Wednesday, February 27, 2008

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Annual Meeting

The next meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO will be held on May 21-22, 2007. Planning is in progress now for that meeting.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rita Colwell Calls for Science Debate Among Presidential Candidates

Dr. Rita Colwell, a member of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO, made this video as part of an effort broadly supported in the U.S. scientific community to encourage a debate on science among the candidate in the U.S. presidential election. The video is being widely distributed and viewed. Dr. Colwell is also the former Director of the National Science Foundation 1998-2004; Distinguished Professor, University Of Maryland/Johns Hopkins University School Of Public Health. She was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2006.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

UNESCO and Afrika! Afrika!

Afrika! Afrika! is a new alternative to Cirque du Soleil -- circus-style theater with an African theme by Africans. More than 100 artists, eccentrics, dancers, singers and musicians coming from all over Africa, and from the African Diaspora, give a performance of more than two hours. Afrika! Afrika! is now touring Europe to rave reviews. The troupe has also traveled through Africa for two years from Mali and Morocco, from Egypt to South Africa.

One euro of each ticket sold for performances of Afrika! Afrika! – the so-called “Africa euro“ – is donated to the ”Art in Africa” Foundation of the German Commission for UNESCO to support African cultures. This foundation is the first of its kind worldwide. It was set up jointly by the German Commission for UNESCO and the Afrikanische Zirkus GmbH & Co. KG on the occasion of the world premiere of AFRIKA! AFRIKA! in Frankfurt am Main on 14 December 2005.

In August last year, UNESCO in Paris declared that the Afrika! Afrika! project would take place under its auspices, honoring an undertaking which will ensure that part of the proceeds return to Africa. The "Africa euro“ is donated for the purpose of promoting culture in Africa. When selecting the projects deemed eligible for support, the UNESCO Foundation is cooperating with the Goethe Institute. Due to their expertise and the presence of their institutions in Africa, UNESCO and the Goethe Institute are guarantors of an informed selection and promotion of the projects to be funded, projects that will exclusively serve African interests and not aim at implementing European ideas with regard to Africa.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Premiere of “Amazing Grace” at UNESCO

Ambassadors Oliver and Landymore at the screening of “Amazing Grace.”
© USUNESCO / Photo: Anne Turnacliff

The U.S. and the U.K delegations co-hosted the French Premiere of “Amazing Grace” at UNESCO on February 6, 2008, and were joined by the film’s producer, Philip Anschutz, who spoke about the film and his dedication to creating movies that engage wide-ranging audiences on stories of hope and courage.

The film is based on the life of British antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce. It was produced by Philip Anschutz, an American, and was directed by the U.K.'s Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, Coal Miner's Daughter).

Friday, February 15, 2008

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

21 February

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The Bangladesh Embassy and Drishtipat DC are putting together an open-air event to commemorate International Mother Language day.It is to be held on February 23rd in Washington D.C. It will take place in Dupont Circle from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. Musicians from many countries will entertain.

(Rain location: 4pm at the Bangladesh Embassy, check for updates)

Evaluation of UNESCO Anticipation and Foresight Programme

UNESCO’s Anticipation and Foresight program is intended to strengthen the Organization’s intellectual, ethical and strategic watch function – foresight activities are an integral part of UNESCO’s function as a “laboratory of ideas”. Two main activities were undertaken, namely: (i) development and publication of the UNESCO World Report, dedicated every two years to a new theme; and (ii) organizing the Twenty-first Century Talks and Dialogues, forums for prospective reflection and future-oriented debate that gathers together leading figures from different regions of the world. The UNESCO World Report was not included in the scope of the evaluation because it was considered too early to measure results and impact due to its recent release. The evaluators undertook documentary review and semi-structured interviews with UNESCO staff as well as with a variety of stakeholders.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Support for IYL 2008

There is a useful new website created by Don Osborn providing support for the International Year of Languages (2008). It is a temporary webpage for gathering information on strategies and methods for supporting the IYL.

UNESCO has an official portal page:

2008, International Year of Languages: Languages matter!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

International Conference on Education

ICEs have been held regularly since 1934.

The 48th session of the International Conference on Education organized by the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE), to be held in Geneva from 25 to 28 November 2008 on the theme “Inclusive education: The way of the future.”

UNESCO and Knowledge Sharing

Four new publications from UNESCO:

* UNESCO and knowledge sharing
Publ: 2008; 2 p., illus.; BPI/EPP/2008/PI/60M/03.
For over 60 years, UNESCO has had a mandate to “maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge” (Constitution, Art 1. 2 (c)). In response to the challenges of globalisation and the Information Society, it advocates a vision of “Knowledge Societies”. But what do we mean by “knowledge” at UNESCO and what links are there between the Organization’s knowledge sharing programmes and its knowledge management (KM)?
* UNESCO and knowledge sharing (2): the capacity-building function
Publ: 2008; 2 p.; BPI/EPP/2008/PI/60M/04.
The first of this four-part series of meetings examines two case studies, from ED and CI Sectors, to explore key concepts and issues connected with capacity-building.
* UNESCO and knowledge sharing (3): the clearing house function
Publ: 2008; 2 p.; BPI/EPP/2008/PI/60M/05.
The second in this four-part series examines two case studies – one of the longest-standing and one of the newest knowledge sharing initiatives of the Organization – to explore key concepts and issues connected with UNESCO’s role as a clearing house
* ICT-Enabled Knowledge Acquisition
Publ: 2008; BPI/EPP/2008/PI/60M/02.
The Communication and Information Sector's work on ICT-enhanced knowledge acquisition is anchored within the "knowledge mandate" and Constitution of UNESCO. It seeks to develop an integrated work stream, inter-relating with other emphases and competencies within UNESCO. This capacity-building work focuses on four tracks: (1) content development, (2) communication infrastructure, (3) capacity-building and (4) innovative applications.

Bush Sends UNESCO Anti-Doping Treaty to Senate

Cycling News reports:
The United States took one step closer to signing a treaty intended to help fight doping in sport when President Bush asked the Senate to ratify the International Convention Against Doping in Sport on Thursday. The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA)-backed agreement, which was drawn up under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has already been ratified by more than 70 other nations.

The UNESCO treaty formalizes global anti-doping rules under the WADA code, getting around issues which prevented some governments, such as the United States, from being legally bound by documents of non-governmental organizations such as WADA.
The White House statement noted that the treaty was in agreement with existing US laws and policies, but the aim was to "solidify our Nation's place as a leader in the worldwide effort to rid athletics of cheating through chemistry."
The administration's decision to move toward ratification of the International Convention Against Doping in Sport is receiving positive press attention worldwide..

Federico Mayor on the Culture of Peace

Federico Mayor was the previous Director General of UNESCO. He is now Co-chair of the UN Alliance of Civilizations High-level Group and President of the Culture of Peace Foundation. In this short video he talks about the culture of peace.

Friday, February 08, 2008

From Friends of World Heritage

Grand Canyon : dawn panorama from Desert View
Photograph by Ian Parker

Places like Grand Canyon National Park and the Statue of Liberty in New York symbolize the best of U.S. natural beauty and history. But did you know these destinations are also UNESCO World Heritage sites?

Currently the United States has 20 World Heritage sites, and that list may grow. For the first time in over 25 years, the U.S. government is reviewing American places that may merit the international recognition that comes from being identified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Is the next U.S. World Heritage site near you?

Last fall, the U.S. National Park Service received dozens of nominations from both publicly and privately owned sites throughout the United States that were interested in being a part of the United States’ “Tentative List” of World Heritage sites. Of these nominations, 14 have been selected by the Secretary of Interior as potential candidates for the next U.S. World Heritage site.

To learn more about these places and how the tentative list works, visit our website to view an interactive map of these sites.

Stay tuned as the United States and other countries select their potential sites, we’ll bring you more about places and peoples contending for what is sometimes considered the Nobel Prize for world’s most important natural and cultural sites.

The Friends of World Heritage Team

The New Edition of the UNESCO Courier is Out

More than half of the 7000 languages spoken in the world are in danger of disappearing. Yet, they are an essential part of people's identity. The United Nations has proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Languages. To find out more, read the February issue of the UNESCO Courier.

This year the UNESCO Courier is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It is now interactive! Send your comments and the Courier will publish them.

James Michael Kulikowski, Deputy Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Cooperation

Jim Kulikowski receives plaque fromMatthew Cooper
at meeting of the UK National Commission

Appointed Deputy Assistant Director General for External Relations and Cooperation in August 2005, Jim Kulikowski leads the UNESCO Division responsible for relations with Member States and for National Commissions as well.

Prior to joining UNESCO, he worked for the U.S. Government for some 21 years. Of those, the first 16 were with the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, much of it dealing with the State Department and international organizations. Then, after joining the Senior Executive Service in 2000 as a senior career civil servant, he spent five years in Office of Management and Budget, again dealing with international affairs, and 6 months with the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2002, he was detailed to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Geneva for four months during its startup phase, and then worked as part of the U.S. Delegation to the Global Fund in 2004 and 2005.

He also tried a couple of short stints as a lawyer in the private sector.

He has three degrees -- undergraduate, law and public health -- from Harvard University, and a diploma from the Phillips Exeter Academy.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Americans for UNESCO News

1. Dr. Stephen Knapp, the new president of George Washington University has join the Americans for UNESCO Advisory Council. Also joining the Advisory Council are Dr. Martin C. Jischke, President Emeritus of Purdue University, and Dr. Sally Mason, President of the University of Iowa.
2. The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO announced that its 2008 Annual Meeting would take place on May 19-20 at Georgetown University. Andre Varchaver, the President of Americans for UNESCO is on the Planning Committee for the meeting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Human Rights: comments and interpretations; a symposium edited by UNESCO

Last week this blog recognized the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the preparation for the Declaration, UNESCO conducted a worldwide study of the recognized human rights in different societies. The results of that study were published in a book, Human Rights: comments and interpretations; a symposium edited by UNESCO, with a forward by Jacques Maritain, and contributions by Mahatma Gandhi, Harold Laski, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Chung-Shu Lo, Aldous Huxley, Ralph Gerard and other distinguished thinkers. The book has long been out of print.

You may also be interested in

Teaching About the United Nations and

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This is a report from a 1951 regional meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO.