Monday, March 29, 2010

International Dance Day is Coming in April


April 29, International Dance Day


Next month it's Dance Day! Here's the announcement from UNESCO.

This day was created in 1982 by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Every year, a public figure is chosen to write a message that is disseminated worldwide.

The 2010 ceremony at UNESCO will include several dance sequences in the presence of the author of the international message, renowned Argentinian dancer Julio Bocca.

The Atlanta Dance Company writes on its website:
So is anyone doing anything international or crossing cultural boundaries they'd like to share? CORE's going to Guatemala in May and the ABUNDANCE festival in Sweden in June. Or is anyone working with folks here who are from other countries? Good Moves is teaching dance to some refugee girls from an international school in Decatur.

And how are you going to celebrate Dance Day in general? What should DanceATL do??

World Heritage Postcard Collectors on the Internet


Postcards make great souvenirs of World Heritage sites. They also are the focus of a field of post card collection. Now a number of collectors are using the Internet to show off their collections and to seek cards from new sites. Here are a few of them:
And for the coin collector, here is a new Belgian mint set of World Heritage coins.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Slovak representative visits with UNESCO Center for Peace

Photo by Travis Pratt
Michal Pavuk, head of the political section for the Embassy of Slovakia, center, speaks Thursday morning with Guy Djoken, executive director of UNESCO Center for Peace, at the Bernard Brown Community Center in Frederick.

Source: Frederick News Post

Michal Pavuk, head of the political section for the Embassy of Slovakia, nn Thursday visited the the UNESCO Center for Peace, a UNESCO club in Frederick Maryland.
Guy Djoken, executive director of the UNESCO center, said he invited Pavuk, along with several other foreign ambassadors, as a way to bring the world to Frederick and Frederick to the world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Editorial: Funding UNESCO's World Heritage Program

The Taj Mahal
Would you give a nickel a year to assure that the Parthenon and other remnants of ancient Athenian culture would be maintained and protected so that you, your children and their children could visit it in the future? How about the Pyramids of ancient Egypt or the ruins of the ancient city of Thebes? The Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Teotihuacan, the Inca tuins of Machu Piccu, or Petra -- "the rose red city at the end of time." How about Venice, the Renaissance riches of Florence, or the site of the Roman forum and Colosseum? These are among the 890 sites that the 186 countries signatory to UNESCO's World Heritage Convention have pledged to protect.

Machu Piccu

I would guess that there are 100 of these sites that I would contribute a cent or more each to protect if there were a simple way to do so, and perhaps another 100 that I would happily support if only I knew more about them.

I calculate that the annual contribution of the United States to the World Heritage Center is about 1/3rd of a cent per person! The World Heritage Center is starved of financial and personnel resources.

I know that I am more enthusiastic about these sites than many people, in part because I have been fortunate enough to visit those mentioned above and many more. Our Congress is the place where compromises are made as to how much we are willing to pay on the average for something we want the government to do. Is it reasonable that the Congress could agree on a U.S. contribution to the World Heritage center of 25 cents per person? If so, the U.S. would contribute $75 million per year. With such U.S. leadership, the rest of the world might well raise the total budget of UNESCO's World Heritage Center to well over $300 million per year. With that kind of support, the Center could really help countries to maintain world heritage sites and could help educate us all about the legacy of past civilizations. Indeed, with such support the World Heritage Center could have the global influence to strongly encourage countries to maintain their key world heritage sites.

Michaelangelo's David in Florence
John Daly
(The opinions expressed above are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for UNESCO.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visits photo exhibit "Haiti: Before and After"


Frédéric De La Mure, a photographer from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, produced a photo reportage on Haiti last September then returned there....

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amistad brings a link between the United States and Cuba

Source: Margarita Alarcon, The Huffington Post, March 19, 2010.

"Under the heading "A symbol of the slave trade joins US and Cuba," the news is out this morning: the schooner Amistad is on its way. The organizers have said that it will first dock in the province of Matanzas, a city known as the Athens of Cuba because of its Doric and Ionic columns and the site of the new UNESCO-affiliated slavery museum. On the morning of March 22, when the Amistad is set to arrive in the bay of Matanzas, it will be fulfilling a two century old return home; indeed, it was there, on those docks, that the original schooner was built and from where it first set sail."''

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From Tom McGrath for World Poetry Day (March 21st)

It is the charm which the potential has
That is the proper aura of the poem.
Though ceremony fail, though each of your grey hairs
Help string a harp in the landlord’s heaven,
And every battle, every augury,
Argue defeat, and if defeat itself
Bring all the darkness level with our eyes—
It is the poem provides the proper charm,
Spelling resistance and the living will
To bring to dance a stony field of fact
And set against terror exile or despair
The rituals of our humanity.

From "Against the False Magicians"
Thomas McGrath

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Online Auction to Benefit UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Famous watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is offering an iconic and unique timepiece for auction, the proceeds to benefit India’s Sundarbans UNESCO World Heritage site. The watch is one of the two vintage 1958 Geophysic Chronometers Model E168 tested by professional climber Stephane Schaffter and his team during their recent Geophysic Expedition to the Himalayas.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long-term partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Center and the International Herald Tribune to help defend and protect outstanding marine sites that require immediate intervention to be saved.

The auction begins on March 18th, 2010 at 12:00 CET.


International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


21 March

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

UNESCO Links
Cyberschool LInk

UNESCO's online discussion on "Funding Culture, Managing the Risk: limits and opportunities for development cooperation"

March 16 (Tuesday) - April 6 (Tuesday):

+ What: Online discussion hosted by UNESCO Culture Sector, specifically focusing on international issues in arts policy and cultural development. Join the conversation and share your insights with the world! The discussion will be dedicated to "Funding Culture, Managing Risk: Limits and Opportunites for Development Cooperation" and will be 3 weeks long.

You can also follow the debates on the discussions' Facebook (CultureDev@UNESCO) and Twitter (UNESCOCulturedev) pages.

+ Where: Participants must register in order to contribute to the discussion. Registration is open to all interested individuals. To register, please send an e-mail to the Moderator, Ms. Keiko Nowacka:k.nowack@unesco.org or visit:
https://communities.unesco.org/wws/info/culturedev
and click "subscribe".
More information on how to register can be found on the Symposium's' webpage:
http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/funding-and-risks

+ When: The discussion will be organized around the following three themes:

  • Week 1 (March 16-22) - Risk of Funding Culture: A Myth or a Reality?

  • Week 2 (March 23-29) - Dealing with Risk: What Works?

  • Week 3 (March 30-April 6) - How to Encourage Investments in the Culture Sector?

+ Why: Organized by UNESCO's Culture Sector, the discussion is part of a series of initiatives conceived to further the culture and development agenda in the area of international development policy and programming, and the catalyze and help develop the international community's policy, advocacy, and action in this critical area.

This online discussion will focus on a specific area of concern within culture and development and the perception of risks involved in cultural investments. Themes and questions will be provided to participants who will be invited to discuss: (1) reasons for (mis)perceptions of the risks involved in investing in culture; (2) means to demystify and challenge such (mis)percetions; and (3) strategies to increase the culture and development agenda's visibility in development circles.

All participants are encouraged to contribute their expertise, experience, and research on these questions. A two-day symposium on this same theme will be held at UNESCO Headquarters on April 16 and 17, during which key messages from the discussion will be shared with symposium participants to inform their debates. The ideas captured from the discussion will be reflected in a final report that UNESCO will publish on its website.

+ Contact Info: Once your registration is confirmed, you will be able to participate in this moderated discussion by sending an e-mail in English, French, or Spanish to: culturedev@sympa.communities.unesco.org Please note that all discussions will be moderated in English only.

If you should have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the Moderator, Ms. Keiko Nowacka (k.nowacka@unesco.org) directly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Game Maker Provides New Funding for UNESCO

Source: "Owlient uses virtual goods for the greater good," Roxanne Varza, TechCrunch, March 15, 2010

"French virtual games company, Owlient, has teamed up with UNESCO and Gut Aiderbichl to allow users to support real causes with virtual goods.

"The Paris-based games publisher currently has over 10 million members worldwide. The company’s two most popular games, Babydow and Equideow, enable users to take care of a virtual baby or horse respectively. Throughout the game, virtual goods can be purchased for personalization or care of the online character and virtual space.

"One of the company’s newest goods includes virtual UNESCO baby shirts of which it donates 30% of the sales to the organization. €850 has already been raised through this model, to go towards the protection of children who are in danger at school and to support their professional development."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Evaluation of Learning and Development at UNESCO


UNESCO’s Internal Oversight Service (IOS) contracted Cathexis Consulting to carry out an evaluation to assess the relevance of UNESCO’s learning and development policy in meeting the current and future needs of the Organization. The study was also to evaluate the effectiveness and key results of the policy's associated activities. The evaluation was intended to identify strengths as well as to determine where changes are needed and to recommend actions to be taken by the key stakeholders. The evaluation was expected to make recommendations with respect to the appropriateness of its policy as well as to the implementation process.
Learning and development has advanced tremendously in UNESCO since 2004 when the learning and development policy was developed. In the space of five years, UNESCO has thus moved from very minimal attention on learning and development to implementing a suite of training programmes made possible through a dedicated learning and development funding envelope each biennium.
The evaluation found that the learning and development policy is generally consistent with recognized good practice; however, its actual implementation needs further attention. The authors of the report noted that the budget for implementation of the learning and development policy was reduced from the 2006-7 biennium to the 2008-9 biennium, and further reduced for the current 2010-11 biennium. It recommended that the College of Associate Directors General review the policy and its implementation.

Authors: Martha McGuire (Team Leader), David MacCoy and Burt Perrin, January 2010. (PDF, 64 pages)

Comment: I was surprised that UNESCO had not had a formal policy for staff development and learning until 2004, and most surprised that an organization built around its expertise in education had not done better in implementing the policy. The reduction in resources devoted to learning and organizational development seems inappropriate. JAD

Monday, March 08, 2010

2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures launched at UNESCO

The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova launched the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures with the establishment of the High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures.* Meeting for the first time in Paris, the international panel comprised of prominent political, intellectual and religious personalities from all regions of the world was asked to reflect on and reinvent the construction of peace founded on justice, respect for human rights, gender equality and solidarity in the context of globalization, and the challenges its poses, such as climate change, management of resources and ethical and economic issues, to which we must respond by consistently using the strength and impact of dialogue.

Members of the High Level Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures present at the meeting:

  • Kjell Magne Bondevik (Norway), Former Prime Minister of Norway, Founder and President of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights;
  • Lydia Cacho (Mexico), journalist, World Press Freedom Laureate 2008;
  • Mustafa Ceric (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • May Chidiac (Lebanon), journalist, World Press Freedom Laureate 2006;
  • Souleymane Cissé (Mali), film-maker;
  • Esther Coopersmith (USA), United Nations Peace Prize Laureate (1984) and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue (2009);
  • Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (Iceland), Former President of Iceland and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (1998);
  • Monsignor Francesco Follo, representing Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi (Vatican), President of the Pontifical Council for Culture;
  • Mohamed Ibrahim (Sudan), Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation;
  • Attiyah Inayatullah (Pakistan), Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and former Minister for Women Development Social Welfare of Pakistan;
  • Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière (France), President of the Foundation Culture and Diversity, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (2009);
  • Monsignor Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Democratic Republic of Congo), Archbishop of Kinshasa;
  • Ilber Ortayli (Turkey), President, Topkapi Palace Museum;
  • Tavivat Puntarigvavat (Thailand), Director, Institute of Research and Development at the World Buddhist University;
  • Hegumen Philip Riabykh (Russian Federation), Vice-Chairman, Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Relations;
  • Yazid Sabeg (France), French Commissioner for Diversity and Equal Opportunities, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (2010);
  • Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), writer, Nobel Laureate for Literature (1986);
  • Simone Veil (France), Former President of the European Parliament, Honorary President of the Foundation for the memory of the Shoah.

A New UNESCO Center

The UNESCO Executive Board is expected to approve, at its next meeting in early April, the proposal to create a Category 2 Center Regional Research and Documentation for Women, Gender and Peace Building in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo reaffirmed its willingness to host the center.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

“The World’s Challenge to Education”


Karl Earl Mundt (June 3, 1900 – August 16, 1974) was an American educator and a Republican member of the United States Congress, representing South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives from 1938 to 1948 and in the United States Senate from 1948 to 1973. Representative Karl Mundt was a critical supporter of UNESCO and was a primary figure in urging the United States to join UNESCO. It is possible that, without his urging and support, the United States may not have joined. Mundt gave several speeches on UNESCO and the importance of joining UNESCO. These are excerpts from Mundt’s speech at the UNESCO founding meeting:
“After all, we educators have a special responsibility in this postwar era not only because we have this vast and valuable human raw material with which to work and not only because the world is more and more turning away from wars and the weapons of wars as a means of procuring proper human behavior in international affairs. Basically, we have a special responsibility to meet the great new challenge which is now ours in helping the world learn how to control the terrible new force unloosed in its midst because, I the final analysis, the atomic bomb was conceived by scientists whom our profession had educated.”

“It is not the noble pronouncements of princes and potentates which preserve the peace – it is the attitude which men have in their hearts and express in private conversations which actually count. It is to be hoped that eventually a code of international good behavior can be conceived through the operation of UNESCO so that boys and girls throughout the world may be taught the basic concepts of tolerance, justice, order, and peace-preserving international behavior. Greater by far than the dissimilarities of race, color, creed economic, governmental, and political concepts as well as geographical differences are the similarities which exist among human beings everywhere. UNESCO will strive to harness these similarities together into a great invincible phalanx which will hold at bay the future dogs of war.”(15)

“In establishing the University of Virginia, the great Thomas Jefferson selected as a motto for the institution, ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ UNESCO is designed to help people throughout the world to learn the truth. In the final analysis the truth – better than any other single factor – can help free this world from war forever.”

Editorial: The Government Should Not Impose Staff on UNESCO for Political Reasons

Colum Lynch has published an article titled "The Decline of the International Civil Servant" in Foreign Policy magazine stating:
The U.N. practice of hiring political appointees has ensured American, French, and British dominance of key U.N. jobs in management, peacekeeping and political affairs. But it has chipped away at the U.N. ideal of the impartial international civil servant, loyal to the founding principles of the U.N., and not beholden to the state that helped get them the job.
He cites the United States Government as one among several nations pressuring the United Nations to employ politically-connected citizens:
Earlier this month, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, circulated a letter nominating a single candidate, Tony Lake, to lead the U.N. Children's Fund, an organization that receives most of its funds from the United States, when President Bush's candidate, Ann Veneman, steps down in April. It remains unlikely that Ban, who is ostensibly responsible for hiring the UNICEF chief, will challenge Rice.
UNESCO's Secretariat should consist of international civil servants chosen for their ability to carry out UNESCO's mission. It is especially important that its senior staff -- Assistant Directors General and Director Grade officers -- not only leaders with unchallenged expertise, but officials whose devotion to the organisation is above suspicion. Moreover, UNESCO's important functions depend on the large numbers of educators, scientists and cultural leaders who provide advice and council through UNESCO's committees and boards without pay. They too must be chosen according to the needs for expert advice and not due to the political pressure applied by UNESCO member states.

It is especially important at this moment that UNESCO have both the freedom and incentive to choose well, as the new Director General is in the process of recruiting her Assistant Directors General. He cabinet will have enormous influence on the ability of the organization to carry out its import mission effectively and efficiently.

We expect the United States Permanent Delegation to UNESCO to be vigilant in seeing that UNESCO chooses the very best team possible. Of course, the Permanent Delegation should assure that qualified Americans are considered for positions in the Secretariat and for advisory spots in UNESCO advisory bodies. Indeed the Government, National Commission and Permanent Delegation should seek to assure that there is a strong representation of Americans in UNESCO. They should do so primarily by working to assure that there are very highly qualified American applicants considered for all relevant posts.

The United States should use its considerable influence in UNESCO governing bodies to insist that UNESCO resist pressures from member states and their delegates to bypass competitive processes in appointment. Our Permanent Delegation to UNESCO should seek to enlist allies among other Delegations in that process. It can only do so effectively if it is above suspicion, so that it is doubly important that it not apply inappropriate pressures on UNESCO.

John Daly
The editorial opinions expressed above are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.

Washington DC Celebration of International Mother Language Day


One World, Many Voices: Celebration of World Languages.

The International Mother Language Day, proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999, has been observed yearly since 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.


International Women's Day 2010

Every year in March, UNESCO celebrates International Women’s Day (March 8) by hosting a flagship program, consisting of round-tables, conferences, exhibitions and cultural events that highlight issues relating to the empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality.
Click here for a description of all the events organised by the Division for Gender Equality of the Bureau of Strategic Planning.
A debate on “Gender Equality, Education and Training”, which took place over four weeks between 457 women and men from all corners of the globe, proved so successful, it is to be prolonged. the debate will continue until the High-level Event held by the United Nations General Assembly on the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010.

Accelerating Efforts to Advance the Rights of Adolescent Girls

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova joined other leaders of the United Nations Adolescent Girls Task Force in issuing a joint statement as delegates gathered for the 15 year review of the Beijing Platform for Action.
Many of the 600 million adolescent girls living in developing countries remain invisible in national policies and programmes. Millions live in poverty, are burdened by gender discrimination and inequality, and are subject to multiple forms of violence, abuse, and exploitation, such as child labour, child marriage and other harmful practices. The full potential of these girls and their contribution to their communities have yet to be realized.
The leaders pledged to "work with governments, civil society, communities, adolescent girls and boys on five strategic priorities:
  • Educate adolescent girls: Ensure adolescent girls have access to quality education and complete schooling, focusing on their transition from primary to post-primary education and training, including secondary education, and pathways between the formal and non-formal systems.
  • Improve adolescent girls’ health: Ensure adolescent girls’ access to age-appropriate health and nutrition information and services, including life skills-based sexuality education, HIV prevention, and sexual and reproductive health.
  • Keep adolescent girls free from violence: Prevent and protect girls from all forms of gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation, and ensure that girls who experience violence receive prompt protection, services and access to justice.
  • Promote adolescent girl leaders: Ensure that adolescent girls gain essential economic and social skills and are supported by mentors and resources to participate in community life.
  • Count adolescent girls: Work with partners to collect, analyse, and use data on adolescent girls to advocate for, develop and monitor evidence-based policies and programmes that advance their well-being and realize their human rights."

2010 International Essay Contest for Young People


The Goi Peace Foundation and UNESCO organize an international essay contest for young people from all over the world. Participants will express themselves on the theme: “My Role in Creating a Peaceful World”. What is your vision of a peaceful and harmonious world? What can you and the young people of the world do to realize that vision?

To participate in the 11th edition of the Contest people up to 25 years of age can submit their essays in one of the following categories: children (ages up to 14) and youth (ages 15 - 25). Essays must be 800 words or less in English, French, Spanish or German; or 1600 characters or less in Japanese, typed or printed. They must have a cover page indicating the category (children or youth), the title of the essay, the name of the participant and their personal information (mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, nationality, age as of June 2010, sex, school name (if any) and word count). Essays must be original and unpublished and they must be written by one person.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

U.S. Opinion on the United Nations

"Americans told the United Nations in Gallup Poll results released on Feb.19 that the UN must do better. Only 31 percent of the respondents thought that the international body is “doing a good job,” up from 26 percent the previous year, marking the highest approval rating since 2005, when George W. Bush was president."

While the poll applies to the United Nations per se rather than directly to UNESCO, it seems likely that opinions of UNESCO which is much less known in the United States are heavily influenced by opinions of the UN. There poll indicated that Republicans had more negative views of the UN than did Democrats, with Independents in an intermediate position.

Source: "US Public to UN: We Support You But Do Better," By John Washburn, UNA-USA World Bulletin, March 2010.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Conference on UNESCO and the Cold War


A conference on UNESCO’s links with the Cold War, organized by the International Scientific Committee for the UNESCO History Project, will be hosted by the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCAS), University of Heidelberg, (Germany) on 4-5 March 2010.

The Symposium, which is part of a cycle of conferences on the history of UNESCO, will address a number of issues, such as the influence of the Cold War on UNESCO, and the role the Organization was able to play in easing tensions between the two opposing blocs.


Read more!


Among participants in the meeting are:
  • Leland Conley Barrows, Professor, Voorhees College, United States
  • Christian Ostermann, Director, Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), United States
  • Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Department of History, Oregon State University, United States

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The UNESCO Multimedia Archives

The UNESCO Multimedia Archives provide viewers with a number of videos produced by UNESCO in support of its mission in the promotion of education, science, culture and communications in the pursuit of peace.