the World Digital Library project. The project was launched with an exhibit that illustrated how the World Digital Library will operate. Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington hosted a reception for a large number of people at the Conference and the Library of Congress and UNESCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate future collaboration on the project.

    Finally, NASA and NOAA provided a special exhibit, a digital video globe displaying various data, called the “Magic Planet,” which was the focal point for a presentation entitled "Observing and Understanding our Globalized World through History, Sciences, Culture, and Communications." This exhibit helped make the overall theme of the General Conference, “Planet Earth: from Space to Place,” a great success.

    International Conference on Women's Leadership for Sustainable Development

    Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
    addresses the Conference

    The conference, a biennial event held by the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, was cosponsored by UNESCO and Mashav (the Foreign Ministry-operated official body for international cooperation).

    UNESCO Deputy Director-General Prof. Marcio Barbosa expressed gratitude to the government of Israel for hosting such a major event and to the eminent women leaders who had participated with such great enthusiasm.

    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    A Tribute to Rumi

    2007 has been declared the International Year of Rumi.

    No english title - The most popular videos are here

    MUSEUM Intenational N°235

    The new edition of Museum International has been published!

    Table of Contents

    Editorial Isabelle Tillerot

    Chapter I: Alterity and Philosophy of the Collection

    Chapter II: Rethinking Universality

    Americans Favor International Cooperation

    UN Dispatch (November 13, 2007) provides the following information:

    The United Nations Foundation released the results of a major survey of Americans' foreign policy attitudes today. Americans, the poll finds, are virtually unanimous (86% of all voters) in the belief that working with allies and through international organizations is a wiser strategy for achieving America's foreign policy priorities.

    The poll also finds that 73% of all voters are more likely to vote for a candidate for President who understands that "solutions to world problems require international cooperation, whether they are economic problems, environmental problems, or problems of peace and war and that international cooperation is a better way of solving some of the world's key problems."

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    World Heritage Site Videos

    UNESCO's World Heritage Program has certified 851 properties which have outstanding universal value and therefore form part of the mankind's cultural and natural heritage. A large number of short videos of World Heritage sites has been edited and adapted especially by UNESCO for online access.

    School Science and Technology education

    Just published

    UNESCO Resources on School Science and Technology education on CD-Rom

    UNESCO has just released a new CD-ROM with a collection of UNESCO documents on science and technology education at the secondary school level. These ocuments include:

    Literacy, Knowledge and Development

    Literacy, Knowledge and Development

    This just published report (in Spanish as well as English) is subtitled “South-South Policy Dialogue on Quality Education for Adults and Young People”. It contains the presentations made at the conference of that name held in Mexico City in 2005. The articles concern literacy policies as well as basic education and competence recognition.

    While Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico are singled out as “locomotives of development in the field”, information is also provided on programmes in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Arab States as a whole.

    The Bush administration has emphasized literacy in its dealings with UNESCO, and held a major conference on literacy in conjunction with the UN Summit in 2006.

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Partnership for Jordan's World Heritage Sites

    The World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (WHA) – a membership-based initiative launched in 2005 by the United Nations Foundation and Expedia, Inc. – announced recently a partnership between the Alliance and the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities designed to preserve and protect Jordan’s designated UNESCO World Heritage sites while promoting responsible tourism to the country.

    USAID/Siyaha and will implement a program to assist in strengthening the management of Jordan's World Heritage sites, most notably Petra, and launch a public awareness campaign about these sites. In Petra, support will also include a combination of grants to community-based organization and local businesses, training, and development of local tourism projects and activities consistent with World Heritage and sustainable tourism principles. Efforts will also integrate USAID/Siyaha’s work with the Petra National Trust to create a Petra zoning plan.

    Click here to see a two minute long video about Petra.

    The UN Foundation will also support the mission of USAID/Siyaha in various ways, including using its outreach tools to educate travellers and the private sector about the cultural and natural values of Jordanian World Heritage sites.

    (Thank to Annie Belt for passing on this information.)

    Eighth Meeting of the Working Group on Education for All (14 - 16 November 2007)

    The Eighth Meeting of the Working Group on EFA came at the crucial midway point along the time-line to 2015. Despite significant advances over the past seven years, it is clear that progress must be accelerated if the six EFA Goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be reached by 2015. It is in this perspective that the sequence of key annual EFA events has been reorganized, and adjustments made to the linkages between them as well as to working methods and expected outcomes.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    An appeal to stop illicit trafficking of Iraqi cultural property

    The International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of Iraqi Cultural Heritage, which met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 13 and 14 November, ended with an appeal to the international community to help stop illicit excavations, pillaging and trafficking of Iraqi cultural property.

    The Committee brings together some 20 international experts on Iraqi cultural heritage and is chaired by Iraq’s Senior Deputy Minister of Culture, Jaber Mohammad Abbas Al-Jaberi. It recommended, among other measures: to facilitate an international prohibition on trade in or transfer of ancient Iraqi cultural property in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 of 22 May 2003; and to encourage all countries to keep the recovered items in established safe havens, under the auspices of UNESCO and/or Iraqi diplomatic missions, in view of their restitution to Iraq when the adequate conditions are met.

    April 10-12, 2007 was the fourth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone organized a candlelight vigil to end the looting and destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, and around the world. The following (five minute long) video was produced as part of that effort, with a talk by the Director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, and images of the vigil at the State University of New York's Stony Brook campus:

    Meeting on underwater cultural heritage

    Six years after its adoption by UNESCO in November 2001, the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage will be the theme of an information meeting on 23 November at Organization Headquarters. The event will bring together site managers and experts in underwater archaeology from all over the world to review current issues in this emerging discipline.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Music as a Means of Intercultural Dialog

    How can music help people communicate, understand and respect one another in a globalizing world will be the main theme of the symposium held at UNESCO on 26 November.

    The symposium will bring together ethnomusicologists, ethnologists, historians, musicologists, authors, musicians, composers, lawyers, as well as representatives of academia, governments, non governmental and international organizations, and the private sector from all parts of the world.

    Some Resources for Website Design and Posting from UNESCO

    As you might guess, I am very much involved in managing a website and posting on blogs. I hope it is not too evident that I had no training for these activities, and have picked up what skills I possess by practice. I find, however, that UNESCO field offices have produced two very helpful resources for webmasters and bloggers.

    This book was published by UNESCO's India Office with comprehensive guidelines on how to create a website. 2005. (PDF, 244 pages)

    This is a power point presentation with guidance on how to post on a website or blog. It is provided by UNESCO's Bangkok office. (PPT, 4.7MB)

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    The New Edition of The UNESCO Courier is Out

    © UNESCO/Aleksandar Džoni-Šopov
    A cosmic responsibility.

    Philosophy : A cosmic responsibility

    Eight philosophers contributed to this issue of the UNESCO Courier, focusing on the role of philosophy today. Different approaches, varied concerns, but one certainty: philosophy can’t stay in its ivory tower. It provides a weapon against dogma and manipulation. And, to cite one of Jostein Gaarder’s ideas, philosophers have a cosmic responsibility.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    The United States Owes Millions to UNESCO

    UNESCO has the responsibility of leading the United Nations system efforts in education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and communication and information. Its mission of building the defenses of peace in the minds of men remains critically important, and requires ever more diligent and extensive efforts. The 193 member nations of the organization each year add more programs and responsibilities to the organization. Yet its resources are very limited.

    UNESCO's budget is a complex affair. There are assessed dues for the member states, but there are also voluntary contributions. In addition, many of the centers, university chairs, and other entities attached to UNESCO receive contributions outside of UNESCO's budget. Then or course, UNESCO operates with many partners who bring their own resources to the joint efforts. Still, the U.S. representatives to UNESCO have been concerned that its resources do not stretch to enable UNESCO to do everything it is asked to do well.

    The UNESCO Secretariat presented a report to the recent meeting of the General Conference titled "COLLECTION OF MEMBER STATES’ CONTRIBUTIONS". It notes that as at 30 June 2007 the United States which was assessed $66.1 million for 2007 (22 percent of the total assessed dues due to the size of our economy as compared to that of the rest of the world) was US$87.36 million in arrears.

    At the end of May, according to the United Nations Association of the USA:
    On May 25th, President Bush signed a $120 billion emergency supplemental spending bill for the current fiscal year that includes funding for war costs, veterans care, hurricane relief, and agricultural assistance, as well as $283 million for assessed contributions to UN peacekeeping. In addition, the bill (H.R. 2206; Public Law 110-28) provides $50 million for the budgetary account that funds US membership dues to international organizations, including the United Nations.
    In other words, the government was not proposing to pay up its back dues to UNESCO in the near future. Until the Congress passes appropriations legislation for this fiscal year (which began October 10, the United States is limited to making payments on a month by month basis. As you can imagine, the shortfall is causing significant administrative problems for the Secretariat.

    The problem of the arrears in assessments to UNESCO is of course a small part of a bigger problem of debt to the United Nations system as a whole. According to the Global Policy Forum:
    The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year, or about $3 for each of the world's inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world's military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced a financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN's voluntary funds. As of March 31, 2007, members' arrears to the Regular Budget topped $1,355 million, of which the United States alone owed $785 million (58% of the regular budget arrears).
    If you agree that the United States should pay its dues to UNESCO for education, science, culture and communications and the promotion of peace, and indeed that we should pay up our back dues to the United Nations system, tell your Congressmen and Senators!

    John Daly

    Towards Knowledge Societies -- UNESCO Progress to Date

    The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was an international landmark event setting targets, developing new approaches towards harnessing the potential of information and communication for development and mobilizing multistakeholder approaches and new networks “to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society” (WSIS Declaration of Principles). WSIS was held in two phases. The first phase culminated in the first Summit meeting in Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003, and the second phase culminated in the second Summit meeting in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November 2005.

    The Summit adopted the following documents:UNESCO believed the notion of a single global information society does not capture the full potential of the information and communication revolution for human development. It promoted instead, the concept of “knowledge societies” stressing plurality and inclusiveness and puting emphasis on what technology can do to improve people’s lives rather than on technology itself.

    For UNESCO, the Summit resulted in a considerable increase of the Organization’s visibility and importance as a significant actor in the area of communication and information for development. The increased importance on the Organization in the process is illustrated by the fact that it was assigned one of the leading roles in the implementation process including:
    • implementation of concrete activities contained in the Geneva Plan of Action within the framework of its own programs so as to operationalize its concept of knowledge societies;
    • facilitation of the coherent implementation of the six action lines in its areas of competence; and
    • cooperation, together with ITU and UNDP, in the overall multistakeholder coordination of the facilitators of all 11 action lines.

    In May 2006, UNESCO was designated as the facilitator for the multistakeholder implementation of the following six WSIS action lines included in the Geneva Plan of Action:
    • access to information and knowledge (C3);
    • e-learning (C7);
    • e-science (C7);
    • media (C9);
    • cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (C8);
    • ethical dimensions of the Information Society (C10).
    All sectors of UNESCO are concerned with the implementation of The WSIS decisions. The aims of WSIS require UNESCO to operationalize the concept of knowledge societies throughout its action in education, sciences, culture and communication. Intersectoral mechanisms need to be strengthened to provide adequate and coherent responses to this challenge.

    Therefore, the Director-General has set up a “Task Force on Knowledge Societies” whose main mandate is to ensure coherence of UNESCO’s own action to operationalize the concept of building knowledge societies. This includes:
    • coordinating the activities of the various sectors involved in the facilitation of the implementation of the six action lines in its areas of competence;
    • providing the strategic and consistent focus of UNESCO’s efforts and its added value in relation to new mechanisms emerging with the development of the information society;
    • advising the Director-General on key issues of relevance to UNESCO emerging from the rapid development of ICTs and their societal, cultural and ethical implications and proposing adequate institutional response.