Thursday, June 28, 2007

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Unesco names World Heritage sites

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Unesco names World Heritage sites:

"The Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Red Fort in India have been added to a list of the world's most valuable cultural treasures.

A silver mine in Japan and an ancient fortress in Turkmenistan are also now on the Unesco World Heritage list."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Afghanistan’s Educational Radio Television (ERTV) Microwave Antena, Kabul
Source: UNESCO

The UNESCO project “Educational Radio and TV Centre in Kabul (Afghanistan)” consist in completely upgrading and rehabilitating distance education services in Afghanistan. Apart from renovating the building, UNESCO with $2.5 million funding from Italy has equipped the ERTV Centre with furniture, internet access and 40 computers linked through a Local Area Network (LAN). Some digital television equipment has also been provided, with complete radio and television studios. Under the project, UNESCO has provided three months of intensive training in fields such as TV and radio techniques, use of digital equipment, programme production, English language proficiency and computer literacy. In the next phase of the project, ten ERTV staff members will receive advanced training at the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD).

Read about:
* the UNESCO Training Package for Afghan Educational Radio Television Staff

* the Project itself

* other innovative radio and information technology projects serving Afghanistan (from UNESCO's Bangkok Office)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This is a full copy of a brief note from Random Samples, Science, 15 June 2007 (Volume 316, Number 5831, Issue of 15 June 2007).

"If you plan to see the Coliseum, Notre Dame, and other European landmarks, the new Vulnerability Atlas might help you decide which ones to visit first--before climate change ruins them. Aimed at policymakers and preservationists, the atlas roughly maps how climate change caused by global warming could harm the continent's historical monuments, statues, and buildings over the next century. Produced by Noah's Ark, a 3-year, €1.2 million project sponsored by the European Commission, the atlas marries climate modeling with research on how wood, stone, glass, and other materials are damaged by climate-influenced factors. For example, it shows where in Europe attacks by wood-destroying fungi may increase because of warmer, wetter weather.

"Cristina Sabbioni, a physicist at the Institute for Sciences of the Atmosphere and Climate in Bologna, Italy, who coordinated the project, says it's a "shame" that more attention has been paid to the impact of climate change on the skiing industry than on Europe's historical treasures. But attitudes may be changing. Later this month, UNESCO will call for research on how climate change endangers cultural heritage globally, notes May Cassar of University College London's Centre for Sustainable Heritage. "Noah's Ark just scratched the surface," she says."

UNESCO and Cultural Industries

It should not be a surprise to Americans that cultural industries are big business, given the economic importance of the movies, television, radio, recording, publishing and the theater in this country. It may be more of a surprise that cultural industries are becoming increasingly important in the international commerce of developing nations.

The Internet is the latest of the information and communications technologies making the world a smaller place. Cultural tourism is increasingly important, not only as people have more chance to experience the cultures of developing nations vicariously by traditional media, but personally with the help of arrangements for travel and lodging made via the Internet. E-commerce in products from traditional craftspeople and music has exploded in recent years -- another impact of the Internet.

The expansion of international trade of the cultural industries of poor nations enriches American consumers by allowing us access to whole new worlds of cultural riches. It supports the social and economic development of those countries not only by providing hard currency and jobs, but by providing recognition for the values of their traditional cultures and supporting cultural changes that contribute to social and economic development. Moreover, cultural industries are an effective way to fight poverty, since often those people with the least money have the craft, musical and other skills that can be tapped for productive and remunerative employment in cultural industries.

Still, the world map of cultural industries reveals a yawning gap between North and South. UNESCO is working to strengthen cultural industry capacities in developing nations and facilitating their access to global markets at national level by way of new partnerships, know-how, control of piracy and increased international solidarity of every kind.
Go to the UNESCO website for its program on cultural industries.

Monday, June 18, 2007

“Thinking and Building Peace through Innovative Textbook Design”

North Westminster School, London
© UNESCO/Niamh Burke

“Thinking and Building Peace through Innovative Textbook Design” is the title of a meeting of experts from Europe and the Arab States that was hosted by UNESCO on 14 and15 June.

The aim of the meeting was to produce guidelines for promoting peace and intercultural understanding through curricula, textbooks and learning media within the UNESCO-ISESCO Cooperation Program. ISESCO is the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

International Memory of the World Conference

Mabo case manuscripts
© National Library of Australia

"Communities and memories: a global perspective" is the theme of the Conference to take place in Australia next year.

In association with the Australian Memory of the World Committee and under the auspices of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, the National Library of Australia will organize the Third International Memory of the World Conference from 19 to 22 February 2008 in Canberra, Australia.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Call for Moderators

UNESCO is the lead agency in the United Nations system for a number of aspects of the follow-up of the World Conference on the Information Society. A multi-stakeholders meeting on the follow-up efforts was held on 24 May 2007 in Geneva at the ITU Headquarters.

As Action Line C8 facilitator (
Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content), UNESCO is looking for Moderators for the following C8 sub-themes:
  • Memory and heritage
  • Local content and contemporary cultural expressions
  • Linguistic diversity
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Gender
  • Disabled persons
If interested, contact:

U.S. citizens interested in serving as a moderator should also contact the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO or the U.S. Permanent Delegation to UNESCO.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Memory of the World

The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

The 8th Meeting of the Memory of the World International Advisory Committee (IAC) has been held in Pretoria, South Africa from 11-15 June 2007. It has been reviewing review 50 new requests for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register, submitted by 38 countries.

The United States has only one entry in the register now:

Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii aliorumque Lustrationes (2005)* (The 1507 printed world map, prepared by the Gymnasium Vosagense, St. Dié, France under the direction of Martin Waldseemüller, is the first map on which the name America appears. The Library of Congress possesses the only known surviving copy of this map.)

The last date for submission of new nomination proposals for inscription on the Memory of the World Register will be March 31, 2007. New proposals submitted by that date will be examined during the 2008/2009 session. Click here for more information on nominations.

Editorial Comment: I believe that the United States should pledge to the world to keep safe those documents created here that are part of the world heritage. I think some suitable candidates might be:

Political documents:
  • The Declaration of Independence, which has served as a model for so many other nations since it was signed.
  • The U.S. Constitution, which is the oldest written national constitution of a major nation (only San Marino may be considered to have an earlier written constitution).
  • Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian: Photographic Images at the Library of Congress;
Technology: A great gift of the United States to the world has been American technology, and it could be commemorated through the papers of our most distinguished inventors:
  • Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress
  • Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University
  • Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793-1919
  • Eli Whitney Papers at Yale University
  • The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress
Incidentally, the Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee) Six Nations, the oral constitution that created the Iroquois Confederacy, might be considered as a nomination for the Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Gayanashagowa is said to have provided significant inspiration to Benjamin Franklin and James Madison in the writing of the United States Constitution, and thus to have inspired political thought in many nations.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Editorial: UNESCO should put reports in the public domain and on the web

UNESCO should be encouraged by the United States government and others to publish all of its reports on the Internet and to place them in the public domain.

It has established important precedents making open source software and other products available free. Some reports are available on the web. However, currently, UNESCO places many reports under copyright protection. I recently sought to use one of its reports on the history of UNESCO on electronic reserve for a class I was teaching, and was told that even in that case I had to submit a formal request. The publication in question, I am told, will be made available on the Internet in January, more than a year after its publication in paper form.

There are different theories as to why publications should be protected by copyright. Some hold that the monopoly on the sale of copies of a publication encourages authors. Others hold that copyright protection recognizes the natural rights of authors. Presumably, UNESCO does not need incentives to publish, since it is funded by its member states to do so, and since authors of UNESCO reports typically do not expect royalties for their efforts. Equally, it is hard to see why a bureaucratic organization would have natural rights to benefit from the creative efforts of others.

UNESCO has an important mandate to help the poor and to help poor countries. Not only does it charge for its reports, but it charges a lot for them. The majority of the world's people can not and do not have access to UNESCO reports as a result of its publications policies.

The U.S. National Academy Press has set some precedents that UNESCO might consider. It makes its reports available to all online in a format that allows them to be read page by page. They are available to be downloaded without charge from the Internet in PDF format for readers in developing nations. The Press does sell paper copies of its reports, charging enough to cover the printing and mailing costs. It has discovered that it has actually increased sales of paper copies by making the content available without charge on the World Wide Web.

The member states that provide the vast majority of UNESCO's budget are all donors of foreign assistance. They should encourage UNESCO to run the risk of forgoing whatever small income it may generate from the sale of copyrighted publications in order to make the products of UNESCO's work more available and accessible in developing nations, as well as to their own populations.

John Daly

(This editorial represents the opinion only of its author.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First Issue of the UNESCO Venice Newsletter

The UNESCO Venice Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter published in English by the UNESCO Office Venice - UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (BRESCE).

In this first issue, the Newsletter features articles on actions and project activities in South East Europe and much more.

- Integration of Natural & Cultural Heritage Conservation
- Events in the region
- New Director for the Office in Venice


- EuroMAB 2007: a Strategic Positioning of MAB in Europe
- World Heritage & Cooperation with SOUTH EAST EUROPE Member States
- Training & Capacity Building in SOUTH EAST EUROPE
- New Tool for Promotion of Romanian Cultural Heritage

- Michael Millward, former Director of the Regional Bureau for Science and Culturein Europe (BRESCE)

Cultural Diversity Conference

© UNESCO/M. Haas

The First Ordinary Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from 18 to 20 June 2007.

Adopted in 2005, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is a binding international legal instrument. On 18 March 2007, it entered into force.

The Convention seeks to strengthen the five inseparable links of the same chain: creation, production, distribution/dissemination, access and enjoyment of cultural expressions, as conveyed by cultural activities, goods and services.

Monday, June 11, 2007

UNESCO and UN Reform

The flag of the United Nations

Go to the UNESCO website devoted to the joint reform efforts.

The quest for UN reform is being pursued at the highest levels of government. The UN reform agenda, aimed at coherence, efficiency and enhanced high-quality delivery is bound to have a major impact on UNESCO’s action at the global, regional and country levels for the years to come. It will be a challenge, but also a real opportunity, for UNESCO.

New Issue of the UNESCO Courier

© UNESCO/Alida Boye
Timbuktu manuscripts

Read the special issue on the Memory of the World online (2007 - number 5).

Manuscripts, illuminations, archives, early films – the documentary heritage of humanity is fragile and threatened. For the last 15 years, UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme participates in its preservation. More documents of exceptional value are being inscribed in the Memory of the World Register from 11 to 15 June in Pretoria (South Africa).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Edition of IAU Horizons

Click here to read the May 2007 issue of the International Association of Universities bulletin, IAU Horizons.

Supported by UNESCO, the IAU publishes this bulletin regularly with news of universities, articles, a calendar of events, and other useful information. This 20 page issue leads with an article focusing on rankings of institutions of higher education, institutional typologies and classifications.

Job: DIRECTOR, Division of Education Strategies and Field Support

UNESCO is searching for a new DIRECTOR for its Division of Education Strategies and Field Support. The State Department hopes that a suitable U.S. candidate can be found to apply for the position. The competition closes at midnight (Paris time) on June 18.

Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Education (ADG/ED) and reporting directly to the Deputy ADG/ED for Programme Management, the incumbent is expected to provide intellectual, strategic and operational leadership for the Division in the pursuit of its main goals of supporting Member States’ country education planning process, in line with UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS), and providing coordination and support to UNESCO field offices and ED institutes/centers for implementing their education program including those activities in post-conflict and post-disaster countries.

In this connection, he or she will:

- contribute to the development of the Education Program strategy, goals and objectives and be further accountable for implementing a results-based approach in translating the approved
Education Sector mandate into an effective program delivery plan;

- design optimal organizational structures and/or action plans equired to support and ensure efficiency and effectiveness in operations, motivation of staff, and knowledge management/sharing throughout the sector via UNESS, field support and institute coordination;

- ensure mobilization of the required human, financial and material resources for the tasks assigned;

- demonstrate a high level of skill and diplomacy to create synergy in the wider United Nations education programme context as well as to motivate shareholders and recipient governments in order to build and maintain partnerships at all levels, both within and outside UNESCO;

- provide technical backstopping to UNESCO field offices in developing and implementing the UNESS framework in the concerned Member States.

If you are interested, or can recommend a person for the post, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Department of State.

UNESCO Searching for a New ADG for Education

The Assistant Director General for Education is the senior official in UNESCO's education program. The former ADG was a U.S. citizen, and the State Department hopes that a suitable U.S. candidate can be found to apply for the position. The competition closes at midnight (Paris time) on June 16.

Under the authority of the Director-General, the incumbent will provide leadership in the overall management of the Education Sector. He or she will be responsible for the overall formulation, planning and coordination of UNESCO’s strategy, programs and plans of action in this field. At the core of the program is the international campaign to achieve Education for All (EFA), the goals or which were defined by the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal, April 2000). UNESCO’s Education Program supports the EFA campaign in two main ways. First, at the international level, it is responsible for coordinating and harmonizing the activities of key stakeholder groups, notably developing country governments, donor agencies, international/intergovernmental organizations, and civil society organizations. Second, it assists individual countries in EFA planning and policy formulation through capacity-building and advice.

The program focuses particularly on those countries experiencing difficulty in achieving the EFA goals by the target date of 2015 and on population groups excluded from education. In addition to the EFA campaign, the Education Program provides assistance to countries in the reform and development of secondary, technical/vocational and higher education. Targeted assistance is provided to Member States in regard to the diversification and reform of education systems, the updating of content and methods, the improvement of quality and the introduction of innovations and new approaches, including distance education and e-learning. Throughout the Education Sector’s work, emphasis is placed on building multistakeholder partnerships at national and international levels and on fostering exchange of information, dissemination of best practices and establishment of networks of institutions and experts.

Within the framework of UNESCO’s decentralization policy, the incumbent will be responsible for ensuring coherence, coordination and collaboration among UNESCO Headquarters, field offices and education institutes in the implementation of UNESCO’s Education Programme and ensuring that the programme activities are all in line with UNESCO’s strategic direction of education. He or she will cooperate closely with ministries, Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and National Commissions for UNESCO, and with the agencies and bodies of the United Nations system, the World Bank, multilateral and bilateral agencies, and civil society organizations. He or she will also cooperate closely with colleagues responsible for the other programme sectors of the Organization in order to ensure unity of purpose, strengthen synergies among the different sectors and develop intersectoral responses to pressing problems of development and the environment. The incumbent will represent the Director-General in specialized commissions of the governing bodies of UNESCO, as well as at intergovernmental and ministerial conferences.

If you are interested, or can recommend a person for the post, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Department of State.
Alternatively, you can contact Americans for UNESCO for advice.

Click here to read a full position description.

Click here to apply directly to UNESCO for the position.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Google, UNESCO and Litcam Launched “The Literacy Project”

Read the full news release from eLearning Africa.

Google Inc. unveiled The Literacy Project in conjunction with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and Litcam, a literacy campaign organized by Frankfurt Book Fair officials. It is a Web site dedicated to literacy, pulling together its books, video, mapping and blogging services to help teachers and educational organizations share reading resources.

The UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg was recently renamed and rechartered as the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. The new name more accurately reflects the Institute's long-standing focus on adult learning as well as out-of-school and non-formal education in
the perspective of lifelong learning.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dialogue Among Civilizations

Dialogue among Civilizations
Proceedings of the International Symposium
on Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations
Sana'a, Yemen
10 to 11 February 2004

In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly devoted a two day session to the theme of Dialog Among Civilizations. (Click here to to to the website for that meeting.)

UNESCO, even earlier adopted Dialog Among Civilizations as a major mainstreaming issue, cross cutting all of its programs. A number of meetings have be held all over the world to promote that dialog under UNESCO sponsorship. (Click here to go to a website from which you can download the reports of many of those meetings.)

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) also established a Dialog Among Civilizations program. (Click here to go to the website for that program.)

The most recent conference in this series was titled "COMMUNICATION OF HERITAGE: A NEW VISION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE". It was held in Opatija, Croatia from May 31 to June 2, 2006. (Click here for the newly published report from that meeting.)

Corruption in Education: A global problem

Corrupt schools, corrupt universities: What can be done?
by Jacques Hallak and Muriel Poisson
2007, 354 p.
Price: €20

Rigged calls for tender, embezzlement, illegal registration fees, academic fraud... A Report from UNESCO's
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) launched on 6 June in Paris shows to what degree corrupt practices are seriously undermining education systems around the world and costing governments billions of dollars. More importantly, it suggests what can be done to reduce corruption in education.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

U.S. Children’s Charity to Raise Awareness of Child Sexual Abuse and to Raise Funds for Healing Camps

US Chapter for the international child protection agency, Innocence in Danger (IID) will host its gala dinner in New York to raise awareness for sexually abused children and create funds for healing services. IID functions on two levels: to create public sensibility through media campaigns and establish retreat centers to assist affected children in their recovery.

IID is a UNESCO initiative to bring attention to child trafficking and sexual abuse. IID now operates in more than 29 countries.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Editorial on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

The Americans for UNESCO website is currently featuring a highlight on the United States National Commission for UNESCO. The National Commission is unusual in that it has specific authorizing legislation, and that legislation specifically identifies the National Commission as created in fulfillment of Article VII of the Constitution of UNESCO. That article states:
Article VII

National Co-operating Bodies

1. Each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for the purpose of associating its principal bodies interested in educational, scientific and cultural matters with the work of the Organization, preferably by the formation of a National Commission broadly representative of the Government and such bodies.

2. National Commissions or National Co-operating Bodies, where they exist, shall act in an advisory capacity to their respective delegations to the General Conference and to their Governments in matters relating to the Organization and shall function as agencies of liaison in all matters of interest to it.

3. The Organization may, on the request of a Member State, delegate, either temporarily or permanently, a member of its Secretariat to serve on the National Commission of that State, in order to assist in the development of its work.
Thus the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is specifically authorized by statute to associate U.S. educational, scientific and cultural organizations with the work of UNESCO, as well as to advise the government (and the delegations to the general conference).

As an advisory body to the government, the National Commission also is controlled by the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Thus it must have a balanced membership with suitable expertise to offer sound advice and it must hold open meetings and act in a transparent manner. FACA also requires agencies to report regularly on their advisory committees, and to revise the charters of those committees regularly. (The next revision of the charter of the National Commission for UNESCO is scheduled for 2008.) The law allows for advisory committees to be authorized by Presidential directive, even in the absence of specific legislative charter, to be utilized for other functions in addition to their advisory purposes.

The Congress has become concerned with the administration of advisory committees under the Bush Administration, and requested that the General Accounting Office study the situation. A report from the GAO in 2004 stated:
Additional governmentwide guidance could help agencies better ensure the independence of federal advisory committee members and the balance of federal advisory committees. For example, OGE guidance to federal agencies has shortcomings and does not adequately ensure that agencies appoint individuals selected to provide advice on behalf of the government as special government employees subject to conflict-of-interest regulations. In addition, GSA guidance to federal agencies and agency specific policies and procedures could be improved to better ensure that agencies collect and evaluate information that could be helpful in determining the viewpoints of potential committee members regarding the subject matters being considered and in ensuring that committees are, and are perceived as being, balanced.
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology have become specifically concerned about the quality of scientific advisory committees under the Bush administration as has Rep. Henry Waxman, Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform. Thus the balance and objectivity of the U.S. National Commission on UNESCO is subject also to oversight by the legislature.

UNESCO, of course, convenes many international committees to advise on matters of science, including oceanography, geology, hydrology, biosciences, scientific ethics, and aspects of the social sciences. While UNESCO itself is responsible to appoint the members of those committees, and to assure the objectivity and balance of the membership, the UNESCO secretariat often seeks help in identifying candidates from the United States for such committees from the U.S. permanent delegation to UNESCO and indirectly from the National Commission. Thus we must be concerned not only with the balance and objectivity in international advisory committees not only as achieved by UNESCO, but in the recommendations made by our representatives to the UNESCO secretariat for U.S. members on those committees.

With the reentry of the United States into UNESCO, 60 Non-Governmental organizations were selected by the Department of State, each to "designate one representative for appointment to the National Commission." The law chartering the National Commission states that:
the National Commission shall periodically review and, if deemed advisable, revise the list of such organizations designating representatives in order to achieve a desirable rotation among organizations represented.
There have been three meetings of the Commission and the law states that Commissioners are to serve three year terms, so it may be an appropriate time for the National Commission to consider rotation among the NGO's designating representatives to it.

John A. Daly