Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism

The Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism will be held September 28 - October 2, 2008 in 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 travelers a chance to express themselves by becoming personally involved with a community’s heritage.

According to Forbes magazine this will be "the first UNESCO* Creative Cities conference of its kind in North America."

World Heritage Committee to meet in Quebec

World Heritage Committee to meet in Quebec to inscribe new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List when it meets for its 32nd session in Québec, Canada, from 2 to 10 July.

During this year’s session, hosted by Canada to coincide with the 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of Québec City, 41 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention will present properties for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Among them are five countries that have no sites inscribed on the List: Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu.

The UN News Center reports:
The committee that considers requests for inscription on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage List will have 47 nominated sites to choose from when it meets for its annual session next month in Canada, UNESCO announced today.

Donna Shalala to Receive Medal of Freedom

Donna Shalala, a member of the Advisory Council for Americans for UNESCO is to receive the Medal of Freedom.

Shalala was U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration and currently serves as President of the University of Miami.

Congratulations to President Shalala!

Change in State Department UNESCO Leadership

Susanna Connaughton, who has been the State Department official chiefly responsible for the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO since 2006, has announced she is leaving that position this week. Alexander Zemek will assume the acting role as Executive Director of the National Commission.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

UNESCO Catalyzes Networks

UNESCO's budget is tiny when compared to the global governmental expenditures on education, science, culture and communications. Indeed, its total budget is much less than that of my local county for education.

UNESCO exercises no sovereign control over its member states. Each member state continues to exercise full sovereign control over its own people, territory and actions. UNESCO can not tell any state what to do, nor does it have any power to enforce the decisions of its governing bodies on its member states.

How then does it manage to achieve so much worldwide?

Examination of three networks of sites that have been created under UNESCO sponsorship provides one answer. They are:
In each case, individual member states nominate sites within their own territory, providing detailed discussions of the proposed sites to be included in the network. In each case, the sponsoring nation retains full sovereignty over the site, but commits to maintaining the site and to participation in the network with its own resources or those which it can generate from other sources.

In each case, UNESCO manages a review process to assure that nominees qualify for inclusion in the network and reviews the status of members of the network to assure that they still qualify. In each case, there is a subset of member states elected by the overall group of member states which is delegated oversight of the network, and a small bureau or secretariat to manage the networking functions.

In each case the member states have decided that the benefits of participation in the network more than justify the costs of participation. Decades of experience indicates that each network really works to promote cooperation among the sites included and to showcase important sites within the member nations to world attention.

The United States has been critically important in the creation of each of these networks, and Americans have provided intellectual leadership over the lifetime of each of them. Indeed, participation in each of these networks has provided a vehicle for cultural diplomacy, enabling the United States to achieve cultural and environmental objectives of its foreign policy in collaboration with other states. Through the collaborating networks these goals have not only been achieved more economically than would otherwise be possible, but indeed the goals might not have been at all possible without the collaboration of other sovereign states.

Finally, the networks provide the community of nations with an assurance of globally coordinated efforts to accomplish programs of global importance that would be beyond the capabilities of any member state alone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nicolas Burnett on UNESCO's Educational Challenge

Nicholas Burnett, the Assistant Director General of UNESCO in charge of its Education programs made a very interesting and useful speech recently, titled What Sort of UNESCO for What Sort of Education? He recognized:

‘We are the first generation that knows tor sure that we do not know the future.‘ What we do know for sure now is that we have to deal with climate change, and that we are currently in the age of the knowledge economy and knowledge society. But we do not know what new problems we might face in a couple of decades or what technologies we might have available.
He then focused on the huge educational challenges faced by the world in granting the right to a lifetime of adequate learning opportunities for all. He recognized that UNESCO had great advantages in leading a global effort in the new century to fulfill this right, but that its success in its educational efforts in the past have been mixed. He then provides a broad charter for improvement of UNESCO, suggesting that there should be support for a more focused effort on the part of the organization to more fully achieve the leadership its charter requires.

The presentation shows how fortunate UNESCO has been to recruit Burnett first for the Education for All Report and now to lead its education program.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

UNESCO chief welcomes literacy work of US First Lady Laura Bush

UNESCO's Director Geneeral has welcomed the announcement by United States First Lady Laura Bush that she will host a second international literacy meeting in New York in her capacity as Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade.

Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement that Mrs. Bush’s “hard work and dedication have encouraged other First Ladies across the globe to speak out in support of literacy, and have propelled national governments and other key partners to step up their commitments in this area.”

The symposium on literacy in September which will draw together the conclusions of six regional UNESCO conferences in the last two years and identify next steps. The first White House Conference in Support of Global Literacy was convened by Mrs. Bush in 2006.

The Intangible Culture Messinger June Issue

Conceived for ICH professionals, national delegations, national commissions, colleagues within UNESCO and other UN agencies, NGOs, private partners and other actors from civil society, the Messenger is intended to provide updates on the status of the Convention’s ratification and implementation. The newsletter also reports on current fieldwork and research, best practices, action plans for Masterpieces, living human treasures, endangered languages, oral traditions, traditional music and dance and much more. Thanks to the regular columns – Calendar and Living Heritage News – readers can keep abreast of conferences, commemorations, publications, exhibitions and changes within ITH.

Go to the June issue (PDF)

Go to the archive of past editions.

Two Positions Available at UNESCO

Position 1:

EDUCAIDS country implementation at Headquarters - Assistant Program Specialist on HIV & AIDS and Education (P-2 ALD)

Position 2:

EDUCAIDS Program and Technical Development at Headquarters - Program Specialist on HIV & AIDS and Education (P-3 ALD)

Closing date for applications 19 June 2008

UNESCO candidate from Egypt says ready to visit Israel

The election for the next Director General of UNESCO will take place next year. The position of Director General is always important for an organization in the United Nations system, but the Director General of UNESCO was given especially great authority (at the behest of the United States) when the organization was created. The next Director General will, it is hoped, continue the reforms initiated by D.G. Matsuura, but will also provide a charismatic and informed leadership as the organization moves to confront new challenges in international education, science, culture and communications.

The change in administration in the United States in 2009 will mean that new U.S. leadership wil be asked to act quickly to seek to assure that the new Director General is acceptable to United States interests.

Since there is an informal consensus among member nations that the position should rotate from region to region it seems likely that the next Director General will be elected from an Islamic nation, and the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Faruq Hosni, has been seen as a strong candidate. Minister Faruq is walking a fine line to satisfy the more radical constituents in his own and other Arab nations but also to demonstrate he is sufficiently moderate to suit the rest of the world.

He recently stated in an interview with an Israeli reporter that he would be willing to visit Israel:

"If you invite me, if you send me an invitation, I will come," he told Israel's mass-circulation newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

But Hosni warned that such a visit should be "carefully prepared, up to the last detail," because of the outcry it would create in Egypt.

UNESCO Music Collections

UNESCO has promoted the publication of a number of CDs of music that is either part of world heritage or represents the diversity of cultural expressions. Some of the recordings are still available. Here are some links to as a source of available UNESCO CDs.

UNESCO Bookmarks

Social bookmarking allows one share links to resources with the public. I have posted several hundred links to resources related to UNESCO on this website. They are tagged so that, for example, clicking on the word "history" you will see listed only resources related to UNESCO's history. Use the resources with my good wishes. JAD

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

Celebrates its 5th Anniversary: July 12 & 13, 2008

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is the largest international folk art market in the world, and its success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art.

The Market hosts an annual festive, two-day event on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico adjoining its partner, the Museum of International Folk Art.

There will be three UNESCO Award of Excellence of Excellence Booths at the 2008 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market:

  • South Asian Region Countries (SARC), Representative: Manjari Nirula Vice President of Craft Council of India. Representing work from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal
  • AHPADA ASEAN Handicraft promotion and Development Association, Representative: Edric Ong. Representing work from the following countries: Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines
  • Central Asia Crafts Support Association (CASCA), Representative: Dinara Chochunbaeva. Representing work from the following countries: Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazahkstan

Thursday, June 12, 2008

UNESCO's General History of Africa

One of UNESCO's most important publishing projects was the General History of Africa. This is but one of several major regional history series produced by UNESCO. Each has been based on the work of a network of international scholars selected by UNESCO's secretatiat fo to provide both depth and balance in the coverage of an extensive history. Published in eight volumes, from 1981 through 1999, the General History of Africa is available in two editions, either complete in Arabic, English and French, or abridged. Ongoing follow-up activities are intended to extend the dissemination of the work to the greatest number of people in Africa and the rest of the world.

The books in the series (with links to the abridged versions in paperback on are:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Education to Protect Humanity"

David Hamburg has an editorial in Science magazine which states:
After millennia of mass exterminations, genocides such as those in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur continue to plague the world. Given today's ready access to lethal weapons and technology-assisted incitements to hatred, the plague is poised to spread. How can we reverse this potential for malignant growth?......

The pillar of education is vital in this context. Educating societies about hatred and violence is an old story in human history. But there is a better way. For example, decades of research on intergroup contact show how age-appropriate education can help people to live together harmoniously, even across previously adversarial barriers. Such intergroup contact is most effective when imbedded in shared, mutually rewarding activities that are supported by relevant authorities with a mutual aid ethic and seen as a source of benefits for all--so-called superordinate goals. Such goals may enhance intergroup relations within a school or community but also help substantially in preventing mass violence. There is no more vivid example than the recognition by the United States and the Soviet Union that avoiding nuclear war was a superordinate goal that could only be achieved by cooperation. Could global problems of food, water, health, and climate be made superordinate goals for unfriendly groups or states to tackle cooperatively?

Just as lifelong learning in mathematics, science, and technology is essential for the success of a modern economy, so too the teaching of pro-social behavior across the life-span can help to prevent immense destruction. This involves explicit information and hands-on experience with conflict resolution, violence prevention, mutual accommodation between groups, and conditions conducive to peaceful living. Evaluations of programs that emphasize pro-social behavior have identified methods that effectively teach children in these areas. Both science education and peace education require periodic updating and reinforcement on a long-term basis, and curriculum reforms cannot afford to neglect the latter as a vital component of modern education.
Of course, UNESCO was created to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men, and has stressed education to protect humanity over all of its six decades of leadership in education, science, culture and communications.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

American on UIS Board

Mark S. Schneider is currently serving as a member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS). Dr. Schneider is currently the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. He is on leave from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he is Distinguished Professor of political science.


The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) is to take place hosted by Brazil in 2009. It is to provide an important platform for policy dialog and advocacy on adult learning and non-formal education at global level. It will involve UNESCO Member States, United Nations agencies, multi-and bi-lateral cooperation agencies, organizations from civil society, the private sector and learners from all world regions. Member States are slowly submitting their national reports to the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, and are being made available on the conference website.

The New Issue of The UNESCO Courier is Online

The UNESCO Courier 2008 - number 5

Claude Lévi-Strauss: The View from Afar

This month's Courier, published in his 100th year, pays special tribute to Claude Levi-Strauss, the trail breaking social scientist whose views have influenced people all over the world. It offers a selection of articles written by him and published in the magazine since the early 1950s. It also includes unpublished documents, along with his photographs and sketches from the 1930s.

Listen to "Race and Culture" read by Claude Lévi-Strauss in French at UNESCO in 1971.

Watch the video coverage of his last public speech, made on the same podium in 2005.

Laurent LEVI-STRAUSS, Claude's son and UNESCO's Chief of Museums and Cultural Objects Section was recently in Washington, representing UNESCO at the annual meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.