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 FĂ©mis 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