Sunday, January 18, 2009

UNESCO: Agenda for the 21st Century

Yesterday I wrote an entry for my blog, Thoughts About K4D, about the complementary ways one can understand UNESCO, based on something I prepared for a seminar on UNESCO. Dmitry Epstein, the Think Macro blogger, posted a comment asking for updates on the course. I share my first response to that request.

The title of the seminar is "UNESCO: Agenda for the 21st Century" and I have posted the Syllabus online. I am coordinating the course with a colleague, Frank Method, and many members of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO are participating during the semester.

The seminar is intended to provide students with an understanding of UNESCO and the context in which it works as an intergovernmental organization focusing on education, science, culture and communications and information. Students lead about half the sessions, and are expected to do a project for the course. In the two previous semesters that the seminar was offered, projects have included:
  • The creation of a manual for students intending to start a UNESCO club in their university,
  • The design of a museum exhibit on natural World Heritage sites and their conservation,
  • A proposal for a multimedia self-learning course on the World Heritage sites in U.S. national parks, which has been accepted by the National Parks service, and
  • A paper on UNESCO's role in the students home country which was accepted as the basis of a paper for an international conference.
This is the third time the course has been offered at George Washington University. It is a graduate seminar in the International Education Program. However, the seminar is open to students in other parts of the university and for cross registration for students in other universities of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Indeed in previous semesters the class has been enriched by students of museum management and foreign affairs and by students from Georgetown university.

This semester there are ten students signed up. They are an impressive group. Most have lived abroad and have mastered more than one language, and almost all have some professional working experience. We have only had the orientation meeting so far, but I am looking forward to the semester.

John Daly

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