Friday, December 31, 2010

The United Nations recognizes the role of culture for development

On 20 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on culture and development, which emphasizes the important contribution of culture for sustainable development and for the achievement of national and international development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For more information:

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The House of UNESCO is a place. But it is also an idea that lies at the heart of our quest for a better world. 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
On the sixty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in Paris, 14 December 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Introduction to the Economic Crisis and Education website

Introduction of the Economic Crisis and Education website by Mr Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. Click here to go to the website.

UNESCO's Priorities for the XXI Century

The Government wants comments on future U.S. World Heritage Nominations

The National Park Service is seeking public comment on possible future U.S. nominations to the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as on potential additions to the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List (the official list of potential nominations to the World Heritage List). 

Jefferson's Poplar Forest
on the U.S. Tentative List

The Federal Register Notice seeking public comment is available on-line here:

Comments are due by January 12, 2011.

This past July, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the first new U.S. site to the World Heritage List in 15 years - the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii."

For more information on World Heritage in the United States, see:

Undersea life at Papahanaumokuakea MNM

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nazareth to be proposed as World Heritage Site

Omar Massalah, Muslim secretary of the Mediterranean Peace Forum and author of the proposal that UNESCO declare Nazareth patrimony of humanity, explained that this “would be the best way to protect the city, to avoid transformation and modernization putting an end to Nazareth’s soul.”

Massalah said, “The preparation of the dossier for UNESCO of Nazareth’s candidature is a technical aspect being carried out in collaboration with the municipality of the city and the national Israeli commission concerned.”

He expressed his intention to speak with the Arab countries “to support the petition, as it is not an initiative with a political connotation, but a cultural issue.”…Read more....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Promoting Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education

This video is a part of the UNESCO Bangkok Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education: Including the Excluded.

Borobudur Temple Compounds: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Asma Jahangir, 2010 UNESCO/Bilbao Laureate

December 10 = Human Rights Day

The theme for Human Rights Day 2010 – 10 December – is "Human Rights' Defenders who act to end Discrimination". Human rights' defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed. At this occasion, the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights will be awarded to Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) in recognition of her exceptional and courageous contribution to building a universal culture of human rights. The Award Ceremony will take place in Bilbao (Spain). More on the UNESCO celebration.......

When Eleanor Roosevelt presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the UN General Assembly, she proclaimed: "We stand today at the threshold of a great event, both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind." On December 10, 1948, the world moved to recognize and protect the equal and inalienable rights of all people, inspiring individuals around the globe to claim the rights that are our common heritage.
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Saturday, December 04, 2010

American Candidates for the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List

Nicholas DeRenzo, noting that no aspects of American cultural heritage have yet been added to the UNESCO list of Representative Intangible Cultural Heritage elements, suggests the following candidates:

  • Baseball
  • Pacific Northwest totem poles
  • The Halloween tradition—trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving
  • Jazz and/or blues music
  • The Thanksgiving feast—turkey and all the fixings
  • Break dancing
  • Amish barn raising
  • Outlandish Christmas light displays
  • Cowboy poetry
  • Cajun cuisine
Comment: In the area of sport, Baseball does seem the obvious candidate. In music and dance there would seem to be many alternatives in addition to those Mr. DiRenzo has put forward, such as Dixieland, the American popular song, Rock and Roll, and Hip-Hop. So too there are numerous Native American traditions that could be proposed such as the Pow Wow or Navajo weaving. There are other cuisines that might be considered such as Tex-Mex, or specific dishes (Maryland crab cakes, New England clam chowder, Buffalo wings) not to mention the fast-food franchise hamburger, fries and milk shake. The community non-profit organization or the charitable foundation also are typically American.

John Daly
The comment represents my personal opinions and not that of Americans for UNESCO.

Marine World Heritage Sites

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recommended: Sites of Transformation

Sites of Transformation is a blog devoted to UNESCO's World Heritage program and the sites it has chosen to honor. Herdis Hølleland, the blogger has been posting materials on the blog for a year, and plans to add additional materials for two more years.

“Sites of transformations? Glocal perspectives on UNESCO’s mixed World Heritage Sites” is her PhD project, currently undertaken at the University of Oslo. The PhD project is part of a research project entitled “Cultural Transformations in the Age of Globalization (KULTRANS). In short KULTRANS is to conduct research that is transdisciplinary, transnational and transhistorical. The blog is to function as a means to disseminate and discuss the on-going research as well as to be an online field diary. It is also to discuss heritage tourism and World Heritage more generally.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The State Department has published a brief statement titled "U.S. Multilateral Engagement: Benefits to American Citizens". I quote the section relating to UNESCO:
The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) helps to protect our cultural and natural property and landmarks, strives to keep sports doping-free, and promotes educational exchanges around the world. UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention attracts international visitors to our national parks and monuments, and helps ensure that those sites are protected for future generations. The International Convention Against Doping in Sport helps keep performance enhancing drugs out of sports, and ensure that only participants can bid to host the Olympic Games. The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, which includes more than 8,500 educational institutions in 180 countries, provides U.S. schools with opportunities to engage with their peers all over the world, including through programs on international understanding, intercultural dialogue, human rights education, and sustainable development.
The State Department limited its statement to four pages, and thus its discussion of UNESCO to one paragraph. Let me add a second paragraph to that statement.

UNESCO seeks to promote peace by building the defenses of peace in the minds of men and thus protects American security, it does this through its worldwide education programs and by its support for a culture of peace. It plays a key role in improving education worldwide, providing American firms with educated foreign consumers and all our citizens with educated foreign partners in solving a host of global problems. UNESCO helps Americans to express their generosity helping the poorest people and the poorest nations in the world.  It helps Americans promote democracy abroad by standing as a firm defender of freedom of the press. Not only does UNESCO help "to protect our cultural and natural property and landmarks," it helps to assure that those things are protected everywhere so that we Americans can see them when we travel and so that we can rest assured that those foreign sites will be there for our children and their children to know and enjoy. UNESCO has certified  a global system of university chairs and networks which helps to enrich higher education worldwide, linking American universities with those in other continents. UNESCO helps American scientists to network with their colleagues worldwide, providing benefits from better prediction of tsunamis and earthquakes that might endanger our citizens, to developing a global network of bioreserves to help understand how to protect against environmental threats.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The U.S. Delegation Brings World Heritage Photo Exhibit to UNESCO

“World Heritage Sites around the World,” is a U.S. sponsored photographic exhibition by award-winning U.S. photographer Tom Till that was recently installed at UNESCO. The exhibit included breathtaking photographs of 32 World Heritage sites taken in 23 different countries, reflecting both the natural and manmade beauty and grandeur found in countries around the world and highlighted by the World Heritage program.

Among the photos were six American sites – including the Grand Canyon and five of the other most visited landmarks and natural wonders found in the U.S. Also on display during the exhibition was a short video about the United States’ most recent addition to the World Heritage list, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, inscribed at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brasilia, in July 2010. Read more....

You can purchase original prints of Mr. Till's photos online from his website.

Tom Till photograph
Alpenglow at Mather Point, 
Grand Canyon National Park

U.S. Secretary of Education Speaks at UNESCO; Highlights Education Reform Agenda

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan delivered a keynote speech at UNESCO headquarters on November 4th. Speaking to an audience of members of UNESCO’s permanent delegations, the UNESCO Secretariat, university leaders and representatives from NGOs devoted to education, Secretary Duncan outlined his vision of education reform and discussed the role of education in economic competitiveness and global prosperity.

In his speech, Secretary Duncan said he rejected the assumption that improving economic conditions in the United States is a zero sum game. Read more.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

World Philosophy Day 2010

Celebrated at UNESCO’s initiative every third Thursday of November since 2002, World Philosophy Day takes place this year on 18 November 2010.
The events organized by UNESCO, or by its partners, provide an opportunity to make philosophical reflection accessible to all (professors and students, scholars and the general public, the young and the less young), thereby enlarging the opportunities and spaces for the stimulation of critical thinking and debate.
This year the day contributes to to the celebration of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2010).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

UNESCO Related Twitter Feeds

As you probably know, Twitter is a new service which allows one to post short messages to the Internet. While the messages are limited to 140 characters, they can convey a surprising amount of information. Frequently a tweet consists of a topic statement and a link (usually utilizing a reduced Internet address) to a website or report. A number of Twitter feeds have come online dealing with UNESCO. These include:

Friday, November 05, 2010

NOVA Ancient Worlds

The great PBS series, NOVA, this season is broadcasting a series of programs on ancient worlds. The series may be of considerable interest to those interested in UNESCO's World Heritage program, and indeed the NOVA website for the series includes a link to the UNESCO World Heritage list. You can watch programs that have already been screened on television online and you can watch previews of coming programs online on the Ancient World website, which also includes supplementary materials.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A major World Heritage Report by a U.S. Foundation

The Global Heritage Fund, headquartered in Palo Alto California, has published a report titled Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites in the Developing World.
Vanishing surveys over 500 global heritage sites and highlights the accelerating threats facing these cultural treasures. Many have survived thousands of years, only to be lost in this generation—on our watch.

Vanishing was conceived by Global Heritage Fund, an international conservancy that has worked for nearly a decade to protect and preserve the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world.

With the critical review of 24 leading experts working in heritage conservation and international development, this report surveys hundreds of endangered global heritage sites and strives to identify those most in need of immediate intervention, and what the global community can do to save them.
Read articles based on the report:
  • "The World's Vanishing History" from the Wall Street Journal (More than 200 heritage sites are in a state of irreversible disrepair and will be lost unless communities, governments and international groups act to prevent their destruction, said the Global Heritage Fund, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on historical preservation.)
  • "Heritage sites at risk, study finds: Endangered areas could cost $100 billion in lost revenue" in the Victoria Times Colonist of British Columbia (Haiti's Palace of Sans Souci, known as the "Versailles of the Caribbean," and Mirador, a massive pre-Columbian city in Guatemala, are among the 20 sites listed in the report as on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction due to mismanagement, looting, neglect, conflict and unsustainable tourism.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Future of UNESCO is Being Planned Now!

Last year there was a comprehensive evaluation of UNESCO conducted by an independent committee of external evaluators. The purpose of the evaluation was "to provide actionable and timely recommendations to the Governing Bodies of the Organization and the Director-General in order to position the Organization for meeting future needs and challenges."

The Executive Board of UNESCO has decided to create a working group of 18 member states to follow up on the report of the Independent External Evaluation of UNESCO. The working group is to hold open ended meetings to allow all member states to participate in the follow up process. The first of those meetings is to be scheduled for December 19, 2010.

A general staff meeting is to be held in UNESCO on November 9, 2010 which according to Director General Bokova is "to pursue our reflection on the future of UNESCO."

This would seem an important time to provide information and suggestions to the governments of Member States and to UNESCO itself to help in the deliberations of the future of the Organization!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Evaluation of the Jordan Education Initiative Synthesis Report

Two members of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO, Frank Method and John Daly, were members of the team that evaluated the Jordan Education Initiative. The program is one of the world's most important efforts to promote the effective utilization of information and communications technology in K-12 education. Click here to read the summary report.

A Tribute to the Krityanand UNESCO Club

Since the first UNESCO Club was founded in Japan, in 1947, UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations have been very valuable partners for the Organization. According to the most recent count, there were some 3.700 associations, centres and UNESCO clubs in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

Of course, these groups varied greatly one from another in the number and vigor of the activities that they conduct. I recently came across information on a club in India, the Krityanand UNESCO Club in Jamshedpur. Jamshedpur is an industrial city with a population of over one million people in eastern India.

I came across the following description of the club's activities:
The Krityanand UNESCO Club was established in 1992. Since then the organization has been expanding continuously in terms of its social development service. It has worked for the promotion of sustainable, equitable and participatory development, social welfare and social justice through:
  • A Program for social work,
  • Human Resources Management
  • Health service and other human service
  • Through social research and dissemination of socially relevant knowledge
  • Social intervention through training and field action
  • Contribution to social and welfare policy and programs at state, National and International levels
Over the years, the organization has made a significant contribution to planning, action strategies and Human Resource Development in several areas, ranging from sustainable rural and urban development to education, health, agriculture, and Human Rights. In all cases the focus has been on the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of societies, such as women, children and tribal groups.

The Krityanand UNESCO Club has earned recognition as an institution (Organization) of repute from state Government of Jharkhand, India International agencies or organization such as the United Nations and its system, and various International NGOs. The organization contributing relevant education and Research work.

The club maintains a Facebook site. Here are links to descriptions of some of its projects and activities.
The Krityanand UNESCO Club would appear to be exceptionally active, deeply involved in programs to help people in its environment. As such it would seem to be a credit to the UNESCO network of clubs and other organizations.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Mary Futrell Elected President of Americans for UNESCO

    Mary Hatwood Futrell has been elected President of Americans for UNESCO. She has served for some years on the Board of Directors of AU. Dr. Futrell specializes in reform policy, professional development, and diversity issues in education.

    Andre Varchaver now joins Richard Arndt as Presidents Emeritus of the organization.

    Dr. Futrell has recently stepped down from the post of Dean of the School of Education and Human Resource Development of George Washington University. She is a recipient of the Jan Amos Comenius Medal, one of UNESCO’s most prestigious awards honouring outstanding achievements in the fields of education research and innovation.

    Dr. Futrell has been president of the National Education Association (NEA). In 2004, she completed her term as president of Education International (EI), a global federation of 30 million educators from 152 countries that works with governmental and non-governmental organizations in advocating education for all. She also is the former president of the World Confederation of Organization of the Teaching Profession.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    The Girls Up Campaign

    Girl Up, a new campaign of the United Nations Foundation, gives American girls the opportunity to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Through Girl Up’s support, girls have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted, and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.

    The UN Foundation works with a number of agencies of the United Nations system to support programs for adolescent girls as part of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force. UNESCO is an important part of the Task Force.

    The United States Reengages with Multilateral Development Institutions

    As President, I have made it clear that the United States will do our part. My national security strategy recognizes development not only as a moral imperative, but a strategic and economic imperative. Secretary of State Clinton is leading a review to strengthen and better coordinate our diplomacy and our development efforts. We’ve reengaged with multilateral development institutions. And we are rebuilding the United States Agency for International Development as the world’s premier development agency. In short, we’re making sure that the United States will be a global leader in international development in the 21st century.
    President Barack Obama
    Remarks by the President at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit
    September 22, 2010

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Leveraging innovation, investing in sustainability, tracking development outcomes, and enhancing mutual accountability

    I’d like to take a moment and talk a little bit more, specifically, about the Millennium Development Goals...........Now, as you know, the next week’s session begins with a high-level plenary meeting on the MDGs, the Millennium Development Goals, which will occur during the first three days of next week. This will be an important opportunity for the United States to elaborate the President’s development agenda as well as our approach to the Millennium Development Goals. We will focus on core principles of leveraging innovation, investing in sustainability, tracking development outcomes, and enhancing mutual accountability.
    Esther Brimmer
    Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
    "U.S. Goals and Priorities at the United Nations General Assembly"
    September 17, 2010
    (W)hile the world has made strides in meeting some of the MDGs, including significant reductions in rates of extreme poverty and improved access to primary education, that progress has been uneven. The remaining MDG challenges will require a determined, strategic, and analytically-grounded approach, guided by four imperatives:
    • Leverage innovation
    • Invest in sustainability
    • Track development outcomes, not just dollars; and
    • Enhance the principle and practice of mutual accountability, including transparent and effective management of development resources.
    Esther Brimmer
    "The U.S. at the U.N. and Beyond: A World of Transnational Challenges"
    Remarks delivered at the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies
    September 15, 2010

    Building the Defenses of Peace in the Minds of Men

    It has been said before, but it needs to be said again: “While UNESCO has several mandates, it has but one mission – that of constructing peace”. When discussing detailed questions relating to the programmes, activities and functioning of our Organization, it is right that we set aside a moment to reflect on UNESCO’s fundamental purposes so as to focus on the goal that must shape and inform our particular policies and projects.
    Irina Bokova
    On the occasion of the 185th Session of the Executive Board Thematic Debate "Intercultural Dialogue in the 2010s: Revisiting policies within the context of culture of peace"

    Happy Birthday UNESCO

    This week UNESCO celebrates the 65th anniversary of its founding!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    The New Issue of the UNESCO Courier is Out

    Rebirth for Haiti

    How can Haitian society be rebuilt? What is the role of culture, education, the economy, in its rebirth? These are the questions raised in this issue of the UNESCO Courier.

    It reflects the Forum held at UNESCO on 24 March 2010 that brought together experts and intellectuals from Haiti and elsewhere. Articles are signed by Raoul Peck, President of La Fémis film school in Paris; Wole Soyinka, Nigerian laureate of the Nobel prize for literature; Jacky Lumarque, rector of Quisqueya University and Alex Dupuy, American sociologist.

    World Sky Race event is launched in Times Square

    Promotion of the World Sky Race, an unprecedented race among skyships, blimps and zeppelins to begin in September 2011, was launched on two giant screens in Times Square, New York City on September 30 and October 1, 2010. Scheduled to begin next year in London, the race involves competing teams that will fly around the world in 180 days and return to London. The team with the best cumulative time will be named World Sky Champion.

    The UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a partner to the World Sky Race which will fly over more than 130 World Heritage sites, including Versailles Palace in France, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India and the Statute of Liberty in the USA. The initiative will help educate people of all ages about World Heritage sites and raise funds for their conservation through the World Sky Race and associated activities.

    What Does UNESCO Do?

    Every Day UNESCO

    • PROMOTES EDUCATIN FORALL, now impacting 1.5 billion children, youth and adults
    • Monitors World Heritage properties in 151 countries and intangible heritage in 130 countries
    • Fosters sustainable development through 564 biosphere reserves in 109 countries
    • Combats violations of press freedom and condemns harassment, imprisonment and killings of journalists
    • Monitors some 2500 endangered languages and tracks some four million translated works in over 1000 languages.
    • Leads 26 UN agencies in assessing freshwater resources leads 121 countries in developing Tsunami warning systems
    • Runs the only global database on bioethics, environmental ethics, and science and technology ethics.
    • Fights discrimination through sic regional coalitions of 4858 "Cities Against Racism."
    • Promotes conservation of documentary heritage with items from 84 countries on the Memory of the World Register.
    • Supports the efforts of 75 million teachers to provide quality education.

    Friday, October 01, 2010

    UNESCO and the Smithsonian sign a Memorandum of Understanding for cultural and natural heritage

    On 17 September, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Culture Francesco Bandarin signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with Francine C. Berkowitz, Director of International Relations of the Smithsonian Institution. This is an unprecedented agreement between the two institutions for cooperation on cultural and natural heritage programs.

    Together the Smithsonian and UNESCO will develop programs and work together on a wide range of projects, including a travelling exhibition and an international conference on the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 2012. Other initiatives will be directed to conserving natural World Heritage sites, developing outreach on World Heritage and indigenous issues, conducting research on the means of preserving the world's languages, activities for the dissemination of traditional music, and aiding in the recovery of Haiti's cultural heritage following January 12 earthquake.

    The Smithsonian Institution with its 19 museums and 137 million objects, artworks and specimens in its collections is not only "America's attic" but one of the great scientific and curatorial institutions in the world.
    Francesco Bandarin and Francine C. Berkowitz

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Rita Colwell Named Science Envoy

    Dr. Rita Colwell, a member of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO, has been named a U.S. Science Envoy. The Science Envoy program, announced by President Obama in Cairo in June 2009, is a centerpiece program to implement U.S. global engagement in science and technology. Dr. Colwell is one of six distinguished scientists to have been appointed to this prestigious as well as important position.

    Dr. Colwell is a Distinguished Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has focused her research on global infectious diseases, water and health, and is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Dr. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation from 1998-2004. She is recipient of the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded on September 9, 2010 by the King of Sweden.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    World Teacher's Day, 5 October

    Recovery begins with Teachers

    Live testimonies from teachers supporting recovery worldwide and a photo exhibition which shows teachers in demanding situations are among the high points of the World Teachers’ Day celebrations on 5 October in UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

    Membership in the ILO as a Precedent for Membership in UNESCO

    Frances Perkins was an interesting person. She was the first woman to hold a cabinet post in the Federal Government, serving for the entire period that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. After FDR died, Perkins wrote a book titled The Roosevelt I Knew which includes a discussion of the decision in the 1930s for the United States to join the International Labor Organization (ILO). I found that decision shed light on the likely intent of the United States in the creation of UNESCO, and especially the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

    The legislation which enabled the United States to create the U.S. National Commission cites the Constitution of UNESCO in defining the duties of the NatCom. That Constitution allows but does not require that national commissions both associate the nation's "principal bodies interested in educational, scientific and cultural matters with the work of" UNESCO and "act in an advisory capacity to their respective delegations to the General Conference and to their Governments in matters relating to" UNESCO. People associated with the NatCom in the period prior to the departure of the United States from UNESCO membership have told me that the NatCom was both energetic and influential in that time. This is confirmed by Howard E. Wilson in his book, The United States National Commission for UNESCO, published in 1948.

    Perkins worked with President Roosevelt to support the entry of the United States into the ILO. The ILO existed before the creation of the League of Nations, but was formally affiliated with the League after the League was created. Of course, the United States never joined the League. Perkins and Roosevelt agreed with State Department personnel and eventually the Congress that the ILO and the League of Nations were distinct entities, and that the United States might appropriately join the ILO. They did so in large part because the ILO had a separate governance structure in which member nations were represented by persons representing employers and workers as well as government; the participation of citizens outside of government of member states in the governance of the ILO made all the difference.

    John A. Daly
    The opinions expressed in this posting are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Va. colonial sites seek world heritage designation

    I quote from The Baltimore Sun:
    Colonial Williamsburg is seeking the designation of the Historic Triangle as a World Heritage Site.

    The historic area says it is partnering with Preservation Virginia and working with the National Park Service to seek the designation. The Historic Triangle is comprised of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown.

    Colonial Williamsburg says there are 20 sites in the U.S. on the World Heritage Committee list, but none that relate specifically to the establishment of English society in America.

    The move comes as Colonial Williamsburg and Preservation Virginia are partnering to enhance visitor experience through compelling stories of discovery, diversity and democracy. It also will work to give visitors a glimpse at archaeological discoveries found in the area.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    U.S. Financial Contributions to UNESCO

    U.S. funds to UNESCO
    are allocated by the Congress

    There is a formula used by the United Nations and other agencies of the UN system to determine the portion of the assessed contributions to be paid by each member nation. According to this computation, the United States contributes 22 percent to the regular budget of UNESCO; the approved regular budget for the two years 2010 and 2011 is $653 million. In addition to the assessed budgetary contributions, UNESCO received voluntary extrabudgetary contributions. These are an important part of the Organization's financial resources amounting to an estimated $463 million for the same two years.

    The U.S. contributes close to $3.7 million dollars in extra-budgetary funds to UNESCO each year in addition to its assessed dues. Those funds are devoted to specific projects:

    Read more about:

    Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education

    Moscow (Russia), 27-29 September 2010

    Early childhood is a critical period. Children are most vulnerable and most dependent then on relationships for survival, emotional security and cognitive development. Yet large proportions of the world’s children are denied access to the benefits of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which in turn limits the development potential of countries and regions.
    Wealth should not be defined as material gain alone. It should also take account of whether countries are able to nurture their human capital with values important in a globalized world: tolerance, a sense of justice and cooperation, respect for diversity and for the environment. The first World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education addresses the importance of starting early.

    Monday, September 06, 2010

    UNESCO launches new Knowledge and Innovations Network for Literacy (KINL)

    © UNESCO/Vidal

    UNESCO is launching a new Knowledge and Innovations Network for Literacy (KINL) that will enable researchers and practitioners all over the world to link up and share information and best practices. The network’s launch will be a highlight of International Literacy Day celebrations* on 8 September at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

    In addition, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova will be in New York to give a keynote address at the international conference “Literacy: an essential foundation for development” at the United Nations. The opening address will be given by former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, who is Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade (UNLD).

    Created with support from Verizon Foundation and Microsoft, the Network is a virtual workplace where literacy researchers and practitioners can link up, share knowledge and debate literacy topics on line. The network will generate knowledge and innovation in support of the acquisition and use of literacy, and promote advocacy, policy formulation and programme delivery, as well as cooperation and partnerships. It will be operational beginning 1 November 2010. Participating in the launch will be UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Cheick Modibo Diarra, who is Microsoft Corporation’s Chairman for Africa and Literacy Champion; and Marc Gosselin, representative of Verizon Foundation.

    “Promoting literacy requires action from both the public and private sectors; we are all stakeholders in the fight to eradicate illiteracy,” said Dr. Diarra about KINL. “Microsoft shares UNESCO’s belief that technology can play an important role in doing so by providing access to education solutions and curriculum for both basic and digital literacy and helping more people participate in the global information society.”

    Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston said, “If we are to create a seismic shift in the literacy landscape, education and literacy leaders from around the world must be able to communicate with one another and collaborate. The Knowledge and Innovations Network for Literacy will provide literacy leaders from every nation with easy access to the resources needed to ensure that every child is literate. The Verizon Foundation is proud to partner with UNESCO on this transformational project.”

    UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova argues for greater literacy effort

    Saturday, September 04, 2010

    The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

    23 August 2010

    The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

    The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade in the memory of all peoples. Bringing to light all aspects of slavery is essential to constructing an overall dispassionate vision of this tragedy.

    UNESCO's Slave Route project endeavors to promote such research that helps to explain, understand and reconstruct the threads of sometimes conflicting narratives and fill the silences of the past.
    On the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, we remember the battles our predecessors fought to overcome the scourge of slavery, and the persistence of a twisted logic that continues to deny people the right to live freely even today.
    Susan Rice
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

    Recommended: A Profile of UNESCO's Chief, Irina Bokova

    Irina Bokova was elected to the position of Director General of UNESCO in October 2009 by the General Conference of the Organization as the winner of a close contest among nine formal candidates for the position. She assumed the office in November, and has since led the organization as it faced major challenges such as responding to the Haitian earthquake and the Pakistani floods. She is the first woman to head UNESCO and the first citizen of a former Communist country.

    Toute l'Europe has provided this very useful profile of DG Bokova and her priorities as she leads the Organization.

    Friday, September 03, 2010

    How Florida's Lee County Libraries Celebrate UNESCO's World Literacy Day

    Source: "Library: Emphasis on literacy during special observance," JACKIE FLING, NEWS-PRESS.COM, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

    The Lee County Library System branches have traditionally set up displays and given literacy a special emphasis for the week that surrounds International Literacy Day. Some of these include:

    - The Ready Collection - Materials on the Ready have been selected to help adults gain reading and writing English skills. In addition, materials designed to improve basic mathematics skills and prepare for GED examinations are located here, as well as in the regular collection. Books to help literacy teachers and tutors as they work with basic literacy or English as a second language students are on the Ready Shelf. All materials are available with a Lee County library card.

    - Information and referrals to help adult learners locate local classes and other learning opportunities.

    - English Cafe - Practice your English speaking skills, with these free informal sessions for adult ESOL/ESL students. Topics include everyday situations, current events and cultural issues. Advance registration not necessary, although participants should have basic English skills. At the East County Regional Library English Cafe classes are at 10 a.m. Fridays. Participants may start at any time.

    - The Lee County Library System's website provides links to literacy organizations, literacy issues and information on local literacy providers. To access: Log on to, scroll down to Location and Services - double click and then double click on Literacy.

    Education at the Millennium Development Goals Summit, 20-22 September

    Preparations are well under way for the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)  to be held at United Nations in New York on 20-22 September 2010.

    The eight goals set worldwide objectives for a wide range of issues from maternal health to combating HIV and AIDS. Although Goal 2 specifically targets universal primary education, UNESCO argues that without education, none of the MDG targets can be reached.

    “A quality inclusive education for all is the key to achieving each and every one of the Millennium Development Goals, from reducing poverty to improving health, empowering women and ensuring environmental sustainability,” asserts Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General. Ms Bokova is expected to attend the MDG Summit along with some 100 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from the private sector, foundations and civil society organizations.

    World Teachers’ Day, October 5

    World Teachers’ Day, held annually on 5 October since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. It is an occasion to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. 

    Thursday, September 02, 2010

    UNESCO's History

    Should UNESCO play a greater role in promoting truthful histories to foster peace?

    In her book Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History Margaret MacMillan discusses the "History Wars" that go on over the history curricula in schools. She cites examples of the abuses of history such as false information purporting to be factual and selective use of history to bias student understanding, but she also cites examples such as:

    • joint development of textbooks for France and Germany to provide balanced views of the history of war and disputes between those countries,
    • a collaboration between an Israeli and a Palestinian to develop high school history texts to be used in both countries which would present both Israeli and Palestinian history side by side,
    • the revision of Japanese curricula in the 1970 to teach Japanese children about the death and devastation that had been wreaked on the Chinese by Japanese troops decades earlier,
    • the revision of the South African school curricula to deal honestly with apartheid as a result of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    UNESCO of course has for decades published major historical series, giving voice to historians in Africa, the Caribbean, Islamic countries and other regions of the developing world. In general, UNESCO does not seem to categorize its educational programs by the disciplines that are to be taught, but it does cite specific examples such as:
     Indeed, one of the very first UNESCO programs initiated immediately after World War II was a review of textbooks in use to assure that the historical and other distortions that had been introduced by Fascist governments before and during the war were corrected.

    UNESCO is uniquely placed to provide a forum for discussion and a laboratory of ideas on how history teaching can be made more accurate, and especially how such accuracy can be a tool for reconciliation of groups within countries and better understanding between countries.

    Check out the UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Research and Textbook Revision in a new edition, describing how nations can work together to research and revise their textbooks.

    International Literacy Day, 8 September

    On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.
    Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 759 million adults lack minimum literacy skills which means that one in five adults is still not literate; 72 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. 

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Public Interest in UNESCO

    Asian sites win UNESCO world heritage status - Jul 8 2008   
    2,500 languages threatened with extinction: UNESCO
    Times of India - Feb 19 2009   
    UNESCO launches World Digital Library
    Deutsche Welle - Apr 21 2009   
    UNESCO strips Dresden of World Heritage site title
    Vancouver Sun - Jun 25 2009   
    Bulgarian diplomat wins UNESCO race
    Philadelphia Inquirer - Sep 22 2009   
    UNESCO adds 7 sites to World Heritage List
    Ynetnews - Aug 1 2010  

    The graph is from Google Trends. The top graph indicates that the number of search requests on Google for the term UNESCO has gone down since 2004. Three of the recent peaks in interest correspond to specific news related to UNESCO's World Heritage program, one to the launch of the World Digital Library (an initiative led by the United States Library of Congress), one to a UNESCO report on the threatened disappearance of many endangered minority languages, and one to the election of the Director General of the Organization.

    The bottom graph indicates that the number of news articles recognized by Google about UNESCO has shown an increasing trend over the period from 2004.

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Donate to UNESCO to help it help Pakistan Recover from the Floods

    I quote extensively from the New York Times article today on the flood in Pakistan:
    The destruction could set Pakistan back many years, if not decades, further weaken its feeble civilian administration and add to the burdens on its military.......

    The flooding, which began with the arrival of the annual monsoons late last month, has by now affected about one-fifth of the country — nearly 62,000 square miles — or an area larger than England, according to the United Nations.

    At the worst points, the inundation extends for scores of miles beyond the banks of the overflowing Indus River and its tributaries, said Cmdr. Iqbal Zahid, a Pakistani Navy battalion commander in charge of rescue operations in Sindh Province.

    “You have to highlight that the infrastructure all the way from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to Sindh is ruined,” Commander Zahid said, referring to Pakistan’s northernmost and southernmost provinces. “It will take years to rebuild.”

    Nearly 20 million people have been significantly affected, about the population of New York State, the United Nations said. The number in urgent need is now about eight million and expected to rise. More than half of them are without shelter.
    UNESCO has a very limited budget, but with more money it could respond to:

    • help Pakistan's school system help Pakistan's kids deal with the trauma caused by the floods;
    • help Pakistan to plan to rebuild the schools it has lost;
    • help Pakistan protect its World Heritage sites and cultural heritage from the damage of the floods;
    • help Pakistan improve its hydrology and prepare to prevent such damaging floods in the future;
    • help Pakistan improve its disaster warning systems.
    UNESCO has established a website to allow you to make donations to assist it in these efforts.