Monday, September 29, 2008

The Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism

September 28 - October 2, 2008

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The United States’ first UNESCO Creative City

The conference is a forum for identifying economic opportunities, improving skills, and developing best practices for creative tourism programs. Broadly defined as engaging visitors in a place’s culture through active participation, creative tourism provides the possibility for economic growth to destinations willing to offer travellers a chance to express themselves by becoming personally involved with a community’s heritage.

Tourism Professionals, Destination Managers, Community Leaders in the Creative Economy, City and Urban Planners, Cultural Experts, Creative Entrepreneurs, Educators, Creative industry Developers, and Artists will all benefit from the skills and best practices learned during this unique participative conference.

World Teachers' Day

October 5 is World Teachers’ Day, a day set aside by the world community to celebrate teachers and the central role they play in nurturing and guiding infants, children, youth and adults through the life-long learning process.

Check out:

Friday, September 26, 2008

The DG and First Ladies

Laura Bush and other First Ladies with Mr Matsuura
© White House/Chris Greenberg

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura attended the Global Campaign for Education event in New York this week, where the new coalition was launched to galvanize action towards achieving the Education for All Goals by the target date of 2015.

$4.5 Billion New Pledges for Education at UN Summit

According to Agence France Press, UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday that 4.5 billion dollars' worth of new pledges and commitments were made at the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals to get 24 million children into school by 2010, as a milestone toward universal primary education by 2015.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meeting of UNESCO's Executive Board - 30 September to 17 October

UNESCO's Executive Board, chaired by Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï (Benin), will meet from 30 September to 17 October in Paris for its 180th session. In addition to the regular oversight of the UNESCO program carried out by the Executive Board, there is to be a thematic debate on the protection of indigenous and endangered languages and on the role of language in promoting Education for All and sustainable development.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EFA - Global Monitoring Report 2008


A mid-term assessment of where the world stands on its commitment to provide basic education for all children, youth and adults by 2015.

What education policies and programmes have been successful? What are the main challenges? How much aid is needed? Is aid being properly targeted?

UNESCO launches new fund to advance Global Literacy

First Lady Laura Bush announced today that UNESCO will receive more than $2 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) Fund, a new initiative that will advance global literacy. UNESCO is the lead agency for the coordination of the UN Literacy Decade.

UNESCO-World Sky Race Join Together

The World Heritage Center and the World Air League, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization, have established a partnership aiming to promote environmental protection and the use of lighter-than-air skyships as a means to reduce pollution and pressures caused by transportation.

The World Air League is currently promoting the World Sky Race,
an historic tour and competition of lighter-than-air skyships racing 30,000+ miles. It also will be setting up on its website a means to make charitable contributions to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Don R. Hartsell, World Air League (WAL) Commissioner and Managing Director is also Chairman of Solex Environmental Systems, Inc.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Training-the-Trainers in Information Literacy

Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.
The American Library Association
Information and media literacy enables people to interpret and make informed judgments as users of information and media, as well as to become skillful creators and producers of information and media messages in their own right. UNESCO encourages the development of national information and media literacy policies, including in education.

In September 2007, the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Program (IFAP) decided to fund a global scale-up project on information literacy and agreed on a series of regional Training-The-Trainers workshops in information literacy.

The project foresees to organize a series of 11 Training-the-Trainers workshops in information literacy, to be held from 2008 to 2009 in several institutions of higher education covering all regions of the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura to Visit U.S.A.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will attend the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. During his visit to New York, 21 - 25 September. He will meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and participate in a series of high-level events:

  • 22 September: White House Symposium on literacy; luncheon hosted by First Lady Laura Bush; high-level meeting on Africa’s development needs

  • 23 September: meeting of the five UN agencies responsible for the Education For All (EFA) program; host lunch on “Financing Education for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, and present Rumi Medal to Afghanistan President Karzai

  • 24 September: side event hosted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Spain on the MDG Achievement Fund

  • 25 September: act as rapporteur in Roundtable on Education and Health.

White House Symposium on Literacy

Mrs. Bush, who serves as an Honorary Ambassador
to the United Nations Decade of Literacy,
addresses a UNESCO roundtable in 2007.

First lady Laura Bush will host a symposium titled “Advancing Global Literacy: Building a Foundation for Freedom,” in New York on September 22, 2008.

First Ladies from over 80 countries, ministers of education and other high-ranking representatives are expected to underscore how literacy helps build a strong foundation for freedom during this White House Symposium.

International Day of Peace, 21 September 2008

Each year the United Nations system celebrates the International Day of Peace on September 21st. As part of the observation of the day, this week UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura awarded the 2008 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education to the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (South Africa) in recognition of its outstanding efforts in building sustainable reconciliation through education and in addressing systemic injustice in Africa.

UNESCO Global Literacy Conference in Mexico City Highlights U.S.-Sponsored Programs

A Bolivian mother reads to her infant son
© Photo Whitehouse Conference on Global Literacy

Two U.S. government funded literacy programs will be among the organizations highlighted at the upcoming UNESCO Regional Conference for Global Literacy in Mexico City, on September 10-13, 2008.
  • Alfalit International, Inc. (Bolivia), a USAID funded non-profit educational organization that offers literacy and basic education programs in 25 countries.
  • Educatodos (Honduras), an alternative basic education delivery system created by the Ministry of Education and USAID for out-of-school youth and adults to complete a primary and lower secondary (grades 7-9) education.

HP-UNESCO Partnership

Scientists at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar (Senegal) are now better placed to cooperate with researchers overseas thanks to the installation of the first computing grid at the university, the fruit of a joint effort by the UNESCO/Hewlett-Packard project “Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” and the Grid Computing Institute of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

The project aims to provide universities in five African countries with grid computing technology so as to reduce migration of African university graduates by giving them the tools they need for their research.

The joint project “Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” follows the successful implementation of a similar UNESCO/Hewlett-Packard initiative for Southeast Europe, launched in 2003.

Read more!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some Great World Heritage Sites on the Internet

Here are some sites to help you learn about and experience the world heritage sights selected by UNESCO:

Decentralization in the Culture Program

Underwater archaeology
the Saint-Honorat1 wreck 17th century
© UNESCO; M L Hour / Drassm

While UNESCO's Culture Program is centered in UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, a great deal of its work is decentralized into a network of Institutes and Centers, as well as country field offices and cluster offices providing education related services to a cluster of nations. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides statistical support for the education programs as well as the other UNESCO programs.

The World Heritage Center although located in Paris has its own World Heritage Committee which provides oversight for the program implementing the World Heritage Convention.

Other centers under the auspices of UNESCO and its culture program are:
The Cluster and Regional Offices for Culture
  • Venice (Europe and North America)
  • Havana (Latin America and the Caribbean)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Decentralization in the Education Program

While UNESCO's Education Program is centered in UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, a great deal of its work is decentralized into a network of Institutes and Centers, as well as country field offices and cluster offices providing education related services to a cluster of nations. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides statistical support for the education programs as well as the other UNESCO programs.

The Centers and Institutes of the Education Program are:
Other Centers or Institutes under the auspices of UNESCO
The Cluster and Regional Offices for Education

The Intangible Heritage Network

This network's website is dedicated to the involvement of non-governmental organizations and civil society in topics related with the intangible cultural heritage. The network's founders feel that "the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage represents an important achievement concerning the recognition and advancement of cultural rights. Moreover, it has involved State Parties undersigning it in a consistent exercise towards the identification and study of their intangible cultural heritage."

YOu might want to check out this site with interesting photos posted by the Intangible Heritage Network.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Online Volunteer Needed

One or more online volunteers sought to help post materials on this blog. The volunteer would scan the UNESCO websites to identify materials from UNESCO's educational and/or cultural programs worth spotlighting, such as news, new events or publications, or interesting programs. The blog is widely read internationally, but is especially focused on materials of interest to people in the United States.

Several neophyte bloggers have learned to post on the site in less than one hour. An effort of an hour or two per week on the average should do the job, and would be greatly appreciated.

If you are interested, please send an email to me with your biography or a brief description of your background and interests.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

UNESCO Courier: Claude Lévi-Strauss

A recent issue of the UNESCO Courier is devoted to remembrance of Claude Lévi-Strauss, the great Anthropologist who published often in The Courier, was very close to UNESCO during his life, and was even in his 90's an active participant in the celebrations of UNESCO's 60th anniversary in 2005.

“The efforts of science should not only enable mankind to surpass itself; they must also help those who lag behind to catch up.”
“No doubt we take comfort in the dream that equality and fraternity will one day reign among men, without compromising their diversity.”
“Nothing indicates racial prejudices are diminishing and indications are not lacking to suggest that after brief local respites, they surge up again elsewhere with renewed intensity. Which is why UNESCO feels the need periodically to take up again a struggle whose outcome is uncertain, to say the least.”
“But who better than UNESCO can draw the attention of scientists and technicians to the fact (which they so often tend to overlook) that the purposes of science are not only to solve scientific problems but to find answers to social problems as well.”

UNESCO roundtable on the development, culture and identity of indigenous peoples

Image © Ayodele Banjo

A roundtable titled “Indigenous Peoples: Development with Culture and Identity” is to take place 15 September at UNESCO Headquarters*. It is to lay the ground for reflection on this theme which will also be discussed at the 9th session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to be held in New York in 2010. Participants are to focus on the contribution of indigenous approaches to sustainable development in the age of globalization. They will also seek to reinforce cooperation among indigenous peoples, governments and the United Nations system as a whole.

The event will be opened by the UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura. Participants will include Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Igorot, Philippines), Margaret Lokawua (Karamoja, Uganda) and Carlos Mamani Condorí (Aymará, Bolivia), respectively chair and members of the UNPFII. John Scott of the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity; Julian Burger, Coordinator, Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Anaisabel Prera, Guatemala’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO; and Darriann Riber of the Danish International Development Agency will also be participating.

An estimated 350 million indigenous peoples live in over 70 countries and speak more than 5,000 languages: such is the importance of indigenous people today. Their cultures express the powerful links between humanity and nature, between tradition and modernity, offering a holistic view of the world. They could become a source of renewal for the future. Despite their major contribution to cultural diversity and to sustainable development, many of them are marginalized and deprived of basic human rights.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

UNESCO's Abdul Waheed Khan: ICT to shape the future of education and learning

Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, shares his insights on education and the role of ICT for socio-economic development in the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) Through The Looking Glass Series. More!

Juan Luis Guerra: UNESCO Artist for Peace

UNESCO's Director-General will designate the Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra UNESCO Artist for Peace during a ceremony on 15 September at the Organization’s Headquarters in Paris.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Friends of World Heritage on Facebook

Friends of World Heritage, a U.S. based non-governmental organization, has created a group on Facebook, and also has established a Facebook fanpage where you can share information with the other members of the group.

Indigenous Peoples: Development with Culture and Identity

From 15 to 17 September, UNESCO will host the annual meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples and welcome the first official visit to UNESCO of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

“Water and Peace for the People”

What if the countries in the Middle East had no choice but to get along in order to share the region’s meagre water resources? This is the starting premise of Jon Martin Trondalen’s book “Water and Peace for the People”, which will be launched on 11 September at UNESCO.

“Water and Peace for the People”, released by UNESCO Publishing, offers a practical guide that suggests concrete ways to resolve these crises. Analyzing what is at stake in each situation while releasing new information, the author examines the conflicts in the Upper Jordan River between Israel and Syria around the Golan Heights, between Israel and Lebanon over the Wazzani Spring, and the longstanding water dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. Challenges confronting Turkey, Syria and Iraq in sharing water of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers are also assessed.

UNESCO commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being commemorated in a year-long campaign by the UN system. UNESCO, like the rest of the agencies of the system, is evaluating its progress in respecting and promoting human rights. The motto of this campaign is “Dignity and Justice for All of Us”.

In addition, the 61st Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which was held at UNESCO Headquarters from 3 to 5 September 2008 by the United Nations Department of Public Information, focused on the commemoration of the Declaration’s 60th anniversary.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

About the UNESCO Website

Alexa, a company providing information about website use, reports that 0.014 percent of global internet users visit the UNESCO website. Consequently, at the moment, UNESCO's website ranks number 8,136 in cyberspace in terms of traffic. (By comparison, the Americans for UNESCO website ranks 9,968,024; the AU education and culture blog ranks 5,434,393; the AU science and communications blog ranks 5,790,834.) Alexa also reports that the percentage of global Internet users who used UNESCO's website has gone down over the past three months. On the average, a visitor to the UNESCO website downloads about 2.5 pages of material.

10.7 percent of the visitors to the UNESCO website are from the United States.

The most visited pages are:

Monday, September 01, 2008

U.N. Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations

For the first time in its 60 year history the annual meeting of some 1,700 non-governmental organizations affiliated with the United Nations will take place outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

More than 2000 delegates are to meet at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 3 to 5 September 2008 under the banner of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration was signed in Paris, and it was therefore considered fitting that the NGO meeting be held there. UNESCO played a key role in the deliberations leading to the Declaration, carrying out a landmark study to demonstrate that indeed, all cultures did recognize common human rights.

The Conference will provide:
  • background on the human rights treaty system (Day 1);
  • perspectives on the implementation of human rights in the context of on-going challenges as well as emerging issues worldwide (Day 2); and
  • outlooks on how to make better use of existing mechanisms for the protection of human rights at the international and national levels, as well as to examine ways to empower civil society at the local level (Day 3).
It will be opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon via video-conference at 10:00 a.m. on 3 September 2008.

The UNESCO Courier: 2008 - number 7

Literacy is the best remedy

Finishing primary school makes it five time more likely that the person is informed about HIV and AIDS. Malaria, which kills a million people a year, is most deadly among the illiterate. Literacy and good health are inseparable. This is the theme of International Literacy Day (8 September) and the 2008 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes.

Read the new issue of the UNESCO Courier focusing on literacy and health!