We explain what Unesco is, the history, and the different functions of this organization. In addition, what are its objectives and CEOs?
What is UNESCO?
It is known as Unesco to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization , for its acronym in English ( United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ). As the name implies, it is an institution attached to the UN and specialized in the promotion, dissemination, and defense of the scientific and cultural knowledge of humanity.
Unesco is perhaps one of the best-known international cooperation organizations in the field of culture , education and scientific development, since it has offices and operations throughout the world , where it is clearly associated with its vocation pacifist and respect for the cultural heritage of the human race, as well as its commitment to reducing social inequality in its various facets.
Although it was founded with just 20 countries as support, Unesco currently has 195 member countries and 8 associated states, which provide funds to the institution to continue with its wide range of plans.
This does not mean that the institution has not received strong criticism over time, some due to its obstruction of certain economic or cultural policies of hegemonic world powers, and others, paradoxically, for supporting legal decisions contrary to commercial and commercial freedom. Peoples expression.
In fact, the United States has withdrawn twice from Unesco, protesting its decisions: one in 1985 due to administrative differences, together with the United Kingdom and Singapore (the three countries later rejoined, but caused serious financial damage to the institution) and another recently in 2017, as a protest for membership as a member country of Palestine, an event interpreted as an “anti-Israeli” bias by the US and Israeli presidency.
Unesco was founded in 1945, in terms of World War II , together with other international cooperation and organization institutions to ensure that war and humanitarian disasters of the size of such conflict did not occur again.
Its constitution was ratified by more than 20 countries and in 1958 it acquired its headquarters in Paris VII . At that time, the replacement of international relations broken by the war allowed more and more countries to join the organization.
The first time a country leaves Unesco will be in 1957, when Apartheid South Africa reproaches its “interference with its racial affairs”, given that the entire world was protesting the brutal segregation of the black population in this nation. Subsequently, under the presidency of Nelson Mandela, South Africa would join Unesco again.
One of the first major international events of Unesco took place in 1960, when the organization undertook the defense of the Egyptian temples of Abu Simbel and 21 other irreplaceable archaeological monuments, which were threatened by the construction of the Aswan Dam in the lower Nile .
Unesco serves as a cultural ambassador and defender of the heritage of humanity in various aspects, operating as a global forum for discussion and dissemination, a kind of counterbalance to the States or to help scientific, cultural and social initiatives that are consider of value not only local, but for the whole humanity.
In that sense, its heritage management is famous, which gives sites of archaeological, historical, ecological or cultural interest an internationally renowned status, so that they are preserved and protected for future generations. The same goes for traditions, celebrations, and other forms of heritage.
At the same time, Unesco promotes peace and social equality , with campaigns of literacy, celebration of diversity and difference, recognition of women and community formation at various levels.
The objectives of Unesco can be summarized in:
- Promote the dialogue of peace and exchange between cultures, preserving the legacy of our species for generations to come.
- Promote social equality and opportunities through literacy, education and the growth of human potential, especially in vulnerable or marginal regions.
- Preserve the heritage of humanity in its various aspects: ecological, historical, cultural, architectural, etc.
- Promote dialogue and cultural exchange in the face of the challenges of the new millennium, in favor of the conscious and due use of new technologies and to guarantee human rights in social, scientific and cultural matters.
The list of directors of this international institution includes the names of:
- Julian Huxley (United Kingdom) , from 1946 to 1947.
- Jaime Torres Bodet (Mexico) , from 1948 to 1952.
- Luther T. Evans (United States) , from 1953 to 1958.
- Vittorino Veronese (Italy) , from 1958 to 1961.
- René Maheu (France) , from 1961 to 1974.
- Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow (Senegal) , from 1974 to 1987.
- Federico Mayor Zaragoza (Spain) , from 1987 to 1999.
- Koichirö Matsuura (Japan) , from 1999 to 2009.
- Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) , from 2009 to 2017.
- Audrey Azoulay (France) , 2017 (ongoing).