Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The U.S. wins gold and silver medals at the International Olympiad in Informatics

The results of the 18th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) 2006, which was held in Mexico August 13th-20th, 2006 have finally been released. The US Computing team wins one gold and three silver medals. Congratulations to Richard McCutchen (G), John Pardon (S), George Boxer (S) and Bohua Zhan (S)!

The IOI, as one of the eight international science olympiads proposed by UNESCO, is the most recognized worldwide computer science competition aimed at secondary students under 20 years of age. Contestants are expected to demonstrate their problem-solving skills by writing computer programs within two competition days.

The primary goal of the IOI is to stimulate interest in informatics (computing science) and information technology. Another important goal is to bring together exceptionally talented pupils from various countries and to have them share scientific and cultural experiences.

The IOI is organized annually in and by one of the participating countries. Each participating country typically sends a delegation of four pupils and two accompanying adults.
In May 1989, UNESCO initiated and sponsored the first International Olympiad in Informatics, which took place in Pravetz, Bulgaria. The 2003 IOI was held in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As for the next Olympiad, the 2007 IOI will be hosted in Zegreb, Croatia.

Interested in competing in the next USA Computing Olympiad? Click here

*Our posting on "UNESCO's International Olympiads Series"
© Logo: IOI

Join the latest e-forum on "The Power to Communicate"!

Created in 2004 within the framework of a joint programming initiative between UNESCO and ISESCO* the jeunessearabe.info portal is designed to cater to the information needs of youth and youth associations in the Arab world. This portal is part of the INFOYOUTH programme, a worldwide information network on youth issues.

Last week, the portal published an online dossier on “The Power to Communicate”, aimed at highlighting the importance of communication among young people of the Arab World; allowing the youth to work together through the internet, share their views on matters that are related to UNESCO and ISESCO’s domains of competence, and discuss issues pertaining to the digital divide.

Young people and associations are invited to take part in this forum and to express themselves in Arabic and French!

Youth and the Information Society

*ISESCO: Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNU/UNESCO International Conference on "Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Science and Technology"

This UNU/UNESCO International Conference was held 23 & 24 August 2006 in Yokohama, Japan. It was intended to provide "a forum for discussing how we can better harness scientific and technological progress to promote social and economic progress, and to foster knowledge creation/diffusion for the benefit of all." Day One consisted of a public symposium in which experts discussed how globalization is changing science and technology, and vice-versa, and the opportunities that these changes offer. On day Two a workshop allowed parallel working group discussions on the various aspects in which science and technology link with, and contribute to, peace and sustainable development.

Among the distinguished speakers and presenters at the conference were UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura and Assistant Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation James Collins.

A video portal has been provided for the meeting, and streaming videos will soon be available.

"UNESCO and IFLA to establish strategic alliance to implement Plan of Action of World Summit of the Information Society"

Read the full press release online.

"In a bid to foster the role of libraries as key players in building people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented knowledge societies, UNESCO and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) will establish a strategic alliance as part of their contribution to implement the decisions of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The UNESCO Water Portal

World Water Week was celebrated last week, and we belatedly feature UNESCO's Water Portal on this blog today. Water is an important theme for UNESCO, and the Organization has played a key role in bringing water related issues to the attention of the international community.

The UNESCO Water Portal is intended to enhance access to information related to freshwater available on the World Wide Web. The site provides links to the current UNESCO and UNESCO-led programmes on freshwater and will serve as an interactive point for sharing, browsing and searching websites of water-related organizations, government bodies and NGOs, including a range of categories such as water links, water events, learning modules and other on-line resources.

Water resource management is an area in which UNESCO's efforts to promote peace through the promotion of international dialogue is especially relevant and important. So too is it an area in which developing countries especially need capacity development.

The portal is currently highlighting the ‘Coping with Water Scarcity’ UN-Water seminar in Stockholm, Sweden held this month. It was sponsored by UN-Water, which is made up of 24 UN agencies, programs and funds that have a significant role in tackling global water concerns including UNESCO, and which also includes major non-UN partners of the water sector. This was the annual UN-Water seminar, held each week during World Water Week. This year’s event addresses water scarcity.

Floods in New Orleans after
hurricane Katrina, September 2005, USA
© UNESCO - NOPD Isidro Magana

The portal is also currently featuring materials on the International Disaster Reduction Conference being held currently in Davos, Switzerland. The conference is jointly organized by is jointly organized by UNESCO, the Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction (GADR), the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR).

The Conference is very relevant for UNESCO's water portal because more than 2,200 major and minor water-related disasters occurred in the world from 1990 through 2001. *Of these, floods accounted for half of the total disasters, water-borne and vector disease outbreaks accounted for 28% and drought accounted for 11% of the total disasters. 35% of these disasters occurred in Asia, 29% in Africa, 20% in the Americas, 13% in Europe and 3% in Oceania.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

UNESCO's follow-up to WSIS

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was one of the most important U.N. events in the last decade. It was organized by UNESCO and the International Telecommunications Union, and represented an important acknowledgement by the international community of the critical changes that are taking place with the Information Revolution. It set an international agenda of actions to help assure that progress toward the global information society is rapid and equitable.

UNESCO works with all stakeholders towards the implementation of the outcomes of WSIS, which involved major conferences in Geneva in 2003 and and Tunis in 2005, as well as many preparatory activities. UNESCO's role in the implementation process is three-fold:
* UNESCO implements concrete activities included in the Geneva Plan of Action within the framework of its regularprograme and budget.

* UNESCO helps facilitating the coherent implementation of the Action Lines in its areas of competence.

* UNESCO, together with ITU and UNDP, is engaged in shaping the overall multi-stakeholder coordination of the Facilitators of all Action Lines.
The next in a series of meetings at UNESCO's office in Paris relating to WSIS will be in October:
* 16 October 2006, "Access to information and knowledge"

* 17 October 2006, "Ethical dimension of the Information Society"

* 18 October 2006, "E-learning"

* 19 October 2006, "Media"

There will is also to be a meeting on 22 October 2006, at the Huarun Hotel, Beijing, China on "E-science"

All participants have to register online in order to obtain their badges to allow access to the meeting rooms.

Click here to go to the website devoted to UNESCO's activities implementing the plan of action developed at WSIS.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

UNESCO Promotes Freedom of Press and Expression

Hardly a day goes by without Mr. Koїchiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO, condemning the killings of journalists worldwide.>> More

It is crucial to restate that UNESCO is actively engaged in the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and fosters media independence and pluralism by providing advisory services on media legislation and by making governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers aware of the need to guarantee free expression.

Other major UNESCO activities in this field include the proclamation of a World Press Freedom Day to be celebrated on May 3rd; the establishment of an advisory group on press freedom which includes media professionals from all parts of the world; and the of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

UNESCO supports independent media in zones of conflict to enable them to play an active role in conflict prevention and resolution and the transition towards a culture of peace. For several years now, UNESCO has been supporting independent media to enable them to gather and disseminate non-partisan information. In this respect, the assistance provided to independent media in South East Europe, Angola, the Great Lakes Region in Africa, the Middle East, East Timor, and Afghanistan has contributed to peace building and reconciliation processes.

Read More
* UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists
and Media Workers

© Photo: UNESCO

Research publication and CD-ROM on editorial independence and the media in Asia now available

Asia has witnessed a profound transformation of its media landscape since the mid-1980s when deregulation of state television monopolies resulted in a dramatic growth in commercial television outlets. In this commercial environment, it is imperative to find ways in which the media can remain accountable and transparent and continue to promote and protect the public interest. This is why public service television should be strengthened to ensure that freedom of thought and expression, pluralism and accountability are protected.

Within the framework of the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) project entitled, "Promoting Editorial Independence and media pluralism", country specific research was carried out in eight South and Southeast Asia states, namely, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The main objective was to assess the editorial independence of public service broadcasting (PSB) television in these countries and to sensitize media and advocacy groups on media freedom. >> Download the Research Publication

A CD-ROM package of all 8 country reports is now available, and is expected to be a valuable resource for PSB institutions, television trainers, civil society groups dealing with media freedom and cultural diversity issues, and tertiary institutions as a “classroom” and advocacy resource. This is soon to be available on the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) website.

AMIC has been contracted by UNESCO to undertake four important research projects, covering public service broadcasting, alternative media, the media’s role (or lack of it) in the tsunami reconstruction process, and journalism education.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A New Regional Center for Biotechnology under the aegis of UNESCO

UNESCO and the Government of India signed an agreement in New Delhi, India, 14 July 2006 for the establishment of a Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education. The New Delhi Centre will combine teaching and research with a strong focus on capacity building.

‘The Centre will offer postgraduate and post-doctoral programmes in biotechnology, nano-biotechnology, and environmental biotechnology as well as “classes on intellectual property rights, technology transfer, bio-entrepreneurship and management, bioethics and bio-safety” said Maciej Nalecz, Director of UNESCO’s Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences.

The Centre, which expects to be functional in January 2007, will be operating under the aegis of UNESCO. Its governing body will include representatives from both the UNESCO secretariat and Member States. ‘We will secure top scientists from different countries to be a part of the advisory body’, commented Maciej Nalecz, ‘and, through them, will seek their respective governments’ participation to further develop the Centre.’

Initially, the Indian government will be funding the Centre with the expectation that other countries in the region supplement this effort once the Centre is functioning. Also, it will be housed at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi pending construction of permanent facilities.

© Photo: UNESCO

Towards a Successful Tsunami Warning System

Below are some statements made during the 3rd meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and held July 31st -August 2nd, 2006 in Bali, Indonesia.

“This meeting showed us that Indian Ocean nations have made considerable progress on developing national tsunami warning systems, but the most vulnerable States still face a major challenge in protecting their coastal populations,” said Patricio Bernal, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Mr Bernal reminded that people must be ‘tsunami-savvy’, i.e. they must know what to do when a major earthquake strikes, and local authorities must have solid planning in place to get people away from the area as quickly as possible.” He acknowledged the explosion of activity in the countries of the region over the past 18 months to build their national response systems. “Thailand, for example, is now confident it can get tsunami information rapidly to people on the beach, and several others are getting close to this.” However, several nations with coastlines close to fault lines, such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Oman and Iran, remain vulnerable.

The regional system now includes 24 national Tsunami Information Centres, capable of receiving and distributing Tsunami Advisories around the clock. These centres receive tsunami bulletins from data and analysis centres in Tokyo and Hawaii.
The Coordination Group’s next meeting will be held in Kenya early in 2007.

© Photo: UNESCO/ Torben Brandt

UNESCO Supports Wildlife Conservation Policies in Darfur

The Radom Biosphere Reserve in Darfur, Sudan has a great variety of climate and ecosystems; each with distinct group of faunal and floral compositions, and a good representation of the African wild species. These ecosystems, -which are considered to be of great economic, scientific, recreational, biological and cultural values-, need to be protected and sustainably managed.

A number of questionnaires were developed to obtain a general idea on the socioeconomic status of the displaced people, and seek solutions to compromise their living conditions in a way that does not conflict with the conservation policy. It appears that modern weapons have replaced the old traditional primitive tools and have modified the hunting techniques of many people willing to maximize their yields of sun-fried meat. The desperate need for protein by the ever growing human populations coupled with easiness of possessing automatics triggered this grave but tragic situation whereby several species are believed to have completely migrated and abandoned the area.

On the wake of signing Naivasha peace agreement between the government of the Sudan and the southern rebels, resource depletion was in part eased when southerners started to return to their home villages. Similar scenery is anticipated for Darfur. It should be emphasized that both security and food are the ultimate needs of the people, therefore, only permanent peace can stop this misery and bring back conditions stable. This would of course necessitate public awareness program that addresses and reflects both the benefits of peace and the negative impacts of war. Nevertheless, the situation will remain catastrophic unless the warring parties agree upon efficient and sincere disarmament program, and the international community assumes a positive role towards a lasting compromise to the political conflict. The planned program should specify certain areas as weapon free zones that will serve as asylums for wild fauna under full protection by the government of the state. This would be the first step towards enabling the entire environment to recover and restore viability.

Concerned with the reduction of biodiversity loss, the improvement of livelihoods, the enhancement of social, economic, and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability, and with the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goal 7 on environmental sustainability, UNESCO has, since its early days, initiated a vast array of research programs and activities focusing on humans' impacts on biodiversity, as well as how biodiversity affects human activities. UNESCO underscores the importance of biosphere reserves and calls for the protection of the biosphere even in times of war and other human tragedies.

Read More
*Click here for full report
* Biosphere reserves
*People, Biodiversity and Ecology
* UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB)


UNESCO has published the Discovering the World series as a collection of compact guides aimed at making subjects accessible for a young readership (from 10 years old onwards). They are perfect for students of school or college age who need to prepare a text or presentation on any one of these subjects. Parents and teachers will also find these little books an interesting read. Many are in English, and some are in foreign languages (and they might be especially useful for those studying those languages, since they should have relatively simple vocabulary and sentence structure),

Here are some of the titles:

"Tell me about UNESCO"
All about UNESCO for the young (10-12 years old): its history, functioning, ideals, programmes and buildings. A clear and well-documented overview of the Organization working towards a better understanding of tolerance.

"Explaining The Climate"
Gathers together the scientific knowledge necessary for younger readers to understand the climate, its mechanisms and phenomena. All topics are dealt with in an understandable yet informative manner – from the effects of latitude to those of altitude, from the history of climates to the geography of great climatic regions, and from meteorologists’ instruments to the conclusions of the Kyoto conference. In addition, the book offers a broad selection of clear explanatory diagrams, text boxes of easily memorized facts, and a wide array of carefully chosen photographs. This book is an excellent introduction to climatology and will awaken curiosity in all readers keen to learn how the climate will affect our future.

"Explaining Biosphere Reserves"
A colourful and easy-to-read book that provides accessible answers to questions related to biosphere reserves, including: What is biodiversity? Why is it in peril? Why should we preserve it? What do biosphere reserves look like? How do they function? Where are they located in the world?

"Tell me about the Oceans"
Did you know that three-quarters of the globe are covered with seas and oceans? This is just one of the interesting facts that you could learn by reading this compact book about oceans, their beginnings, their role in regulating world climate and the rich resources within.

"Inventions and Trade"
Over the centuries, the exchange of technologies -from the horse's bit and the wheel to the microchip and the computer- hasinspired new developments and improvements. It is through trade that much of this exchange has taken place. This book explains how the Silk and Spice Routes across Asia played an important role in bringing together different peoples and ideas that favoured new technologies and inventions in many fields: health and medicine, alchemy and chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, spinning and weaving. glass and ceramics, metalwork and agriculture, to mention just a few.

Monday, August 21, 2006

UNESCO promotes Science and Technology Policy in Africa

Much of the following posting is excerpted from an article published by the Swazi Observer, 08/17/2006

Dr. Joe Mugabe spoke during the one-day seminar and intervened to sensitize the public on the need for a Science and Technology Policy in Africa. The event was hosted by the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) on Wednesday August 16th, 2006.

"The Swazi Minister of Education, Constance Simelane, emphasized the role of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in the attainment of sustainable development goals and other related initiatives that require renewed political and financial commitments to the development and application of Science and Technology at national, regional and continental levels.

"Speaking during the seminar UNISWA vice-chancellor Professor Cisco Magagula challenged universities and research institutes to take the lead in creating, disseminating and promoting the application of science and technological knowledge. He said it was disappointing to note that Africa, despite the fact that it continues to be the least developed continent, continues to lose the little expertise it has.

"The Commission for Africa reports that there are more African students and engineers working in the United States than there are in Africa. This led to the Commission for Africa recommending major investment in improving Africa's capacity, starting with the systems of higher education, especially science and technology.

"Magagula said in recognition of the crucial role played by science and technology in development, UNISWA had introduced a number of science and technology-related centres of escellence with the aim of satisfying national aspirations. The centres include the Information and Communication Technology, the Swaziland Institute of Research in Traditional Medicine, Medicinal and Indigenous Food Plants, the Health Information and Counselling Centre and the University Research Centre."

Americans for UNESCO is informed by UNESCO Windhoek that UNESCO funded the seminar and subcontracted the Swaziland National Commission for UNESCO to organize this initial stakeholders’ meeting regarding the establishment of a S&T Policy for the country. The meeting is the first step towards drafting a S&T Policy for Swaziland. Its proceedings from the meeting are due in late September and will be posted on the UNESCO Windhoek Office website.

Dr. John Mugabe, the facilitator of such a meeting, is leading NEPAD’s science and technology department and is considered an authority on science and technology policy in Africa.

The United States to host Two Water Events

* September 5th-8th, 2006: The Ohio State University will host the “Floodplains, Riparian Zones, and Buffer Strips Workshop: Key Components to Aquatic Life Use Attainment and Self-Sustaining Stream Systems”. This event, centred around the theme "Celebrating 50 Years and Beyond", will include 1 day of technical tours; 1 day of presentations and panel discussions by recognized experts in the field of soil and water conservation and stream restoration; and two days for technical workshops. >> More

* September 10th-13th, 2006: The WateReuse Association, the Water Environment Federation, and the American Water Works Association organize the 21st Annual WateReuse Symposium to be held in Hollywood, California. This symposium will focus on both water reuse and desalination as alternative sources in today’s water-scarce world. Technical sessions will be devoted to diverse topics such as micropollutants, desalination, indirect potable reuse, operational issues, and global water reuse. >> More

* Our Previous Posting: UNESCO coping with water scarcity
© Photo: UNESCO/ Armelle de Crepy - Everglades National Park

Sunday, August 20, 2006

UNESCO, Co-organizer of the International Disaster Reduction Conference Davos 2006

August 27th - September 1st, 2006 Davos, Switzerland: Special Session on "Integrating traditional knowledge systems and concern for cultural and natural heritage into risk management strategies" on the occasion of the International Conference on Disaster Reduction (ICDR).

For more information, please visit:
*UNESCO World Heritage Center
*International Disaster Reduction Conference Davos 2006

UNESCO coping with water scarcity

UNESCO will participate in the 'Coping with Water Scarcity' UN-Water seminar in Stockholm, Sweden, scheduled for August 23rd.

In 2003, UN-Water was endorsed as the new official United Nations mechanism for follow-up of the water-related decisions reached at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals. It will support Member States in their efforts to achieve water and sanitation goals and targets. Annually, UN-Water hosts a seminar during World Water Week focusing on specific strategic issues it has identified as priority for joint action during the decade Water for Life (2005-2015). This year's event addresses water scarcity. The seminar will illustrate the type of actions UN-Water agencies carry out with their partners.

Mr. Andras Szöllösi-Nagy, Director of the UNESCO Division of Water Sciences, will give a keynote speech on 'Decision Support Tools for Conflict Resolution' during the seminar. His address will be followed be a panel discussion on how to enhance the impact and effectiveness of the Water Scarcity Thematic Initiative at local and national level and at the level of international river basins.

Read More
*The UNESCO Water portal
* The World Water Week
* "Coping With Water Scarcity" Seminar

* Prevention and Resolution of Water-related Conflicts: the PCCP Program

Saturday, August 19, 2006

UNESCO Acting With and For Youth -- More information

In a belated bow to the United Nations' International Youth Day and UNESCO's week long celebration of its six decades of service to youth, we have added a Youth page to the Americans for UNESCO website.

In addition, here are some Youth oriented events, activities, and links:
· August 14-16, 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference – Toronto, Canada. The Chasing the Dream online photo exhibit. This exhibit portrays the intersection of eight young people with Millennium Development Goals and will be on display at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, 14-16 August 2006. Link to: What Works in HIV Prevention: Engaging Young People

· Deadline: September 8th, 2006: UNICEF Voices of Youth Photo contest: Inspirational Women.

· May 1st-October 1st, 2006 2006 UNICEF/OneWorld Radio Prize contest. The theme for the 2006 contest is UNITE FOR CHILDREN. UNITE AGAINST AIDS. Entries should be about HIV and AIDS – prevention, education, the scope of the pandemic and youth action to address it. More Information on rules, regulations and entry forms

· 2007 G8 Youth Event in Germany

· September 2006- February 2007: Participate in a Kairos Future delfi survey on youth values and lifestyle! For more information, please visit

· Become a Youth Delegate to The United Nations

· More UN Youth Events

More on the UN and Youth:

· Download The MDGs Youth Action Guide on the Millennium Campaign Website

· UN Volunteers and the Millennium Development Goals.

UNESCO supports Libraries

UNESCO supports and promotes universal access to information and knowledge flows. Part of its many activities focuses on the strengthening of the institutional capacity of libraries as gateways to information. As such, UNESCO assists worldwide libraries to acquire new technologies and network resources through the UNESCO Network of Associated Libraries (UNAL). UNAL’s main objective is to encourage libraries that are open to the public to undertake activities in UNESCO’s fields such as the promotion of human rights and peace, cultural dialogue, protection of the environment, fight against illiteracy, etc. Over 500 libraries around the world are members of the Network, the Library of Congress being one of them.

UNESCO Libraries Portal currently contains over 14000 links to websites of libraries around the world, as well as to resources related to training, preservation and international co-operation in this area. A major part of this heritage is stored in libraries. The world’s documentary heritage constitutes a major part of mankind’s memory and reflects the diversity of peoples, languages and cultures. Through the Memory of the World Programme and other initiatives, UNESCO has played a leading role in preserving information and communication contents and in optimizing access to them. In particular, UNESCO encouraged the elaboration of strategies to facilitate the digitization of librarian collections; it also promoted and disseminated the International Charter for the Preservation of Digital Heritage adopted in October 2003.

From August 20th-24th, 2006, UNESCO will participate in the round-table on "Libraries: Dynamic Engines for the Knowledge and Information Society" organized by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) during its 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council to be held in Seoul, Korea. The IFLA meeting will have a UNESCO organized session on digital libraries which will include a presentation by the Library of Congress. >>More

Global Memory Net, an online image library and gateway to cultural, historical, and heritage images around the world, was launched earlier this month with a number of collections included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, and in the Library of Congress. The project was partially funded by the US National Science Foundation.>> More

Read more:
* UNESCO Libraries Portal
* Memory of the World - 8th meeting of the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Programme, Pretoria, South Africa, 11-15 June 2007. >>More
* E-Heritage
* UNESCO Archives Portal
* World Book and Copyright Day
* Our previous postings "World Digital Library Planned: Library of Congress Envisions Collection To Bridge Cultures"

Friday, August 18, 2006

“What UNESCO for the Future”

The Forum of Reflexion “What UNESCO for the future?” was launched by the Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO on 18 November 2004, on the occasion of the Third Philosophy Day. It continued throughout 2005 as a cycle of open debates whose main objective was to stimulate creative and audacious thinking on the future direction of UNESCO among Permanent Delegations, National Commissions and the Secretariat. In inviting thinkers, philosophers, political leaders and experts from diverse parts of the world, the Forum aimed above all to stimulate our common reflexion and to provide food for thought through insightful, out-of-the box perspectives.

This new publication presents the addresses given in the course of this forum by sixteen people:

* Jacques Attali
* Robert Badinter
* Boutros Boutros-Ghali
* Souleymane Bachir Diagne
* Fatma Haddad-Chamakh
* Ping Huang
* Albert Jacquard
* Randolph Kent
* Yersu Kim
* Achille Mbembé
* Edgar Morin
* Hisashi Owada
* Miguel Rojas-Mix
* Carolina Rossetti Gallardo
* Ghassan Salamé
* Tu Weiming

UNESCO and Local Content in the Media

Source: UNESCO

The UNESCO program for Creative Content is aimed at boosting the production and dissemination of local content in both the traditional and new media in the most disadvantaged communities of the developing world by training content creators, supporting local content production and enhancing content distribution channels.

Local Content and ICT

ICT and the Internet have had a tremendous impact on content creation and distribution processes. UNESCO has launched two recent international ventures with the objective of providing marginalized communities such as indigenous peoples with access to ICTs.
The Organization is currently producing a set of best practices in media production in topics related to the Millennium Development Goals in order to demonstrate in very concrete ways the potential of development communication in today's societies.

Producing Local Content

UNESCO provides seed funding for media content production in television, radio and new media in developing communities, such as documentary, fiction, outdoor tele-magazines and other kinds of programming within the framework of public service broadcasting.

Distributing Local Content

UNESCO participates in the distribution and exchange of local content by showcasing local productions at the international level through various fora and festivals. Through partnership with school networks and broadcasting associations worldwide, it helps to strengthen alternative distribution channels.

Why is this program important?

Radio, television, the Internet and other electronic media have enormous potential to enhance social and economic development programs. While the information infrastructure grew slowly in developing nations during most of the 20th century, the penetration of these media into even the poorest countries has grown exponentially in the last decade. Unfortunately, the growth of content has not kept pace.

While there is a great deal of media content available from the North, there is also a huge need for content in the South. That Southern content has to be specific to developing country problems, such as those of tropical medicine and tropical agriculture. It must also be in languages that the target populations understand, culturally accessible, on media to which they have access, targetted to the right messages, and in a format which will be interesting and intelligable to the target audience. The UNESCO program is setting precedents and demonstrating how to build this kind of local content.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

UNESCO Jobs Available

Gene Whitney, of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has identified these current job postings from UNESCO, and is asking that they be circulated in the hope that Americans will apply for many of these important positions.

He especially encourages qualified U.S. candidates to apply for the following position (which was previously announced on this blog):

SR PROG SPECIALIST (Science & Tech Education & Tech Capacity Bldg); UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (SC-427); Paris, France
(PhD: Basic-EnginSci; 10+yrs (5+yrs university sci-engin teach) university edu plan-mgmt-adm exp; Fr); P-5; $120K Closing date: 08/21/06


Note that this position closes on August 21, 2006.

Applicants may apply electronically. Qualified individuals interested in competing for any of the listed vacancies should submit their applications directly to UNESCO or the international organization of interest.

U.S. citizen applicants for UNESCO and ICAO positions are requested to send an information copy of their applications to: employmentun@state.gov.

Additional information on international employment is available at this State Department web site.

Other Positions the Whitney has identified include:

* 63 SR PROG SPECIALIST (Science & Tech Education & Tech Capacity Bldg); UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (SC-427); Paris, France
(PhD: Basic-EnginSci; 10+yrs (5+yrs university sci-engin teach) university edu plan-mgmt-adm exp; Fr); P-5; $120K Closing date: 08/21/06

* 117 PROG SPECIALIST, Hydrological Processes & Climate, Water Sciences Div; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (SC-420); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: Civil-EnvirEngin/SoilSci/Hydrol; 4+yrs (2 yrs int’l) int’l sci coop/erosion&sediment rsrch exp; Fr); P-3; $84K Closing date: 08/27/06

* 131 ASSISTANT PROGRAM SPECIALIST (Education); UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (LA/RP/CHI/ED/0032); Santiago, Chile
(AdvDeg: Edu/Soc-HumanSci; 2+ yrs LatinAm & Carib edu field proj implmnt exp; Sp); P-1/P-2; $48/$61K Closing date: 08/30/06

* 180 ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (AR/RP/PAL/BFC/0005); Ramallah, Palestine
(Deg: Pblc-BusAdm/Acct/Econ; 3 yrs adm/fin/UN sys exp; Arabic/Fr); P-1/P-2; $47/60 K Closing date: 09/04/06

* 212 CHIEF, Educational Planning & Management Div; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (UNRWA/AR/RP/JOR/ED/0008); Amman, Jordan
(PhD: EduAdm/Evaluation; 10+ yrs nat’l-lvl edu sys mgmt/teaching/hi-lvl mgmt exp; Arabic); P-5; $ 98 K Closing date: 09/10/06

* 213 RESEARCH SCIENTIST 7/; UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Org (UNESCO); (EU/TP/ITA/SC/1051); Trieste, Italy
(PhD: Physics/GeophysSci; 5 yrs int’l Earth System Physics rsrch/teaching exp); P-3; $ 82 K Closing date: 09/10/06

* 214 RESEARCH SCIENTIST 7/; UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Org (UNESCO); (EU/TP/ITA/SC/1053); Trieste, Italy
(PhD: Physics/GeophysSci; 5 yrs int’l Earth System Physics rsrch/teaching exp); P-3; $ 82 K Closing date: 09/10/06

* 215 RESEARCH SCIENTIST 7/; UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Org (UNESCO); (EU/TP/ITA/SC/1054); Trieste, Italy
(PhD: Physics/GeophysSci; 5 yrs int’l Earth System Physics rsrch/teaching exp); P-3; $ 82 K Closing date: 09/10/06

* 288 SR PROG SPECIALIST (Basic & Engineering Sciences); UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (AF/RP/KEN/SC/0006); Nairobi, Kenya
(PhD: Basic-EnginSci; 10+yrs sci & tech capacity bldg/ 6+yrs university Basic& EnginSci teach exp; Fr); P-5; $101K Closing date: 09/26/06

* 309 CLASSIFICATION OFFICER; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (HRM-253); Paris, France
(AdvDeg: HRM/Bus-PblcAdm; 4+ yrs HRM & adm/job classif/org dsgn/analyt exp; Fr); P-3; $85K Closing date: 10/04/06

* 310 PROGRAM SPECIALIST (Higher Education) 11/; UN Edu, Sci & Cult Org (UNESCO); (LA/RP/VEN/ED/0003); Caracas, Venezuela
(AdvDeg:Soc-Human-EduSci; 7+yrs hi edu rsrch & tech int’l coop proj plan-coord-execute&cntrl exp; Sp); P-4; $90K Closing date: 10/04/06


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Documents for the Executive Board Meeting

Documents for the next (175th) meeting of the Executive Board of UNESCO are now available on the Executive Board's website. The meeting is to take place in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, 26 September-12 October 2006.

The documents are:
* Report by the Director-General on implementation of the reform process: staff policy
* Report by the Director-General on the state of academic freedom and institutional autonomy within the context of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (1997)
* Convening of the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) in 2009
* Proposal for the establishment of an IHP regional centre for the scientific study on management of shared groundwater resources under the auspices of UNESCO and WMO in Tripoli, Libya
* Arts education: the follow-up to the Lisbon World Conference
* Report by the Director-General on the advisability of elaborating an International Declaration on Science Ethics to serve as a basis for an ethical code of conduct for scientists
* Jerusalem and the implementation of 33 C/Resolution 50 and 174 EX/Decision 12
* Proposal for the establishment of the International Children Centre (ARTEK) as a centre under the auspices of UNESCO (category 2)
* Report by the Director-General on the implementation of the UNESCO Evaluation Strategy
* Monitoring of the implementation of UNESCO's standard-setting instruments
* Report on the fourth meeting of the Joint Expert Group UNESCO (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the Monitoring of the Right to Education (2006)
* Dates of the 34th session of the General Conference
* Report by the Director-General on the status of contributions of Member States and of payment plans
* Report by the Director-General on the implementation of the Participation Programme and emergency assistance
* Report by the Director-General, in cooperation with the Headquarters Committee, on managing the UNESCO complex
* Relations with non-governmental organizations, foundations and similar institutions
* UNESCO's cooperation with African subregional and regional organizations
* Implementation of 33 C/Resolution 68 concerning the strengthening of cooperation with the Republic of Guinea-Bissau
* Report by the Director-General on the cultural and educational institutions in Iraq
* Report by the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on the activities of the Institute
* Proposal for the establishment of the IHP International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) in the Netherlands under the auspices of UNESCO
* Convening of the Fourth International Conference on International Education in 2007 in Ahmedabad, India
The United States is a member nation of the Executive Board. The U.S. Representative to UNESCO and her team will have a busy couple of months!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The L'Oreal - UNESCO Partnership For Women In Science Program

© Photo: GAMMA, 2006 L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards Laureates (left to right): Esther Orozco (Mexico, Laureate Latin America), Pamela Bjorkman (USA, Laureate North America), Jennifer Graves (Australia, Laureate Asia/Pacific), Habiba Bouhamed Chaabouni (Tunisia, Laureate Africa), Christine Van Broeckhoven (Belgium, Laureate Europe).

The following article is excerpted from a
Corporate Social Responsibility Press Release, provided by CSRwire, 08/14/06

In Search Of Scientific Excellence: L’Oréal USA Announces Call for Applications for 2007 Fellowships for Women In Science Program

On August 14, 2006, L’Oréal USA announced the start of the application period for its esteemed L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program. Now in its fourth year, this national program aims to annually recognize, reward and support five women post-doctoral researchers in the U.S. who are pursuing careers in the life and physical/material sciences, as well as mathematics, engineering and computer science. As part of its commitment to further help exceptional women scientists reach their goals, L'Oréal USA has doubled the value of its fellowship grants from a current $20,000 to $40,000 for the 2007 program.

Since its inception in 2003, the L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program has attracted a number of talented applicants from diverse scientific fields, representing some of the nation’s leading academic institutions and laboratories. A distinguished jury of nine eminent scientists – presided over by Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences - reviews the applications, and selects the L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science recipients each year.

The five beneficiaries of the 2007 L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science will be invited to attend a week of events that include an awards ceremony, professional development workshops, media training and networking opportunities. In 2007 these workshops, developed and facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will encompass job search techniques, interviewing skills and strategies for peer review publication.

Candidates may visit the L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science website to obtain more information about program eligibility and requirements. The program is open to women post-doctoral researchers only. All applications must be post marked by October 31, 2006.

The L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science compliment the international L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science program -- which annually awards $100,000 each to five leading women career scientists, one from Europe, Asia, North America, South American and Africa – and the UNESCO-L’ORÉAL International Fellowships, which annually grant $20,000 each to 15 promising young women scientists, doctorate or post-doctorate, from around the globe. Depending on the research project of the applicant, in 2007 this grant may also be increased to a maximum of $40,000 over a two year period.

"Build The Defences Of Peace In People's Minds"

This message from Pope John Paul II was delivered in 2002, but it remains vivid and relevant today. He said:
The intuitions that prevailed at the foundation of UNESCO more than 50 years ago, stressed the importance of education for peace and solidarity, not losing sight of the fact that "if wars are born in people's minds, it is in the human spirit that the defences of peace must be built" (Constitution of UNESCO, 16 November 1945). Today these intuitions have been fully confirmed. The phenomenon of globalization has become a reality defining economics, politics and culture, bringing with it positive and negative values. They are areas that offer a challenge to our sense of responsibility so that a truly worldwide solidarity can be organized that alone can give our earth a secure future and lasting peace.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The State Department on the United Nations

The Department of State has a number of interesting documents posted on the website of its Bureau for International Organization Affairs. These include:
* "Founding of the United Nations: 'A Profound Cause of Thanksgiving'" by Gary B. Ostrower
* "The United States and the Founding of the United Nations, August 1941 - October 1945" by Office of the Historian of the U.S. Department of State and
* "U.S. Participation in the United Nations: Our Vision and Priorities" from State's Bureau of Public Affairs
While these do not deal with UNESCO specifically, they may be of interest to many UNESCO fans.

2006 U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Annual Conference

Click here to download the minutes of the meeting in a PDF file (2.4MB).

On June 1 and June 2, 2006, the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO held its annual conference in Washington, DC. The detailed minutes of the meeting are available on the NatCom website, They include a summary of the conference, including those who attended, matters discussed, and conclusions reached.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing of Chinese Reporter Beaten by Officer"

Read the full article in NewsBlaze.Com (an independent, online, news aggregator headquartered in Folsom California).

Lead: "Continuing his campaign to spotlight the deplorable killing of journalists worldwide, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (<"http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=29008&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html">UNESCO) today condemned the beating death of a Chinese reporter by a police officer.

"'I condemn the killing of Xiao Guopeng,' declared Ko�chiro Matsuura in a statement released in Paris on the incident, which took place in the province of Guizhou on 18 July."

Reporters Without Borders indicated that an officer beat the 39-year old reporter outside the building of his newspaper, Anshun, and continued hitting Mr. Xiao when he was already on the ground, despite protests from a crowd of onlookers.

Welcoming the fact that the alleged perpetrator has been arrested, the Director General said: "I trust that there will be a transparent investigation and trial to help prevent the recurrence of such events in the future."

Unfortunately, attacks on reporters and on the free press are frequent in many parts of the world, and Director General Matsuura frequently issues statements and declarations condemning those responsible for specific incidents of suppression of freedom of the press.

DG's Declaration on the Crisis in the Middle East

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, issued a declaration on the crisis in the Middle East on August 11, 2006. It includes the following:
“In my capacity as Director-General of an organization dedicated to the construction of the defenses of peace in the minds of women and men through education, science, culture and communication, and in view of the spiraling conflict in the Middle East, I wish to express my dismay at the growing loss of life, suffering, and destruction on each side, and express my fear that the grief caused by present events will jeopardize the future.

“We can only be alarmed by the impending humanitarian disaster in Lebanon that will compound the environmental disaster already unfolding before us. But an even greater threat looms: what future for a country where so many people have been displaced, lived through fire, turmoil and death omnipresent? What future for a country where so many children have seen their schools destroyed, a country whose memory is ravaged along with its rich heritage of prestigious sites that are the heritage of humanity as a whole? And what prospects can there be for the construction of a knowledge society in a country sapped by the loss of its vital energy and talent?"
Click here to read the full declaration.

Earlier, the Director-General had convened a special session of the UNESCO Middle East Task Force to discuss UNESCO’s response to the crisis in Lebanon. In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Director-General joined the United Nations Secretary-General in calling for a way out of the crisis referring to the three pillars of the UN position expressed by the Secretary-General, namely, a cessation of hostilities, a political framework which includes the deployment of an international force, and agreement on a reconstruction programme. Mr Matsuura expressed his “deep concern about the escalation of violence and the tragic loss of human life”, and urged for “preparedness to assist the Lebanese authorities in early recovery and reconstruction efforts.” Click here to read more about the Task Force.

These expressions of concern about the current situation are part of the six decade long effort of UNESCO to promote peace. See, for example, this statement made a decade ago by a former Director General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, to the Nuclear Age Foundation, in which he said:
In 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO and the United Nations Year for Tolerance, we stressed that it was only through a daily effort to know others better - I am the 'other'! - and respect them that we would be able to tackle at source the problems of marginalization, indifference, resentment and hatred. This is the only way to break the vicious circle that leads from insults to confrontation and the use of force.

We must identify the roots of global problems and strive, with imagination and determination, to check conflicts in their early stages. Better still prevent them. Prevention is the victory that gives the measure of our distinctively human faculties. We must know in order to foresee. Foresee in order to prevent. We must act in a timely, decisive and courageous manner, knowing that prevention engages the attention only when it fails. Peace, health and normality do not make the news. We shall have to try to give greater prominence to these intangibles, these unheralded triumphs.

A universal renunciation of violence requires the commitment of the whole of society. These are not matters of government but matters of State; not only matters for the authorities, but for society in its entirety (including civilian, military, and religious bodies). The mobilization which is urgently needed to effect the transition within two or three years from a culture of war to a culture of peace demands co-operation from everyone. In order to change, the world needs everyone. A new approach to security is required at world, regional and national levels. The armed forces must be the guarantors of democratic stability and the protection of the citizen, because we cannot move from systems of complete security and no freedom to systems of complete freedom and no security. Ministries of war and defence must gradually be turned into ministries of peace.

Arden L. Bement on International Science

Arden L. Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation
"On the international scale, our value will be measured by our global research networks and our partnerships with fast-growing research economies. On the West Coast, you are in an excellent position to collaborate with Asian nations in biology, chemistry, physics, and materials science." Arden Bement at Harvey Mudd College, January 14, 2006.
Dr. Bement has demonstrated a strong interest in international scientific cooperation, and given that the National Science Board has a task force in operation on International Science to advise the NSF, it seems useful to consider his statements on the topic. His views are especially relevant to UNESCO since he is Arden Bement, Vice-Coordinator of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Committee of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

Here are links to some of his recent talks on international scientific cooperation:
* "International Cooperation, The Future of Science and Engineering" (May 25, 2006, National Natural Science Foundation of China 20th Anniversary Celebration, Beijing, China)
* "Collaboration and Competition: What Can Governments Do?" (May 15, 2006, G8 Heads of Research Councils Meeting, Paris, France)
* "Crossing Borders to Advance the Frontier: NSF's Role in International Outreach" (April 22, 2006, American Physical Society Meeting, Dallas, Texas)
* "Global Connections: National Science Foundation International Programs and Activities" (June 22, 2005Remarks, Global Conference of Environment, Science, Technology and Health Officers, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC)

Friday, August 11, 2006

The United States of America and UNESCO: Building Knowledge, Bridging Cultures

"It is America's honor and gift to be a nation of nations, whose people and aspirations touch every nation on the face of the earth. From universal dreams of freedom, equality and prosperity, we became a country that melded many different cultures, ideas, perspectives, and talents — giving us a rich diversity that continues to make us strong today. With this strength comes great responsibility and a desire to engage with the international community. And words are not enough. Americans are committed to turning these visions into action." Colin L. Powell

When the United States reentered UNESCO, the State Department published this discussion of the reasons we belong in the organization. It makes good reading. It concludes:
The United States will again be the biggest financial contributor to UNESCO, paying 22 percent of the annual assessed budget, in addition to voluntary contributions. America will work to ensure that funds are spent efficiently and transparently.

With regard to science, the statement includes these sentiments:
The 21st century promises great scientific advances. Multilateral coordination through UNESCO will help maximize the effectiveness of scientific goals and projects. The United States looks forward to the opportunity to play a dynamic role with UNESCO partners to help ensure that science is used ethically to help solve the world's problems, and not to create new ones.......

UNESCO serves as an interdisciplinary and multicultural forum to examine the ethics of scientific issues. The United States looks forward to active participation in these discussions as well as meetings of UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge (COMEST).

In its discussion of communications and information, the statement notes:
The free flow of information is fundamental to democracy. Information can contribute to the development of a world where 80 percent of the people still lack access to basic telecommunications. Access to information is also one of the best guarantees of respect for human rights. The Internet, free of government control, is one way to keep information flowing. UNESCO has a unique mandate to promote the right to seek, receive and impart information and to foster media independence......

UNESCO has successfully demonstrated that it has recovered the vision of a free press and freedom of expression that its founders held dear.....

The United States, with its extensive experience and expertise in these areas, intends to work with UNESCO to advance the free flow of information as a major prerequisite for tolerance and political participation.

Download the entire document setting forth the rationale. (August, 2003; PDF, 1.26MB)

National Science Board Task Force on International Science

In September 2001, the U.S. National Science Board released a report entitled, Towards a More Effective Role for the U.S. Government in International Science and Engineering (NSB-01-187). Unfortunately, many of the valid recommendations from that report are largely unfulfilled. There have also been major changes in the international landscape since 2001. Now the NSB is to carefully reexamine the role of the U.S. Government in international S&E.

The Task Force held its first Hearing and Roundtable Discussion on International Science Partnerships on Thursday, May 11, 2006. A brief Task Force meeting was held on Wednesday, August 9, 2006, which I attended as an observer.

The Task Force reviewed the draft report of the March Roundtable which focused on:
The rationale for U.S. government interest in international science and engineering
* The challenges of increasing international cooperation in science and engineering
* Global engagement in science and engineering
* New modes for participation in international science and engineering

I note especially Dr. Patricia Golloway's comments in support of the importance of communication with UNESCO as part of the deliberations of the Task Force. Dr. Golloway, an engineer with long service to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, emphasized the importance of UNESCO's role in international science and engineering.

The Task Force will complement its Roundtable Discussion on International Science Partnerships with additional meetings:
* In Singapore in late September to be held in conjunction with the 31st Meeting of the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organization.
* Informal meetings in the Middle East later this year
* A meeting in Europe in the Spring of 2007 in conjunction with a meeting of European Ministers of Science.
The Task Force is to complete its report to the President in the Summer of 2007. I expect the report to be made public, and to strongly recommend new initiatives to improve international scientific cooperation.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the Task Force is: Clara A. Englert cenglert@nsf.gov
(703) 292-7000

Science and Technology in the Era of Globalization

UNU/UNESCO International Conference
23 & 24 August 2006

One of the Co-organizers is the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO.

This conference provides a forum for exploring how we can better, and more directly, harness scientific and technological progress for the promotion of peace and sustainable development.

It covers such salient issues as access to knowledge and benefit-sharing, the scope of intellectual property protection, and the ethical boundaries of scientific enquiry, with the aim of delineating the parameters within which societies can utilize the processes of globalization to foster the creation and diffusion of knowledge for the benefit of all.

In the public symposium on 23 August, eminent experts from around the world review the ways in which globalization is changing science and technology, and vice-versa, and assess the opportunities that these changes offer.

In the workshop on 24 August, panellists discuss how science and technology link with, and contribute to, economic and social development in four fundamental areas — knowledge-sharing, trade and technology transfer, society and policy-making, and science and technology education for sustainable development — and how globalization is influencing these processes.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Director for Regional Science Bureau for Asia

Professor Hubert Gijzen assumed the directorship of the UNESCO Jakarta office on 1 August 2006. The Jakarta office functions as UNESCO's Regional Science Bureau for Asia and Pacific covering more than 50 countries in the region. Prof. Gijzen will also be the UNESCO Representative to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Timor Leste.

The press release announcing Prof. Gijzen's appointment states:
Hubert Gijzen is of Dutch nationality. Prior to joining UNESCO Jakarta, he was a Professor of Environmental Biotechnology and Head of Core in the UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands. He also worked for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for a number of universities, both in The Netherlands, as well as abroad. He has a broad science base and interest. Although he has a training background in Biology (MSc) and Biotechnology (PhD), he had the opportunity to work in a range of different disciplines during his career of 24 years, including microbiology, biotechnology, sanitary engineering, and environmental sciences. He has been involved in a number of international education, research and capacity building programmes and projects in various fields of natural sciences and engineering. He and his wife have lived and worked in different countries and regions, including Tanzania (5 years), Colombia (4 years) and Bangladesh (1.5 years).

Check out the websites:
* The UNESCO Jakarta Office
* The Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems -- LINKS

Rural and indigenous peoples possess their own knowledge, practices and representations of the natural environment, as well as their own conceptions about how human interactions with nature should be managed.

UNESCO launched the LINKS project in 2002 to heighten interdisciplinary and intersectoral action among the elements of its program.

The LINKS project seeks to promote dialogue amongst traditional knowledge holders, natural and social scientists, resource managers and decision-makers in order to enhance biodiversity conservation and secure an active and equitable role for local communities in resource governance. The survival of indigenous knowledge as a dynamic and vibrant resource within rural and indigenous communities depends upon its continuing transmission from generation to generation.

The project website includes links to publications and other resources as well as descriptions of project activities.

During the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City (March 2006), the project published "Water and Indigenous Peoples", based on the papers delivered at the Second and Third World Water Forums (The Hague in 2000 and Kyoto in 2003).
It brings to the fore some of the most incisive indigenous critics of international debates on water access, use and management, as well as indigenous expressions of generosity that share community knowledge and insight in order to propose remedies for the global water crisis.
To request a copy, email - links@unesco.org.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

US Policy toward UNESCO Clarified

The U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, Louise Oliver, has written to the Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, to clarify that the U.S. government officials "did not ask, and do not wish, to approve contacts with U.S. individuals or non-governmental organizations." As the United States resumed membership in UNESCO, and as the State Department prepared to represent the nation in UNESCO venues, State officials asked that UNESCO make them aware of its contacts with U.S. citizens and organizations. Ambassador Oliver clarified that the request was for information only, and its intent was to enable State to facilitate such contacts. Reports had come to her attention that some UNESCO staff might have misunderstood State's request and were needlessly complicating contacts with people from the United States.

With the clarification, we hope that U.S.-UNESCO linkages will continue to grow and strengthen rapidly!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New on the Americans for UNESCO website

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Claudia Cardinale

A page about the UNESCO Celebrity Advocates has been added to the Americans for UNESCO website. Check it out! It provides links to the programs that allow scientists, athletes, artists and other distinguished people to lend their support to UNESCO.

The response by the U.S. State Department to UNESCO's questionnaire about its mid-term strategy and next biennial program and budget has also been added to the AU website. Check it out!

Special session of the UNESCO Middle East Task Force to discuss UNESCO’s response to the crisis in Lebanon

On 31 July, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, convened a Special Session of the UNESCO Task Force on the Middle East to discuss the current crisis in Lebanon. The aim of the meeting was to co-ordinate UNESCO’s response to the current situation and to prepare the Organization’s contribution to future recovery and reconstruction efforts by the Lebanese authorities.

To read more about the meeting, click here.

Americans for UNESCO in Lien/Link

Read the full April-June 2006 issue of Lien/Link (the bulletin of the Association of Former Staff Members of UNESCO).

Andre Varchaver, President of Americans for UNESCO, publishes an update on AU's activities in the most recent issue of the newsletter of the Association of Former Staff Members of UNESCO. (Andre served on the UNESCO staff from 1959 to 1981.) Here is an excerpt from the article:
AU’s Advisory Council, co-chaired by Esther Coopersmith and Dick Arndt, is composed of a number of distinguished Americans in fields directly or indirectly related to those of Unesco. A particularly distinguished one, Dr Miller Upton, died a few weeks ago at the ripe age of 88, having devoted years of energy to education, internationalism in general and Unesco in particular. Over the years, while heading Beloit College in Wisconsin, he innovated the widely admired “Beloit Plan” that featured a continuous school year and a “World Affairs” program that revitalized the college, attracted national attention and inspired other colleges, such as renowned Dartmouth, to adopt his innovations. He was greatly admired by René Maheu, with whom I visited Beloit College, and Jack Fobes who much later succeeded him at the helm of the U.S. National Commission for Unesco. Upton headed it from 1971 to 1975 and led the U.S. delegation to the eighteenth session of the General Conference where he displayed exceptional qualities of leadership and an innate sense of diplomacy. He was an early supporter of Fobes’ creation of “Americans for the Universality of Unesco”, now AU, and we mourn the loss of this exceptional man.

In cooperation with AU, the Better World Campaign, a subsidiary of the United Nations Foundation (which actively supports a number of Unesco programs, notably the World Heritage), has resumed organizing meetings of representatives of civil society as well as of the government/National Commission and the Congress, related to or interested in Unesco. AU will continue and develop its cooperation with the National Commission and looks forward to working closely with Unesco’s New York Office and its newly appointed Director Hélène Gosselin.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The New NatCom Newsletter is Out

Read the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Newsletter (Volume 2, Issue 2, April/May/June 2006) online.

* Comments from the Executive Director
* UNESCO National Commission Host Second Annual Meeting
* Mrs. Laura Bush Announces Global Literacy Conference
* U.S. Ambassador Hosts Reception for UNESCO Award Winning Journalist
* Newly Established U.S. National Committee for the International Hydrological Program * Conducts Inaugural Meeting on Future Objectives
* UNESCO Overall Review of Major Programs II and III
* UNESCO Prizes Information
* UNESCO Job Vacancies

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

UNESCO Courier Features New World Heritage Sites

The July-August 2006 issue of the UNESCO Courier headlines the 18 new sites added to the World Heritage List. The additions bring the total number of protected sites to 830. Five of the sights are the subject of Courier articles:
* Bisotun (Islamic Republic of Iran), a monument in bas-relief and cuneiform that that is located 70 meters above the ground.
* Bilbao’s ria in (Spain's Basque country), the first transporter bridge ever built in the world.
* Harar (Ethiopia), entrenched behind its encircling wall with a market and mosques pulsing with life.
* The valleys of Jalisco (Mexico) famous for their agave plantations used for making the famous Mexican liquor.
* The Giant Panda Sanctuaries in Sichuan (China).