African leaders in the 1960's were concerned that the available historical record of Africa had been written by Europeans and reflected the views of the colonial powers rather than of the Africans themselves. As a result, UNESCO was asked to take on the job or coordinating the production of a major survey of African history written by African historians. Over a period of 25 years that history was published in eight volumes. In his interview Iye states:
Now at UNESCO, we are launching the second phase of the Journal History of Africa. We are launching a project to try to elaborate three contents to be included at the primary and secondary levels for all the African Union member States. So, we are working with African Union.Iye also discusses UNESCO's Slave Route Project, which was started in 1993. That project initially focused on the Atlantic slave route, but Iye (who is from Djibouti on the Horn of Africa) is seeking to move now to include the trade of slaves from Africa into the Islamic lands.