Saturday, January 30, 2010

Secretary Clinton During Her Visit to Paris

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, yesterday in Paris acknowledged the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, David Killion. She thanked Ambassador Killion for helping the Untied States to reenter UNESCO, and for setting the right tone, and for his work on many of the important issues that matter to our country.

She said:
I also want to acknowledge Ambassador Killion’s work with the new UNESCO Director-General Bokova, whom I met with last week. I was proud to offer our support for the organization’s comprehensive agenda, not only encouraging freedom of expression and promoting advances in science and engineering, but concentrating on women and girls around the world, particularly their education, something which is key to America’s efforts to stabilize countries, to resolve conflicts, to raise the aspirations and incomes of societies. And I look forward to working with David.

"UNESCO calls for ban in trade in Haitian artifacts"

Source: ANGELA CHARLTON, The Associated Press via The Washington Post, Friday, January 29, 2010.

"The United Nations' culture and education agency called Friday for a ban in the trade of Haitian artifacts to prevent the pillaging of cultural treasures in the aftermath of its devastating earthquake.

"The director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the agency is launching a campaign to protect art collections in the Caribbean country's damaged museums and historical sites 'so that we don't find these objects in Christie's tomorrow.'"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures

The year 2010 will be celebrated as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. The goal of the International Year is to make the rapprochement of cultures the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels.

Entrusted with the mandate to contribute to build "the defences of peace in the minds of men" by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture and communication, UNESCO has been designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year within the United Nations system. In fact, over the years and indeed in the past decade, the Organization has gained special experience and has won recognition through its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchanges between cultures.

The objective of this International Year is to help dissipate any confusion stemming from ignorance, prejudice and exclusion that create tension, insecurity, violence and conflict. The task will be, in campaigning for dialogue and mutual knowledge, to foster respect for each other’s culture and break down the barriers between different cultures. Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building peace.

Four main strategic lines of action for the Year have been devised They involve promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity; building a framework for commonly shared values; strengthening quality education and intercultural competences, and fostering dialogue for sustainable development.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thinkers on Education

In 1993 and 1994, PROSPECTS: Quarterly review of comparative education published a series of profiles of 100 famous educators (including philosophers, statesmen, politicians, journalists, psychologists, poets, men of religion) from around of the world (see below for the complete list). Those profiles can be downloaded from this website without charge, or one can purchase a paper copy of the profiles.

Included are such American giants as Bruno Bettelheim, Benjamin Bloom, John Dewey, Paul Goodman and B. F. Skinner.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thinkers on Education

UNESCO's International Bureau of Education has provided this great set of mini-bios of 100 great historical thinkers on education. Check it out!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

High Level Seminar on ICT in Education

13th UNESCO-APEID International Conference on Education
and World Bank-KERIS High Level Seminar on ICT in Education
ICT Transforming Education
15-17 November 2009
Hangzhou, People's Republic of China

Co-organized by

UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO
The World Bank
Korea Educational Research and Information Service (KERIS)
Hosted by Hangzhou Department of Education and Xiacheng People’s Government, Hangzhou

Presentations and papers presented at the 13th UNESCO-APEID International Conference are now available for download.

Save Our History

Save Our History is The History Channel's global campaign dedicated to historical preservation and history education. The History Channel has partnered with UNESCO's World Heritage Center to help preserve some of the world's most endangered sites. It focuses on a key set of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Ambassador Killion Meets With Americans for UNESCO

Ambassador Killion sits at the head of the table
Photo: Nicole Varchaver
Ambassador David Killion, together with Kelly Seikman (the Director of the UNESCO Affairs Office in the State Department) and Elizabeth Kanick (the Executive Director of the National Commission for UNESCO), met yesterday with members of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO. They expressed great satisfaction with the visit of UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova to the United States. Director General Bokova met with both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Education as well as with Congressional leaders during her visit, and all offered encouragement for her efforts to lead UNESCO and support for UNESCO's mission to promote peace, education, science and culture.
We were also informed that there will soon be recruitment of new staff members for both the UNESCO Affairs Office and the Delegation in Paris), and that efforts are under way to reconstitute the National Commission membership and plan for a meeting of the National Commission this year.
UNESCO is currently recruiting senior staff to fill out Director General Bokova's team, including a new Deputy Director General and seven Assistant Director Generals. The conversations this week were of course often concerned with Haiti, but also with efforts to improve education and especially girls education. 2010 is the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures, and of course UNESCO will play a key role in its observation.
Elizabeth Kanick to Killion's left and Kelly Seikman to his righ
Photo: Nicole Varchaver

Video: Secretary Clinton Meets Director General Bokova

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m just so delighted to have this meeting and to have a chance to talk with the new director general about the upcoming agenda for UNESCO. We are so pleased to have her here in the United States and at the State Department, and I look forward to a very substantive discussion today and a lot of work ahead.

DIRECTOR GENERAL BOKOVA: Thank you. Thank you very much. I am very pleased to have my first official visit in the United States. I hope this is a new, fresh start of our cooperation. I’m very excited. We have an agenda. It’s education, it’s science, it’s climate change, it’s education of girls, of women, literacy. I am very much looking forward to talking to you about all these issues.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much.

DIRECTOR GENERAL BOKOVA: Thank you. Thank you very much.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Reception for Irina Bokova

I was fortunate enough yesterday to attend a reception to honor UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova hosted by the United Nations Foundation. The reception was held in the Rayburn Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Russ Carnahan, who had met with Bokova earlier in the day, welcomed the many guests to the reception. Ambassador David Killion, the U.S. Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, introduced Director General Bokova, who made a few gracious remarks, underlying the importance of UNESCO and her intention of making it a still more effective and important organization. I remain awed by her command of languages. I can testify personally that she speaks flawless English and French, and have been told by a friend who is a native speaker of Russian that her Russian is perfect. A Bulgarian, I hear she also speaks Spanish, bring her to a total of five languages.

Director General Bokova was in the United States for the launch of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report at the United Nations. She shared the podium at that event with United Nations Director General Ban Ki-Moon. She met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday before the reception, an indication of the importance that the Obama administration gives to UNESCO's educational, scientific and cultural programs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interview with Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

The Interview was held on January 20th at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reaching the Marginalized: Is a Quality Education Possible for All?

I attended a meeting at the Brookings Institution that marked the release of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. The interest in the report was so great that the large auditorium was full and registration for the meeting had to be closed. The meeting benefited not only from a presentation by one of the authors of the report, but by comments from experts from the World Bank, the Government of Kenya, UNICEF and Brookings itself.

The presentation of data through 2007 made it clear that the goals set for 2015 will not be met unless there is a major improvement in the commitment of countries and donors to the effort, and perhaps some new mechanisms found such as effective public-private partnerships. It seems clear that the current economic crisis will reverse some of the successes to date. I personally emerged from the meeting convinced that the goals of universal primary education, significantly improved adult literacy rates and gender equality in educational opportunities will NOT be met, even though they seem modest enough.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Education Hard Hit By HaIti Quake

On Thursday, Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova called on the international community to show solidarity with Haiti and said the Paris-based organisation was "preparing an action plan for rapid intervention to reactivate education provision".

"The destruction of the university in Port-au-Prince and of numerous secondary and primary schools in Tuesday's earthquake, and the human loss of teachers and students, is a catastrophic set-back for a country already hit by other disasters," Bokova said in a statement.

Unesco is mobilising support for temporary educationa facilities and for reconstruction. "I also urge academia to show solidarity. Universities in the region and beyond should make every effort to take in Haitian students," Bokova added.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UNESCO is seeking a new Deputy Director General

UNESCO is advertising the post of Deputy Director General. The deadline for applications for the post is March 14th, 2010. If strong candidates apply from the United States, there is every reason to believe that an American might be selected for the position.

The position description states:
Within the framework of UNESCO’s mandate and its strategic objectives, the Deputy Director-General provides strategic direction and oversight to the Director-General on the general management of the Organization, its response to Member States’ priorities and Executive Board and General Conference decisions.

The incumbent supports the Director-General in ensuring coherence of activities and programmes, at Headquarters and in the Field, that cross functional sectors.

The incumbent will specifically:
- Provide strategic direction and advice to the Director-General on programmes and operations.
- Undertake initiatives of high priority at the request of the Director-General.
- Assist the Director-General to heighten public awareness of UNESCO’s priority activities.
- Represent the Director-General and chair various meetings and task forces.
- Act on behalf of the Director-General during her absence and when required.
- Carry out and hold additional responsibilities as delegated by the Director-General.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Irina Bokova and Rod Beckstromm Head of ICANN Sign Accord

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, talks to Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of ICANN. The video was made in Paris on 10 December 2009, when their two organizations signed an accord to cooperate to protect endangered languages on the Internet

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reaching the Marginalized: Is a Quality Education Possible for All?

On January 20, the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution will host the launch of UNESCO’s 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) with Kevin Watkins, director of the GMR. The report introduces a new, innovative tool to identify the "education-poor" who are excluded from accessing a quality education. A panel discussion will follow featuring Elizabeth King of the World Bank; Barbara Reynolds of UNICEF; and Brookings Fellow Rebecca Winthrop. Brookings Senior Fellow Jacques van der Gaag will moderate the discussion.

WhenWednesday, January 20, 2010
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Falk Auditorium
The Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

State Department Information on UNESCO Job Openings

The following UNESCO job openings have been spotlighted by the U.S. Department of State:

DIRECTOR, Division of Water Sciences; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (SC-250);Paris, France
(AdvDeg: Hydro/WaterRsrces/Engin; 10+ yrs int’l exp; Fr); D-2; $191K Closing date: 01/23/10

(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

DIRECTOR, Bureau of Human Resources Management; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (HRM-237); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: HR/Bus-PblcAdm/Mgmt; 15+ yrs nat’l-int’l exp; Fr); D-2; $191K Closing date: 02/08/10

ASSISTANT FUNCTIONAL SPECIALIST, HR Applications; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (ADM-114); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: CompSci/IT; 2+ yrs (1+ yrs int’l & 2+ yrs sys appl) exp; Fr); P-1/P-2; $71/86KClosing date: 01/04/10

(AdvDeg: Commun/MediaStdys/Journ; 5+ yrs (2+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-3; $78K Closing date: 01/04/10

PROGRAM SPECIALIST, (Education); UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (AF/RP/ZIM/ED/0008); Harare, Zimbabwe
(AdvDeg: Edu; 7+ yrs (5+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-4; $97K Closing date: 01/25/10

(AdvDeg: Tech/Voc/Edu; 7+ yrs (5+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-4; $112K Closing date: 01/25/10

PROGRAM SPECIALIST, ICT in Education; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (ED-283);Paris, France
(AdvDeg: Edu/Info/Commun; 7+ yrs (3+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-4; $123K Closing date: 02/03/10

FRENCH SPEECHWRITER, Speechwriting Section; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (ODG-051); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: Edu; 7+ yrs (3+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-4; $123K Closing date: 02/09/10

(AdvDeg: Biol/Chem/Phys; 10+ yrs (5+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-5; $116K Closing date: 02/22/10

ASSISTANT PROGRAM SPECIALIST; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (CLT-006);Paris, France
(AdvDeg: Int’lRel/PblcAdm; 2+ yrs (2+ yrs int’l) exp; Fr); P-1/P-2; $70/86K Closing date: 02/22/10

Editorial: American Intangible Cultural Heritage

The 2003 Convention defines ICH as the practices, representations,

expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural


The definition also indicates that the ICH

to be safeguarded by this Convention:

  • is transmitted from generation to generation;
  • is constantly recreated by communities and groups, in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history;
  • provides communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity;
  • promotes respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • is compatible with international human rights instruments;
  • complies with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, and of sustainable development.
UNESCO is compiling a list of representative elements of cultural heritage. There are currently 90 such elements
in the list, but none from the United States. The purpose of this editorial is to recommend American submissions for the list.

The Easy Nominations

There are some obvious choices that are much like those submitted
by other nations:
  • Music: Jazz, Bluegrass, The American Popular Song
  • Events: The Rodeo, the Native American Pow Wow
  • Art: Abstract Expressionism
Culture is not merely the arts.

I suggest that some of the most important aspects of American intangible culture would not be included in these categories. For example:
  • The National Republic: The United States was the first nation to be established as a republic. Prior to the creation of the United States, it had been assumed that the republican form of government would only be feasible for a small body, such as the ancient Greek city state. In the two centuries since its creation, the American national republic has been emulated in many nations, but we still are in a process of recreating it to meet new challenges and opportunities.
  • Civil Society: American society has been recognized at least since de Tocqueville as exceptional in its use of non-governmental organizations to do what in other societies is left to government or the commercial sector. Yet we are in a constant process of reinventing civil society.
  • The American System of Manufacture: The idea of interchangeable parts in mass production was first put into operation in the United States, and since has swept the world. Yet our processes of mass production are always being recreated.
The Internet

Let me also suggest that the United States nominate the Internet for the list. We are familiar with the trillion pages of Internet content and the many applications that utilize the Internet. The Internet, however, is fundamentally an abstract concept. The first version of the Internet Protocol that allowed computer networks to communicate among themselves was developed in the United States, and the Internet was first introduced in networking computers in this country. Yet the idea of the Internet is being continuously, if rapidly recreated.

Why Recommend These Elements to the List

Culture includes not only the quaint and picturesque, but also the most practical aspects which contribute to human wellbeing. UNESCO, as the United Nations agency responsible for culture, should focus not only on the protection of the ideosyncratic elements of local culture, but on recognition and promotion of the aspects of culture that contribute to human wellbeing.

UNESCO already recognizes the Internet, but it focuses on the Internet as a technology to be disseminated. Focusing on the Internet as a cultural element, created in the United States, that must be recreated to meet the requirements and opportunities in different cultures would be an alternative, and I believe an even more fruitful role for UNESCO.

Americans are proud of our civil and political cultures as well as our historical role in finding ways increasing the production of goods that meet the needs of people. Our government could help gain more international recognition for those achievements. Moreover, by focusing UNESCO attention on cultural elements that improve governance, social intercourse, and economic productivity the government might help UNESCO become more relevant and useful as a development agency.

John Daly
(The opinions expressed above are those of the author, and don't necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

GWU UNESCO Seminar Starts Thursday

A graduate seminar on UNESCO is to be offered for the fourth time, beginning Thursday, January 14th. A complete description of the seminar as it was offered last year is to be found here.

MUSEUM International N°243 - Celebrating Excellence: a joint issue with ICCROM

Editorial, Mounir Bouchenaki and Françoise Rivière

Foreword, Mounir Bouchenaki

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

The first-ever Global Report on Adult Learning and Education is based on 154 National Reports submitted by UNESCO Member States on the state of adult learning and education, five Regional Synthesis Reports and secondary literature.

Its purpose is to provide an overview of trends in adult learning and education as well as to identify key challenges. It is intended to be used as a reference document and an advocacy tool, as well as an input to CONFINTEA:

Check it out!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

UNESCO's work in promoting sustainable development in Africa

Naoline Raondry-Rakotoarisoa talks about UNESCO's work in promoting sustainable development in Africa. The presentation was made as part of the discussion at the Nairobi Manifesto Roundtable.

Cultural Property: its Illicit Trafficking and Restitution

This is one of UNESCO's flagship programs! UNESCO has been actively involved in the return and restitution of cultural property for many years. It has led in the elaboration of a set of multilateral treaties:

Online discussion on Gender equality, Education and Training

10 January to 7 February 2010

As part of the debates and events commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is organizing a series of online discussions dedicated to specific critical areas of action related to gender equality. These discussions will contribute to the 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action at the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 1-12 March, 2010

The online discussions are designed to catalyze debate, to analyze progress and to provide an important interactive forum where perspectives, successful initiatives and information can be shared.

UNESCO will be hosting the online discussion focusing on the theme of Gender equality, Education and Training from 10 January to 7 February. During these four weeks, discussions will be organized around a framework of thematic questions in order to stimulate debate between participants.

An Interview with the Director General

The Guardian Weekly has an interesting interview with Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO. Among other things she states:
I shall be defending, alongside Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, and other UN agencies, the concept of a global initiative on climate change in line with the multidisciplinary approach we have been developing for several years.

This concerns four main sectors in which Unesco is particularly strong: science and knowledge about the climate; a cluster that includes the work of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the International Hydrological Programme and our network of water-related institutes and university chairs; education on sustainable development, which means changing the way teachers are trained and the content of teaching, and initiating training in green economics; culture and heritage, both natural and cultural, a field that is specifically ours. (The biosphere reserves, under Unesco control, cover 300,000 hectares of woodland worldwide). And the social and ethical consequences of global warming on refugees and women.

Unesco is preparing a statement of ethical principles on climate change. This helps us to look beyond Copenhagen, because we must do a great deal more than cut CO2 emissions. We have to change education, our way of life, our economies.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

UNESCO Club Member Aid China with Model UN

Source: "UNESCO representative's trip to China proves interesting, encouraging," Nicholas C. Stern, The Frederick News Post, January 01, 2010.

Seth Roberts, a secondary social studies teacher specialist for Frederick County Public Schools, recently traveled to Zhuji, a city of about a million people in southeastern China. He went as a member of Frederick 's UNESCO Center for Peace to instruct a group of about 40 teachers and others at an international school on how to operate a model U.N. program.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures

The year 2010 will be celebrated as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (see Resolutions). The goal of the International Year is the rapprochement of cultures as the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels. UNESCO is designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year within the United Nations system.

Read more!