Sunday, February 28, 2010

International Adult Learners’ Week

International Adult Learners’ Week (IALW) 2010 in Canada will be held from March 1st through March 7th.

Background and History

Around the world, adult learning and literacy festivals and events share a common purpose – they are advocacy tools for raising the profile of adult learners and lifelong learning; they mobilize individuals to take advantage of the multitude of learning opportunities open to them; and they serve as a reminder that adult learning can be a powerful instrument for change.

Delegates to the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V), held in Hamburg in July 1997, committed themselves to promoting the development of a United Nations Adult Learners’ Week. International Adult Learners’ Week (IALW) was officially launched by UNESCO on September 8, 2000. The pioneers of Adult Learners’ Week understood that the most effective way to underscore the importance of lifelong learning was to give adult learners themselves the chance to express their views, describe their challenges, and document their success stories.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Transforming Culture from Consumerism to Sustainability

On January 21, leading cultural pioneers, environmentalists, and policymakers convened at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. to discuss one question: How do we make it as “natural” to live sustainably as living as a consumer feels today? Authors of State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures—From Consumerism to Sustainability engaged an audience of more than 150 people on how we can harness the world’s leading institutions—education, the media, business, governments, traditions, and social movements—to reorient cultures toward sustainability. Watch the opening presentation by Project Director Erik Assadourian.

Editorial Comment: UNESCO has focused on producing cultures of peace and on education for sustainable development. It is perhaps time for it to utilize all aspects of its program to produce cultural changes, moving not only toward a culture of sustainability and peace, but a culture of lifelong learning, tolerance of minorities, and respect for human rights. As Erik Assadourian suggests in the video presentation, key tools in changing culture are education, business, government, communications media and social movements. UNESCO not only has the power to draw on cultural leaders around the world, but it is the lead agency in the U.N. system in education and communications, and has strong linkages with governments, business and civil society.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nicholas Burnett on UNESCO's Education Program

Nicholas Burnett spent most of the last five years at UNESCO, first in charge of the production of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report and then as Assistant Director General in charge of UNESCO's Education Program. Before the snows hit Washington, he graced the GWU graduate seminar on UNESCO with a two hour class providing an overview of UNESCO's education program.

He began explaining that there are many reasons that the international community seeks to improve educational services -- they are a human right, they contribute to social and economic growth and to social stability, the enable students and graduates to participate more fully in their cultures, they meet a public demand for services, etc. He noted that in the past, international education efforts had tended to emphasize one or another of these objective, suggesting that a multi-objective approach might be more appropriate.

He briefly summarized the global state of education, summarizing the information in the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 1010, which emphasizes that socially marginalized populations are falling behind in education. He also stressed that illiteracy is underreported and that today perhaps one billion adults are unable to read. The EFA goals will probably not be met, and indeed progress on increasing primary enrollment has slowed in recent years, but a great deal of progress has been made, and there has been an explosive growth in secondary and tertiary enrollments.

Turning to the role of UNESCO, he emphasized that it is not a funding agency and indeed its education budget is very limited. As in all its programs, UNESCO is a laboratory of ideas, a standard setter, a clearinghouse, a capacity-builder in member states, and a catalyst for international action. It also is important as a convener, bringing the right people together in the right circumstances to promote cooperation and progress.

During his time running UNESCO;s education program, it was involved in key program areas, but was also responsible for organizing four large conferences which occupied a lot of staff time and resources.

Noting that during his time as DDG he was implementing a program designed by his predecessors and designing a program which is now being implemented by his successors, he described that new program -- more tightly focused, with more resources, and more oriented towards decentralized activities.

Dr. Burnett concluded his class explaining why education receives less donor support than do other sectors, providing some ideas on future directions for UNESCO, and sharing some realistic views as to the difficulties UNESCO staff confront in seeking to play a more expansive and effective role in international education.

The last hour of the class was devoted to a Q&A session in which the students sought to deepen their understanding of the materials presented. In addition to the students registered in the class, there were several visitors from Americans for UNESCO and the State Department.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The World Education Indicators Program

The World Education Indicators (WEI) program is a joint UNESCO Institute of Statistics-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (UIS-OECD) collaboration that develops policy-relevant education indicators with national coordinators from 16 diverse countries.

Participating countries are: Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Profile of Esther Coopersmith

The Washington Scene recently published a profile of Esther Coopersmith, the longtime chair of the Advisory Committee of Americans for UNESCO. She was honored as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialog last September. In conferring this honor, UNESCO's Director General paid
special tribute to Esther Coopersmith, whose energy and devotion to UNESCO’s ideals was a driving force in both the U.S. return and subsequent strong re-engagement. Over the past decade, she has been an outspoken advocate for UNESCO within the US, helping to make our work better known among the American public and forge new ties and friendships.
The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are celebrity advocates who use their talent and fame to spread the ideals of UNESCO by attracting the public’s attention to its activities. They include South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, French philanthropist Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, and Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

I understand she is also to serve as a member of UNESCO's High Level Panel on Dialog of Civilizations which has its first meeting on Thursday, February 18th. The High Level Panel is to provide "thoughtful guidance and creative initiative" for UNESCO in its celebration of the 2010 International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures.

UNESCO Calls for Universities to Take In Haitian Students

The Center of University and Professional Learning in
Port-au-Prince was destroyed by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Source: "Education Was Also Leveled by Quake in Haiti," MARC LACEY, The New York Times, February 13, 2010

"In the days after the earthquake, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Irina Bokova, called on universities outside Haiti to help shoulder the burden. “Universities in the region and beyond should make every effort to take in Haitian students,” she said in a statement, calling the damage to Haiti’s education system “a catastrophic setback for a country already hit by other disasters.”

"Among the universities that have offered to help displaced students and faculty members is Dillard University in New Orleans, which suffered significant damage during Hurricane Katrina."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

City of Literature names its first executive director

Jeanette Pilak has been named as the first executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. Pilak's most recent position was director of the University of California Santa Cruz Arts & Lecture program. Other experience includes serving as executive director of the Oregon Creative Services Alliance, director of programming and marketing at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Ore., and the first festival manager for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Factores asociados al logro cognitivo de los estudiantes de América Latina y el Caribe

A través de este reporte, La Oficina Regional de Educación de la UNESCO para América Latina y el Caribe (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) busca contribuir al diseño e implementación de políticas educativas que ofrezcan mayores oportunidades de aprendizaje a los estudiantes. Para ello, el Laboratorio Latinoamericano de Evaluación de la Calidad de la Educación (LLECE) ha desarrollado este reporte de factores asociados a los logros cognitivos de los estudiantes, obtenidos en las pruebas aplicadas en el Segundo Estudio Regional Comparativo y Explicativo (SERCE).

UNESCO seeks donations for Haiti schools

Only 85 of 1,500 schools surveyed in the Haitian areas hit by the earthquake survived without major damage, U.N. officials said Friday.

UNESCO appealed for international donations for school rebuilding and teacher training. The agency said Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel and the Norwegian Refugee Council have already made significant contributions to UNESCO programs in Haiti. Brazil has donated $400,000 specifically to train teachers in disaster awareness.

The United Nations has also provided temporary work space for the Ministry of Education. The ministry building was one of many in Port-au-Prince destroyed by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.

Rebuilding Education for the 21st Century

For children to reach their full potential, the gains in universal primary education need to be replicated at the next level; only 54% of children in developing countries attend secondary school.

How can education systems be rebuilt to deliver their full potential in the 21st century? Speakers:

H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Irina Bokova, John T. Chambers, Trevor Manuel, Harold McGraw III, Riz Khan

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Int'l Symposium on Heritage Recording & Information Management in the Digital Age (SMARTDoc Heritage)

The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation/School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the R. Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven) are organizing an International Symposium on Heritage Recording and Information Management in the Digital Age (SMARTDoc Heritage), March 26-27, 2010 in Philadelphia, USA.

Beginning in 2006 Robin Letelier brought his vision of an integrated graduate level course in heritage recording, documentation and information management to the Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. Today that course curriculum, now under the direction of Mario Santana, represents the synthesis of principles and practices considered fundamental knowledge for all heritage professionals. This symposium, initially planned by Robin at UPenn, is dedicated to that vision and his tireless effort to promote heritag e conservation through research, teaching, and public service.

More information about the symposium:

U.S. World Heritage Sites

There are twenty (20) World Heritage sites in the United States (including two bi-national sites jointly administered with Canada). The U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage has identified many more sites (cultural and natural) as likely to meet the criteria for future nomination to the World Heritage List. Since the fall of 2006, a new Tentative List is being prepared by the National Park Service and the George Wright Society.

In a joint effort between the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and the United States Committee, International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) a website has been developed to inform the public about the U.S. World Heritage sites.

A Couple of U.S. World Heritage University Programs

The Center for World Heritage Studies at the University of Minnesota
In 2005 the University of Minnesota College of Design created the Center for World Heritage Studies, in conjunction with a formal agreement signed with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris. The relationship is unique among American universities. At the same time, The School of Architecture established a M.S. degree program with a concentration in Heritage Conservation and Preservation—the first and only such program in the state of Minnesota. The Center works in cooperation with the programs of UNESCO, the School of Architecture, and in partnership with others in the academic community, as well as practitioners.
The University of Florida College of Design, Construction & Planning Center for World Heritage Research & Stewardship at the Paris Research Center
The WORLD HERITAGE IN PRACTICE program is enhanced by its setting in Paris among world-renowned museums and architectural monuments, reinforced by the presence of the foremost world cultural organizations headquartered in the city, including UNESCO, International Council on Monuments and Sites, and the World Monuments Fund.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A UNESCO International Leadership Program

The UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut invites applications for the sixth annual International Leadership Program: A Global Intergenerational Forum.
The Forum seeks to empower young leaders by involving them in finding solutions to emerging human rights problems, and nurturing individuals to be effective leaders in the field of human rights. To this end, the Forum will:
  • Introduce participants to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Build a network of solidarity among human rights leaders
  • Expand the knowledge relevant to human rights practice
  • Provide tools and a platform for open debates
  • Provide programmes, activities and processes necessary for human rights leadership
  • Promote the sharing of experiences and understanding
  • Showcase speakers on such topics as: health and human rights, education, the environment, the plight of child soldiers, the use of media, fundraising, conflict resolution and transformation; litigation and advocacy

The UNESCO Chair will provide all conference participants with dormitory housing, meals, ground transportation in Connecticut, resource materials and a certificate of participation.

Young people between the ages of 18-30, with community service experience, and with demonstrated ability to work on solutions to human rights problems, should apply.

Application deadline is February 26.

Read more!

Swiss Trains - RhB UNESCO Heritage Route

Swiss Trains - The RhB UNESCO Heritage Route - through Southeastern Switzerland is one of the most beautiful sections of track in the world.

Partnership for Education

“The Partnerships for Education programme provides the tools to strengthen understanding and coordination between stakeholders."

Monday, February 01, 2010

International Association of Universities Conference Papers Now Available

The papers presented at the IAU 2009 International Conference in Lebanon onThe Role of Higher Education in Fostering the Culture of Dialogue and Understanding (Notre-Dame University, Louaize, 4-6 November,2009), are now available online.

Apollo 11 moon site named California historical resource

"On Friday, California became the first state to register the items at Tranquility Base as an official State Historical Resource.

"The unanimous vote by the eight-member California State Historical Resources Commission is part of a five-state effort to have Tranquility Base become a national historic landmark and then a world heritage site.

"Texas is part of that effort, along with New Mexico, Alabama and Florida — the other states highly involved in the Apollo program.

"Some scientists want to have Tranquility Base designated a U.N. World Heritage Site in advance of what they believe will be unmanned trips to the moon by private groups, and even someday by tourists."