Monday, October 31, 2011

Video: Vote in UNESCO General Conference on Palestine Membership

Unesco Approves Full Membership for Palestinians

Unesco defied a legally mandated cutoff of American funding and approved a Palestinian bid for full membership by a vote on Monday of 107 to 14, with 52 abstentions.

Legislation dating back more than 15 years stipulates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — depends on the United States for 22 percent of its budget, about $70 million a year. More.....
The vote was carried by 107 votes in favor of admission and 14 votes against, with 52 abstentions.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Will Congress’s defunding of the U.N. over Palestine hurt U.S. goals around the world?"

Colum Lynch has an article by that title dated October 25, 2011 in Foreign Policy magazine. It discusses the repercussions if the Palestinian Authority bid to join UNESCO succeeds and the United States withholds funding from the organization as the law requires. The problem is exacerbated because it might start a chain reaction in which Palestine is automatically admitted to other decentralized agencies of the UN system which would apparently mean that the United States would automatically withhold funding also from those agencies.
The Palestinians are expected to follow by seeking membership in three other U.N. organizations -- the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) -- that have reciprocation agreements that would allow UNESCO members in as full members. Consequently, the United States will be required to also cut funding to these agencies, jeopardizing funding to programs that protect international intellectual copy rights and promote trade in the developing world. 
A congressional cut off of aid at UNESCO and other U.N. specialized agencies, however, would have no effect on many of the U.N.'s most high-profile operations, including billions of dollars spent on U.N. peacekeeping and humanitarian relief work -- since any bid by the Palestinians to secure membership in the U.N. General Assembly would face a U.S. veto. 
But the Palestinians have made it clear that they intend to seek membership in other international agencies affiliated with the United Nations, including the International Criminal Court, which receives no funding from the United States, and the World Health Organization, which has played a lead role in preventing the spread of deadly and debilitating diseases like polio, malaria, small pox and avian flu and HIV/AIDS.

The Palestinians would also have a good shot at gaining entrance into several other U.N. specialized agencies, including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which require simple majorities or two-thirds majorities votes by the agencies' member states for membership. Ironically, the $238 million annual U.S. funding for the largest U.N. program in support of Palestinians, the U.N. Relief Works Agency, will not be directly affected by the UNESCO bid since it's not a U.N. member-based organization.
The Executive Board of UNESCO recommended that Palestine be admitted to UNESCO membership earlier this month, and the General Conference is expected to vote on the membership on Monday afternoon. It has been reported that there are very active discussions taking place in diplomatic circles and between the State Department and the Congress.

The article goes on to provide opinions from a number of knowledgeable source. Read more.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

UNESCO Youth Forum Spotlights a Generation Dedicated to Positive Change

Paul Kruchoski, the UNESCO Education and Youth Officer in the State Department has posted a report on the recently completed UNESCO Youth Forum on the State Department blog. I quote from the opening of that posting:

“This is not a conference about the U.S., Europe, Africa, or any one country or region. It's a conference for all young people, and we need to fight for solutions that will result in progress for youth in every corner of the world.” -- Blair Brettschneider 
“There is hope as long as we are willing to spend enough time with one another to realize that beyond any difference, we are all human beings seeking the same things.” -- Andrew Leon Hanna 
Blair and Andrew were the two U.S. Representatives to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Youth Forum, which convened in Paris, October 17-20. Over four days, they met and worked with 245 youth from over 100 countries to offer UNESCO new recommendations on empowering youth and improving its work in education, science, culture, and communication. 
Read more......

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Don’t punish UNESCO"

There is a letter to the editor in today's Washington Post from UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova. I quote from the letter:
UNESCO supports many causes in line with U.S. security interests. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we are helping governments and communities prepare for life after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces. We are bolstering the literacy of the Afghan National Police and are leading the country’s largest education program, reaching some 600,000 learners in 18 provinces. We work with the United States to advance democratic freedoms. Mandated to promote freedom of expression, UNESCO stands up for every journalist attacked or killed across the world. In Tunisia and Egypt, we are leading education reform and training journalists. We target the causes of violent extremism by training teachers in human rights and Holocaust remembrance. 
Major U.S. private-sector companies are key partners. We work with Procter and Gamble on girls’ education in Senegal and with the Packard Foundation to reduce girls’ dropout rates in Tanzania and Ethiopia. 
The issue of Palestinian membership should not be allowed to derail these initiatives, which go far beyond the politics of the Middle East......

Friday, October 21, 2011

Forest Whitaker and UNESCO want to give youth a voice

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation and Academy Award winner, Forest Whitaker, supports youth driving change in their communities and wants to hear from youth worldwide. For more information on the UNESCO Youth Forum and how youth can be a voice for change, visit

Suzanne Grant Lewis Named UNESCO IIEP Deputy Director

Dr. Suzanne Grant Lewis has been named as the new incoming Deputy Director of UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning. She is a U.S. Citizen who was selected from a pool of 385 candidates who applied for the post.
Suzanne has wide experience with foundations and bilateral agencies working in international education. She serves as the coordinator of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, is a research scholar at the NYU Steinhardt School of Education, as well as Assistant Professor at Harvard. She earned her doctorate in International Development Education at Stanford. She is also an old friend from her days as a post-doctoral fellow at USAID.
You can read more about Suzanne here

Congratulations on the new post Sue!  

U.S. National Commission Meets on Monday 11/28/11

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is set to convene a full meeting on Monday 11/28 at 10:00 am EDT, That is the Monday after Thanksgiving.

The meeting will convene on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC. The meeting will run from 10 am 2 pm. More details will be forthcoming.

This meeting will include some updates about UNESCO, but will mostly be designed for action - with plenty of caucusing, action teams, and whiteboards. 

If you wish to attend, please inform the secretariat now right here!!!

36th UNESCO General Conference Begins

Next Tuesday 10/25 UNESCO will convene its 36th meeting of the General Conference. Several Commissioners have generously volunteered to help represent the U.S. delegation and will attend several different pieces of the upcoming meeting.
U.S. Under Secretary of Education and Commission Member Martha Kanter will deliver the U.S. Delegation official statement to the General Conference.
The question of Palestinian membership still looms large on this upcoming meeting in terms of U.S. membership in UNESCO. 
You can read some recent coverage here
Americans for UNESCO recently circulated a letter about this issue, which you can read here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In honor of the UNESCO Youth Forum 2011

Unique film footage of the early days of A Ray of Hope, UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace. Excerpts show the choir singing in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Songs of Praise Broadcast and a delightful evening with John Major the then prime minister of the United Kingdom. Over 12 years the choir of 60 children and 10 teachers developed into a global organisation of over 400,000 members - caring and being cared for.

FYI -- The Repercussions if UNESCO Admits Palestine

I quote extensively from an article in UN Dispatch by Mark Leon Goldberg:

UNESCO member states are poised to admit Palestine as the newest member of the UN body. This is an achievement for the Palestinian leadership, which is seeking admission to various UN agencies, but potentially catastrophic news for UNESCO and American leadership at the UN. And through no fault of her own, even Beyonce may suffer. 
At issue here are two strict laws passed by the United States congress in 1994 which stipulate that “the United States shall not make any voluntary or assessed contribution to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”  And if that were not clear enough, a second clause clearly states that the United States may not “provide funds [to] the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”  The law authorizes no “waiver authority” by the executive branch, meaning that there is no way for President Obama to end run around this prohibition. 
In other words, if UNESCO admits Palestine as a member, the United States will be forced to effectively withdraw from the organization. That would be a huge financial blow to UNESCO, which receives 22% of its budget ($80 million) in dues payments from the United States. With that money, UNESCO promotes world press freedom, is the lead UN agency for the implementation of  the Millennium Development Goal number 2 (universal primary eduction) and administers the World Heritage site program, among other things. 
But the effect would be felt far beyond UNESCO. Several smaller UN agencies — including World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development — tie their own membership to other UN agencies. This means that when one UN agency accepts a new member, these three UN agencies automatically accept the new member as well. Once UNESCO admits Palestine, these other UN agencies will automatically admit Palestine as well…and the United States will be forced to automatically pull out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The United States may withhold funding for UNESCO

The Palestinian Authority's request for full membership in the United Nations has received wide public attention, but meanwhile a more silent but equally grave political situation is playing out at UNESCO.

UNESCO’s Executive Board ended its 187th session on 6 October marked by the request for membership to UNESCO by Palestine. The Board voted on the request for Palestinian membership on October 5. Forty members voted in favor of admission, four against and there were 14 abstentions. The Board’s recommendation for admission will now be submitted to UNESCO’s General Conference (26 October to 10 November), where it requires a two-thirds majority vote to become effective.

The United States Ambassador to UNESCO released a statement explaining the U.S. opposition to the membership at this time
We take the floor to express our strong opposition to this resolution. Granting the Palestinians full membership now in a specialized agency such as UNESCO is premature. Given that the UN Security Council is reviewing the Palestinian application, we believe it is inappropriate for a UN specialized agency to also take up the same matter.
The State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said that lawyers were busily reviewing how and when the Palestinian membership would affect the American financing. She said the administration would try to block a vote of the full Unesco membership even as it encourages a resumption of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. 
The issue is a hot one in Congress. In a statement on Tuesday, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, urged the Obama administration to “make clear that any decision to upgrade the Palestinian mission’s status by Unesco or any other U.N. entity will lead to a cutoff of U.S. funds to that entity.”
U.S. Code Title 22, Section 287e includes the following:
“No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” This was adopted by a Democratic Congress in 1989 as Public Law 101-246. 
“The United States shall not make any voluntary or assessed contribution: (1) to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood, or (2) to the United Nations, if the United Nations grants full membership as a state in the United Nations to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood, during any period in which such membership is effective.” This was adopted by a Democratic Congress in 1994 as Public Law 103-236.
The first of these provisions was enacted into law in 1989. In that year Palestine applied for UNESCO membership and the Israeli government submitted a statement as to why it believed Palestine did not qualify for UNESCO membership:

The Huffington Post reports:
Ismail Tilawi, the representative of UNESCO in the Palestinian territories, says that since the formation of the Palestinian Authority in the mid-1990s, a request for Palestinian membership has been on the agenda of every UNESCO General Conference, which convenes every two years.
The motion to admit Palestine fully to membership in UNESCO apparently enjoys wide support among the 193 Member States, certainly enough to receive the two-thirds majority of "States present and voting" required for admission as a full Member. However, there is hope that a compromise along the lines of some sort of Palestinian membership short of "full" might be reached.

Senior budget officers at UNESCO, analyzing the consequences of failure to receive the U.S. funding, foresee immediate slashes in program activity, layoffs in personnel beginning in January, and other credible threats, including to UNESCO's pension system. However, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries hint they might be willing to fill the funding gap, a gesture the implications of which remain to be examined.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova will spend Thursday and Friday of this week in Washington attempting to explain the impossible position in which UNESCO has been placed. State’s Mid-East negotiator David Hale in Paris will attempt to find a solution, perhaps trying to convince Palestinians to accept something less than full membership.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Job: Director Division Cultural Expressions and Diversity

UNESCO is currently seeking a Director for its Division of Cultural Expressions and Heritage.

Deadline for applicants is 11/15. 

Does this job require applicants to know mime? 

There is only one way for you to find out - check out this link here.

Shankman Elected to Second Term

Professor Steven Shankman

Professor Steven Shankman, who serves as Director of the University of Oregon's Center for Intercultural Dialogue and UNESCO Chair in Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace, recently helped convene a meeting at UNESCO in Paris entitled,

Dr. Shankman led this symposium as Chair of theUNITWIN Network on Interreligious Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding. At the conclusion of this most recent meeting he was unanimously elected to serve a second three year term.

Congratulations Professor Shankman and thank you for your leadership! 

UNESCO DG on the Evolving U.S.-UNESCO Relationship

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on the evolution of the United States' relationship with UNESCO

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize

 On 8 March 2006, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirlea, opened an International conference entitled Women in Politics organized by UNESCO within the framework of the celebration of International Women's Day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

“Crowdsourcing – linking up to reach Education for All”

UNESCO is teaming up with Nokia and the Pearson Foundation on 10 October to launch the Education for All (EFA) Crowdsourcing Challenge, an eight-month initiative - with prizes - to elicit suggestions on how mobile communication can help achieve EFA goals.

Crowdsourcing uses group collaboration to achieve a specific goal. Participants post ideas and other participants can vote for or against them, along with feedback and solutions. A unique element of crowdsourcing is the ability to connect people with needs or ideas with software developers who can address those needs or realize those visions. 
The EFA Crowdsourcing Challenge is designed to enable people with similar interests to connect and collaborate on ideas to achieve EFA. It plans to develop suggestions emerging from the dynamic interaction between education experts, teachers, parents, students and software developers.
Each month will feature a separate EFA goal. The first month is devoted to finding solutions on how mobile communication can help achieve literacy.   
Prizes will be awarded monthly to the best ideas, chosen by a panel of judges. Promising projects will be developed and implemented by Nokia or other participants after the challenge ends, on 31 May 2012.
Related Links

Fight against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia

UNESCO contributes to the fight against racism and discrimination through research, normative instruments and operational programmes and projects.
New forms of discrimination have arisen, in association with certain scientific developments and the process of globalization. As a result of these new threats and the outbreak of violent inter-ethnic conflicts in many parts of the world in recent years, the international community decided to convene in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In close collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNESCO participated actively in the Durban Conference, which was undoubtedly the high point of the Third United Nations Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, which ended in 2003.

U.S. Members of the UNESCO Executive Board

MemberMr Archibald MacLeish1946-19471-2
MemberMr Milton Eisenhower19473-4
MemberMr George D. Stoddard1947-19495-17
MemberMr Luther H. Evans1949-195318-34
MemberMr John A. Perkins1953-195435-39
MemberMr Athelstan F. Spilhaus1954-195840-50
MemberMr George N. Shuster1958-196351-65
MemberMr William Benton1963-196865-80
MemberMs Katie S. Louchheim1968-196981-83
MemberMs Louise Gore1969-197383-93
MemberMr Edward O. Sullivan1973-197493-95
MemberMr Gordon H. Scherer1974-197696-99
MemberMr Robert B. Kamm1976-197799-103
MemberMr Henry E. Kerry1977-1978103-105
MemberMr Esteban Edward Torres1978-1980106-109
MemberMs Barbara W. Newell1980-1982109-114
MemberMs Jean Broward Shevlin Gerard1982-1984114-120

The United States held membership on the Executive Board of UNESCO from the beginning of the Organization until the United States withdrew from the organization in 1984. Since the United States rejoined the Organization in 2003, the United States has been represented on the Executive Board by the Permanent Representatives to UNESCO, Louise Oliver and Daniel Killion.

I am impressed by the large number of distinguished people who served as the United States' members of UNESCO's Executive Board. Especially in the early years of UNESCO the members were distinguished public intellectuals such as Archibald MacLeish and Luther Evans (both of whom served as Librarians of Congress), President Eisenhower's brother Milton, Athelstan Spilhaus (scientist educator) and William Benton (Publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica). A number ran universities (Eisenhower, Perkins, Shuster, Kamm, Newell).

Sunday, October 09, 2011

UNESCO: If you are interested in studying abroad

You are interested in studying abroad in an institution of higher learning, but do not know how to go about it? You do not know if your academic qualifications will be accepted as an admission requirement for further studies? You need updated information on higher education systems, quality assurance and accreditation issues, transnational education including open and distance learning (ODL) provisions and virtual universities, admission procedures or access models world-wide? The Studying Abroad site on Access, Mobility and Quality Assurance in Higher Education provides answers to these and other questions. Tertiary education policy makers, national, regional as well as international associations and experts concerned with these issues, members of the university community and students, this site has resources for you.

The Grauer School is part of the UNESCO Associated School Network

The Grauer School has been recognized internationally as a member of the worldwide network of UNESCO ASPnet schools. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and ASPnet is their Associated Schools program.
In common with Grauer School tradition, ASPnet schools commit to conduct pilot projects to promote quality education by reinforcing the humanistic, cultural, and international dimension of education. ASPnet schools are considered as “centers for innovation” and serve to promote UNESCO ideals in their respective communities.
Founded in 1953, UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) is a global network of institutions in 176 countries, ranging from preschools and primary and secondary schools to teacher training institutions, who work in support of quality education in practice. These schools commit to emphasizing:
  • –world concerns and the role of the United Nations system
  • –Education for sustainable development
  • –Peace and human rights
  • –Intercultural learning

As of September 2009, there were 32 UNESCO schools in the US and one in California ~ schools like Phillips Exeter Academy, the Center for International Education, and the United Nations School are members.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Executive Board Concludes Meeting

 Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and
Eleonora Mitrofanova, Chairperson of UNESCO’s Executive Board
© UNESCO/Patrick Lagès
UNESCO’s Executive Board ended its 187th session on 6 October marked by the request for membership to UNESCO by Palestine, an endorsement of the Director-General’s “reform to perform” programme, and the Organization’s reinforced focus on Africa.

The Board voted on the request for Palestinian membership on October 5. Forty members voted in favour of admission, four against and there were 14 abstentions. The Board’s recommendation for admission will now be submitted to UNESCO’s General Conference (26 October to 10 November), where it requires a two-thirds majority vote to become effective.
The 58 Board Members also approved proposals to reform and reinforce UNESCO’s action in Africa through a strengthened network of field offices, which the Director-General  stressed on several occasions as an absolute priority for the Organization.
"UNESCO is moving ahead very strongly with African priorities," Irina Bokova said. "I am determined to focus on the Priority Africa programme so that it becomes an effective instrument for developing education, for giving young people the tools with which to find jobs, and for giving recognition to African culture."
The Board also considered the issue of the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. After extensive debate it decided by consensus to establish a working group to undertake further consultations with a view to achieving a conclusion on the issue by the Board’s meeting in the spring of 2012.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Tagore, Neruda, Césaire for a reconciled universal

Launched in the wake of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2010), the Rabindrânâth Tagore, Pablo Neruda and Aimé Césaire programme aims to promote translations, publications, and creations connected to the three writers. It will also facilitate the dissemination and adaptation of their message. These activities are to be implemented by Member States, public or private institutions. 

Tagore, Neruda and Césaire capitalized on art and poetry as irreplaceable vectors of mediation between humans and their environment. Reinventing humanism, it could be better to read and better to hear poetry in all of its forms, and to encounter new languages of expression that reflect peoples' dreams and aspirations, especially those of the youth.

More information:

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Controversy over UNESCO possible recognition of Palestine state

Map Source:

The Executive Board of UNESCO voted today on a recommendation to admit Palestine to the Organization. From the 58 member-states on the Board, the recommendation was passed by a vote of 40 in favor to four against, with 14 abstentions. Palestine's request for membership will now be considered at the next session of the General Conference (October 26-November 10) where a two-thirds majority vote is required for membership to be granted. Decisions for admission are taken by the General Conference and the Executive Board which are UNESCO's governing bodies.

According to The New York Times:
Fourteen delegations abstained, including those from Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, while the American delegation joined Germany, Latvia and Romania in opposing the measure. (Israel does not presently sit on the executive board, where membership rotates.) Russia joined African and Arab states, among others, in support.
The United States government has opposed according Palestine full national status in UN agencies at this time on the basis that there should first be a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, and that premature recognition of Palestine would make getting the peace process under way more difficult. In general, the United States government has supported a two state solution.

The vote is especially important as the United Nations is also considering accepting Palestine as a member nation, and were a specialized agency such as UNESCO to recognize the Palestinians as a member state it might set a precedent for the vote in the UN. 

The New York Times reports that "Palestinians Win a Vote On Bid to Join Unesco". It reports further:
(F)ull membership in Unesco could mean a legally mandated cutoff of all contributions from the United States, both dues and voluntary. 
Existing United States legislation appears to mandate the cutoff of money to the United Nations or any of its agencies if they grant “full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood,” and more legislation along the same lines has been introduced. The United States contributes 22 percent of Unesco’s budget...... 
The State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said that lawyers were busily reviewing how and when the Palestinian membership would affect the American financing. She said the administration would try to block a vote of the full Unesco membership even as it encourages a resumption of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The fiscal year for the U.S. Government started October 1, 2011 so presumably U.S. funding from the last fiscal year (that ended September 30th) has already been transferred to UNESCO. Were the action of the General Conference to trigger a withholding of U.S. contributions to UNESCO, that would presumably occur in 2012 or thereafter. Member states have a responsibility to pay their assessed contributions to the Organization, but there have been many occasions in which a country is in arrears on those contributions, so the United States might withhold payment to UNESCO for a period of time and then pay the amount in arrears. Indeed, the Congress has in the past withheld contributions to the United Nations as means of pressuring the UN to change management or policy, later paying the arrears.

When the decision was made by the United States Government in the Reagan administration to withdraw from UNESCO, the Government provided the required one year notice of withdrawal, paying its assessed contributions for the period the United States remained a member state. The withdrawal, combined with that of the United Kingdom and Singapore, created a major financial crisis for UNESCO.

The return of the United States to UNESCO in 2004 did not result in a massive immediate increase in its budget, but rather a reduction in the assessed contributions of the other member states. Still, withholding 22 percent of the budget would cause serious financial problems for the organization. Were the United States again to withdraw from UNESCO the crisis would be greater and longer lasting. Were other major donors to also withhold contributions and/or withdraw, the result might be fatal to the Organization.

As in other United Nations system forums, the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab controversy has come up regularly at UNESCO Executive Board and General Conference meetings. Often those debates have led to useful conclusions, and to the best of my knowledge, none led to crises in UNESCO governance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

World Teachers’ Day 2011

World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. It also commemorates the anniversary of the 1966 signature of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.
The 2011 events will focus on the theme "Teachers for Gender Equality”.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is set to convene a full meeting on Monday 11/28 around 10:00 am EDT

It is to convene on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC. The meeting will run from 10 am into the afternoon (maybe 2 pmish?). More details will be forthcoming.

This meeting will include some updates about UNESCO, but will mostly be designed for action - with plenty of caucusing, action teams, and whiteboards. We will be doing a lot of brainstorming re: programming for 2012.

If you plan to attend the annual meeting now inform the secretariat right here!!!

U.S. Announces Collaboration with UNESCO to teach anti-racism curriculum: Teaching Respect for All

The United States government has announced a partnership between the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Brazil, and UNESCO to develop and promote an anti-racism curriculum entitled “Teaching Respect for All.”

The curriculum will be developed over the next two years, after which time it will be disseminated worldwide by UNESCO through education ministries and the extensive network of UNESCO-affiliated schools.

The United States’ participation in this initiative underscores the enduring U.S. commitment to combating racism and racial discrimination. The initiative was first announced as an outcome of President Obama’s March 2011 visit to Brazil.

UNESCO to resume cooperation with Libya

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has welcomed the U.N. General Assembly’s recognition of Libya’s National Transitional Council as the country’s legitimate government and announced that UNESCO is looking forward to placing its expertise at the disposal of the new authorities.

"I welcome the return of Libya to the international community,” the Director-General said. “We stand ready to help the Libyan people in advancing human dignity and rights as part of a new era. May the raising of the new flag of Libya alongside those of UNESCO’s other Member States, herald the dawn of an age of reconciliation and recovery for the country.
"Our Organization is looking forward to assisting Libya in the fields of education, culture, science and media development to sustain their aspirations and efforts promoting human rights, freedom of expression, justice and women’s empowerment," concluded Irina Bokova.