Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Americans for UNESCO Board Meeting

The Board of Directors met yesterday. The main topic of discussion was a review of last week's meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. The views expressed of that meeting ranged from negative to positive, reflecting to some degree the different portions of the meeting that were attended by different members of the Board, and to some degree the differing personalities of the Board members themselves.

It was reported that only 44 of the 100 members of the National Commission were observed at the meeting, and some of them did not attend for all of the two day meeting. There was general agreement that the cultural events scheduled around the National Commission meeting were excellent, and that the presentation at the Commission on the U.S. funded project to develop museums in developing countries was excellent and widely appreciated.

It was recognized that Ambassador Oliver had achieved considerable skill in her diplomatic role leading the U.S. permanent delegation to UNESCO, but the State Department presentation was criticized as not having adequately reviewed the success of the delegation in encouraging UNESCO in directions that would better achieve U.S. policy objectives in international education, science, culture, and communications, nor in the more fundamental effort to secure the defenses of peace in the minds of men.

There was apparent agreement among the Board members that the National Commission still was not fulfilling the mandate of its legislation, and that its success in providing advice on UNESCO affairs to the Government was at best mixed. The session of the National Commission on the future of the Commission itself was seen as useful, while that on the UNESCO budget priorities was criticized.

The meeting also reviewed the course on UNESCO that was offered last semester at George Washington University, and the initiative of students from that class to create a student club at the university focusing on UNESCO.

A brief report was made on the online presence of Americans for UNESCO. The most relevant portion of which was the evolution of traffic on the Americans for UNESCO supported blogs, which is shown week by week in the following graph.
The resignation of two long time members of the Board, Sid Passman and Irv Lerch, was noted with regret. Both have found it impossible to continue devoting time to Board activities due to personal reasons. They will be missed!

The Board approved modest changes in the Bylaws for Americans for UNESCO, and appointed committees to work on support for the Man and the Biosphere Program and to draft with the aid of the Advisory Committee a paper for the transition team to begin working on the new Administration after the November 4th election.

No comments: