29 Facts About UNESCO


UNESCO was founded in 1945 as the successor to the League of Nations's International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

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UNESCO's founding mission, which was shaped by the Second World War, is to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights by facilitating collaboration and dialogue among nations.

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UNESCO has launched several initiatives and global movements, such as Education For All, to further advance its core objectives.

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UNESCO is governed by the General Conference, composed of member states and associate members, which meets biannually to set the agency's programmes and the budget.

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UNESCO is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, a coalition of UN agencies and organisations aimed at fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.

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The idea of UNESCO was largely developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development.

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The Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, and 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state.

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In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems".

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In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal.

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In 1968, UNESCO organized the first intergovernmental conference aimed at reconciling the environment and development, a problem that continues to be addressed in the field of sustainable development.

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UNESCO has been credited with the diffusion of national science bureaucracies.

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UNESCO started organizing training and education for journalists in the 1950s.

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Israel reacted to Palestine's admittance to UNESCO by freezing Israeli payments to UNESCO and imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, stating that Palestine's admittance would be detrimental "to potential peace talks".

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In 1950, UNESCO initiated the quarterly review Impact of Science on Society to discuss the influence of science on society.

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UNESCO has official relations with 322 international non-governmental organizations.

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The highest form of affiliation to UNESCO is "formal associate", and the 22 NGOs with formal associate relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:.

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Institutes are specialized departments of the organization that support UNESCO's programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.

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The 11 Directors-General of UNESCO have come from six regions within the organization: West Europe, Central America, North America, West Africa, East Asia, and East Europe.

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UNESCO has been the centre of controversy in the past, particularly in its relationships with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the former Soviet Union.

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UNESCO was perceived as a platform for communists and Third World dictators to attack the West, in contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

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UNESCO described the sites as significant to "people of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions", and accused Israel of highlighting only the Jewish character of the sites.

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Israel in turn accused UNESCO of "detach[ing] the Nation of Israel from its heritage", and accused it of being politically motivated.

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Bokova cancelled the event after representatives of Arab states at UNESCO argued that its display would "harm the peace process".

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UNESCO amended the decision to cancel the exhibit within the year, and it quickly achieved popularity and was viewed as a great success.

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On 13 October 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution on East Jerusalem that condemned Israel for "aggressions" by Israeli police and soldiers and "illegal measures" against the freedom of worship and Muslims' access to their holy sites, while recognizing Israel as the occupying power.

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In 2012, UNESCO decided to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences, fueling controversy and criticism.

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Head, Kamalain Shaath, defended UNESCO, stating that "the Islamic University is a purely academic university that is interested only in education and its development".

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The fact is UNESCO is one of the least dangerous international institutions ever created.

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UNESCO highlighted the human rights situation in Turkey and the destruction of historical Sur district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey, during fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants as the main reasons for his resignation.

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