The opening of UNESCO's first General Conference at the Sorbonne, Paris (20 November to 10 December 1946).The International Scientific Committee for the UNESCO History Project is organizing a series of three international conferences in 2009-2010, with the common purpose of encouraging and stimulating historical research and reflections on UNESCO's programs, activities and orientations from 1945 to date. These three conferences are a follow up to the international symposium on UNESCO's history that took place in Paris on the occasion of the Organization's 60th anniversary in November 2005.
The Committee has selected the following three themes:
- "Towards the Transnational History of International Organizations: Methodology / Epistemology". This conference will pay special attention to UNESCO as a case-study, and take a broader view of methodological issues relating to the study of the history of international organizations. The conference was hosted by the Center for History and Economics at King's College, Cambridge University, United Kingdom, and took place on 6 and 7 April 2009.
- "UNESCO and the Cold War". UNESCO was an important arena for the Cold War, but it was also an actor with an agenda of its own. The purpose of the conference is to explore different historical perspectives concerning the extent of the Cold War's impact on UNESCO and vice versa. The conference is to be hosted by the Heidelberg Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg and to take place on 4 and 5 March 2010.
- "UNESCO and Issues of Colonization and Decolonization". Among UNESCO's founding Member States were both colonial powers and former colonies. This Conference invites students and scholars utilizing a range of methodological approaches and intellectual frameworks to reflect on UNESCO's historical role, relevant orientations and actions in regard to colonialism and the era of decolonization. The conference will be hosted by the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, and take place on 1 and 2 October 2009.
There are several historical studies specific to UNESCO's education program.
- "UNESCO 50 Years for Education," produced in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of UNESCO.
- "Towards and Open Learning World: 50 Years. UNESCO Institute of Education," 2002. The organization is now called the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL)
- History of the International Bureau of Education (brief, online history).