Thursday, December 31, 2009

Irina Bokova on Climate Change

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova gave an informative briefing on UNESCO's actions with regard to Climate Change during the Copenhagen meeting earlier this month.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Puerto Rico: miembro asociado de UNESCO?

El actual Secretario de Estado ha manifestado que no habrá de continuar las gestiones que llevaba a cabo el pasado Secretario de Estado, para lograr que Puerto Rico ingrese a la UNESCO, como Miembro Asociado. Dichas gestiones son apoyadas por muchas de las principales organizaciones y personalidades de la cultura de país. Lea mas!

The State Department Announces UNESCO Jobs

(AdvDeg: PolicyPlanning/Mgmt; extnsv sr lvl exp; Fr); ADG; $205K Closing date: 01/27/10

DEPUTY DIRECTOR, Office of the Director-General; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (ODG-015); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: SocSci/Law; 10+ yrs int’l exp; Fr); D-1; $177K Closing date: 02/08/10

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Best Wishes

For those readers who are Christians, may today's celebrations by happy, healthy and bright. For others, may you too have a happy, health and bright day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EFA Global Monitoring Report Due in January

The 2010 Education For All Global Monitoring Report on reaching the marginalized will be launched at UN headquarters in New York on 19 January, 2010. It will be followed on 20 January by a policy event to be held in Washington, DC. Read more!

Space Looking out for World Heritage

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The German Aerospace Center is collaborating with UNESCO to exhibit Large satellite images of World Heritage Sites. The exhibition 'What a Sight - Space Looking out for World Heritage' is currently being shown at the UN campus in Bonn. This exhibition was also held in Paris, Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Brussels.

Click here to see an online gallery of the 30 satellite images that are presented in the exhibition.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Premiere: Clint Eastwood’s Invictus

The French Premiere of Invictus is being hosted by UNESCO in Paris on 11 January 2010. The objective is to highlight the power of “sport for reconciliation”, and the importance of the fight against racism to the cause of peace and conflict resolution.

This major event is being organized by UNESCO, the United Nations’ lead agency for Physical Education and Sport (PES), in collaboration with Havas Sports & Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and is based on Nelson Mandela’s life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. The UNESCO Premiere will bring together political figures, UNESCO Champions for Sport and VIPs from the field of sport to celebrate and advocate for the power of “sport for reconciliation”.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

UNESCO Publications -- overview 2008 and 2009

The following resources provide easy to consult information on UNESCO publications issued in 2008 and planned for 2009:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

News About UNESCO Jobs

A number of senior positions in UNESCO are being recruited, reflecting the change in administration of the Organization. The following recruitments, originally to close in December, have been extended to January 27th.

Two other important positions are closing on February 8th:
This should be a good time for those seeking jobs in UNESCO, since a large portion of the Secretariat is at or near retirement age and, since there has been a small increase in UNESCO's budget, their positions should be refilled on retirement of the current occupant.

According to the State Department
UNESCO will not be soliciting applications for the Young Professionals Program for 2010. We do anticipate that the program will restart for 2011 and therefore a new application will be available during the fall of 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

National Commission to hold Telephone Meeting Tomorrow

The Annual Meeting Teleconference will take place on Thursday, December 17.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10am and last until approximately 1pm. There is a fifteen minute period of time set aside for members of the public to either make comments or ask questions. That portion of the call is scheduled to take place at approximately 12:25pm.

You may still be able to participate by contacting the National Commission secretariat in the Department of State.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

UNESCO TV on YouTube

There are a great many videos available on this website, all officially provided by UNESCO. They appear to be primarily focused on cultural heritage, and they seem to be a few minutes in length each.

The UNESCO Institute for Water Education also has its own TV Channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

France24 Interview with Irina Bokova in September

Christianity and Islam in the Context of Contemporary Culture

This publication presents the results of a joint international research project with the aim of providing a systematic cross-cultural analysis of fundamental problems and actual perspectives of interfaith dialogue between Christianity and Islam, as seen from the perspectives of Russia and Lebanon.

Number of pages: 288p
Published by UNESCO
Publication date: December 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Art in the defense of peace

This video shows the winner of "Ukraine’s Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent is mesmeric to watch.

UNESCO seeks to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men, and if you wonder how the arts can contribute to that process, this is the answer.

Climate change seeps into the fabric of world heritage

Edinburgh is a heritage gem,
but will climate change kill its sparkle?

"When world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change, one aspect they are unlikely to touch upon is how it affects world heritage sites. But just because it's not on the agenda, doesn't mean it's not an issue.

"Across the globe, almost 900 cultural and natural gems officially bear the UNESCO World Heritage title. In addition, there are innumerable other sites which have stood the test of time for long enough to be deemed historically valuable.

"As much as ancient architecture and archaeological remains are a source of national pride, they are also a wellspring of worry. Vulnerable to the elements at the best of times, old buildings are potentially at risk from the changing nature of the global climate."

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jordan Education Initiative wins UNESCO King Hamad Prize

The Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) has won the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education. The prize was awarded on the recommendation of an international arbitration committee. It was judged best of 39 projects presented by 29 countries.

The JEI was created as part of the Global Education Initiative at the World Economic Forum, and is a large scale public-private partnership to bring information technology to the public school system of Jordan. USAID has provided JEI with $7 million to help expand its program.

UNESCO & Google bring you World Heritage sites via Street View

Director General's Address to the Executive Board

Irina Bokova, the new Director General of UNESCO addressed the Executive Board last week, her first opportunity to do so since her investiture. She previously served as the representative of Bulgaria to the Executive Board and so has inside knowledge of the functioning of the Board.

I quote from her address:
With our fields of competence in education, culture, natural science, social and human sciences, communication and information, combined with our two priorities – gender equality and Africa – we are in a unique position in the multilateral arena, in order:
  • first, to assist in harnessing globalization more in the service of humanity andsustainable development and in attaining internationally recognized developmentobjectives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals;
  • second, to make a difference internationally, and at the national level in particular, through effective high-quality activities in our fields of competence, in which we must play an international leadership role;
  • third, to refine our unique role in the multilateral system, as an Organization that promotes and facilitates dialogue among decision-makers, scientists, the academic world, intellectuals, members of civil society, journalists, spiritual leaders and many others; this must have a definite impact on the overriding goal of our Constitution, which is to construct the defences of peace in the minds of men and women;
  • fourth, to continue to contribute fully to the reform of the United Nations, in particular at the country level, in order to highlight our capability to meet the Member States’ priorities and demands.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Virtual Meeting of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO will host its Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 17, 2009, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Eastern Time by telephone conference.

The meeting will have a series of subject-specific reports and allow for brief question and answer periods. The Commission will accept brief oral comments or questions from the public or media during a portion of this approximately three-hour conference call. The public comment period will be limited to approximately 15 minutes in total, with two minutes allowed per speaker. Those who wish to present oral comments or listen to the conference call must make arrangements with the Executive Secretariat of the National Commission by December 14, 2009.

The National Commission may be contacted via e-mail at, or via phone at (202) 663-0026. Its Web site can be accessed at:

Once Seen As A Model, Iraq Struggles To Rebuild Its Education System

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

"Despite the brutality of its former regime, Iraq was once seen as a model of education in the Arab world. The country boasted some of the region’s highest literacy rates, justifying the Arabic saying, “The Egyptians write, the Lebanese publish, the Iraqis read.”

"Today, up to one-quarter of Iraq's adults are illiterate.......

"International Literacy Day on September 8, which is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific,and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is an opportunity to address these issues.

"This year, the UN agency is putting the spotlight on literacy’s importance for civic participation, citizenship, and social and human development.

"The message will be delivered in Iraq, where economic sanctions imposed in the 1990s and six years of occupation and violence have dramatically affected the education system."

Interview with Laura Bush

Recently, CNN Zain Vargee interviewed Laura Bush in Paris where she was attending a UNESCO meeting. I quote from the transcript:

Zain: You're here in Paris, for an important event, you're going to be talking about literacy worldwide. What is your one key message?

Laura: Well, the one key message is how important it is to read and how governments really need to focus their priorities on making sure everybody in their countries can read and that's what UNESCO does. UNESCO is the big U.N. agency that has education as part of its charge and this is the decade of literacy and the decade will be over in 2012 so we've got a lot of work to do to make sure people learn to read between now and then.

Zain: How do you make governments have literacy a priority? Because if you look at Africa, you look at Asia and so many other places around the world, governments have to struggle with so many other things there's corruptions and there's.... how do you do it?

Laura: Well, what UNESCO is trying to do is focus on the 34 most illiterate countries the countries with the highest rates of illiteracy. They have two programs, one is an assessment program, so they will help governments really assess how many people are illiterate who they are, where they are and what they can do to intervene in their lives... and then the other program out of UNESCO is called LEAP and it's an adult literacy program and its an adult literacy program and of course most of the people who are illiterate in the world... and they think... 700 million people who are illiterate I think it is, it's really a lot around the world that are illiterate... Watch the full interview with Laura Bush »

Zain: So it's really a way to put pressure on governments?

Laura: That's right and to help them in whatever way they can, because you're right, the countries with the highest illiteracy are also the poorest, they are the countries with the least capacity to be able to build education systems.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Google and UNESCO announce alliance to provide virtual visits of several World Heritage sites

Sites of outstanding universal value inscribed on the World Heritage List – the Palace of Versailles in France, the historic centre of Prague in the Czech Republic and the old town of Cáceres in Spain, for example – can now be explored online by internet users around the world, thanks to an alliance signed by UNESCO and the international corporation Google.

The agreement makes it possible for internet users to visit 19* of the 890 World Heritage properties via Google’s Street View interface. All the other sites on the List will be shown on the Google Earth and Google Maps interfaces.

*Spain: Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Old Town of Cáceres; Historic Walled Town of Cuenca; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Historic City of Toledo France: Palace and Park of Versailles; Paris, Banks of the Seine Italy: Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata; Historic Centre of Siena; Historic Centre of Urbino; Historic Centre of San Gimignano Netherlands: Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout Czech Republic: Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc; Historic Centre of Český Krumlov; Historic Centre of Prague United Kingdom: Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

International Conference on Adult Education

“Today, we are here to demonstrate the power of adult learning and education to ensure a viable future for all. Our goal over the next four days is to take forward the agenda of adult learning and education by securing stronger political recognition of its critical importance for development and agreeing on concrete recommendations to increase its scope and reach,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at the opening session of the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education in Belem, Brazil on 1 December.